11 Book Series You Loved As A Kid That Are Worth Revisiting

In honor of Book Lovers Day, we're revisiting some of our favorite book series. While we hardly need a holiday to nerd out about books, it's always a nostalgic bit of pleasure to talk about these classics.

As a kid in school, you always get assigned books to read. A lot of these are good and worthwhile works — they're where we found our Scout Finches, our Gatsbys, and our Jo Marches. But the books we found on our own were like Christmas morning.

The books you read as a kid help shape the person you grow into. While a lot of them don’t hold up once you’re an adult, a few of them really do. The best writing for kids and young adults holds enough layers and meaning that there’s always something there to appreciate, whether you’re 10, 20, 30, or beyond.

We still love to encounter a book featuring an adventurous heroine, dealing with the best and worst that life can throw at her. What better place to find thrills or comfort or a role model than the places we found them as kids?

Flip through for our favorite wizards, monsters, little sisters, and lady detectives — and choose an adventure to revisit!

Again, Happy Book Lovers Day!
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Photo: Courtesy Scholastic Canada, Limited
The Baby-Sitters Club
Ann M. Martin

It’s weird to look back at the covers of these books and realize that the girls that we used to think looked so grown-up now make us think of hiring a babysitter for them. But the situations these girls deal with are way more grown-up than we would want to deal with now, much less at 13. Being in charge of a kid with a deathly high fever is still terrifying! And if we were alone in a house with a bunch of kids and started getting creepy phone calls, we wouldn’t deal with it nearly as maturely as they did. Although, Claudia, girl, we feel you about the math. And the candy. And the clothes!
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Photo: Courtesy Grosset & Dunlap
Nancy Drew Series
Carolyn Keene

Before Veronica Mars or Jessica Jones, we had Nancy. The proto-girl-detective starred in her own series from the 1930s onward — and she was BOSS. She didn’t take any foolishness from anyone and we’d like to see any dude try to mansplain her business to her. She drove around in her zippy blue convertible with her two best friends, Bess and George, revealing thinly veiled Klan members and uncovering art heists. If her boyfriend Ned was lucky, she might let him come along.
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Photo: Courtesy Starfire
Anne of Green Gables
L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables and Avonlea gave us a longing for a simpler time, a pretty country farm, and puffed sleeves. While in retrospect, Anne might seem a little pure and perfect, we could always relate to her ability to get into the most embarrassing situations — dying your nose red before an important social event, anyone? But we also always longed for her collection of bosom friends and kindred souls, and her emotional sincerity still moves us. And maybe even made us look at the teenage boy-next-door a little differently. (Anne + Gilbert forever.)

FUN BONUS FACT: The physical model for the kind, good-hearted Anne was actually the notorious scarlet woman Evelyn Nesbit, the early 20th century’s answer to Lindsay Lohan. Author L.M. Montgomery found the photo in a magazine and pinned it up on her wall for inspiration.
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Photo: Courtesy Grosset & Dunlap
A Wrinkle In Time (Series)
Madeleine L’Engle

There are a lot of books and movies in which the awkward, snappish, plain female protagonist gets to save the world while learning how to be a nicer, gentler, happier girl. Meg Murry got to help save the world while staying true to her awkward, snappish self and gets the guy in the end. Rereading this book today, we can really see the Space Age influence, but it holds up all the better for realizing how much we still haven’t figured out. And the "Man with Red Eyes" and IT are just as creepy as they were when we were kids. You’re going to want to call your dad when you’re done with it.
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Photo: Courtesy Simon Pulse
The Song Of The Lioness Quartet
Tamora Pierce

Don’t lie, we all still have this one on our bookshelves. At its heart, this swords-and-sorcery quartet is less a story about defeating a big bad guy and saving a kingdom than it is about growing into yourself as a person. They helped us figure out which parts of you are core to who you are and which parts need to be allowed to grow and change. It had a little something for everyone, whether you preferred pretty horses, pretty swords, or pretty boys. And if you miss The Woman Who Rides Like A Man, you might be heartened to know that Pierce is still writing stories set in her fictional kingdom of Tortall and its surrounding areas. Plus, our favorite Lioness makes an appearance from time to time.
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Photo: Courtesy Scholastic
Harry Potter Series
J.K. Rowling

We never stopped visiting Harry in the first place! Our favorite boy wizard and his friends grew up with us and we will never give them up. You will pry our replica Elder Wands and our Gryffindor scarves from our cold, dead hands. We’re still torn up about the fact we never got our Hogwarts letter.
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Photo: Courtesy Alfred a Knopf
His Dark Materials Series
Philip Pullman

This trilogy is even better as an adult, mainly because we finally understand all the politics that underlie the story. The 2007 film chose to downplay the religious aspects of the parallel-universe villain and lost a lot of what made this story so captivating. Lyra and Will are up against an entire system that has it out for them and which they barely understand. At first read, these books are an exciting adventure: escaping bad guys, visiting different worlds, hanging out with witches and talking bears. Going back as an adult, it’s an exploration of the meaning of evil, the power of the human connection, and what people are willing to do when they believe in something — anything — strongly enough.
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Photo: Courtesy HarperCollins
Little House On The Prairie
Laura Ingalls Wilder

The story of the Ingalls family’s trials in the early years of American settlement would be hair-raising if not for Wilder’s easy, charming approach. While we mostly remember the stories about “sugaring,” or harvesting honey, going back the stories about illness and seven months of blizzards make us want to turn on every light and thank our lucky stars for electricity, reliable medicine, and the fact that we can travel 20 miles without a week of planning.
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Photo: Courtesy Scholastic Paperbacks
Goosebumps Series
R.L. Stine

The books that your parents insisted you weren’t allowed to read anymore every time they caught you sleeping with the lights on again. Between Halloween masks that took over your face, ventriloquist dummies that came to life, evil scarecrows, ventriloquist dummies that came to life, creepy basements, and the ventriloquist dummies that came to life (did we mention that one?) this series will remind you of everything you’ve been trying to block out since the fifth grade. On second thought, maybe don’t reread these.
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Photo: Courtesy Dell Yearling
Ramona Quimby Books
Beverly Cleary

Whether you had a younger sister, you were the younger sister, or you wanted a younger sister, these books were on your shelf. Ramona’s weirdness was comforting, because you totally understood where she was coming from. Ramona had real stuff going on in her life, and it was all important, whether it was dealing with Yard Ape or the idea that maybe her parents were going to get divorced. Somehow, it always made you feel less alone to know that Ramona was there.
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Photo: Courtesy HarperTrophy
The Chronicles of Narnia
C.S. Lewis

This seven-book series is a classic for a reason. Everything about it feels comforting, like a cup of tea on a rainy day. Something about it is uniquely British and even when the Pevensie children and their associates seem to be in dire peril, there’s a feeling that this is only a grand adventure which will be remembered fondly. Sometimes, that’s all you can ask for in a book and in life.

Bearings on Cair Paravel, everyone!

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