harry potterOkay, who else here read possibly every installment of The Babysitters’ Club? I know I can’t be the only one.

What about Sweet Valley High or The Bobbsey Twins or Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys? And of course there’s Harry Potter or Twilight.

Do you credit any of those as the series that got you reading?

On Saturday a neighborhood friend of mine was telling me how her 15-year-old son is reading The Hunger Games, and I asked how he liked it as a boy reading a book with a girl narrator. She laughed and said, “Trevor’ll read anything. He’s even read Twilight.”

What a cool thing! I told her how I hope my boys grow up to be avid readers like that. After all, girls read boy books, so I’d love it if my boys read everything as well. Then she said, “Well, he wasn’t always that way. For a while we couldn’t find anything he would read. Then he read that Series of Unfortunate Events, and that got him hooked on reading.”

Isn’t that true? I remember learning in one of my literacy courses in college that series really are the thing that boost children from “able to read” to “love to read.” Why? Because once they find a book at their reading level that they love, then they can read three or ten or a hundred of the same book at the same level, which gives them 100% confidence in their reading skills PLUS the thirst for reading.

At some point, whether after 13 books like the Lemony Snicket series or a hundred like Babysitters’ Club or Hardy Boys, the kid gets to the end of that series but still has the “What next?” mentality. And suddenly an avid reader is born.

boy series
104 Hardy Boys and 15 Redwall from my hubby's boyhood

Publisher’s Weekly put out a fascinating report this week called “What Do Teens Want?” about teen reading habits. Some of it is expected, like the fact that 83% of teen readers are influenced by what their friends are reading; some of it isn’t as expected, like how little they actually use Twitter and how 58% of them don’t read author blogs.

But tying back in with this idea of hooked on series, take a look at some of the graphs in the PW article and notice where series rank in the scale of things. Fiction rules overall as what 86% of teens surveyed say they read, but series come in second at 76%! Also, when asked what influences their decisions on what book to buy, 74% say they look for the next book in a series.

misc series
a few series I've read and collected as an adult

I can understand that! I squealed like a tween when my friend/neighbor/mentor Shannon Hale brought home ARCs of Fire by Kristin Cashore and Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins from BEA back in May. My squealing was the direct result of loving the first book in each saga so much that I could hardly wait to stay up all night reading these sequels (and yes, the fact that I got to read them early was dang cool, too).

eugenidesThere’s something about being able to continue with a story and characters you’ve fallen in love with, like reconnecting with lost friends. Maybe it’s a basic human desire. Of course we want to know what happens next!

What about you? Do you still love series? Which ones hooked you on reading as a kid? What sequels are you excitedly waiting for now?

For example, March can’t come fast enough for me. I’m dying to read the fourth book in Megan Whalen Turner’s The Queen’s Thief series because the first three blew me away. (By the way, a Greenwillow editor I met told me there will be six altogether!)

Leave a comment!

8 thoughts on “Hooked on Series Worked for Me

  1. A fellow BSC-er and SVH-er! Big time fan, here. And of course, nowadays it’s Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I love series, because you already know you love the characters so much, and you want to see them taken care of. As a result, there’s more chance for fans to be very angry with the next installment, if their expectations aren’t met.

    love the blog.


  2. “Hardy Boys–The Case Files” was the greatest thing about being a kid. I used to love the Scholastic Book Orders because it meant I would get a new HB book. And even though every book was exactly the same, I didn’t care so long as Frank and Joe saved the day.

    I wonder if enjoying book series when I was a kid is why I love certain TV shows like 30 Rock and Mad Men. Because, like a book series, I already know and care about the characters.


    1. I hadn’t thought about book series being like a TV series, but that’s a really good point. You know kind of what to expect in each episode, and you come for the characters.

      I’m excited for our kids to do book orders. Is that silly? I used to love even just the order itself with all those pictures of books to choose from—better than a toy catalog!


    1. Oh! I can’t believe I didn’t tell you about that sooner! I found out back in June. Sorry!

      I’m glad to know that you followed in my footsteps with the Babysitters’ Club as well as everything else. 😉


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