Getting into a good chapter book series is the BEST, right? Because once you finish one, there’s another, and then another, and you’re guaranteed lots of good reading material to last for awhile. Your kids know the popular series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter, but do you know these lesser known series? I hope you’ll check them out. Read them and spread the word because these really should be more popular!
Chapter Book Series That Should Be More Popular
The Year of the . . . 4 book series (so far) by Andrea Chang – REALISTIC
(ages 6 – 9)
Growing up is challenging and in the first novel, The Year of the Book, Anna turns to books for company while she learns how to make friendships in real life. The subsequent books in the series are just as realistic and well-written. I highly recommend them.
I Survived 11 book series (so far) by Lauren Tarshis – HISTORICAL FICTION / ADVENTURE
(ages 8 – 12)
Wow – these are one of my favorite discoveries this year! They’re excellent, fast-paced adventures set during significant historical events. Your kids will zip through these fascinating adventures. The books always are about a young boy trying to survive the historically important, life-changing event. Great for reluctant readers who like a lot of action.
Smile, Drama, Sisters 3 book series by Raina Telgemeier – REALISTIC
(ages 8 – 12)
Raina shares her growing up stories with humor and amazing art (these are graphic novels) in these three popular books. My 10-year-old daughter read Sisters four times the first week she owned it – they’re excellent books and quite addictive.
Stranded 3 book series by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts – ADVENTURE
(ages 8 – 12)
Honestly, I was totally surprised that I liked this book. It’s a great adventure with real-to-life conflict between new step-siblings who are on a sailboat trip with their uncle. A storm sinks their ship and they barely make it to a deserted island. They’ll have to work together to survive. And hope their parents can find them. Good reading for anyone who loves action and adventure.
Liberty Porter, First Daughter 3 book series by Julia DeVillers – REALISTIC
(ages 8 – 12)
This is a light-hearted middle grade series about a girl whose dad becomes the President. We follow along as she adjusts to living in the White House, having a bodyguard, and experiences being the First Daughter.
Everyday Angel 3 book series (so far) by Victoria Schwab – REALISTIC
(ages 8 -12)
My 10-year-old loves these stories about an angel named Aria who is earning her wings by helping girls who are struggling in some way. In the first book, she helps Gabby. Gabby’s brother is hospitalized indefinitely and her mom is totally focused on her brother. It’s up to Aria to help Gabby at her new school and discover who she is. These are sweet, uplifting stories.
Unwanteds 6 book series – by Lissa McMann – FANTASY / DYSTOPIAN
Vampirates – 6 book series – by Justin Somper – FANTASY
(ages 9 – 12)
Their father sang Grace and Connor a sea shanty about vampirates but to find out that they were real? When shipwrecked, the siblings were each rescued — one by pirates and one by vampirates. Each becomes attached to their new ship and crew which will eventually pit the twins against each other in a bloody war of the high seas. I love how this book combines two kid favorites — pirates and vampires — and doesn’t make it too scary. It’s well-written, fast-paced, and highly entertaining.
Mother Daughter Book Club 8 book series by Heather Vogel Frederick – REALISTIC
(ages 9 – 12)
This series kept my daughter reading all summer last year. The story begins when a group of 6th graders join a mother-daughter book club. Each book in the series focuses on one book the girls read (such as Little Women, Daddy Long Legs, and Pride and Prejudice) and the relationships of the girls among themselves, the relationships with their mothers, and the business of growing up.
Skulduggery Plesant 8 book series by Derek Landy – FANTASY
(ages 8 – 12)
Wereworld 6 book series by Curtis Jobling – FANTASY
Drew is raised on a farm and knows little of his surroundings. He’s ill prepared to live on the run, which he does when his were powers arise. Fortunately, he meets a other WereLords including a WereBear Lord who fought with Drew’s father and is willing to help him. Kidnappings, revenge, murder, and a prophecy — this book has all the elements you’ll want in a fantasy adventure series. I loved the story, the writing, and the characters.
Also Known As 2 book series (so far) by Robin Benway – MYSTERY
Imagine your parents are spies, and you are, too — this is the life of Maggie Silver, a teenager and expert safecracker. Maggie gets to attend regular school in New York City in order to befriend the son of a writer who is about to expose their spy network. She’s conflicted about lying to this boy and her new friend because they are her first real friends — and when she faces failure to complete the mission, she decides to tell them the truth. She is a spy. I loved this series and the characters and highly recommend it. (Parents, it’s a mild YA romance, but her friend gets drunk and shares a brief story about having sex.)
The Indigo Notebook, The Ruby Notebook, The Jade Notebook – 3 book series by Laura Resau – REALISTIC
I adore this wonderful, imaginative series filled with romance and self-discovery! Zeeta and her free-spirited mother, Layla, move countries with frequency. The first book takes place in Ecuador where Zeeta meets another American named Wendell who she helps find his birth parents but his birth dad’s activities are suspicious and possibly dangerous. The two fall in love and their relationship continues developing throughout the series. The second book in the series happens in France with Zeeta learning more about her own mysterious father. The third book takes place in Mexico where Wendell is photographing rare sea turtles. Fantastic reads!
The Living 2 book series (so far) by Matt de la Pena – ADVENTURE
Shy is a teenager from the ‘hood working on a cruise line when a huge earthquake causes a tsunami that sinks the ship. As you can imagine, it’s a harrowing fight for survival on the open ocean with only a spoiled rich girl. The shipwreck survivors eventually make it to an island where there’s a strange illness, men with guns, and more danger than the open ocean.
All of these books are now on my book lists by age plus many more.
Books for 8-year olds
Books for 9-year olds
Books for 10-year olds
Books for 11-year olds
Books for 12-year olds
Download my "Can't Put 'Em Down" book lists for your kids ages 3 - 13.
Also, I'll send you a bonus "23 Reasons to Read" printable poster!