By Ashly Moore Sheldon • August 14, 2020
Everybody loves a good series, right? There's nothing like finishing a book you love and knowing there's new volume waiting in the wings to continue the tale. Welcome to our Best New Series series! Each installment will highlight some of the best series that have been published during the last twenty years in a variety of genres. This week, we present a set of terrific new series for kids, grades two to five or middle-grade readers.
For fans of Judy Blume and Jeff Kinney, this category is made up of stories that reflect the experiences of real people in the real world. Kids (and adults) will appreciate the relatable experiences, as well as the opportunity to learn more about people who live in environments or circumstances different from their own.
Dork Diaries by Rachel Renée Russell
Written in the format of a personal journal, this series incorporates drawings, doodles, and comic strips to chronicle the experiences of fourteen-year-old Nikki Maxwell. Russell has said that the stories were inspired by her own middle school experiences, as well as those of her two daughters, who also contribute to the writing and illustrations of the books.
The Vanderbeekers by Karina Yan Glaser
The stories of the warm, rowdy Vanderbeeker clan offer a delightful, modern version of the big-family novels of yesteryear. In each of the books (the fourth comes out on Sept. 15) the five siblings—thirteen-year-old twins Jessie and Isa, ten-year-old Oliver, eight-year-old Hyacinth and six-year-old Laney—apply their collective charm and smarts to a formidable challenge.
Track by Jason Reynolds
The novels in this series each focus on a different member of an elite middle school track team. These characters have wildly different backgrounds and strong personalities that sometimes clash. Still they're willing to put it all on the line, working hard to prove themselves, not only to each other, but also to themselves.
Graphic novels can be a lifesaver for kids who struggle to read text-heavy tomes. By utilizing quality artwork and action-oriented dialogue, these books give readers a visual storyline as they develop their ability to focus on longer stories and pick up on interpersonal nuances.
Lumberjanes by Shannon Watters, Grace Ellis, Brooklyn A. Allen, and Noelle Stevenson
Girl power! Five best friends spend their summer at Lumberjane scout camp, where they defeat yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons. What's not to love? Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley are determined to have an awesome summer together and they're not letting anything get in their way.
Hilo by Judd Winick
Hilo doesn't know where he's from or what he's doing on earth, but he and his earthling friends are determined to find out. What if he wasn't the only thing to fall out of the sky? Meanwhile, can Hilo even survive a day at school? This is a laugh-out-loud epic of friendship and adventure.
Fantasy still rules the roost in the realm of children's literature. Kids just love magic and superpowers and alternate universes. The ability to escape from their day-to-day realities helps reduce stress and cultivate imagination. But it doesn't mean they aren't learning something. Here are some quality options for new fantasy series.
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Friends Sophie and Agatha are sent to the titular school, where children receive training to become fairytale heroes or villains. Although it seems at first that Sophie would be perfect for Good, and Agatha a shoe-in for Evil, the two end up in opposite places, and begin to discover who they really are.
The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste
This spine-tingling tale, rooted in Caribbean folklore, introduces fearless Corinne La Mer, a girl who must use her extraordinary bravery—and a bit of magic—when she ventures into the forbidden forest to save her island home from jumbies, the scary spirits that haunt the forest.
Pandava Quintet by Roshani Chokshi
Book one in this series of five (three so far) was the first for the Rick Riordan Presents imprint, which is focused on publishing #ownvoices fiction based on diverse mythologies. These stories about fanciful twelve-year-old Aru Shah draw from Hindu legends.
In the vein of Anne of Green Gables, and The Great Brain, these entertaining volumes offer kids a perspective on the past. Young readers learn that adventures through history can be every bit as exciting as the fantastical.
The Birchbark House* by Louise Erdrich
With the Little House series, young readers learned about the lives of nineteenth-century American pioneers, who were often at odds with the Native peoples who were being displaced by these settlers. With these books, the same slice of history can be seen through the eyes of a spirited seven-year-old Ojibwa girl.
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place* by Maryrose Wood
Found running wild in the forest of Ashton Place, the three Incorrigibles are no ordinary children. Luckily, Miss Penelope Lumley is no ordinary governess. These magic-infused mysteries offer a whimsical view of Victorian-era England.
Hopefully there's something here to keep your young reader occupied for a while! Let us know if we've missed any of your favorites from recent years. Next week, we'll be bringing you the best new series for Young Adult readers.
*Some of the books in series marked with an asterisk may have limited availability. Get them before they go out of stock! If they are out of stock, you can add to your wish list to be notified when we get another copy.