Friday, July 17, 2015

Book Series For Kids--I Love Them!


Do you remember reading a series of books when you were growing up? I was an avid Nancy Drew fan and must have read nearly every one of the many titles in the series. Girls in my class read and then traded the books. It seems there was always a Nancy Drew mystery on someone's desk. I'm not sure if the boys did the same with the Hardy Boys books or not. My husband told me he read them all.

Another series I loved glamorized the life of a nurse. I followed Sue Barton from student nurse to senior nurse to staff nurse to neighborhood nurse to rural nurse and more. Did it make me want to become a nurse? You bet it did! That is, until I found out chemistry was a necessary course. I didn't like science and didn't get straight A's in it like I did my English classes. Even so, I didn't stop reading about Sue's adventures.

Noel Streatfield wrote a series of books for girls that I also read. Shoes appeared in the title of each one--Theater Shoes and Circus Shoes and Ballet Shoes are ones that come to mind. What a painless way to learn about the world of a ballet dancer, a budding actress or a circus performer. Of course, it made young girls dream of following in the footsteps of the young heroines in each book.

At an earlier age, I devoured The Bobbsey Twins books. It was, I believe, my first introduction to the concept of a series of books featuring the same characters. That's not counting the Dick and Jane series of readers used for reading instruction in many schools decades ago. I felt bad when I found out my grandchildren did not learn to read with Dick, Jane, Baby Sally, Spot and Puff. As a first grader, I considered them my special friends. Maybe I still do! 

How could I write about a series of books for kids without mentioning the Little House books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. These books also made the trade-one-for-another rounds at my grade school. The books were a wonderful way for children to learn the pioneer history of our country. 

One thing I learned from reading the various series was to recognize an author's name. When I went to our local library and scanned the shelves, those names popped out and I stopped to look at the book to see if it might be one I hadn't read. 

I doubt that any of the authors of these deeply loved books ever became wealthy from royalties received.  Even so, something kept them writing about the same characters, devising new adventures for them, coming up with challenges and hurdles for their characters to meet and conquer.

Happily, the concept of a series of books for kids has continued. A few that are popular now are the Narnia books, Imagination Series, Betsy-Tacy, Boxcar Children and of course, Harry Potter. I'm delighted that children are still finding a hero/heroine to love in a series of books like I did. I'm also pleased that some of the series I loved are still being read today.

What were your favorite series of books for kids?

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