The Observer is a student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame, Saint Mary's & Holy Cross. Learn about us.



The best kids’ book series

| Tuesday, October 1, 2019

As a kid, the best part about books was reading the series I wasn’t required to. Now that I have a platform to branch out from sports talk, I figured I’d take the liberty to highlight some of the best book series I read as a kid.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid — Jeff Kinney

Who didn’t love these books as a kid? I think part of the appeal was that for kids, the problems of the protagonist, Greg Heffley, mirrored those of other kids: friendship, bullying, peer pressure and crushes. Also, the basic stick figure-style illustrations were basic, yet comical. My mom and I still laugh about a part where Greg’s younger brother, Manny, wouldn’t eat cereal if the milk was put in before the actual cereal (in my opinion, that’s the stuff of “cereal” killers! Get it?) With Greg constantly trying to improve his social status, sometimes at the expense of his best friend, Rowley, all while documenting it in his “JOURNAL, not a diary,” the stories were amusing and heartwarming (at least for a 10-year-old.)


The Sisters Grimm — Michael Buckley

This very under-publicized series features a new take on the history of fairy tales. Sabrina and Daphne Grimm, two sisters who are the descendants of the Brothers Grimm, are orphaned after the disappearance of their parents and wind up in the care of their grandmother, Relda Grimm, in the town of Ferryport Landing, New York. They soon discover that the fairytale characters their ancestors wrote about, dubbed “Everafters,” are actually real and have been trapped within the town with their identities concealed from humans by magic.

The town’s police department features the Three Little Pigs, and Prince Charming is the self-obsessed mayor. With help from their grandmother, fairy Puck from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” Magic Mirror from “Snow White,” a magic carpet and their butler Mr. Canis, aka the Big Bad Wolf, Daphne and Sabrina attempt to unravel the disappearance of their parents at the hands of the mysterious “Scarlet Hand” organization, and try to prevent an Everafter war in the process. A great, suspenseful series of young-adult thrillers.


Captain Underpants — Dav Pilkey

This series featured elementary school best friends Harold Hutchins and George Beard, two fourth-graders who author and illustrate comic books as part of “Treehouse Comix, Inc.” Full disclosure: this series inspired me to write and draw my own comic, “The Adventures of Cow Man,” in the same style with a little “Treehouse Comics, Inc.” label on them, even though I didn’t have a treehouse.

They hypnotize their cruel principal, Mr. Krupp, into becoming the hero of one of their comic books, Captain Underpants, but it works too well. George and Harold are forced to chase him around to prevent his injury, all while he helps combat aliens, a mad scientist named Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants and evil doppelgangers from a parallel dimension. A childish, yet entertaining series of books based almost solely on bathroom humor.


Percy Jackson & the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, The Kane Chronicles, Magnus Chase & the Gods of Asgard — Rick Riordan

“Percy Jackson” features the titular character, the son of the Greek god Poseidon, who joins Camp Half-Blood, a safe haven for the children of the Greek gods. He attempts to thwart a war between the gods and the titans of Greek myth, as well as to prevent the fracture of the demigods. The “Kane Chronicles” series features siblings Carter and Sadie Kane, who bond with two Egyptian gods to prevent Apophis, the embodiment of chaos, from overrunning the world (plus an offhand reference hinting that the Greek gods may exist in the same universe.)

“The Heroes of Olympus” provides a sequel to “Percy Jackson” and involves returning heroes, along with some fresh faces, trying to prevent a war between Camp Half-Blood and Camp Jupiter, a place for Roman demigods. Lastly, “Magnus Chase” tells the story of its titular character, the son of the Norse god Frey and the cousin of Annabeth Chase from “Percy Jackson,” who must prevent Ragnarok, the end of days. Rick Riordan is simply a master kid and young adult writer, and he manages to weave together all sorts of mythological stories that dazzle and excite, making his books must-reads for any kid.

There you have it. Hopefully this list can inspire you to share these books with your younger siblings or future kids, or even give you some new reading material.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

Tags: , , ,

About Hayden Adams

Hayden is the former sports editor of The Observer. When he's not working toward his four majors (physics and film, television & theatre) and three minors (journalism, ethics & democracy), you can probably find him hopelessly trying to save his beloved Zahm House from being wiped out. He plans to attend law school at a TBD location after graduation.

Contact Hayden