I loved reading as a kid, and these series are a huge reason why. If you have children who hate reading, I challenge you to try some of these books with them and see if they don't spark some interest.
I loved this series as a kid and I still read them today. They are about an assistant pig-keeper who desperately wants to be a hero and finds himself thrown into a struggle between good and evil in the land of Prydain. These books are full of adventure, fun, and they promote good morals without shoving them in your face. You will fall in love with the characters Eilonwy, a sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, an eccentric bard; Doli, a grumpy dwarf; and Gurgi, Taren's loyal companion. Disney's The Black Cauldron was based on one of these books, though it doesn't do the series justice at all. The series order is #1: The Book of Three, #2: The Black Cauldron, #3: The Castle of Llyr, #4: Taran Wanderer, and #5: The High King.
Though Garth Nix is known more for his Abhorsen series, I was introduced to the author through this series first, and it is still my favourite of his. I just love the unique world building. The world is covered in darkness, and 13-year-old Tal lives in a castle of seven towers where the Chosen live, people who use light magic through sunstones and master shadow creatures that guard them. With Tal's father missing, it falls on his shoulders to find a sunstone for his family, and after exhausting every other option he ends up trying to steal one by climbing the Red Tower. He falls into darkness and discovers a strange world of warriors living in a land of ice. Along his journey, Tal makes friends and enemies, uncovers secrets, and realizes that there is so much more to the world of darkness and his life as a sheltered Chosen than he had first realized. The series order is #1: The Fall, #2: Castle, #3: Aenir, #4: Above the Veil, #5: Into Battle, and #6: The Violet Keystone.
Ella Enchanted was one of the few "girly" books that I read and loved. It is a wonderfully entertaining spin on the Cinderella story, where Ella is put under a curse at birth and has to obey any order given to her. Ella is saucy and smart--nothing like the gentle, quiet Cinderella the story is based on. On her way to locate the fairy that cast the curse on her, she finds herself in the company of ogres, elves, and a friendly prince. The story is funny and heartwarming, and will keep any young girl reading to the end. It is also nothing like the movie based on it.
John White's children asked him to write a book for them just like C.S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia, and that's just what he did. These books are allegorical fantasy similar to Narnia, but in a world all their own. My mom read them to me when I was in the hospital with appendicitis, and I remember absolutely loving them, and her telling me that I probably wouldn't remember them once I got out of the hospital because I was taking so many painkillers at the time. I assured her I would, of course, remember such fantastic stories. But sure enough, I had to re-read them later because I forgot what happened. Though I'm not complaining I got to enjoy them twice for the first time. The story begins on John's birthday, the day his grandmother is going to tell him the secret of his locket and his parents, but before he can find out he is magically transported to a strange land of magic, wizards, and strange creatures, where people know him as the Sword Bearer. The series order is #1: The Sword Bearer, #2: Gaal the Conqueror, #3: The Tower of Geburah, #4: The Iron Sceptre, #5: Quest for the King, and #6: The Dark Lord's Demise.
Yes, I was a Star Wars fan from a young age. This series follows young Obi-Wan Kenobi's journey to become a Jedi Knight, and it is fantastic for young readers. It begins with 12-year-old Obi-Wan training at the Jedi Temple and learning to use the Force and a lightsaber, though since he cannot control his anger, Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn refuses to take him on as an apprentice. They are forced into a journey together, and Obi-Wan learns about Qui-Gon's past and faced incredible challenges. The series is filled with action and adventure, just like Star Wars books should be. There are 18 books in the series, so I won't list them all here, but they are short and easy to read.
Read any of these? Want to read any of these or think you might try them with your kids? What are your favourite children's books?