Series

A wonderful children’s book is a great thing, but when an unforgettable children’s book series comes along, it’s another thing altogether. Kids can get completely immersed in these series, and watch their favorite characters in a wide range of different hilarious situations. Let’s take a look at the most popular books series of all time.

39 clues 39 Clues: This is possibly the most unique of all book series because there’s so much more here than just books. Many series will eventually lead to a movie or television show, and some even incorporate video games but this series has it all! From the original books, to online gaming that’s incorporated with the books, and even card collecting. The main portion of the series includes 11 books that revolve around the adventures of brother and sister duo Amy and Dan, who are looking for a total of 39 clues. Young fans can get involved online and can collect cards to help solve the mysteries.
a series of unfortunate events A Series of Unfortunate Events: Lemony Snicket is the author of these books, and he’s also the narrator. The stories follow the siblings Violet, Klaus and Sunny, who are dealing with their life after the mysterious death of their parents. They’re sent to live with their cousin, who has his own ideas of what he’d like to see done with their inheritance. In total there are 13 books in the series, and they’ve led to a film, a video game, and a wide range of merchandise. More than 60 million copies of these books have been sold, and they’ve been translated into more than 40 languages.
alex rider Alex Rider: Young spies in training love this series, which is written by British author Anthony Horowitz. They follow a spy named Alex Rider, who’s 14 years old when the books begin. In total there have been 9 published novels, 3 graphic novels, 3 short stories, and 1 supplementary book. A movie adaption of the first book, Stormbreaker, was completed and released in 2006. In the books, Alex is not just a wanna be spy – he’s actually recruited by the British secret service to go undercover and help solve a series of whodunit mysteries. These are books full of high adventure and twists and turns.
amelia bedelia Amelia Bedelia: These delightful tales focus around Amelia Bedelia, who is famous for wearing glorious hats with large feathers, and for taking everything literally. The stories do a lot of playing on words, as she is constantly misunderstanding figures of speech, or assuming the literal definition of something. Written originally by Peggy Parish and taken over by her nephew Herman Parish upon her death, these tales are illustrated by the legendary Wallace Tripp. In the last few years, a new series of have been released, which focus on Amelia Bedelia’s childhood years and upbringing, beginning with Amelia Bedlia’s First Day of School.
american girl American Girl: Many children’s book series very interactive, and the American Girl series is a great example. Instead of buying the books on their own, you actually purchase an 18 inch doll. There are a wide range of dolls available, with different ethnicities and who live in various times during American history. Each book comes with a book, and these books tell the reader a little bit about their lives. Each doll is either 8 or 9 years old, and while the books initially were all about American history, in recent years the line has expanded to include stories from contemporary life.
angelina ballerina Angelina Ballerina: Angelina is actually a tiny fictional mouse, who is the creation of author Katharine Holabird and illustrator Helen Craig. The series started in 1983, and in the following years more than twenty books have been published. The stories follow the life of Angelina, who is the littlest ballerina. A British television channel created 39 episodes based on the books, which were subsequently aired on PBS in the United States. There’s also been a computer animated show, and a live musical show. Overall, these are a stories that captures the imagination of little girls and young ballerinas everywhere.
artemis fowl Artemis Fowl: Irish author Eoin Colfer created this fantastical series, which stars teenage criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl the Second. The author has famously compared his series to the movie Die Hard plus fairies. In total, there are 7 novels in the series, with the first being published in 2001. The 7th was published in 2010, and the 8th and final book is slated to be available sometime in 2012. There is some argument about whether these are science fiction or fantasy, but either way, kids are crazy about them. Two graphic novels have already been released based on the series, and a third will be released soon. Additionally, there are rumors that a movie is being written.
arthur Arthur: More than just a series of children’s books, Arthur is an aardvark that’s taken the world by storm. With a TV show that’s aired on PBS for more than 15 years and shows no sign of quitting, there’s something about this little guy that really engages with children. Maybe it’s the fact that the storyline of the show and the books follow along with things that kids can relate to, like bullying, or having trouble in school. Or maybe it’s because of the witty writing. Whatever the reason, the books, the TV series, the video games, and the many other tie-ins are all immensely popular with younger and older generations.
big nate Big Nate: Lincoln Peirce is the writer and illustrator of the comic strip Big Nate, of which several compilations have been released in book form. Big Nate is in fact Nate Wright, who is as rebellious as he is energetic. The stories follow along his life as a 6th grader and include many amusing anecdotes about his friends and teachers. Nate has more of an interest in hanging out with his friends than he does in learning, which often leads straight to detention. Five books have been released so far, with a sixth book slated to be release in May of 2012.
captain underpants Captain Underpants: Written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, the Captain Underpants children’s books follows 2 kids in forth grade named George Beard and Harold Hutchins. One day, they accidentally hypnotize their principal, Mr. Krupp, and the result is the creation of a fantastic superhero named Captain Underpants. The series is extremely popular and won the Disney Adventures Kids’ Choice Award in 2007. So far there have been 7 novels released, with new ones slated for August 28, 2012 and January 31, 2013. There are also activity books, collections, special editions, and a spin-off series of books called Super Diaper Baby Novels.
club penguin Club Penguin: Club Penguin is an online game that allows kid to chat with others from around the world. It is an extremely interactive game and every effort has been made to ensure that it’s a safe space for kids. Due to its immense popularity, a series of books was released in its honor. There are several types of books available, including guidebooks that help kids understand how the game works, how to earn extra things like virtual clothes and pets, and how to stay safe online. There are also books in a “choose-your-own-adventure” style, which allow kids to call the shots.
curious george Curious George: Most adults are familiar with the Curious George picture books, which follow George the curious monkey as he goes from Africa to live with The Man with The Yellow Hat in the big city, but what many people don’t realize is that these books were originally written in French. Indeed, they were written by husband and wife team Hans Augusto Rey and Margret Rey who resided in Paris. The first book to be released was Cecily G. and the Nine Monkeys, and George was actually named Fifi. There are 7 books in the original series, but the story lines have been adapted for video games, television shows and spin-off books.
diary of a wimpy kid Diary of a Wimpy Kid: One of the most hugely popular series of books from the last 5 years, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is just what it sounds like. It’s written in diary format and follows the life of a middle-school boy named Greg Heffley. The genre is considered ‘realistic fiction’ because the situations he gets into are very lifelike and mimic the same issues that real middle school kids deal with. In addition to the written diary, each page includes hilarious illustrations of his day. The first book was on the New York Times bestseller list and spawned a movie of the same name.
eloise Eloise: This first Eloise book was written in 1955 and was intended to be a stand alone book. After the success of the book, which followed the life of a 6 year old girl who lived in the Plaza Hotel in New York City, the author decided to write several sequels. In total, Kay Thompson wrote 4 additional books in the series, though the last one wasn’t published for almost 50 years after she wrote it, and only then after she had passed away. It is widely suspected that the inspiration for the character of Eloise came from the author’s goddaughter, Liza Minnelli.
fancy nancy Fancy Nancy: Fancy Nancy are a series of picture books authored by Jane O’Connor with illustrations by Robin Preiss Glasser. In total, upwards of 35 books have been written and released in this series. Over 16 million copies have been sold, and the first and most popular of the books spent more than two years on the New York Times Best Seller list. These books have won dozens of awards, been translated into more than 15 languages, and have spent years collectively on best-selling lists. They follow the story of Nancy herself, who learns about the different lives of those around her.
geronimo stilton Geronimo Stilton: This is the most popular and best-selling series in the entire country of Italy. In total, these books have been translated into more than 30 languages so kids of all backgrounds can enjoy them. The first book, which was published by Edizioni Piemme, was released in 2000, though the first English version wasn’t published for another 4 years. The books are about a talking mouse named Geronimo Stilton who lives on Mouse Island in the city of New Mouse City. He has plenty of family, lots of friends, and tons of adventures to get in to with them all!
goosebumps Goosebumps: Written by R.L. Stine, the Goosebumps book series includes a total 62 books published between ’92 and ’97. The books typically contained a mixture of horror, humor, and sometimes supernatural elements. Typically the plot structure would be quite similar, though each book tells the tale of a different character and had its own unique plot twists. The first book was called Welcome to the Dead House and as of today the series has sold upwards of 400 million copies. It’s also spawned a TV show and many merchandise products. Overall, it is one of the most popular and successful book series of all time.
hank the cowdog Hank the Cowdog: These hilarious children’s mystery books were written by John Erickson with illustrations by Gerald L. Holmes. The series was first published in ’82 and started out as a few simple short stories. In total more than 55 books have been published since then, each featuring bumbling Hank and his sidekick Drover. There are a host of other characters as well, including the villain Pete the Barncat. The stories take place in the north Texas Panhandle at the fictional M-Cross ranch. Each book has also been recorded in audio book format, with original songs sung by each character.
hardy boys Hardy Boys: The Hardy boys are brothers Joe and Frank Hardy who are fictional teenagers – and detectives in their spare time. Edward Stratemeyer created these dynamic characters, but as the years go on they are written by a wide range of ghost authors and they are always published under the name Franklin W. Dixon. The first appearance of the boys was back in 1927, and throughout the years they have gotten a variety of revamps to make them more culturally sensitive and to fit in with the times. Even to this day, the books sell more than a million copies every year.
ivy and bean Ivy and Bean: This series focuses on a pair of friends who couldn’t be more different from one another. Ivy is a quiet, intellectual child who loves nothing more than spending a day reading her favorite book. Bean is a rambunctious child who’s always getting into good-natured trouble. Initially they don’t quite hit it off, but quickly they become the best of friends. They’re both seven years old and live in the same cul-de-sac in a suburban neighborhood. As of now there are a total of eight books, the most recent one titled Ivy and Bean: No News is Good News.
judy blume Judy Blume: Judy Blume has written dozens of books, but her most famous children’s book series is the books that center around Fudge, a precocious 4 year old who is quite a bit smarter than his family gives him credit for. In fact, being the youngest in the family, he’s picked up an extraordinary vocabulary and is constantly astounding those around him. Through the series of books, we watch as Fudge gets older, learns about life, and deals with the trials and tribulations of family. While these books do sometimes deal with serious topics, overall they are light hearted and cheerful.
judy moody Judy Moody: The original Judy Moody books followed a girl of the same name. She was in 3rd grade and had a very amusing take on day to day life. There were a total of 13 books in the series, which was first published in 2000. The last book, Judy Moody: Girl Detective, was published in 2010. In addition to the originals, there was also a spin-off series that followed the adventures of her younger brother, who goes by the name of Stink. There were 6 books total in that series. In 2011 a feature film was released called “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer.”
klutz Klutz: Klutz Press has released a wide range of books for kids, starting back as early as 1977. In 2002 they were acquired by children’s publishing house Scholastic Inc. The very first Klutz book was called Juggling for the Complete Klutz and included beanbags. From then on, the publishing company specialized in books that help kids learn a skill. All the books are activity based and many of them come with props needed to learn the skill. You’ll also find that many of the books are spiral bound, which makes it easy to flip through and stay on one page as you learn the skills.
little critter Little Critter: Part of the fun of these picture books is deciding just want kind of critter the Little Critter is! The character was originally created, written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer, and some say it resembles a hedgehog, some say guinea pig, and other say hamster. Whatever type of critter it is, it has been given human like emotions and characteristics. Since the first book was published in 1975, the title character has been in more than 200 books. In fact, Mr. Mayer continues to release books, CD-Roms, various toys, and other merchandise that features this loveable little critter.
little golden Little Golden: The first 12 titles in the Little Golden series were published together on October 1, 1942. These books include Mother Goose, Three Little Kittens, and The Golden Book of Fairy Tales. The most popular of the series was The Poky Little Puppy, which on its own sold more than 15 million copies between 1942 and 2001. It follows the story of a little puppy who is slow at everything he does. It’s a snowy day, and he wants to enjoy the outdoors with his friends, but he just can’t seem to catch up with them. The Little Golden series has feature the work of dozens of authors and illustrators over the years.
little miss Little Miss: There were 42 Little Miss books in all, though only only 33 were published in English. Each story follows ladies who have personalities that go along with their names. For example, Little Miss Bossy is always telling everyone what to do, while Little Miss Tidy is always cleaning up. These books were a spin-off of the popular Mr. Men series, and were first published in 1981 – 10 years after the Mr. Men books were first published. The books were originally conceived and written by Roger Hargreaves, but after his death in 1988, his son Adam Hargreaves took over.
madeline Madeline: It’s hard to say what’s most adorable about this children’s book series. Originally written by the Austrian author Ludwig Bemelmans, these stories follow the life of Madeline, a little girl who lives in a Catholic boarding school, though many people misconstrue the setting and believe she lives in an orphanage. There were 6 stories in the original series, but they’ve been adapted to made for TV movies, a TV series, and a life action motion picture. Each adaption has the famous closing line, “That’s all there is; there isn’t any more.” New stories continue to come out, now written by the author’s grandson, John Bemelmans-Marciano.
magic school bus Magic School Bus: This series focuses on science, and finds wonderful, innovative and interactive ways to teach kids about basic scientific facts. The series is written by Joanna Cole and features the adventures of Ms. Valerie Frizzle. She teaches elementary school and her class hops on a magic school bus that takes them on fantastical field trips to places like the solar system, into the clouds, into the past, and inside the human body. Each story is written in the first person from the perspective of a student who is in Ms. Frizzle’s class. The class pet, a lizard named Liz, also tags along on the field trips with the class.
mr men Mr Men: In total there are 49 books in this series, which was originally written by Roger Hargreaves and then taken over by his son Adam Hargreaves upon the death of the original author. The stories began being released in 1971, and each one of them followed a character who was very aptly named. For example, Mr. Tall was the tallest man of all, while Mr. Busy always had a million things to do. In some of the stories, the men learn an important lesson, while others are all about good fun. There is a spin-off series that focuses on female characters called Little Miss.
nancy drew Nancy Drew: There are actually many different Nancy Drew series that have been released over the years, with a different series for various age groups. She was originally created by Edward Stratemeyer but the books have been ghostwritten by a large number of authors, though the books are always attributed to the made-up name of Carolyn Keene. The books first appeared in 1930, though over the years the character has changed quite dramatically. Despite any changes made, she continues to be immensely popular. The premise is that of Nancy Drew, a young detective who goes about solving all manners of mysteries, both real and paranormal.
nate the great Nate the Great: The majority of these children’s books were written by Marjorie Sharmat and illustrated by Marc Simont, though occasionally Marjorie’s husband Mitchell or her son Craig would co-write the books. Recently, some of the books also feature illustrations by Martha Weston or Jody Wheeler. A few of the books have been made into TV shows, and Nate the Grate Goes Undercover won the L.A. International Children’s Film Festival Award. The series originally started in 1972 and more than 20 books have been published. It has been described as a Sherlock Holmes with a child detective and canine sidekick.
olivia Olivia: Olivia is the star of a series of books written for older kids. Her parents are separated and she’s learning to accept their new lives. Her father lives with his girlfriend, and her mother is upset about that – but that doesn’t mean she wants her father to come home. Olivia has problems at school too, thanks to a headmaster who doesn’t seem to understand where she’s coming from. These novels deal with universal themes that all middle school and high school girls deal with, as well as specific themes like divorce and being under way too much pressure to succeed.
percy jackson Percy Jackson: Rick Riordan wrote this fantastic series of books, which all deal with Camp Half-Blood. The star of them is Percy Jackson, and he’s also the narrator of the first few in the series. When the books begin, Percy is 12 years old and has been diagnosed with both ADHD and dyslexia. He gets attacked at school, and ends up at a secret camp that’s being used to train the heroes of the world. This series deals with a lot of mythology, in fact Percy’s father is Poseidon himself. With lessons on oracles, prophecies and quests, the question is always – will Percy make it through?
rainbow magic Rainbow Magic: While these books are written by a number of different talented authors, credit is always given to a fictional person by the name of Daisy Meadows, and a fictional illustrator by the name of Georgie Ripper. Each story follows the lives of friends Kirsty Tate and pal Rachel Walker. They have the most magical of times, and even have a slew of fairy friends. These books were initially published in England, and were the most borrowed children’s books at libraries in the year 2010. The first and most popular book in the series is called The Rainbow Fairies.
redwall Redwall: Author Brian Jacques brings us Redwall, which is a series of fantasy novels. The first of the novels is called Abbey and was published in 1986. It went on to become a cartoon series that was quite popular and that first aired in 1999. In total 22 novels have been published, with 2 picture books supplementing them. The last novel, The Rogue Crew, was released on May 3, 2011. It has been announced that this will be the final novel. While it’s often the case that older children enjoy these books, they are really appropriate for kids of all ages.
scooby doo Scooby Doo: Scooby Doo may be most famous as a cartoon, but in 1969 they also became a comic book. Indeed, there have actually been several different companies who put out Scooby Doo comic books, and DC Comics continues publishing them to this day. Like the television show, each of the comics revolves around a mystery that is (usually) solved by Scooby and his friends. Some stories are more humorous, while some are downright scary. In all of them you can bet on one thing: Scooby will be there to first mess up the investigation, but in the end his mess-up will turn out to be quite valuable.
skippyjon jones Skippyjon Jones: Skippyjon Jones is a Siamese kitten who has quite large ears for his breed. In fact, many say that they make him look just like a Chihuahua puppy. His friends include a group of imaginary Chihuahua friends, who he calls Los Chimichangos. They keep him company and help him out of scraps quite frequently. He lives in the home of Mrs. Tinkley, the owner, and his family: mother Junebug and sisters Jezebel, Jillyboo and Ju Ju Bee. The first book in the series won more than half a dozen awards, including the first ever E.B. White Read Aloud Award, which is given by The Association of Booksellers for Children.
warriors Warriors: The authors of this series are Katy Cary, Cherith Baldry, and Tui Sutherland, though each book is published under the name “Erin Hunter.” The plot was actually developed by an editor at HarperCollins, Victoria Holmes, and it follows the story of 4 clans of wild cats who all live in their own forest homes. The clans are: ThunderClan, WindClan, ShadowClan, and RiverClan. The first of the books was published in 2003 and there have been dozens of books published since. The authors have stated that much of their inspiration came from authors like J.R.R. Tolkien, J.K. Rowling, and William Shakespeare.
where’s waldo Where’s Waldo: The Where’s Waldo? picture books have been very popular, and not just in the United States. In fact, they were originally published by British illustrator Martin Handford in the U.K. The name they were published under was Where’s Wally?, though that name has been changed in many of the countries it was later published in. The book contains no text, and is simply a series of illustrations picturing people and places. In each one, Waldo (or Wally) is hiding, but always wearing the same distinct red and white striped shirt. The goal is for the reader to find his hiding spot in each picture.

Children’s books come in all styles and variations, but it’s always nice to find a book that is a part of a series. While a single great book can spark a child’s imagination, a series of great books becomes a wonderful experience that can bring many hours of wonder and enjoyment.

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