Sunday, March 11, 2018

RA RA Read: I survived...reading all the books!

I first heard about I Survived from the kids years ago when it was added to our school's Battle of the Books list. It's grown in popularity until it's now nearly as popular as Wimpy Kid and other perennial favorites, at least in my library. Thanks to some suggestions from Storytime Underground and my own mental files, I've compiled a list of titles to suggest when kids survive their initial bout of reading and clamor for more.

New I Survived books are published approximately every six months. Fans will also want to check out the accompanying I Survived: True Stories series, the true stories behind the stories, if you know what I mean. I shelve these with the fictional stories.

Top Secret Files series by Stephanie Bearce from Prufrock Press is a higher reading level, but will definitely attract kids who like the historical and short story aspect. Each book contains short anecdotes, historical facts, and other information. There are titles ranging from wars to the wild west and gangsters of the 1920s.

Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales are awesome. That being said, you will have to do some booktalking as they're a different format than I Survived. They are graphic novels with dense text and illustrations, highlighting different historical moments. The series starts with One Dead Spy, but my personal favorite is Big Bad Ironclad. There are also more contemporary stories, like Treaties, Trenches, Blood and Muda powerful, but grim retelling of World War I. Get kids hooked, and they'll be fans, but they'll need to be fairly strong readers.

Capstone has a great series that are not only good read-alikes for kids who are into Choose Your Own Adventures-style books, but also will grab the I Survived fan crowd. Can You Survive....? takes different historical events (like the Titanic) and general disasters (like being lost in the jungle or shipwrecked) and walks kids through choices to see if they can survive. They include nonfiction information as well. There are also numerous history-related titles and series in the You Choose... collections from Capstone.

A new series that has kids pretty excited is Lost! by Todd Olson. So far there is a title on Apollo 13 and one on World War II with more to come. These are an excellent read-alike for I survived, with blow-by-blow descriptions of the action and I was really impressed with the first title's inclusion of multiple perspectives, including the teen daughter of one of the astronauts.

For straight-up survival, a new series from Terry Lynn Johnson, Survivor Diaries is awesome. I reviewed the first title, Overboard!, and it flies off the shelf. The mix of real-life settings and survival tips, plus the easier reading level and diverse characters are what will make this series a standby for the genre, in my opinion.

Back to the straight-up adventures with historical aspects, Gordon Korman has several adventure series. There's one about the Titanic, Island, etc. What I love about these is that they're split into 3-4 volumes so kids don't feel intimidated by a huge book or by a lengthy series. Korman is a great writer and kids love his fast-paced adventures.

More series

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