Our Favourite Children’s and YA Book Series
By Joanne Boustead, Laura Jones and Aimee Haldron
This week we are taking a look at some of our favourite children’s book series. From magic and mischief to romance and urban fantasy, there is bound to be a series that piques your interest. Warning: they may even find a special place in your heart.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
First published in 2005, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians was an instant favourite for children and adults alike. The series follows the titular character Percy Jackson, a dyslexic twelve-year-old with ADHD. When Percy is attacked by denizens of the Underworld, he discovers that he is a demigod – the child of a god and mortal. By merging Greek mythology into everyday American life, Riordan created a unique and magical series that captivated readers from the very beginning.
Sixteen years later, the influence of Percy Jackson and the Olympians is still going strong. In 2010, the series was adapted into graphic novels and a film. Riordan subsequently wrote a new series, The Heroes of Olympus, which introduces conflict between the Greek demigods of New York and the Roman demigods of San Francisco. In 2017, an off-Broadway musical, titled The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical debuted with positive reviews. Riordan recently announced that Percy Jackson and the Olympians will be adapted into a television series on Disney+.
The Shadowhunter Chronicles
These YA books by New York Times bestselling author Cassandra Clare are an eclectic mix of the urban fantasy and romance genres (with murder and demons sprinkled in). Published by Walker Books and Simon & Schuster, the first series, The Mortal Instruments, serves as an introduction to the world of the Shadowhunters – humans with the blood of angels. It follows Clary, a teenage girl from Brooklyn who witnesses a murder and is attacked by demons. Drawn into the Shadowhunters' world, she learns that creatures such as vampires, werewolves and the fae are real and that her mother has been lying to her about who she truly is.
The lore and characters are developed over several different series that make up The Shadowhunter Chronicles. In 2010, Clare released the first book of her prequel trilogy, The Infernal Devices. This was soon followed by The Dark Artifices and The Last Hours (the latter of which will conclude in 2022). Several spin-offs featuring beloved characters have also been published, as well as informational guides on the history of the Shadowhunters from the view of the protagonist of the first series. Popularity led to Clare’s work being adapted into a film and then a hit TV series (Shadowhunters) on Netflix.
Wigglesbottom Primary - Written by Pamela Butchart and Illustrated by Becka Moor
‘Anything can happen at Wigglesbottom Primary and it always does.’
Whether it’s a ghost in the toilet, sharks in the pool or the possibility of a dinosaur bursting from an egg right in the middle of the classroom, there’s always an adventure to be had at Wigglesbottom Primary. Published by Nosy Crow and perfect for early middle grade readers, this fantastic series immediately tickles the imagination and often results in fits of giggles and bursts of laughter as the adventures and mishaps of Class 2R unfold.
Written by Blue Peter award-winning author Pamela Butchart, and illustrated by the equally brilliant Becka Moor, the Wigglesbottom Primary series is bright, vibrant and fantastically written. Each book contains three short stories, making them perfect to share in classrooms at the end of the school day or as a bedtime story in the evening. Whether it’s Butchart’s experience as a school teacher, or her laugh-out-loud writing style, the Wigglesbottom Primary stories represent classroom adventures perfectly, making them relatable to both children and parents alike.
A firm favourite in my house, we can’t wait for each new adventure to be released!
The Spinster Club Series
Comprising Am I Normal Yet?, How Hard Can Love Be? and What’s a Girl Gotta Do? this contemporary feminist series by Holly Bourne is an essential read for all. Published by Usborne in 2015 and 2016, the series follows friends Evie, Amber and Lottie as they navigate college, boys, love and sexism. Switching perspectives of the three girls between books allows you to connect with and understand each character. This series will have you laughing and crying, but most importantly relating thoroughly to the characters. Dealing with topics such as OCD and mental health and doing so in an authentic and teenage way shows how talented Bourne is as an author.
We’ve barely scraped the surface in terms of the books and series we love - we could go on forever! And with so many amazing new books being released daily, our TBR is just going to continue growing…