Author Siman Nuurali writes about a fun-loving third-grader Sadiq and his lively Somali American family in a series of eight books geared toward independent readers.
Series books for children are the “secret sauce” for turning kids into lifelong readers. What exactly is a children’s series book? Some well-known titles include The Magic Tree House, I Survived, and The Boxcar Children.
Following a predictable pattern, the main characters usually remain consistent throughout with challenges to overcome. The story arc is similar, if not identical in each book, but settings and specific elements may change. However, the plot does not connect between books, each is its own adventure. Additionally, the writing style doesn’t change even though the books are sometimes written by a pool of authors.
These books aren’t just loved by children – adults love their favorite mystery or romance series books as well! When adults or children want to relax, series books fit the bill. Familiar characters and a recognizable plot allow the reader to enjoy the story without having to work too hard.
As with all things, the more you practice a skill, the better you get – reading is no different. Children gain foundational knowledge of basic literary elements without even realizing it. Series help kids discover the joy of spending time with books – turning kids into successful, confident readers because they are motivated to discover more. They see themselves as “readers.”
Just as your three year old child wants to hear the same story every single night, your eight year old loves the comfort and familiarity of another adventure with Jack and Annie in The Magic Tree House.
Children in the 8 to 10 age range tend to collect items, Pokemon cards, fidget spinners, Matchbox cars, Beanie Babies, rocks and stamps. Series books feed into that need to accumulate, organize and identify objects. And, if their peers are reading the same books, series books give kids things to discuss and help build social interaction.
Melissa Taylor of the Imagination Soup Blog explains, “Reading more than one Magic Tree House book helps readers make and refine predictions of what will happen in the story. These predictions are easier than reading a completely new book because now kids have background knowledge. They already know several of the main characters will always be the same and there will always be a problem for them to solve.”
Series books also improve comprehension and fluency: they help support new readers’ focus on the content without having to think about the characters and plot structure. Fluency is a reader’s ability to read “quickly, accurately, and with proper expression” according to the National Reading Panel, Taylor cites.
The MMWC library has several series featuring Muslim characters. Start your young reader on a path to reading success because the gift of reading lasts a lifetime. Our favorites include:
Planet Omar written by Zanib Mian, (first released under the title The Muslims), won the Little Rebels Award 2018, as well as being shortlisted for the UKLA Award and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
Sadiq by Siman Nuurali
Sadiq is a Somali-American boy living in Minnesota. He, his family and school friends, enjoy a variety of realistic adventures that all have a positive impact on their community. For example, in Sadiq and the Ramadan Gift, Sadiq and his friends organize a club to host an Iftar to raise money for a Somali school.
Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi
Written for younger readers, the Yasmin books offer several short chapters, lots of illustrations, and considerable whitespace between text. Yasmin is a cute and funny second grade Pakistani-American who uses her smarts to help her solve problems.
Planet Omar by Zanib Mian
This London based series features Omar, a Muslim boy who is navigating family life, school, and trying not to get in trouble. With funny situations and lots of line art, this series will appeal to kids who also enjoy the Dog Man and Wimpy Kid series.
Shirin by Birsen Ekim Ozen and Selim by Mustafa Orakci
These series are both published by Timas Kids in Istanbul. Shirin is a spunky girl with a big imagination. In the first book in the series, Shirin Gets Down to Business, she accompanies her father and her mother to their jobs and realizes that the division of labor isn’t exactly equal. Selim and the First Day of School is the first title in the Selim series and details the excitement and concern Selim feels about the first day of school plus his efforts to help his younger brother manage his first day. While both of these books feature funny plots and eye-catching illustrations, readers may be unfamiliar with some of the terms used.