Beyond the Hunger Games and Divergent: 4 Series Worth Checking Out

We don’t know about you, but we always love hearing about new series that promise to grab kids’ attention, book[…]Continue Reading

We don’t know about you, but we always love hearing about new series that promise to grab kids’ attention, book after book after book. That’s the magic of a good series—the familiar characters and quick plots offer students a pleasurable (and scaffolded!) reading experience. Here are four recent series that have caught our notice.

Castle: How It Works1. Castle: How It Works
Written by David Macaulay and Sheila Keenan. $15.99.
We’re big fans of David Macaulay’s illustrated nonfiction, so we were thrilled to hear about the new “How It Works” early reader series, which brings Macaulay’s distinctive voice and eye for detail to younger kids. The other title currently available is “Jet Plane: How It Works.” Best for grades 1–3.

Activity to try: Have students illustrate or construct their own castles, labeling their diagrams or models with vocabulary from the book.

Lulu and the Duck in the Park2. Lulu and the Duck in the Park
Written by Hilary McKay, illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. $13.99.
The author of the “Casson Family” books debuts a new series for younger readers with this charming story about a young girl who wants to find a friend for her classroom’s pet guinea pig. Teacher readers will appreciate how McKay gets school details just right. Best for grades 2–4.

Activity to try: Invite students to write about their dream classroom pets. Encourage students to bring in stuffed or toy versions of these animals to create a pretend menagerie.


Who Could That Be at This Hour?3. “Who Could That Be At This Hour?” (All the Wrong Questions)
Written by Lemony Snicket, illustrated by Seth. $15.99.
A young Lemony Snicket stars as himself in this new, page-turning adventure from the creator of “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” Fans of Snicket’s dark humor and mysterious cliffhangers will be glad to have another set of stories to sink their teeth into. Best for grades 3–5.

Activity to try: Challenge students to create their own alter ego—a character who is similar to them but also exaggerated. Then have students write a story from the perspective of that alter ego.

The Assassin's Curse4. The Assassin’s Curse
Written by Cassandra Rose Clarke. $9.99.
We fell for Ananna, the fierce pirate heroine of this new young adult series, as soon as we saw her fleeing a doomed marriage on a camel. And we think your teen readers who are tired of sulky vampires will too. Best for grades 9–12.

Activity to try: Have students compare and contrast stories of real-world pirates with those portrayed in fiction and film. Why do students think that pirates are romanticized in our culture?

Question for you: What new series are your students hooked on?