When you're staring down the barrel of long summer holidays, you'll be looking for creative ways to keep the kids entertained.
Which book will hook your son this summer?
Sure, movies and even theatre, can be great time-fillers but most parents would just love it if their kids could find a great series of books to read. Keen book worms will already be devouring the latest Australian trends like Alice Miranda by Jacqueline Harvey, or WeirDo by Ahn Do but reluctant readers of all ages, often need a little prompting from their parents. It's our job to keep our eyes and ears open for what comes highly recommended in the world of children's books.
What type of books does your daughter like to read?
As an author for children, I enjoy following what's hot in Aussie 'kid lit'. What's even better, is that I know we have some hugely popular, internationally best-selling authors, living and writing in Sydney. They are creating great chapter books and middle grade series, for the entertainment of our children. Kids in the know, are simply lapping up these books. If your young readers are bored this holidays and need some inspiration, here are some sure-fire hits. Just follow the guidance on age, genre and interests, to find a series that's right for them.
Book 1 in the Fizz Series
Book series:Fizz: Police Dog Adventures Books so far: 4
Author & Illustrator: Lesley Gibbes & Stephen Michael King
Generally More Resonant With: Boys
Category: Chapter Book fiction, ages 6 - 9
Genre/Interests: Detective mysteries, adventure, animal heroes
With Children's Book Council Book of the Year 'Notables' recognition, you know this series has critical cred but it's also very popular commercially. It has a legion of fans amongst primary schoolers. It's about the adventures of a 'daring dog detective' in training. He's brave, determined and in every book, he finds a mystery he must solve to prove his worth. Going undercover with his friends in the police dog academy, Fizz meets challenge after challenge and uses his canine wiles to make sure he comes out on top. If you have a reluctant reader, who needs fun books they can read on their own, Fizz might be just the hero they are looking for.
Kids who enjoy the Fizz series, might also like to try Astros Adventures, an awesome, independently published canine adventure series by Susan Day.
Book 1 in the Pippa's Island series
Book series:Pippa's Island Books so far: 3 (number 4 is in the pipeline)
Author: Belinda Murrell
Generally More Resonant With: Girls
Category: Middle Grade fiction, ages 8 - 12
Genre/Interests: Tropical island adventures, primary school friendships/issues and family relationships
This 2017 hit series, by prolific author Belinda Murrell, is growing in volumes, seemingly by the day. It's the quintessential light, summer, adventure-read for primary school girls, with catchy covers and relatable tales about friendship and family. Real-life and relatable but not boring. The appeal of Pippa's adventures with her gang of gal pals, is that she has left the UK with her mum, to live on an Australian tropical island! Every English emigrant's dream, though she still has to deal with universal issues of fitting in, sorting friends from foes, and homesickness. I've read Book 1, The Beach Shack Café, and loved its steady pace, childhood dramas, obstacles and eventual triumphs. These books have wide appeal and fan-favourite status, written all over them. Book 3 - Kira Dreaming - is out in January 2018.
And if your daughter loves Pippa and has a younger sister, she might like Murrell's hugely popular Lulu Bell chapter book series.
Book 1, Exploding Endings
Book series:Exploding Endings: Short Stories With Big Twists Books so far: 4
Author: Tim Harris
Generally More Resonant With: Girls and boys alike, though originally written more for boys
Category: Middle grade fiction, ages 8 - 11 years
Genre/Interests: Humour, surprising short stories, tall tales
Tim Harris' journey from successful, self-published author, to contracted author, is an interesting one in itself! If your children love the funny, OTT-ness of the Captain Underpants series, you'd do well to introduce them to this local author. His short stories are full of school scenarios kids can relate to, taken to the extreme. There's a huge cast of adult 'villains', trying to ruin their fun. Will the kids triumph? You never know because every book in this series has a whole heap of unexpected twists and turns. And if your child takes to these books, the great news is that Harris has a burgeoning new series (2 books so far), called Mr Bambuckle's Remarkables, a Roald Dahl-esque hero, who is king of the 'tall tale'.
Book 1, The Royal Academy of Sport For Girls
Book series:The Royal Academy of Sport for Girls Books so far: 4
Author & Illustrator: Laura Sieveking
Generally More Resonant With: Girls
Category: Middle grade fiction, ages 8 - 12
Genre/Interests: Sports, school and friendship-focussed adventures
When kids are moving into the early teenage years, school, friendship and daily challenges, loom large in their psyches. They love reading about issues and interests that concern them. Sport is one of those things. With a background in publishing, Laura Sieveking understands the reading audience and knows that a school for sporting kids, is a winning combination, for young readers. This new series focusses on a different main character and their sport of choice, in each book; gymnastics, swimming, running and equestrian. Like most of the books listed in this article, I could see 'The Royal Academy' becoming a TV series, as it speaks directly to kids and their experiences, sympathies and aspirations. I wonder which sport the author will feature next? Stay tuned...
Have any of these series taken your fancy? Do they sound like a perfect fit for your child? Sydney Mums Group would love your reviews in the comments. I know these authors love hearing from their readers, so join the conversation...