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Saturday 8 June 2024

Will it be a good series or…?

With her finger on the pulse of what’s popular in children’s fiction our guest author from The Hobart Bookshop, Bronwyn Chalke, shares some popular series fiction for independent readers from primary through to secondary years. Find out what’s just hit the shelves or is soon to be released and pick up the next books in your favourite series.

Crafting a captivating children’s book series is akin to striking gold, though not every series achieves the legendary status of Harry Potter. Our yardstick for evaluating the right book often hinges on the resonance of past blockbusters; discerning whether a child leans towards Percy Jackson's adventures or prefers the allure of Wolf Girl can swiftly guide us.

Yet, for seasoned readers seeking fresh literary voyages, the quest becomes more nuanced. Hence, we've curated a collection of ongoing series, brimming with promise, conceived by authors who continue to pen new chapters, ensuring a treasure trove of tales awaits.

For younger chapter book readers, The Travelling Bookshop series by Katrina Nannestad is now up to Book 5, Mim and the Vicious Vendetta. This is a sweet series that roams through the world, including destinations like the Cotswolds, Venice and the Greek Islands, helping to broaden the minds of young readers while staying within the borders of the real world – particularly suitable for children who are not enamoured with fantasy and magic style books.

The series by Karen Foxlee, Miss Mary-Kate Martin’s Guide to Monsters, is now up to Book 3, with The Bother with the Bonkillyknock Beast. This series is within the ‘fantastic beasts’ genre but is not designed to be scary and is again suitable for the younger end of the chapter-book reading audience. Whilst it includes mythical beasts, it is again set in our real world, which can be preferred by some readers. 

M.G. Leonard has written lovely original children’s books with her Adventures on Trains series and has now released a mysterious collection for nature lovers with her Twitchers series – now up to Book 4 with Feather. Both the M.G. Leonard series provide good alternatives for readers who want mystery and adventure but are not keen on a book full of dragons and spells. Both series instil themes of environmental consciousness without evoking undue anxiety.

Moving to a slightly older age bracket, Samantha Ellen Bound series, The Seven Wherewithal Way, has been building a readership over the last few years, with Book 3, Over the Mountains and Through the Desert, now available (and Book 4 still being promised). This one is also in the fantasy genre but draws upon mythological creatures such as Pan who exist in ancient human cultures, so it suits readers who have an interest in the mythological lore of yore.

Described as the biggest fantasy series since Harry Potter (which made us a little nervous) and written for readers of both Harry Potter and The Hunger Games series, the series by A.F. Steadman that began with Skandar and the Unicorn Thief is now up to Book 3: Skandar and the Chaos Trials. Due to the publisher’s high hopes for this series, it was originally released in HB format, a decision that likely made it less successful than it could have been. They have now decided to publish the new books in PB format first, following up with HB versions for serious collectors. Book 4 is scheduled for release in October 2024.

Ending with the YA reader end of the scheme, series for this age group seem to fall into either the murder mystery or romantasy genres, which are appealing for many but can become a little repetitive for those who are not specifically seeking them out. The Program series of 6 books by Suzanne Young was written between 2013 and 2018 but has been re-released in 2024 for a new set of YA readers to enjoy. This series appeals to readers of books like Veronica Roth’s Divergent series.

As we keep our eyes peeled for the next literary phenomenon that will enrapture hearts and minds, we cherish the diversity of tastes, acknowledging that no single book can satiate every reader's appetite. 


Bronwyn Chalke

The Hobart Bookshop

W: https://www.hobartbookshop.com.au/

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