Five MORE Favourite Read-Aloud Book Series

Sometimes a book isn’t nearly long enough. 

“I wish the story didn’t have to end,” someone sighs, as I close our latest read-aloud book. “I want to know what happens next.”

“There’s more!” I say. “There’s another book in the series.”

And the girls smile and ask if we can start the next book straight away.

Do you enjoy reading books to your children? Today I’ve chosen five more of our favourite read-aloud book series. Perhaps you’ll like them too!

  • The Shakespeare Stealer series by Gary Blackwood

These books are set in the time of William Shakespeare. Actually they’re set in his Globe Theatre! We enjoyed seeing an inside view of Shakespeare and his players. 

Here’s the Amazon description for the first book in the series:

Widge is an orphan with a rare talent for shorthand. His fearsome master has just one demand: steal Shakespeare’s play “Hamlet”–or else. Widge has no choice but to follow orders, so he works his way into the heart of the Globe Theatre, where Shakespeare’s players perform. As full of twists and turns as a London alleyway, this entertaining novel is rich in period details, colorful characters, villainy, and drama.

The books are described as historical fiction and suitable for 10 – 14 year olds. Gemma-Rose was only 8 when I read these books out loud and she enjoyed them. I liked the books as much as the girls. I seem to remember that love and true friendship was a major theme.

  • The Sophie books by Dick King-Smith

This series is very different from the Shakespeare Stealer series. It was written for much younger children, (recommended for age 4 and up). I first read the series to one of my non-readers, but I noticed the older children all hanging around wanting to listen too. This series is one that adults will like just as much as the children. The gentle humour is very appealing. These books are also a good choice for younger fluent readers.

The stories are set in the UK.

Here’s a description:

Sophie is small, but very determined. She loves animals – snails and cats and rabbits and dogs and pigs – and she wants to be a farmer when she grows up. Her best friend is Great-great-aunt Al from Scotland, who looks a bit like a bird, and her worst enemy is the dreadful Dawn. 

The books can be bought individually, but I’d buy the complete collection so you can read them all in one go! 

  • The Penderwick series by Jeanne Birdsall

Of course, this is a very popular series so you may already have seen it. The books are set in America though I got confused when I read the first book because I had a version produced for the UK market: the vocabulary and spelling had been changed for UK readers.

I remember how excited Charlotte was when she read this book. I immediately promised to buy her the second book as soon as it was released, and she waited impatiently for that day. However, she didn’t think the sequels matched up to the first book. Maybe there was too much emphasis on boyfriends (which Charlotte thought was ridiculous!) and there was a big coincidence in the third book which we felt spoilt the story. I shan’t say any more in case you haven’t read the books! 

Overall the series was a good read and I am sure we will buy the fourth book, The Penderwicks in Spring, when it is released in March 2015. 

The books are described as suitable for ages 7 – 9. 

Here’s a description of The Penderwicks:

The Penderwicks: four sisters, as different as chalk from cheese, yet as close as can be.

The eldest, Rosalind, is responsible and practical; Skye, stubborn and feisty; dreamy, artistic, budding novelist, Jane; and shy little Batty, who doesn’t go anywhere without her butterfly wings. And not forgetting Hound, their large lumbering lovable dog.

The four girls and their absent-minded father head off for their summer holidays, but instead of the cosy tumbledown cottage they expect, they find themselves on a huge estate called Arundel, with magnificent gardens ripe for exploring. It isn’t long before they become embroiled in all sorts of scrapes with new-found friend, Jeffrey – but his mother, the icy-hearted Mrs Tifton, must be avoided at all costs. Chaotic adventures ensue, and it soon becomes a summer the sisters will never forget…

  • The Billabong Series by Mary Grant Bruce 

I’m currently reading these books to Sophie and Gemma-Rose. There are 15 books in the series but some of them are hard to find. 

A Little Bush Maid (1910)
Mates at Billabong (1912)
Norah of Billabong (1913)
From Billabong to London (1914)
Jim and Wally (1915)
Captain Jim (1916)
Back to Billabong (1919)
Billabong’s Daughter (1924)
Billabong Adventurers (1928)
Bill of Billabong (1933)
Billabong’s Luck (1931)
Wings Above Billabong (1935)
Billabong Gold (1937)
Son of Billabong (1939)
Billabong Riders (1942)

We discovered most of these books in our library, and I recently bought a copy of From Billabong to London from a second-hand book shop in New Zealand! Four of the books are available as free ebooks.

The Billabong books are set on a large cattle station in Australia. The stories are no longer politically correct, but it is interesting to see the attitudes of the past. Lots to discuss! 
I found this review on Amazon: 

An interesting and accurate look into Australia and England set before and during WW1 through the eyes of a teen-aged girl

The language is more complicated than the usual modern novel, and so doesn’t always roll off the tongue as easily as it could. But the girls don’t mind the long sentences with sometimes unfamiliar word usage. The stories seem to delight them. They like the extra long chapters!

  • The Nim Series

I read these books to Sophie and Gemma-Rose several years ago. They are a lot of fun and much better than the movie versions, which we didn’t like at all.

The recommended age is 8 – 12.

Here’s a description of Nim’s Island:

A girl. An iguana. An island. And e-mail. Meet Nim–a modern-day Robinson Crusoe! She can chop down bananas with a machete, climb tall palm trees, and start a fire with a piece of glass. So she’s not afraid when her scientist dad sails off to study plankton for three days, leaving her alone on their island. Besides, it’s not as if no one’s looking after her–she’s got a sea lion to mother her and an iguana for comic relief. She also has an interesting new e-mail pal. But when her father’s cell-phone calls stop coming and disaster seems near, Nim has to be stronger and braver than she’s ever been before.
And she’ll need all her friends to help her.

I’ve just discovered there’s a third book in the series. It’s called Rescue on Nim’s Island. I just bought a Kindle copy!

Five very different book series. Have you read any of them? I’d love to hear if you like them too!

Tags: ,

Related Posts

Previous Post Next Post


    • Vicky
    • September 13, 2014

    Thank you for these recommendations, Sue. I haven't heard of most of them but I am reading (slowly!) The Penderwicks to Melanie, at the moment. We're both really enjoying it. We also have Sophie's Lucky but I haven't read it myself.

    I shall look into the other series for our read alouds. Thank you.:-)

    1. Reply


      I'm glad you haven't already read these books. Perhaps you can look out for some of them at the library. I bought all the Sophie books for Sophie when she first learnt to read. The title character is nothing like our Sophie though!

      I'd love to hear about your own favourite series.

    • Chris
    • September 13, 2014

    Love these rec!!

    I just reserved a couple of the Shkpsr books online…looking fwd to them coming in to my lib!

    Thanks friend.!!


    1. Reply


      Your boys will enjoy the Shakespeare series. There's lots of action and twists and turns, and even a few sinister characters! I know you all like Shakespeare's plays so you should enjoy the behind-the-scenes stories in this collection. It was an interesting characterisation of Shakespeare. How wonderful you have been able to reserve a couple of the books!

  1. Reply

    We've read Nim's Island…and I agree it is much better than the movie – though I enjoyed Jodie Foster in that, quite a bit. We'll be checking out the Shakespeare series…just what I've been looking for – thanks!

    1. Reply

      I am sure we would have enjoyed the Nim's Island movies more if we hadn't already read the books. Did they make some plot changes in the movie version? I can't remember. I also like Jodie Foster. She is a very versatile actress. I hope you enjoy the Shakespeare series!

  2. Reply

    Eww, I just checked in the DAnish on line library. None of these series are translated into Danish, and by the time the Owlets' English is good enough, they will be too big for these books. We have all enjoyed Ranger's Apprentice, number 12 just came out in Danish, If you haven't read this, I recommend it for girls also, I enjoyed it myself, but maybe not as a read aloud book. Starting age 11-12 years. .

    1. Reply

      … and we so agree on the feeling of emtines or what it's called, upon finishing a book. Like saying good bye to a friend.

    2. Reply


      I am so sorry your children won't be able to read these books. Your English is so good I forget it's not your first language. Yes, your children are learning English but not proficient enough yet.

      I guess there are many great Danish authors writing for children. Do any of their books ever get translated into English?

      Sophie has read a few of the Ranger's Apprentice books, but not all of them. Gemma-Rose hasn't yet tried any of them. Maybe she should! Thank you for your recommendation!

      Oh yes, it's sad saying goodbye to a book friend, knowing there's no more of the story. I bet that's why famous novels like Pride and Prejudice have sequels written by different authors. Everyone wonders… "What could have happened next?" and they decide to continue the story. It's good to get reacquainted with a favourite book after a period of time. Yes, it's like visiting an old friend!

      • Beate
      • September 22, 2014

      Hi Uglemor, I enjoy reading children's books – The Pederwicks and Nim are two series I've read and starting with Nim, I'd say they be a great way to practice English even if your kids are older at the time.

    • Beate
    • September 22, 2014

    What a treasure trove you are! Now I'm wrestling with myself – the big city library that has some of these books charges $200 a year for a library card :-/ $100 was bad enough, but justifyable….

    1. Reply


      It's good to share book recommendations, isn't it? Whenever I hear about books I want to read, I immediately want to buy them. Borrowing them from a library would be far cheaper though unless you have to pay for a library card. $200 sounds like a lot of money. I wonder if you would use it enough to justify the cost. You must let me know what you decide to do!

  3. Reply

    Thank you for listing these. My daughter had just asked for a new series to begin on! Perfect!

    1. Reply


      You're welcome. I hope your daughter enjoys our favourites too!

Join in the conversation!

%d bloggers like this: