When I was a child, I did practically nothing but read. My favorite series at the time included Ruth Fielding, Anne of Green Gables, Ramona, and The Boxcar Children. I pretty much read from noon until night most days. Because I read so many books, books are a part of who I am and many of my favorite childhood memories did not occur in real life, but in a book’s universe.
If you want to show your children an amazing time in some of the best book universes around, these are the series you should share with them.
The Chronicles of Narnia: This book will be forever etched into my childhood past. It is probably one of the best fantasy series for children of all time. It captures the spirit of adventure, magic, and the epic side of life in one simple and exciting tale. Once you step through the wardrobe, you never completely come back.
The Underland Chronicles: This book didn’t come out until I was already an adult, but I loved it anyway. Something about a secret land far under our own is a striking idea that gives excitement to everyday life. Will this be the day you fall down a laundry chute into a new world? My daughter was only 6 when she tried to read this for the first time- and although she only understood about a third of the words, she loved it.
Magic Tree House Series: This series is popular with young readers and for good reason. It is one of the best simple book series I have ever read. This series proves that you don’t have to have big words or long books to make a great story.
Doctor Dolittle: This series is so old, I’m not sure that you can even purchase all the books any more. But if you do happen to find the out-of-print books, make sure to pick them up! Dr. Dolittle is a funny, short man who can talk to animals, and they go on all kinds of exciting adventures- and even the moon.
Encyclopedia Brown: Children who love mysteries will enjoy this classic boy-detective series. I remember feeling pretty proud when I figured out my first mystery all on my own!
The Complete Anne of Green Gables: This iconic series for girls probably made me who I am today the most. I started reading this series around the age of 10 or 11, and it was my favorite series until I was about 16. When I was younger, I liked the first book and the 7th book the best because they were about children.
The Ramona Collection: Spunky Ramona is the terror of the neighborhood and the frustration of her older sister. I admired Ramona more than anything as an 8 year-old girl. Now, my daughter Monkey reminds me a lot of Ramona.
The Boxcar Children Bookshelf : This series is strange to me because it started as a simple story, but the series continued for decades (maybe they even make new ones now?). The Boxcar children go on all kinds of adventures and solve a variety of mysteries.
Harry Potter: You can’t really have a list of children’s series without including the most famous of all. Harry Potter is a great series that spans a range of ages and backgrounds. I think the classic struggle of good and evil is what makes it such an iconic book.
Artemis Fowl: I came to this series as an adult, but I think I would have loved it equally as a child. Artemis is a child-genius thrust into a reluctant hero role. This modern-fantasy crosses classic fairy tale characters with science in a surprisingly seamless blend.
The Lord of the Rings: Younger children will love the first book in the series- The Hobbit, while older children will love the classic struggle of good and evil in The Lord of the Rings. My dad read us this series when we were kids, and I loved it even as a small child.
Cirque Du Freak Series: This funny series follows a traveling freak show. It is a nice modern adaptation of the macabre genre.
A Series Of Unfortunate Events Collection: In no other book series can you solve a mystery, learn new vocabulary words, read about terrible events, and laugh all at the same time. This is one of my favorite children’s series of all time.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: I resisted this series for a while (mainly because of the pictures), but now, I recognize how fun the series is. Reading this book will make you chuckle, and identify with the woes of middle-school children.
Want more book lists and gift guides? Check out these book lists: