Summer Reading: Great Book Series for the Whole Family

From the Archives: Greatest Hits

Educators will remind you how important it is for kids to keep reading over the summer, but I'd rather remind you how enjoyable it is to share books as a family. Why not all dive into the zany world of Pippi Longstocking or walk through the wardrobe and take a family vacation in Narnia this summer. Below I've listed some of my favorite book series as well as suggestions from readers. I hope you'll add to it.

I suggest choosing a series that you'll enjoy as much as your children. Perhaps revisiting a childhood favorite or one you always meant to read but never got around to. I also suggest choosing a series that is a little above your child's reading level - in addition to their own summer reading, being read to is a huge pleasure and a marvelous way to start or end the day together as a family.

Here are some of my favorites and suggestions from readers, in no particular order. I have purposely not divided them into age groups because kids are ready for different books at different times. Please add to the list in the comments.

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
  • Animal Stories by Thornton Burgess
  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  • The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  • The Littles by John Peterson
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Suggestions from readers:

  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  • The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  • Redwall by Brian Jacques
  • The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin
  • Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan
  • The 39 Clues by various authors
  • Shadow Children by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene
  • Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
  • Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
  • Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem
  • Clarice Bean by Lauren Childs
  • The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander
  • American Girl books by various authors
  • The Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy, illustrated by Carson Ellis
  • Brambly Hedge by Jill Barklem
  • Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace
  • Fairyland series by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Orphan's Tales by Catherynne M. Valente
  • The Birchbark series by Louise Erdrich
  • How To Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell
  • The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins
  • Bunnicula series by James Howe
  • The Little Britches series by Ralph Owen Moody
  • The Grimm Legacy series by Polly Shulman
  • The Brotherband Chronicles by John A. Flanagan
  • Ranger Apprentice series by John A. Flanagan
  • The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
  • not a series but so many readers gave a shout-out to any and all Roald Dahl books that it's worth including

Re-edited from a post originally published 6.18.2010 - CM