Kid Lit: 5 Series for you and your kindergartener/early elementary student to enjoy together

kidlitcollage2It’s no secret that reading is my favorite, and reading with my daughters is more of a delight than I could have ever hoped for. I talk more in detail about our reading routine in this post, but I try to take a few minutes each day, just me and my oldest, to read a chapter book together. I absolutely love this ritual, but sometimes choosing the next book to read can be challenging. Here’s where a great series can really save your sanity. Once you find a series that you both love there is no more frantic searching for a new book. When you finish one, you just pick up the next one in the series. I’ve included some of our favorites in a few different genres:

  1. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warnerkidlit1This is the story of how four orphaned brothers and sisters make a home for themselves in the middle of the woods out of an abandoned boxcar, and then find a forever home. I remember being captivated as a child by the idea of making my own house out of a train car, in fact it was one of my favorite games. The rest of the books in this series are mysteries, which is by far the best genre for learning inference (one of the hardest comprehension skills to master). It’s so much fun talking about the clues together and trying to solve the mystery, then keep reading to find out if you’re right!

2. The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hopekidlit2Two sets of twins, twelve year old Nan and Bert and six year old Freddie and Flossie, count solving mysteries among their many extracurriculars. These stories were written in the sixties and give a glimpse into what it was like to be a child in a time when most kids walked home from school for lunch and could roam all over town alone as long as they were back home in time for dinner. They offer a simplistic view of childhood without any of the modern ills we contend with today. These stories are good for kids who like a bit of mystery and a hint of danger (of the most innocent variety).

3. The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osbournekidlit3You may already be familiar with these books (I think there are over 100) but I mention them because they are great stories to introduce historical fiction and geography through the simple plot device of time travel. Brother and sister Jack and Annie find a tree house in the woods near their house that will magically transport them through books into the past (or in some cases the future). These short books are easy reading and are great for kids who like a lot of action and adventure, with travel and exploration thrown in for good measure.

4. The Lighthouse Family by Cynthia Rylant kidlit4I found these charming, simple stories when I was looking for nature book recommendations. The first book, The Storm, tells the tale of how a lighthouse keeper cat, a sailor dog, and three orphaned mice became a family. Each story after tells of their adventures near the sea and their friendships with various other animals. These short, gentle stories are great for kids who love nature and are fairly new to chapter books. They have beautiful illustrations and are perfect for the transition from picture books to longer stories.

5. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonaldkidlit5I couldn’t get enough Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle stories as a child, and I read these books over and over again. Each chapter tells the tale of a child who is struggling with a bad habit or misbehavior, and Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s unconventional (sometimes magical) ways to cure them. One of my favorites was the radish cure, which tells what might happen if you refuse to ever take a bath. These books are great for kids who like funny stories, and they make pretty good conversation starters if you are dealing with your own picky eater or never-want-to-go-to-bedder.

There you have it, five series that will give you dozens of books to keep your read aloud habit going. Do you have any series recommendations for me? I’m especially looking for good school stories as we are creeping ever nearer toward the plunge into kindergarten!

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