Friday, August 16, 2013

Favorite chapter books and series

A couple of years ago, I blogged about my 100 Favorite Children's Books, and while there are some that I might give or take now, for the most part, that list stands.

A friend asked me recently for recommendations for chapter books and series, which inspired me to make this new list:

My Top 10 Favorite Series:
1.  Junior Classics is far and away our favorite series right now.  They do a great job of providing an abridged version of the original classic, without "dumbing it down" at all.  Lana's favorites have been Oliver Twist, Treasure Island, and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.
2.  Who Was _____?  We came upon this series of illustrated biographies for chidren at a Scholastic book fair, and are absolutely in love.  We own Who Was Abraham Lincoln?, Who Was Harriet Tubman?, Who Was Amelia Earhart?, and several more.  I would like to own them all!  They are about $5 at bookstores, so I pick one up nearly every time I go in.
3.  A to Z Mysteries was the first series that Lana picked up herself, and started asking for at the library.
4.  Magic Treehouse.  We prefer books #1-28 because the magical element is less dark than the following ones.  Here is a great Christian review of these books if you are concerned about them.
5.  American Girl books.  These are new to us, but Lana loves the realistic fiction genre, and flies through these.
6.  Flat Stanley is timeless.
7.  Animal Ark  - I don't swoon over these like the others, but Lana enjoys them quite a bit, so that earns them a place on my list.  They do have a bit of adventure, and I appreciate the fact that these books are written for advanced readers (around a 4th grade reading level), without having content that is too mature for my 7 year old.
8.  Magic School Bus Chapter Books are actually better than the original Magic Schoolbus books.  I never really liked the picture books - there were too many words on a page, and too much dialogue for young children to try to follow.  However, these chapter books hit a sweet spot and are definitely some of our favorites.
9.  Imagination Station - think Magic Treehouse, but written with a definite Christian slant.  One of the requirements of a good book, in Lana's estimation, is a lot of adventure, and this series does have action and adventure!  Again, not a literary powerhouse and they won't be a classic, but they are page-turners for my girl, and that's good news for me.
10.  Lightkeeper Girls - this series includes selections like Ten Girls Who Changed the World, Ten Girls Who Made History, Ten Girls Who Didn't Give In, and more.  There is an accompanying series for boys, also.
Bonus: Don't miss Gooney bird Greene!

My Top 5 Favorite Chapter Books for Read-a-louds 
(at this moment):
1.  The Tale of Despereaux
2.  The Indian in the Cupboard  (Note: this is the first in a series, but while we love the first one, we found the sequels to pale in comparison.)
3.  Any of the Ramona books by Beverly Clearly
4.  The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
5.  Little House on the Prairie

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