Book series for children to encourage reading for pleasure

Book series for children to encourage reading for pleasure

Book series for children – our recommendations

Book series for children and teens are are great way to encourage reading for pleasure and reinvigorate positive reading habits, especially as children grow older and may become more reluctant to diversify their reading choices, or perhaps begin to associate reading with comprehensions of books to use as source material for essays and exams.

Furthermore, encouraging children and teens to read book series can improve reading confidence, fluency and motivation, according to studies. Young readers often enjoy books that build on already relatable characters and settings that are already familiar to them. There’s also a sense that sequels are easier to ‘get into’ and more appealing to reluctant readers.

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Book series for children in Preschool, EYFS, KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4 – our recommended titles

Preschool book series

Pop and Peep series by Mel Matthews and Carly Blake

With flaps to lift and pop-ups bursting with life, the Pop and Peek series is a joy to read and share with small children. Babies, and Hatch – the first two books in this series, offer short bursts of text and vibrant colours to illustrate the lives of animals. ‘Hatch’ focuses on animals that lay eggs, and children will love to explore and predict what might hatch from behind the flap or pop-up. ‘Babies’ looks at lions, whales, kangaroos, penguins and orangutans and their children hiding behind the illustrations. Our favourite has to be the joey springing from the page! Highly recommended.

Pop and Peep Babies by Mel Matthews and Carly Blake

EYFS book series

Baby Goz by Steve Weatherill

A wonderful and warm-hearted lift the flap style book in which Goz the gosling breaks into the world and goes on a hunt for his mother. Along the way, young readers can lift the flap to decide whether he’s successfully found his mum or not. This fun read will encourage children to interpret the pictures and predict what will happen next. It’s ideal to read to children aged 1-4 and there’s a second in the series – Count on Goz  – that extends the theme to include counting and repetition. Highly recommended for early readers in nursery and reception.

Baby Goz by Steve Weatherill

Brown Bear Goes To series by Jane Foster

Brown Bear and his inquisitive friends visit London and The Museum in this exciting new series for children aged 5+. With vibrant, bold and fun illustrations there’s a lot to explore, talk about and predict. We particularly liked the lion with the bouffant hairstyle and especially the woolly mammoth. These books are ideal for children who are eager to read for the first time independently in reception. 

Brown Bear Goes To... series by Jane Foster

Zoom Series by What On Earth Books

Zoom Building Site Adventure follows Maxie as he sets off to build a skyscraper! He organises the machinery, clears the site, drills the foundations, builds a metal frame, connects the pipes and paints the walls. With clever cutout windows, pop-ups and punchy colours throughout, there’s plenty for children aged 1-7 years old to interact with on each page. What’s really impressive is how the building process is described accurately with child-friendly clarity. Nothing is dumbed down – which is ideal for children interested in STEM. The series includes Zoom: Building Site Adventure, Zoom: Farm Adventure, Zoom: Space Adventure and Zoom Ocean Adventure.

Zoom: Building Site Adventure

Socks by Nick Sharratt

This fabulous series features every type, colour, wearer and pattern of socks and pants – all brightly illustrated and set to memorable rhyming text. Each book is great fun to read with your child, or to read aloud in nursery or EYFS classes. These are books that will be requested again and again, and the use of repetition and language will be a great incentive for younger children to identify and sound out the words. It’s not just socks, the series also includes Pants , More Pants , Party Pants and Animal Pants .

Socks by Nick Sharratt

That’s not my Mermaid by Fiona Watt

This award-winning and bestselling series of ‘touchy feely’ books for toddlers uses a repeated and familiar format to help children build confidence, remember words and begin to predict and infer. Ideal to read more than once, there are over 60 books in the series. Whatever your child is currently interested in, or whatever the EYFS topic is, there’s bound to be a book in this series that fits perfectly.

That's not my by Mermaid by Fiona Watt

The Big Book Series by Yuval Zommer

This spectacular large-format six-book series examines mini beasts, wild animals, underwater life, birds flowering plants and enjoying nature. With highly detailed illustrations and short chunks of text, these books will inspire children to explore outside and look at the world around them. Each volume is visually compelling and useful to encourage groups of children to read non-fiction. Teachers will also find the format ideal to spark ideas for classroom displays and artwork ideas. Ideal to form a collection at home or as the centrepiece of a KS1 classroom library, this series is highly recommended for 5-7-year-olds.

The Big Book Series by Yuval Zommer

The World of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Gentle and charming, these timeless classic children’s stories will captivate children for generations. With beautiful naturalist illustrations, children will love to read about Mrs Tiggy-winkle, Mr Jeremy Fisher and Tom Kitten. This is a classic bedtime story series that will last for months. Presented as a high-quality hardback set, this edition is ideal for a birthday or Christmas gift.

The World of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Isadora Moon by Harriet Muncaster

Ideal to spark children into reading short chapter books independently and encourage reading for pleasure, the books in this series are perfectly suited for 6-8-year-olds. With a fairy mum and vampire dad, Isadora is magical and unique. In the first of the series, Isadora has a conundrum. Go to fairy school like her mum, or join a vampire school like her dad. The quirky illustrations and funny plots will appeal to children in years 1 and 2 who enjoy fantastic adventures.

Isadora Moon by Harriet Muncaster

Genie and Teeny: The Wishing Well by Steven Lenton

Grant wants to return to his family in Genie World, but can Tilly and her puppy Teeny find a way to fly high enough in the sky to get there? A madcap plot including a theme park, floating sausages and a super high roller coaster ensues. With short chapters, lots of illustrations and a magic word that includes the word ‘bum’, this book – the third in the Genie and Teeny series – is bound to be a hit with reluctant readers in lower KS2.

Genie and Teeny: The Wishing Well by Steven Lenton

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi

Comprising five books, this fantasy sequence follows the lives of the Grace children – Simon and Jared, who are twin brothers, and their older sister Mallory. After a series of strange events and cryptic puzzles, Jared uncovers a hidden book – ‘Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You’. Reading the book opens their eyes to a magical world of faeries and goblins – some friendly, and some not. This collection may well sort out bedtime stories for imaginative seven-year-olds for up to a year.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Fudge series by Judy Blume

Highlights include Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, in which Peter has to deal with everyone’s worst nightmare of a younger brother, Fudge, and stop him from getting his hands on pet turtle Dribble; and Superfudge, in which Fudge continues to be thoroughly monstrous, and tries to sell his babysitter. When that doesn’t work, he tries to give her away. The hilarious premise will keep readers absorbed throughout five books.

Funny book for ten year old children - Superfudge by Judy Bloom

Two Terrible Vikings and Grunt the Berserker by Francesca Simon

This madcap series of Viking themed adventures, starring naughty twin children Hack and Whack, is perfect for children who need high interest, read aloud first chapter books in years 2 or 3. With funny dialogue, and characters such as Dirty Ulf, Elsa Gold Hair, Twisty Pants, and Grunt Iron Skull, these books are ideal to read around a class, or for a teacher to read aloud. In this, the second of the series (read about the first book in our Vikings topic book list), Hack and Whack juggle starting a new school with trying to outwit a really smelly Berserker who’s moved in next door. Read these books, or “may your nose turn into a turnip”!

Two Terrible Vikings and Grunt the Berserker by Francesca Simon

Monster Doughnuts: Cyclops On a Mission by Gianna Pollero

In the second of this anarchically fun series, monster hunter Grace teams up with a rather hungry 360-year-old cyclops called Mr Harris, to form an unlikely duo in a race to save the world from a fearsome Bottom-Biter. This series of books is ideal for children who enjoy interesting words, vivid descriptions and lively illustrations.

Monster Doughnuts: Cyclops On a Mission by Gianna Pollero

Sam Wu by Katie Tsang & Kevin Tsang

Sam Wu is determined not to be scared by anything. He will do anything to prove his courage to his classmates, even when he really is scared sometimes. Over five books Sam vows to overcome fears of ghosts, sharks, darkness, spiders and zombies. The fun blend of hilariously funny set pieces, situations children can relate to and quirky comic strip illustrations will appeal to Y2 independent readers and also reluctant readers in KS2.

Sam Wu by Katie Tsang & Kevin Tsang

Big Sky Mountain: The Forest Wolves by Alex Milway

The second in the Big Sky Mountain series, ‘The Forest Wolves’ is for lower KS2 readers, or more advanced year 2 children moving to short chapter books. It’s a fun read with frequent illustrations. The lovely gold-finished cover will make it sparkle in library displays. This story follows Rosa and Grandma Nan as their newly built cabin becomes home to a group of animals sheltering from the weather. Can they help a young wolf cub with his fears? It’s a heart-warming story with themes of friendship and caring for the environment.

Big Sky Mountain: The Forest Wolves by Alex Milway

KS2 book series

Flyntlock Bones by Derek Keilty

In the third episode – The Ghost of Scarletbeard – a super-scary spectre has made off with the Countess’ sparkling jewellery. Will Flynn and his mates on the Black Hound be able to recover the booty from a deep and dangerous hiding place? This story is wonderfully intricate, with expressive and atmospheric illustrations. Packed with jokes and funny dialogue this series is highly entertaining and each fast-paced text will appeal to children who enjoy shorter and high-interest texts. Flyntlock Bones is also featured in our Pirates topic book list and our Year 3 reading list.

Flyntlock Bones The Ghost of Scarletbeard by Derek Keilty

Amelia Fang by Laura Ellen Anderson

In Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns, everyone’s favourite adorable vampire is tasked with babysitting three naughty caticorns. What could possibly go wrong? The feisty and practical female lead character, fun illustrations, and lively storylines make this series perfect for independent, but less confident, readers in lower key stage two.

Amelia Fang by Laura Ellen Anderson

VI Spy by Maz Evans

In Never Say Whatever Again, children in years 4-6 will find a gripping fast-paced mystery that will keep them glued until the final page. With cliff-hangers, twists, turns, unexpected events, surprises and clandestine intrigue, the young spy VI is a character 8-10-year-olds will empathise with and look up to. With laugh out loud moments, this series is ideal for group reading with reluctant and less able junior-aged readers. Be sure to read the first in the series – Licence to Chill!

VI Spy - Never Say Whatever Again - by Maz Evans

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

This lively and easy to read series of comic book style stories, with one idea per picture, may well be your seven year old’s next favourite set of books. This book will appeal to the most reluctant readers in KS2 and is ideal for reading independently or aloud. This series is also ideal for children who enjoy reading lots of books by the same author, and the Dog Man series is a good starting point for less able readers who are moving away from structured reading schemes.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey. A perfect book for reluctant readers

Uki and the Ghostburrow by Kieran Larwood

This, the sixth novel set in the Podkin universe is an immersive and compelling read. In the series climax, Uki begins a dangerous quest to find the only remaining spirit – Mortix. But his plans are derailed when he finds out Mortix is on the verge of launching a bid to take over the Five Realms. This bestselling middle-grade series will appeal to children in years 5-8 who enjoy richly imagined worlds and well-paced storytelling. Uki and the Swamp Spirit was our January 2021 fiction book of the month. View the complete Five Realms Podkin series here.

Uki and the Ghostburrow by Kieran Larwood

Dino Knights by Jeff Norton

In the second of the series, Dino Knights Invasion, the Knights must decide whether to guard Brecklan or defy orders and attempt a perilous mission. This fast-paced series is engaging and will appeal to KS2 lovers of rip-roaring adventure. With strong-willed protagonists, tense peril, lots of danger and satisfying rescues this series is perfect for guided reading in years 3 and 4. The maps, illustrations and character portraits will make the text appealing to reluctant readers, and there’s plenty of dialogue to help the story maintain momentum when used as a class reader.

Dino Kinghts Invasion by Jeff Norton

The Poisoned Pie Mystery by Nicki Thornton

Quick-witted feline sleuth Nightshade is back – this time to become a lucky charm and uncover strange goings-on with the help of the magnificently named Veena Vale and Dexter Stormface. Can they unpick the unbelievably unlucky life of Oakmoss Hornbeam? The second in a series of cracking ‘mystery’ novels for 9-11-year-olds, this fantastical and fast-paced plot will keep readers entranced.

The Poisoned Pie Mystery by Nicki Thornton

Pages & Co by Anna James

Tilly loves to spend time in her grandparents’ bookshop – Pages & Co. One day while she is reading, she discovers the magic of ‘book wandering’ as characters from her favourite books start appearing, lifelike, in the bookshop – characters Tilly can follow back into a world of fiction. Can she use this newfound power to work out what happened to her mother in the past, or will she find herself embroiled in hidden dangers straight out of the pages of her stories? Perfect for children in KS2, Tilly’s adventures span four volumes.

Pages & Co by Anna James

New Kid by Jerry Craft

In the award-winning New Kid, Jordan, who loves to draw, struggles to fit into a school where he is one of only a few children of colour. The characters are fully formed and memorable, and children will empathise and learn from the situations Jordan has to deal with. In Class Act, we meet Jordan’s friend, Drew, who finds that no matter how hard he tries, he can’t seem to compete with another child who seems to already have it all. Both books are compelling and engaging graphic novels that are ideal to discuss with Y6 classes and book clubs.

New Kid by Jerry Craft

Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

Tom Gates is someone who draws in his books at school when he’s supposed to be working, creates incredible excuses for late work, and will do anything to impress the girl he sits next to. With easy to read chunks of high-interest text and lots of cartoon-style illustrations, this is a great book to hook children on books. The ultimate in addictive series of books for reluctant readers in upper KS2, there are currently 18 books in the series.

Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

The Fowl Twins Get What They Deserve by Eoin Colfer

Highly recommended for primary school libraries, this adventure series delights with page-turning adventures, space travel, good vs evil, fairies, hi-tech drama and tight plotting. This, the third of the Fowl Twins series, ramps up to an explosive climax. Will the evil Teddy finally succeed in bringing down the Twins? Set in the same world as the highly successful Artemis Fowl series, the Fowl Twins is the perfect series to grip readers in upper key stage 2 and lower key stage 3 who like intrigue, devious characters and otherworldly fiction. View the complete Fowl Twins series.

The Fowl Twins Get What They Deserve by Eoin Colfer

A Clock of Stars: Beyond the Mountains by Francesca Gibbons

This sequel to The Shadow Moth follows Imogen and Marie as they return to Yaroslav to find everything has changed. Anneska is determined to reclaim her kingdom from reluctant new ruler Miro, and she will stop at nothing to make a dangerous prophecy come true. Will the heroic Imogen and Miro be able to stop her in time and save the kidnapped Marie This mesmerizing adventure series will appeal to children aged 8-11 who love immersive and imaginative fantasy worlds. View the complete Clock of Stars series.

A Clock of Stars: Beyond the Mountains by Francesca Gibbons

Explorers at Pirate Island by Alex Bell

Half-mermaid Ursula will need brains and cunning to save her friends from the clutches of The Collector. Can she brave the zombies and dinosaur graveyard with help from her magical pirate sidekick Zara? The latest in the breakneck-paced Explorers series doesn’t disappoint and KS2 readers are in rip-roaring seafaring thrills. A great choice for children who are interested in fantasy worlds, action and ships. Check out all of the books in the Explorers series.

Explorers at Pirate Island by Alex Bell

Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

When a young wizard who has no sorcery skills and a warrior who more than dabbles in forbidden magic meet and join forces in an unlikely quest, the setting for four volumes of magical thrills and spells is cast. This atmospheric world of fantastical characters is ideal for imaginative children and will provide a good stream of ideas for creative writing. This is an epic series that will hook many children aged 7-11 with its clever cocktail of humour, empathy, pathos and gripping storylines.

Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Mr Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons

In the time it takes for 11-year-old Luke to have a quick wee, the world changes. He returns to find his brother has been given world-conquering powers by an all-powerful alien. Life is so unfair! This multi-award-winning series will capture the imaginations of KS2 children. Addictively funny, this series is perfect for reluctant readers who need fast-paced and funny stories to keep them interested. Sequels in the series include My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord, My Evil Twin Is a Supervillain, My Cousin is a Time Traveller and My Arch-Enemy Is a Brain in a Jar.

Mr Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons

Tuesday McGillycuddy Adventures by Angelica Banks

This spellbinding adventure follows Tuesday McGillycuddy, a plucky heroine, and her trusty dog Baxterr, as they embark on a fantastic quest to find the mythical and mysterious place where stories are born. There are lots of difficulties to overcome and suitably nasty characters to defeat in this heart heartwarming and enthralling journey to find ‘The End’. This is a great set of books to encourage children in lower KS2 to keep reading, and also a good source of inspiration for developing writers.

Tuesday McGillycuddy Adventures by Angelica Banks

The Shapeshifter by Ali Sparkes

Schoolboy Dax is thrust from an ordinary world into high drama, shape-shifting and a strange and secretive new school. But once he begins to harness his new powers, he realises all is not as it seems, and there’s a dark power at work. With a winning combination of sharp wit, a page-turning plot and characters to root for, this series is spot on for children in years 5&6 who want excitement and surprises.

The Shapeshifter by Ali Sparkes

Inkworld Series by Cornelia Funke

When Meggie’s dad reads a book to her, neither of them anticipate one of the evil characters to leap from the page into their home. Meggie must not only learn to survive but also find a way to put the super nasty villain ‘Inkheart’ back within the pages where he belongs. But Inkheart has very different ideas… A must-have set of books for KS2 libraries and the ultimate bedtime series for 7-11-year-olds. If you dare.

Inkworld Series by Cornelia Funke

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

Set in a stunningly realised fantasy world, Morrigan Crow is the child that everyone blames when something goes wrong. But when a strange and mysterious individual called Jupiter arrives, her luck begins to change. She soon finds herself thrust into a competition where her supernatural skills will be put to the ultimate test. The pacy page-turning storylines will keep children aged 9-11 who enjoy witches, wizards and imaginative worlds gripped. These books will quite possibly vanish from your year 6 reading corners, as if by magic.

Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

The Treehouse Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

With a winning combination of incredible imagination and engrossing cartoon-style illustrations, these books explore Andy and Terry’s amazing treehouse, with fantastic, outrageous, unlikely and humourous features in every storey. With each new book containing 13 more floors of fun, any new book in this series will fly off the shelves in KS2. It’s unlikely there will be a time when these books won’t be on permanent loan. Highly recommended for 7-11-year-olds who swear they don’t like reading. View the whole series.

Tree House Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

(The Boy Who Got) Accidentally Famous by David Baddiel

Billy Smith doesn’t consider himself to be cool, different or special. But when a film crew visits his school, the story he reads out in his English lesson becomes an out of control social media meme. Famous overnight, his life changes in unimaginable ways. Funny, easy to read and packed with quick-fire dialogue, this story is ideal for reluctant readers in upper KS2. It’s also part of the Bracket Wood series which includes the bestselling Head Kid and Person Controller.

Accidentally Famous by David Baddiel

KS3 book series

Adventures in Time Series by Dominic Sandbrook

This series of novels by historical fiction writer Dominic Sandbrook will appeal to independent readers in years 6-8 who like to immerse themselves in the stories and pivotal figures at the heart of a topic. Presented as narrative non-fiction, this series will also be extremely useful for teachers in KS2 looking for extension material to challenge 9-11-year-olds, including character studies, empathy and topic related comprehension texts for literacy lessons, and impetus material to prompt pupils’ individual research and home learning. The series comprises Alexander the Great, The First World War, The Six Wives of Henry VIII, as well as The Second World War (pictured).

Adventures in Time Series by Dominic Sandbrook

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

The quirky and funny stories of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire and their lives after their parent’s death in a mysterious house fire. The children are claimed by their distant cousin Count Olaf who just wants their inheritance… This is a perfect series of books for children in lower KS3.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Cherub by Robert Muchamore

A group of intrepid secret agents, aged between 10 and 17 run an undercover, clandestine organization, called CHERUB, that protects society and catches the most dangerous criminals away from the public eye. It’s rollercoaster paced, white-hot, dialogue-driven action, with an addictive blend of tech, twists and tension. This epic series currently stands at 17 books, and if your school library keeps loan statistics, expect these books to take permanent residence at the top of your top ten lists.

Cherub by Robert Muchamore

Track by Jason Reynolds

Set in the competitive world of track athletics, the lives of Ghost, Sunny, Patina and Lu, four very different people, are charted as they attempt to overcome difficulties and challenges to reach the Junior Olympics. Each volume is an uplifting, emotional and inspiring story. Accessible and relatable, this is an excellent series to entice reluctant readers in KS3.

Track by Jason Reynolds

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

This mysterious and supernatural-themed series blends atmospheric and dark photography with deliciously quirky prose aimed at younger teens. When sixteen-year-old Jacob explores an abandoned orphanage in Wales, he soon realises that the strange group of children who lived there might still be alive and might still be a threat. Ideal for those who want to read something completely different.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

KS4 book series

Way of the Argosi by Sebastien de Castell

This origin story – the first of a series spin-off from the highly successful Spellslinger series – is a fast-paced, vibrant adventure full of twists, zaps of humour and high magic conundrums to perplex and fascinate teen readers. Our heroine Ferius is bent on revenge – revenge at any price against those who exiled her destroyed her home and killed her parents. But then she meets a mysterious and compelling figure – Durrel Brown – who might change her perspective on everything. But can he be trusted? Highly recommended reading for years 9-11.

Way of the Argosi by Sebastien de Castell

Shadow and Bone Leigh Bardugo

Combing royalty, sorcery and politics, the reader is introduced to Alina, a powerful heroine to be as she trains to become a soldier in a crack magical army unit. Will she be able to harness her merging powers to save herself and her country? This heady mix of action, superstition and flamboyant fantasy is one that will keep teens gripped over three volumes.

Shadow and Bone Leigh Bardugo

Legend series by Marie Lu

The must-read dystopian juggernaut begins with Legend, in which the plot from Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables is transposed to a future post-apocalyptic version of Los Angeles where two disparate characters are drawn together and entangled in a web of survival, love, and revenge. Readers will be gripped on every page of the trilogy, which is even more thrilling than binge-reading Hunger Games, Divergent and The Maze Runner. Highly recommended.

Legend by Marie Lu


If you liked this list of recommended book series for children and teens, you might also enjoy our list of magazines for children and teens, our recommended graphic novels for KS2, our list of graphic novels for 11-16-year-olds, our list of recommended authors, our books for KS1 and out KS2 booklists, our list of high-interest books for bored children and our list of top children’s and YA literature awards to follow.



About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is an experienced teacher and educational consultant who taught for 20 years in primary and secondary schools, including Woodleigh School in North Yorkshire, where he was Head of English and ran a 4000 book prep school library for pupils aged 3-13. He now reviews books for children and teens. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin