The Harry Potter series of books by J. K. Rowling are said to have influenced the current generation to read much more than otherwise. My generation had The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien. There is tremendous age gap between those last two, and only recently did I realize there are many well-written books that can entertain kids who are not quite ready for The Lord of the Rings or even the later, and darker, books in the Harry Potter series.
Tamora Pierce has written a number of books, most notably the Song of the Lioness, Protector of the Small, and the Immortals series. These are science fiction books set in a realm where otherworldly powers are common. The protagonists are generally strong, female characters. Also, each series usually has four books in it giving readers lots of engaging material. Another author who puts girls at the center of his books is Phillip Pullman, most known now for science fiction series His Dark Materials, which includes The Golden Compass. Less well known is his Sally Lockhart trilogy, set in Victorian England. Although, this series may not be for younger readers as it does include an opium addict.
Other adventuresome fantasy/science fiction series for kids include the Inheritance series by Christopher Paolini with book number 3 still on the way. Dragons play a major role in these books. Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising series is still timely even though it was published many years ago. These books are set in Wales, which adds an interesting dimension. The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander are another good series if you missed them. These are for younger readers and often found in the children’s section of the library as opposed to the young adult section.
For a non-science fiction adventure series try The Tillerman Series by Cynthia Voigt. Four siblings try to stick together after their mother can not take care of them any longer.
My kids are just starting The Chronicles of Narnia. It is so fun to finally be reading literature with them that takes more than a single sitting to get through and has a complicated plot. I can’t wait to introduce them to the books mentioned here.