Last year we moved all of the series that are between a first grade an end of second grade reading level to a special section in the library. Since then, we have been watching the circulation to see if some of the titles need to be weeded out. Many of them are old and sort of dated and the kids just aren't reading them. Still popular are the Magic Tree House, Cam Jansen, Junie B. Jones, and Geronimo Stilton among others. Not so popular are The Secrets of Droon, the Olsen Twins and some Berenstein Bear chapter books. So I've been looking for some new series to replace them and I've found Roscoe Riley and Ivy and Bean two that have been flying off the shelves and have the kids, all ages, asking for more.
Recently I've found two more that I really like and have on order at Cover to Cover, my favorite bookstore.
The first is Andy Shane by Jennifer Richard Jacobson and there are four titles to date. Andy puts up with his friend Delores who is bossy and very smart. The most recent title is called Andy Shane is Not in Love. When a new girl moves into the class, Delores is hoping to get to be her assigned buddy, but instead Andy gets the call. Andy and Lark Alice Bell hit it off immediately and when Andy finds out Lark's dog has puppies, he wants one bad. The puppies are golden labs, and they are all Andy can think of, to the point that he writes LAB inside of a heart on his notebook. Delores thinks they are Lark's initials, and is very jealous. The chapters move along quickly and the vocabulary is perfect for first or early second graders. I've read two in the series and like both.
The second series only has one title out and the second is coming this summer but promises to be a lot of fun for kids. Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet takes place in Hawaii where the author Graham Salisbury grew up. Calvin and his friends are just regular kids living on the islands, but trouble seems to find them. They just happen to be across the street when an older bully character gets in trouble for shop lifting and Calvin can't keep his mouth shut about it so he becomes the target. Calvin's single mom agrees to allow her friend's daughter live with them, so Calvin has to give up his room and move to the storage room in the garage. Calvin's father is a singer who left the family after one hit song and legally changes their last name to Coconut. Lots of action and great characters, including an Army veteran who is Calvin's very cool teacher. I really like the multicultural themes in this book, especially when the new kid moves in and doesn't know anything about the local food like kimchi and shave ice. This book could easily serve as a jumping off point for some research into the Hawaiian culture. I can't wait for Calvin Coconut: The Zippy Fix this summer. I found this cool video with author Graham Salisbury addressing the children of Hawaii about his new books.