By Ashly Moore Sheldon • December 01, 2021
Dav Pilkey is a prolific author who has been amusing and inspiring readers for decades now. His hilarious new series, Cat Kid Comic Club, is all about creativity. Twenty-one rambunctious, talented tadpoles join a comic-making club. Readers will be inspired to unleash their own creativity as they see the progress and artistic bravery that comes with practice and persistence. With book two just released on November 30, we decided to give it a shout out, along with other addictive series for middle grade readers.
Introduced over twenty years ago, Captain Underpants is centered on two fourth grade boys, George and Harold, who accidentally unleash the titular character from one of their homemade comic books. The wedgie-powered superhero takes on the school's villainous principal, Mr. Krupp. The series consists of twelve books, two activity books, and several spin-offs. It has also been adapted into a movie.
One of the spin-off series is Dog Man, a graphic novel series featuring another character born out of the comics created by George and Harold. In this case, our hero is a part-dog, part-man canine cop. There are ten books in this side-splitting series.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney depicts the daily struggles of Greg Heffley, a boy on the brink of adolescence and his fruitless efforts to become popular in school. The series, consisting of sixteen volumes and an activity book has inspired several movies like Dog Days about the fourth book in the series.
Aimed at a younger audience, Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series depicts the adventures of a sassy six-year-old. Adult readers may be affronted by Junie's poor grammar, but the comical errors serve to amuse and educate young readers who are working on mastering these rules. And with a whopping 28 volumes, plus an activity book, this series offers a wealth of material for burgeoning readers.
From NYT bestselling cartoonist Stephan Pastis comes Timmy Failure, a hilarious comedy series about an endearingly goofy eleven-year-old hero running his own personal detective agency with the help of his business partner, a very large polar bear named Total.
If your budding young reader is a fantasy fan, we have several great options beyond Harry Potter. Although, if you haven't experienced the magical seven-volume series yet, it's still one of our top recommendations (for both kids and adults). It's so good! And, of course there are movies, coloring books, and more surrounding the original series, including this intricate, interactive Pop-Up Guide to Hogwarts.
Another robust, tried and true option for fantasy fans is Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan. The plot centers on a boy who discovers he is the demigod son of Poseidon. These stories offer a great way for kids to learn about Greek mythology as they explore the adventures of modern-day characters. Spinoff series include Camp Half Blood Chronicles and The Kane Chronicles, a graphic novel series based on the original books.
The five-volume Pandava series by Roshani Chokshi 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. Spinoff series, including The Star-Touched Queen and Gilded Wolves are more geared towards YA readers.
You may know him as the actor-singer who played Kurt in the hit TV show Glee, but Chris Colfer is also an accomplished author with his six-volume The Land of Stories series, following twins Alex and Conner as they fall from the real world into one of fairy tales. A Tale of Magic is his spin-off prequel series.
It's a beautiful thing to see kids absorbed in the magic of books! These series promise many hours of delighted reading for burgeoning booklovers, not to mention all the supplemental fun of activities and book-to-screen read-then-watch family projects. Find your child's new literary obsession.