Like many kids I’m a fan of series. There’s nothing better than sinking your teeth into a great series and being able to read more than one book featuring your favourite characters. While there aren’t a heap of New Zealand series for kids and teens there are some that really stand out for me. Some of them make me laugh again and again, while others take me to different times and places. Here are my Top 5 NZ series for kids and teens.
- The Karazan Quartet by V.M. Jones
- Book 1 – The Serpents of Arakesh
- Book 2 – Beyond the Shroud
- Book 3 – Prince of the Wind
- Book 4 – Quest for the Sun
These are all out of print now but if you have this series in your library, get it out on display and promote it to your Year 5+ kids, especially the boys.
Recommended for 9+
- The Juno series by Fleur Beale
- Book 2 – Fierce September
- Book 3 – Heart of Danger
Once I got in to Juno of Taris I couldn’t put it down. Fleur Beale’s strength with this series is her characters, the strong bonds between them and also the conflict between them. Fleur really makes you feel for her characters and the strange situation that they are in. After reading the first book, I would have been satisfied to leave the characters as they were, then Fleur wrote two sequels. I really enjoyed following these characters as they settled into their new life, and it was great to find out more about the other characters in the series.
Recommended for 11+
- Dinosaur Rescue series by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley
- Currently 8 books in the series, starting with T-wreck-asaurus
Prehistoric toilet humour – what more can you ask for! These books are full of dinosaur farts, dinosaur poo, caveman vomit and partial caveman nudity. Not only are they disgusting and hilarious, you also learn heaps about dinosaurs and prehistoric life. The challenge is trying to figure out what is factually accurate or just a huge whopper. Kyle and Donovan are too of the wackiest people to ever be thrown together to create a series and it’s a truly winning combination. If your children haven’t discovered this series yet they are seriously missing out.
Recommended for 7+
- My New Zealand Story series by various authors
The My New Zealand Story series from Scholastic New Zealand introduces children to different events and periods of New Zealand’s history. I love this series because it gives a snapshot of the life of a fictional character (based on real people) and how they cope with life in the goldfields, or in colonial New Zealand, or how they react to a disaster like the Napier Earthquake. These books also highlight how different the lives of the characters is to the lives of children today. They really bring history alive for young readers and connect them with the history of their country. The latest in the series is Canterbury Quake by my good friend, Desna Wallace.
Recommended for 9+
- Tales of Fontania series by Barbara Else
- The Traveling Restaurant
- The Queen and the Nobody Boy
- The Volume of Possible Endings
- The Knot Impossible
Barbara Else’s Tales of Fontania series is a fantasy series that stands out from the crowd. Barbara has an incredible imagination and her world and characters jump off the page. Her tales are full of adventure, danger, royalty, spies, flying trains, a floating restaurant, stinky trolls, poisonous toads and much, much more. You never know what who or what you’re going to meet next. Thanks to the stunning covers by Sam Broad the books jump off the shelf and grab your attention. I have it on good authority that there are more Tales of Fontania to come too.