In today’s post: These are the BEST book series for kids ages 8-12. If you have a reluctant reader, a really great series is like magic! When you find one your child likes, he or she will want to start on the next one as soon as they’ve finished the first. Series are great for avid readers too, so they always have another book to start!
A few of these series are old favorites, a few are books my own kids have loved during their upper elementary school years, and some are newer books that have come out recently. If you have any great recommendations for this age group, please leave a comment letting us all know!
NOTE: all titles in this post are linked to Amazon so you can easily find these books if you’d like to buy them (affiliate links). But don’t forget to check for these books at your local library. Many libraries have summer reading programs to encourage kids to keep reading.
50 Best Book Series for kids
Each book in this series is a compilation of fairy tale retellings by Gail Carson Levine, author of Ella Enchanted. Readers can expect fun and funny new twists on familiar princess tales. Grades 3-5.
When Ben is sent to a tiny town to stay with his Grandpa, he expects his summer to be boring. Instead, he ends up discovering a veterinary clinic for imaginary creatures and teaming up with the most accident-prone girl in town to rescue a runaway sasquatch. Expect plenty of magical creatures, adventure, and laughs. Grades 3-5
A charming modern classic about four motherless sisters, their absentminded professor father, and their exploits and misadventures. This is one of my favorite kids book series because it’s lighthearted, warm, and just plain fun. Grades 3-6.
Ordinary teenager Murph accidentally enrolls in a top-secret school for superheroes. At first, he feels out of place, but his unique perspective, quick wit, and good humor end up being exactly what his classmates need in their fight against various villains. Grades 3-6
This non-fiction series is approachable, informative, and easy to read. It has something for everyone, whether they are interested in Harriet Tubman, Mr. Rogers, The World Series, Mount Everest, or Disney World. Grades 3-6
When Sleeping Beauty pricks her finger the entire kingdom falls asleep—except for her little sister, Annie. Thanks to a gift from a fairy when she was born, Annie can’t be touched by magic, and now it’s up to her to save the kingdom. Grades 3-6
When characters from books start to appear in her grandparents’ bookshop, Tilly realizes they may hold the key to solving the mystery of her mother’s disappearance. Can she face her fears and find the answers between the pages of her beloved books? Grades 3-7
Micah needs a miracle, and he’s willing to do whatever it takes to get one. But will the miracle he gets be the one he was searching for? A beautiful series about hope, loss, and the power of magic, miracles, and friendship. Grades 3-7
Jordan is an aspiring middle-school artist, trying to find his place as one of only a handful of minorities at his new private school in NYC. These graphic novels give a peak into the important issues of privilege, racism, and bias in an accessible, engaging, and entertaining way. Grades 3-7
Based on true stories from the author’s life, these graphic novels follow Raina as she navigates anxiety, family changes, a cross-country road trip, getting braces, and the joys and struggles of middle school. Grades 3-7
This series follows five siblings living in Harlem as they work together to save their home, their mother’s bakery, and help their neighbors. Lovely, wholesome, heartwarming stories of family love, community engagement, and looking out for others. Grades 3-7
Emily loves playing Book Scavenger, a game where people leave clues, codes, and puzzles that lead to hidden books. But when the creator of the game is attacked, Emily and her friend James must team up and crack the case to save him. Full of adventure, friendship, and book references. Grades 3-7
J.D.’s older brother Tom is known as “The Great Brain” around town because he’s always conning the other kids into doing his chores or giving them his prized possessions. Set in Utah in the early 1900’s, this book series is full of adventure and mischief and is so much fun! Grades 3-6.
When 12 twelve year-olds are locked in “the coolest library in the world”, they must race against time (and each other) to put the library to use, solve clues, and find the hidden escape first in order to win an amazing prize. Grades 3-7
Ace discovers a genie and is granted unlimited wishes, along with a task to save the universe. Unfortunately, each of his wishes come with a unique (and often hilarious) consequence. Can he succeed in his task before the consequences get the best of him? Fast-paced, funny, and exciting. Grades 3-7
Every Tuesday, the castle changes: adding a new room or hallway or an entire wing, and the only person who keeps track is Princess Celia. When her parents go missing, will she be able to use her knowledge of the castle’s every twist and turn to find them? Grades 3-6.
When Charlie starts hearing voices, he thinks he’s going crazy, but he isn’t: he can hear the voices of people in photographs. His unusual power lands him in an elite school for the magically gifted. Grades 3-7.
Meggie’s father can make books come to life–literally. When he reads aloud from a book called Inkheart the villains appear in his world, while Meggie’s mother gets trapped in theirs. Great book series for kids. Grades 3-7.
On his 13th birthday Alcatraz receives a bag of sand from his long lost parents, and on the next day his grandfather arrives to tell him why the sand is important and how it will help him defeat the evil librarians, who have taken over society. Great book series for Grades 3-7.
In the world of Erdas, each 11 year old child must discover if he or she has a spirit animal, a bond between human and beast that brings great power. Four children and their animals must work together to save the world. Grades 3-7.
Four children compete to see who can create the most delicious, over-the-top new candy. Full of mystery, mouth-watering descriptions, friendship, and plenty of plot twists. It will leave you craving more! Grades 3-7
This series follows the lives of the Beaumont family, who each develop a special skill, or “savvy” on their 13th birthday. Hilarity, mishaps, adventure, and self-discovery ensue as they learn to “scumble” their abilities. Heart-warming and laugh-out-loud funny, this is a series everyone will love! Grades 3-7
A high-flying fantasy series! The seven dragon tribes have been at war for twenty years. Will five dragonets fulfill the prophesy and finally restore peace? Grades 3-7
When Emily meets a pegasus who has crashed during a storm, she is thrust into a battle between Roman gods and stone warriors. She ends up on a quest to save Mount Olympus. Grades 4-6.
Septimus Heap disappears the night he is born, and his father brings home an abandoned baby girl on the very same day. The heaps raise the girl as their own, but who is she really, and whatever happened to Septimus? Grades 4-7.
When Sophie finds out she is an elf living in the human world, her life is turned upside down. Now living in the Lost Cities, surrounded by magical creatures she never knew existed, she is faced with the reality that the elven world is not as perfect as it seems. This series is full of adventure, funny characters, and suspense. Grades 4-8
As a ‘cursed child,’ Morrigan Crow expects to die on her eleventh birthday. Instead, she is swept away to a magical city where she must pass dangerous tests and show a special ability to gain admittance to a secret society or be sent to her doom. Witty, exciting, funny, and suspenseful. Perfect for fans of Harry Potter. Grades 4-8
This fantasy series follows orphan Sage as he ascends to the throne of Carthya. Intrigue, adventure, and twists abound as he faces his past, confronts his foes, and discovers who he can (and can’t) trust. Grades 4-8
When Kendra and Seth visit their grandparents’ house, they have no idea that they are caretakers of a sanctuary for magical creatures. They soon find themselves facing their fears (along with trolls, imps, fairies, witches, and more) to restore order and save their family. Grades 4-8
Thanks to new technology, five teens are transformed into holograms to direct people through Walt Disney World. When it turns out that Disney villains are threatening the park, the teens must figure out how to save The Magic Kingdom. Grades 4-8.
Four bored children stumble through an old wardrobe into a magical land in the midst of an eternal winter. Can they save the friends they make their from the witch who rules the land? This classic series hasn’t lost any of it’s appeal. Grades 4-8.
Percy’s always had trouble at school, but now that his algebra teacher’s turned into a monster and is trying to kill him things are just getting worse. Soon Percy finds out who he really is and sets out on a quest to the Underworld to prevent a war between the gods. One of the more popular book series for kids to come out in the past 20 years. Grades 4-8.
This timeless fantasy series begins when Taran, a lowly pig keeper, has a run in with a sinister horned rider. He’s joined by a minstrel, and princess, and furry little Gurgi in a quest to save Prydain. Grades 4-8.
In a future where only 2 children are allowed, third child Luke spends his life hidden in an attic, until one day he discovers he may not be the only one in his situation. Is he willing to defy the government for a different kind of life? Grades 5-8.
Brian is stranded in the Canadian wilderness after the pilot of the small plane he’s on has a heart attack and dies. He deals with questions of survival as he struggles with his feelings about his parents’ recent divorce. Grades 5-8.
Miri never expected to live anywhere but her small village on a mountain, but when the king’s priests decide she may be a candidate to marry the prince, she is sent to princess academy, where she must prove herself and save her friends. Grades 5-8.
When 15 year old Will is chosen as an apprentice to the mysterious rangers, he doesn’t realize they protect the entire kingdom. And the biggest battle of all is about to arrive. Grade 5-8.
Precocious orphan Anne ends up with elder brother and sister Marilla and Matthew by mistake, but they decide to keep her anyway. Anne’s heart is in the right place, but her imagination can’t be tamed so she makes mistakes and gets into scrapes almost daily. This classic kids book series has been enjoyed by generations of children! Charming and funny. Grades 5-8
Four kids who are thrown together as a family as a result of their parents’ marriage are sent sailing, with the plan that they’ll get to know each other better. But they don’t expect to be stranded together on an island when the boat capsizes. Grades 5-8.
Marcus travels to Farworld, a place where everyone has magic, except Marcus’ new friend Kyja. The two friends must work together to defeat the Dark Circle and save Farworld. Grades 5-8.
Meg’s father disappears while doing secret work for the government, and a mysterious strange appears with information for Meg. She travels through space and time with the help of her little brother Charles Wallace and new friend Calvin to try to save her father. Grades 5-8.
This fast paced pirate adventure tells the story before the story of Peter Pan, filling in all the questions you never knew you had: where did pixie dust come from and how did Peter get to Neverland in the first place? Lots of swashbuckling action, humor, and a great story. Grades 5-8.
Children respond to an ad in the newspaper to take mind-bending tests; the few who pass are sent on a mysterious mission. Expect riddles, villains, and adventures. Grades 5-8.
Cole is unjustly sent to a youth detention center, where the warden makes the boys spend their days digging holes in the desert. The plot thickens when Stanley realizes they aren’t digging just for punishment: the warden is looking for something… Grades 5-8.
Rusty’s an ordinary housecat looking for adventure. He finds it when he joins the ThunderClan, a group of warrior cats. The ThunderClan is in danger from a rival clan, and Rusty (renamed Firepaw) must do what he can to help his new family. Grades 5-8.
12-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis sets up an elaborate trap to capture a fairy and demands a ransom for her release. But these high-tech, tactical fairies aren’t the stuff from bedtime stories. Can he out-smart the fairies or will they get the best of him? Grades 5-8
The incorrigible children in this book were found roaming the woods on Ashton place (they actually were raised by wolves!), and it’s up to their young governess (Penelope, age 15) to teach them manners, geography, and Latin. But what else is lurking on the edge of the estate? Grades 5-8.
All the Bellairs mysteries are deliciously creepy adventures set in places like haunted castles or mansions with secret passageways, and feature evil wizards, mummies, and more. Spooky and fun! Grades 6-8.
When Creel’s aunt decides to sacrifice her to a dragon (in hopes a handsome knight will come and save her), Creel doesn’t know she’ll end up with treasure from the dragon’s hoard, a pair of blue slippers. But the slippers are more than they seem, and it may be up to Creel to save the entire kingdom. Grades 6-8.
Huge three legged machines control the earth and nearly everyone on it. 13 year old Will Parker never thought he’d be the one to start the revolution, but that’s what he’s about to do. Grades 6-8.
And of course, there’s always Harry Potter, which is, without a doubt, my favorite kids’ book series. If, by some miracle, your kids haven’t read this series yet, 4th or 5th grade is the perfect time to start. And you can find even more books for kids here: 25 fantastic stand alone books for kids ages 8-12