On Writing

Magical Mystery Tour

Series books are big in our house.  My eight-year-old enjoys following the continuing story of a character or characters and I think creating a series of books is a terrific tactic for writers of children’s and young adult books.  If you can create an interesting character (or group of characters) that appeals to your young audience, especially one that they’ll find funny, exciting, or interesting, or that they can relate to in some way, and as long as you can keep coming up with new tales of adventure, mischief, etc. for them to engage in, that’s highly marketable (and potentially very profitable). 

My son is really into stories of mystery, adventure, and magic as well as stories with humor.  He’s read a number of the Magic Tree House series of books, the Geronimo and Thea Stilton series, and the Bad Guys books, but he really loves graphic novels.  The combination of pictures and text seems to work well for his age and reading level.  He can get intimidated by unfamiliar words and lots of text, but with graphic novels, he can read most of the words himself and the pictures help him to figure out what’s going on in the story when he comes across words that that he doesn’t know.  Graphic novels also make learning new words easier and a little fun for him.  His must-haves are Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man and Captain Underpants series (he’s read all of them multiple times) and the Wings of Fire graphic novels. 

I’m partial to the Dog Man books because of their balance of levity and silliness and because, well, I’m a fan of comics, graphic novels, and superheroes myself.  It’s fun for our family to read these books together, do different voices for the various characters, laugh, and talk about the lessons learned by the characters (when that happens).  At the moment, the little man and I are reading Book 3 of the Wings of Fire graphic novel series and I think I like the books almost as much as he does, not just because I share his love of stories of magic and adventure but because I find the tale of this band of dragons destined to end an all-out war interesting.  Each of them has a distinct personality and very cool, innate abilities that they’re discovering as they try to fulfill a prophecy and they’re learning and growing as a family along the way. 

What types of kids’ and young adult series do you or the young readers in your life enjoy reading or writing and why?

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