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May 30, 2018

Series Stories for Tween (and Almost Tween) Readers

By Meghan Everette
Grades 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

    Series abound for younger readers, but once students are ready to dive into something more meaty, kids sometimes abandon the series books. I love a series for my classroom and my sons because I know they will be hooked in for a while, which keeps them going! My students love series sets for younger readers and grew up with favorite authors and characters they followed throughout childhood.

    What happens when we bridge the gap to older readers? Sometimes stories get tricky: my best readers have the ability to read books like The Hunger Games, but those aren’t quite appropriate yet. These better reader series are perfect for students who have moved beyond picture books and early chapter books, but aren’t quite into Young Adult literature. Here are five series sets and what to read next.

    I Survived . . .   

    I Survived has an entire website dedicated to the books by Lauren Tarshis. Fun fact: these quality reads come from a long-time Scholastic writer who also writes for Storyworks magazine! The I Survived series is a perfect segue into reading full-length novels. History buffs will easily dive into the I Survived series and the nonfiction, real-life companions offers even more in-depth looks as the story behind the story. Kids who love mysteries and drama will also enjoy following tales of kids living through the most challenging times in history. Even though it is a "series," readers can reach each book as a stand-alone novel, which is great for those interested in a certain event or time to get started and hooked. Readers might also enjoy Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales and The Time Warp Trio.

       

     

    The Baby-Sitters Club

    The Baby-Sitters Club series is a classic read for tweens that has been around for years, selling over 176 million copies! These aren’t your mom’s babysitters though; the series has new covers that make them appealing for current readers and the first four books have even been turned into Graphix novels. (Don't worry — they are still available in the full-text version too!) My friends and I have been whispering in hushed excitement over our elementary school favorites making a comeback. Stories of friendship and growing pains, each book can be read alone, but can also be read back-to-back, to follow how the story of four friends grows and changes over time.

    Author Ann M. Martin discusses the resurgence in these classic stories in her interview, and a collection of resources for this prolific author make an author study easy. Check out the video trailer to get a whole new generation of kids excited about the series. Readers will love Smile, Sisters, and Ghost from Raina Telgemeier, the brain behind the graphic adaptations of Baby-Sitters Club! These books a little too mature? Try the classic Beverly Cleary Ramona books.

       

     

     

    Goosebumps

    I can picture the dripping letters and author R.L. Stine name printed on the cover of Goosebumps books from my own childhood. These spooky tales are reminiscent of Scooby-Doo and the Nickelodeon classic Are You Afraid of the Dark? where tales of the odd and paranormal are wrapped up neatly, but you always leave with that edge of wonder. Kids get a kick out of a little scare and these books are a great stepping stone for more ghoulish tales. Resources abound for diving into the world of Goosebumps including:

    Scared yet? For readers that need a little less scare, or a slightly easier read, try the Bailey School Kids, but for those adventurous types, try Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

       

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    The series I credit for graphic novels taking off, this relatable story follows a lovable loser navigating growing pains of friendship and family. What looks simple on the cover, is really an accessible way for students to identify with a character that doesn’t always feel comfortable in his own skin. Use the booktalk (led by a girl!) and videos of author Jeff Kinney to spark student interest. A little too old? Try the Big Nate series or Captain Underpants. Ready to graduate to novels? Anything by Jerry Spinelli will speak to Wimpy Kid lovers ready to read a novel and the Notebook of Doom is a similar-style graphic series that’s easy to digest, but older feeling that Captain Underpants.

       

     

    39 Clues

    Readers wanting a mystery to solve should check out 39 Clues. This fast-paced, action-filled series is a good draw for tween boys though protagonists Amy and Dan have wide appeal for all kids. The series has exploded into five spin-off series, so fans can be kept enraptured for a long, long time. Additionally, there is Scholastic's online game, author videos, and an abundance of teaching resources. For the detective minded who have burned through all the Clues, the 13 books in Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events series follows the resourceful and cunning Baudelaire children through the loss of their parents and their attempts to find a happy home while being pursued by a money-hungry relative. The Lemony Snicket All The Wrong Questions series, starting with Who Could It Be at This Hour?, is a step up in complexity and reading level. Readers willing to go a little more magical might enjoy the Spiderwick Chronicles.

     

     

    Need even more reads for older or stronger readers? Here’s a few favorites:

    • Hatchet - A survival story with several follow-up stories in the series.
    • Shadow Children - In a world where only two children are allowed, what happens to the third?
    • The Chronicles of Narnia - Enter the wardrobe and visit another world of talking animals and evil queens.

    Check out “Using Series to Support Middle Grade Readers” and the Series Books for Summer Reading Booklist for even more ways to hook readers.

    Series abound for younger readers, but once students are ready to dive into something more meaty, kids sometimes abandon the series books. I love a series for my classroom and my sons because I know they will be hooked in for a while, which keeps them going! My students love series sets for younger readers and grew up with favorite authors and characters they followed throughout childhood.

    What happens when we bridge the gap to older readers? Sometimes stories get tricky: my best readers have the ability to read books like The Hunger Games, but those aren’t quite appropriate yet. These better reader series are perfect for students who have moved beyond picture books and early chapter books, but aren’t quite into Young Adult literature. Here are five series sets and what to read next.

    I Survived . . .   

    I Survived has an entire website dedicated to the books by Lauren Tarshis. Fun fact: these quality reads come from a long-time Scholastic writer who also writes for Storyworks magazine! The I Survived series is a perfect segue into reading full-length novels. History buffs will easily dive into the I Survived series and the nonfiction, real-life companions offers even more in-depth looks as the story behind the story. Kids who love mysteries and drama will also enjoy following tales of kids living through the most challenging times in history. Even though it is a "series," readers can reach each book as a stand-alone novel, which is great for those interested in a certain event or time to get started and hooked. Readers might also enjoy Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales and The Time Warp Trio.

       

     

    The Baby-Sitters Club

    The Baby-Sitters Club series is a classic read for tweens that has been around for years, selling over 176 million copies! These aren’t your mom’s babysitters though; the series has new covers that make them appealing for current readers and the first four books have even been turned into Graphix novels. (Don't worry — they are still available in the full-text version too!) My friends and I have been whispering in hushed excitement over our elementary school favorites making a comeback. Stories of friendship and growing pains, each book can be read alone, but can also be read back-to-back, to follow how the story of four friends grows and changes over time.

    Author Ann M. Martin discusses the resurgence in these classic stories in her interview, and a collection of resources for this prolific author make an author study easy. Check out the video trailer to get a whole new generation of kids excited about the series. Readers will love Smile, Sisters, and Ghost from Raina Telgemeier, the brain behind the graphic adaptations of Baby-Sitters Club! These books a little too mature? Try the classic Beverly Cleary Ramona books.

       

     

     

    Goosebumps

    I can picture the dripping letters and author R.L. Stine name printed on the cover of Goosebumps books from my own childhood. These spooky tales are reminiscent of Scooby-Doo and the Nickelodeon classic Are You Afraid of the Dark? where tales of the odd and paranormal are wrapped up neatly, but you always leave with that edge of wonder. Kids get a kick out of a little scare and these books are a great stepping stone for more ghoulish tales. Resources abound for diving into the world of Goosebumps including:

    Scared yet? For readers that need a little less scare, or a slightly easier read, try the Bailey School Kids, but for those adventurous types, try Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

       

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    The series I credit for graphic novels taking off, this relatable story follows a lovable loser navigating growing pains of friendship and family. What looks simple on the cover, is really an accessible way for students to identify with a character that doesn’t always feel comfortable in his own skin. Use the booktalk (led by a girl!) and videos of author Jeff Kinney to spark student interest. A little too old? Try the Big Nate series or Captain Underpants. Ready to graduate to novels? Anything by Jerry Spinelli will speak to Wimpy Kid lovers ready to read a novel and the Notebook of Doom is a similar-style graphic series that’s easy to digest, but older feeling that Captain Underpants.

       

     

    39 Clues

    Readers wanting a mystery to solve should check out 39 Clues. This fast-paced, action-filled series is a good draw for tween boys though protagonists Amy and Dan have wide appeal for all kids. The series has exploded into five spin-off series, so fans can be kept enraptured for a long, long time. Additionally, there is Scholastic's online game, author videos, and an abundance of teaching resources. For the detective minded who have burned through all the Clues, the 13 books in Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events series follows the resourceful and cunning Baudelaire children through the loss of their parents and their attempts to find a happy home while being pursued by a money-hungry relative. The Lemony Snicket All The Wrong Questions series, starting with Who Could It Be at This Hour?, is a step up in complexity and reading level. Readers willing to go a little more magical might enjoy the Spiderwick Chronicles.

     

     

    Need even more reads for older or stronger readers? Here’s a few favorites:

    • Hatchet - A survival story with several follow-up stories in the series.
    • Shadow Children - In a world where only two children are allowed, what happens to the third?
    • The Chronicles of Narnia - Enter the wardrobe and visit another world of talking animals and evil queens.

    Check out “Using Series to Support Middle Grade Readers” and the Series Books for Summer Reading Booklist for even more ways to hook readers.

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