Summer is the perfect time for kids to dive into a book series. The freedom to make their own reading choices in the summer means that kids can go “all in” with a favorite character or author and be transported into literary worlds they love and feel the satisfaction of completing a series or reading all the books by a beloved author. Especially in the summer, when adults are working hard to keep our kids motivated to read every day, getting them hooked on a series or particular author can relieve some pressure on us by keeping kids self-motivated and begging us for the next book instead of us begging them to read.
Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
The Elephant and Piggie series, by Mo Willems, is funny, focuses on friendship, and has enough books to keep a child engaged for days (even weeks, if they want to read them over and over as many children do). Elephant and Piggie’s silly bantering back and forth defines two distinct characters and makes these especially entertaining to read aloud. If your child is an emerging reader, it’s great fun for you and your child to each take a character and read aloud together. Children will be having so much fun with the funny dialogue, they won’t realize they are practicing their reading. Titles in this series include Pigs Make Me Sneeze! A Big Guy Took My Ball! and Elephants Cannot Dance!
If your child enjoys Elephant and Piggy and you are looking for more books with a similar layout and approach to humor, check out the Elephant & Piggie Like Reading! series, which features books by various authors that have the same look and feel as the Elephant and Piggie series. Titles in this series include The Good for Nothing Button! by Charise Mericle Harper; We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller; and The Itchy Book! by LeUyen Pham.
Ordinary People Change the World by Brad Meltzer
Writing engaging informational books for children is challenging. These books have to be interesting and factual and must compress a lifetime’s worth of events into a book short enough to hold a child’s attention. Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series does all of that. Each book focuses on an influential person and tells the story in a way meant to inspire children to be leaders and make a positive difference. There is a wide range of individuals for young readers to choose from; their areas of influence vary widely, as do the time periods in which they lived. Readers can learn about influencers in science (I Am Albert Einstein and I Am Jane Goodall), arts and entertainment (I Am Jim Henson), politics and military (I Am George Washington), social justice (I Am Martin Luther King, Jr. and I Am Rosa Parks), and more.
The Questioneers by Andrea Beaty
The Questioneers series is about curious kids with a particular passion such as architecture, the scientific method, or inventing. In each book, characters are faced with challenges that they use STEM skills to solve. They sometimes doubt themselves, and others doubt them as well, but the message here is that tenacity pays off, as they complete projects such as inspiring classmates to do a building project together, finding the source of a community disturbance, and inventing contraptions to help family members. The bouncy, rhyming rhythm of the text keeps the storytelling light and the messages about perseverance and failure inspiring. Titles in this series include Iggy Peck, Architect; Ada Twist, Scientist; Rosie Revere, Engineer; and Sofia Valdez, Future Prez.
Darcie Caswell is the Youth Services Coordinator at CRRL. This column originally appeared in The Free Lance-Star newspaper.