The best children’s book series you’ve never read

Underrated kids/YA book series
Posted on November 5, 2023

My dear friend Allison Rushby, the third Musketeer on Team Your Kid’s Next Read, has a new book out this week – her eighth (or is it ninth?) in the past 12 months.

Best book series for kids and YA readersThe third book in her Miss Penny Dreadful trilogy for lower middle-grade readers, it’s called The Mermaid’s Locks and concludes this engaging historical mystery series.

Sitting, as it does, right in the sweet spot for young readers who have outgrown heavily illustrated junior fiction but still need some pictures, accessible language, fewer words than a traditional middle-grade book, and a clever mystery to solve, the biggest puzzle for my podcast co-host Megan Daley and I about this series is why it isn’t… bigger.

It got me to thinking about underrated book series for children and YA readers.

Those series that are well-written, exciting and absolutely beloved by those who read them, but which, for whatever reason, don’t make the big splash that’s required to stand out on shelves crowded with celebrity books, ‘look at me’ titles and publisher favourites.

And I’ve decided to shine a spotlight on a few of them, but asking the Your Kid’s Next Read community to share their favourite underrated series – these are the books, in no particular order, that our members recommend over and over and press into the hands of young readers whenever they can.*

Here’s hoping some of them might resonate with your young readers!


Our favourite underrated children’s book series

By the Your Kid’s Next Read community

Includes comments where available. Click the series title to find out more at Booktopia**

Junior fiction (6-9)


underrated book series for kidsAussie Kids series (by assorted authors and illustrators)

“Each is a great intro to chapter books. different towns and lifestyles of Australian kids.”– Suzanne

The Secret Explorers series by S. J. King

“Both an interesting and entertaining read. I’ve been surprised that it is not more popular with 7-9 year olds.” – Kath

The Travelling Bookshop series by Katrina Nannestad (illustrated by Cheryl Orsini)

“It is recommended every now and then but it is such a wonderful series full of whimsy, vocabulary and imagination.” – Caitie


underrated book series for kidsHow to Make a Pet Monster series by Lili Wilkinson (illustrated by Dustin Spence)

Fish Kid series by Kylie Howarth

“Each book is a great read.” – Kath

Charlie series by Sam Copeland (illustrated by Sarah Horne)

Kid Normal series by Greg James (illustrated by Chris Smith) 8+

Heroes In Training series by Joan Holub, Suzanne Williams (illustrated by Craig Phillips)


underrated children's book seriesTime Hunters series by Chris Blake

Ghoulia series by Barbara Cantini

Science Comics series (various authors and illustrators)

I will never shut up about them!” – Sally

Amelia Fang series by Laura Ellen Anderson

Ottoline series by Chris Riddell


underrated children's book seriesFurball series by Adrian Beck

“Full of jokes and action-packed adventure.” – Louise

Daisy and The Trouble With … series by Kes Gray (illustrated by Garry Parsons and Nick Sharratt)

“We found them in the UK and they are just wonderful!” – Yvette

The Kingdom of Silk series by Glenda Millard (illustrated by Caroline Magerl)

“One of my favourite series of all time. The only series I finished and felt compelled to write to the author to tell her how much I adored them.” – Anna


underrated children's book seriesWhimsy and Woe series by Rebecca McRitchie (illustrated by Sonia Kretschmar) (8+)

“This was my daughter’s favourite series and she dressed as Whimsy for Book Week. Gothic. Delightful. Mysterious. I wish more people had faith in their children not to “need” the same thing over and over!” – Laura

Wayside School series by Louis Sachar

Wandi and (sequel) Kimmi by Favel Parrett

“Fictional stories based on real life dingoes.” – Andy


Middle-grade fiction (10+)


underrated children's book seriesBeetle Boy trilogy by M. G. Leonard

“These are absolute page-turners.” – Margot

The House at the Edge of Magic series by Amy Sparkes

At The Sign Of The Sugared Plum by Mary Hooper

“This one is judged by its really bad cover!! But it’s a brilliant read and so is the sequel.” – Ruth

Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston


Stella Montgomery Intrigues series by Judith Rossell

This series was nominated multiple times by multiple members as not receiving the attention it should.

The Forbidden Library series by Django Wexler

“This series is AMAZING and I recommend it in both printed and audiobook form. It’s SUCH an amazing series but I don’t think anyone I’ve met has already read it so I keep recommending it to everyone so I have someone to talk/rave about it with.” – Bec  

Cogheart series by Peter Bunzl

“A fabulous steam punk series – I devoured every one of them.” – Margot


underrated children's book seriesThe Keepers trilogy by Lian Tanner

“My 10-year-old daughter massively rates this trilogy.” – Amy

Elementals series by Amie Kaufman

George’s Secret Key To The Universe series by Lucy and Stephen Hawking (9+)

“They’re interspersed with pages of space and physics facts, which can be skipped to continue with the story. Great fun!” – Danielle


underrated children's book seriesThe Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood (illustrated by Jon Klassen)

“It’s clever and witty and funny and a teeny bit creepy without being yuck. Perfect for ages 10 to adult.” – Kat

Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage

“I love it more than Harry Potter. It is better written, with similar themes and I think a more magical setting.” Rhonda

The Books Of Elsewhere series by Jacqueline West

The Children of Green Knowe by L. M. Boston (illustrated by Peter Boston)


underrated children's book seriesThe Sun Sword Trilogy by Belinda Murrell

“I have four children ranging from ages 12-26 and they all loved this series. It is plotty and adventurous. I had to buy new copies of the series recently, as the original books had fallen to pieces due to being read so much.”Amanda

Maven & Reeve Mysteries by A. L. Tait

The Figgy series by Tamsin Janu

“We absolutely adored this series with its unique protagonist and window into a different culture.” – Anna

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles series by Patricia C. Wrede

“My favourites as a kid. Funny, creative, great female characters who save themselves.” – Lauren


YA series


underrated children's book seriesAlanna series by Tamora Pierce

Tamora Pierce’s books (this series and others) were nominated multiple times by multiple members.

The Abhorsen trilogy (and prequels) by Garth Nix

“For teens, and he is the BEST fantasy writer the country has produced. He’s huge overseas but not here, and I don’t understand why. His world building is outstanding.” – Erin


Which children’s or YA series would you add? Let me know in the comments!


A. L. Tait The First Summer of Callie McGeeAre you new here? Welcome to my blog! I’m Allison Tait, aka A.L. Tait, and I’m the author of middle-grade series, The Mapmaker Chronicles, The Ateban Cipher, and the Maven & Reeve Mysteries. My latest novel THE FIRST SUMMER OF CALLIE McGEE is out now. You can find out more about me here, and more about my books here.

If you’re looking for book recommendations for young readers, join the Your Kid’s Next Read Facebook community, and tune in to the Your Kid’s Next Read podcast!


*edited to include only those titles still readily available

**Link to first book in series where possible. See contact page for affiliate link details

1 Comment

  1. Kari

    I absolutely love The Vanderbeekers – a heart-warming middle grade series about a busy family of 7. The 7th and final book has just been released.

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