Super Book Series and Sensational Sequels

Part of my Harry Potter book collection. Original box set purchased in England. Advanced reader’s copy of Prisoner of Azkaban (no cover art).

I have not done any official research on this or anything, but I am pretty sure Harry Potter kicked off a demand for books with sequels. I know it inspired a whole slew of fantasy-wizard-magic books. In my never ending quest to find the best young person’s book, I feel like the majority of my new reads often have “Book I” printed on the spine.  I also noticed my students tend to reach for books with a sequel more than ever. I actually had a student who read nothing but Hank the Cowdog books all year (there are 59 of them). I tried to encourage a little diversity in his reading, but he was determined to finish the series. I have to admit I was a little impressed that he stuck with it; a series like that can get pretty repetitive. My point is, books with a sequel seem to be more popular than ever.

Which series are the most satisfying to you? Which series didn’t work and should have ended after that great first book? Below are my picks.

Young Readers (1st grade to 4th grade)

  • Magic Treehouse by Osborne (on the verge of the repetitive thing but that can be a good thing for emerging readers)
  • Boxcar Children by Warner (up through book 19, author changes after that and falls victim to repetitiveness– see note above)
  • Henry Huggins by Cleary
  • Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing and Fudge by Blume
  • Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist by LaFevers
  • The Sherlock Files by Barrett

Older Readers (4th grade and up)

  • Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis
  • Ranger’s Apprentice by Flanagan
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Riordan
  • The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Kessler (have not read the newly released 4th book yet)
  • Mistmantle Chronicles by McAllister
  • Peter and the Starcatchers by Barry
  • Conspiracy 365 by Lord (must be read in order)
  • The White Mountains (Tripods) trilogy by Christopher
  • Wrinkle in Time by L’Engle
  • 43 Old Cemetery Road by Klise
  • The Magic Thief by Prineas
  • The Magickeepers by Kirov

Not exactly a series, but there are companions

  • Rosie and Crooked Little Heart by Lamott
  • Lemonade Wars and Lemonade Crime by Davies
  • The Giver, Gathering Blue, and Messenger by Lowry
  • Hoot, Flush, Scat, and Chomp by Hiaasen

Sequels are in the works, and I am anxiously awaiting more

  • Museum of Thieves by Tanner
  • The False Prince by Nielsen
  • The Books of Elsewhere by West

Series that should have stopped after the first or second book (in my opinion)

  • Mysterious Benedict Society by Stewart
  • Secret Series by Bosch
  • Series of Unfortunate Events by Snicket (Can these kids ever catch a break?)
  • Junie B. Jones by Park (Kindergarten was great; first grade was obnoxious.)
  • The Gideon Trilogy by Buckley-Archer (long and slow)

5 thoughts on “Super Book Series and Sensational Sequels

  1. We LOVE the Clementine books and Ivy and Bean for the younger middle grades. The Meg Macintosh mystery series is also a good one for kids who enjoy picking out clues and solving mysteries (like Encyclopedia Brown, but one full mystery instead of a series of stories). I’ve only read the first in The Doll People series, but want to read more. It’s illustrated by the guy who wrote Hugo. Beautiful!

    • Great suggestions! I have The Doll People on my night stand as one of my summer reads. My son loves Encyclopedia Brown, so it is good to know about Meg Macintosh too. We also have enjoyed Jigsaw Jones for younger readers.

  2. My then 2nd grade daughter loved Lemonade Wars and Lemonade Crime. I see many books that she has read I will be checking your list for sure for some new titles. Its so hard to find books for her to read that do not have mature subject matter. Her teachers say she is reading at a high 6th grade level. It’s a wonderful problem to have but is hard to find things she finds worth reading.

    • I always have 4th graders who can read at really high levels, but content-wise, need “lower” books. My favorite books to recommend to girls right now are The Magic Half by Barrows and Cornelia and the Audacious Escapades of the Somerset Sisters by L. Blume. If she hasn’t read those, definitely look for them on your next trip to the library. Thanks for your comment.

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