Looking for book recommendations for children who have been hooked by a particular series or author and are ready to branch out?
At BooksForTopics, we are passionate about helping readers of all ages discover new children’s books and authors they will love. Whether it’s newly independent readers who need more early chapter books after reading Isadora Moon or graphic novel fans looking for what to read after Dog Man, we know the search for new books to keep the reading-for-pleasure momentum going can sometimes be a tricky one.
Our Branching Out booklists and posters are designed to help readers find their next favourite read after finishing a particular series or children’s book they love. We understand how difficult it can be to know where to start looking for a new book to read, especially after finishing a series or book that you have been deeply invested in. That’s why our posters showcase a range of books related to popular series and titles, making it easy for you to find your next read.
The Branching Out booklists are designed to help children to match their favourite books by finding similar titles.
Teachers and librarians are often faced with questions about helping readers to move on from familiar favourites: ‘Can you recommend a book for fans of Wimpy Kid?’, or ‘Mydaughter only reads Roald Dahl books – what else can I give her?’, or ‘How can I move my child on from Rainbow Magic?’. Sometimes this is because children have finished a series and don’t know what to try next. It can also be that children are reluctant to step away from a tried-and-tested author they like or because teachers and parents feel that a broader or more diverse selection would be beneficial.
Teachers and parents find the Branching Out lists helpful for book recommendations that match books readers are ‘stuck’ on, and many schools also use the printable display posters or purchase the full bookpacks from Peters to make sure their readers have the books they need.
How are the books on the lists chosen?
We only select books that our review panel of teachers, librarians and children’s book experts has loved and thoroughly recommended. Fans of Beast Quest could easily search the internet for a database of books containing monsters or action, but a tried-and-tested recommendation that young readers are likely to really love simply can’t be beaten.
One of the things that matters the most when finding recommendations that are similar to a beloved series is identifying the ‘sticking factors’: what exactly it is about the series that has caused the reader to become hooked. Two different readers who love the same series may find different sticking factors. For example, one child who loves The Worst Witchmight be drawn to stories of magic (in which case we might suggest Starfell next), another might love the boarding school element (they might like to try Malory Towers) and another still might be drawn to a collectable series with an adventure-loving female lead (try Pages and Co). For teachers and parents, taking time to discuss with children what it is that they love about the series in question can help to hone the recommendations for what to try next. When we select the 10 books in each of our Branching Out lists, we try to cover different likely sticking factors for each series.
One of the consequences of becoming stuck on a much-loved series or author is that it narrows the scope of reading. When we select our Branching Out lists, we also consider a diverse range of options in terms of character backgrounds and family settings.
Finally, we take care to match the reading level. Sometimes readers fall in love with a series because it is, development-wise, just the right thing at the right time. Quite often children will fall in love with Rainbow Magic or Horrid Henry because the series was their first foray into independent chapter books. Perhaps they loved the stories, but sometimes it was independent reading itself that they fell in love with. Recommendations of similar series need to take into account the reading level to be matched, in terms of word count, illustration level, vocabulary style and accessibility.
If you are looking for a series or author that is not on the list, please get in touch and we will try to help!
How can I use the printable posters?
The Branching Out posters found on each individual Branching Out booklist page are free to download and print. Many schools use our posters in their libraries and classrooms, either as printed hand-outs or as the basis for a display. We are always delighted when schools send us photographs of their fantastic Branching Out displays based on our posters.
Schools are also welcome to share the link to our Branching Out lists on their school website or emails to parents.
What Branching Out lists are available?
We’ve selected the most popular series Branching Out lists. Here are the Branching Out booklists in alphabetical order: