Best book series for young readers

Jun 12, 2012 at 12:00 p.m. ET

Elementary school kids themselves chime in with their favorite book series and why they love them.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

“I read all of these books more than once!" — Rene, 9

Young readers love the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney. Greg Heffley, the star of the books, is making his way through middle school and dealing with parents, teachers, siblings, friends and bullies.

“I wanted to write a story about the funny parts of growing up and none of the serious parts,” said author Kinney. "I had a pretty ordinary childhood, but lots of humorous stuff happened along the way. So, I decided to write a book about what it was really like to be a kid, or at least what it was like for me.”

The series includes the first book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007), followed by Rodrick Rules (2008), The Last Straw (2009), Dog Days (2009), The Ugly Truth (2010) and Cabin Fever (2011). A new book, The Third Wheel, will start flying off the shelves fall 2012.

Classic books to read with your kids >>

My Weird School

"I love these books. They are hilarious." — Isabelle, 8

Kids can relate to second grader A.J. (aka Arlo Jervis) and his adventures at Ella Mentry School. In each book, A.J. introduced himself and an “I hate school.”

Each book features a particularly weird school teacher and catchy rhyming titles such as Miss Lazar is Bizarre! and Mr. Macky is Wacky!

A.J. hates (i.e. secretly loves) “annoying” Andrea Young but loves “Fizz Ed” and recess. Other recurring characters include Michael (who never ties his shoes), Ryan (who eats anything), Neil (the nude kid) and Emily (the crybaby). Crazy Miss Daisy is their second grade teacher, Mr. Klutz (he's nuts!) is the principal.

Written by Dan Gutman, the My Weird School series (37 books so far!) is followed by the My Weird School Daze and My Weirder School series, which follow A.J. to third grade with Mr. Granite (who’s from another planet). New books will be released in June and August, 2012.

Start a sibling reading challenge >>

Captain Underpants

“I like [the Captain Underpants books] because they show that bad kids are not really bad.”  Nate, 8

Fourth graders George and Harold the class clowns accidentally create a superhero when they hypnotize their principal Mr. Krupp. Captain Underpants' identity is so secret that even he doesn’t know who he is!

The Captain Underpants series features fun illustrations on every page and appeals to even the most reluctant young readers. Captain Underpants always wears underpants and a red and black polka dotted cape.

Since George and Harold created Mr. Krupp’s alter-ego, they have to follow him wherever he goes (to the lair of the nefarious Dr. Diaper, for example) to make sure he doesn’t get hurt. Other villains include the Turbo Toilet 2000, Professor Pippy Pee-Pee Poopypants and Wedgie Woman.

Author Dave Pilkey has penned 10 novels and a number of extras in the series. The Adventures of Captain Underpants, introduced in 1997, is the book to start with. New novels are in the works for summer 2012 and winter 2013.

Books for reluctant readers >>

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