books and reading

Readalikes: “I Survived Series”


Recently I had a patron come in and ask if I had any suggestions for readalikes for the “I Survived…” series for middle-grade readers. This series by Lauren Tarshis is fast-paced, plot-driven, and focuses each book on a narrator who survived a historical event, ranging from the eruption at Pompeii to the attacks on the World Trade Center on September 11th to Nazi occupation in World War II.  Because the fictionalized accounts are grounded in real historical events, they provide readers a compelling look at things that actually happened.

For readers who have devoured the entire series, here are some more books that might scratch the itch for adventure, historical fiction, and natural and man-made disasters:

  • Stolen Children by Peg Kehret: Amy’s babysitting class didn’t prepare her for getting kidnapped with her charges and held captive at a remote wooded cabin.  Amy has to strandedthink fast to save her and the baby she’s been caring for.  Fast-paced and featuring a spunky heroine, Kehret is an award-winner who has a compelling story guaranteed to rivet readers.
  • Stranded series by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts: Yes, Survivor’s Jeff Probst has
    written a series of middle grade novels, and they’re a good fit for readers who love the I Survived… series. A group of kids get stranded on a deserted island, and they have to rely on each other–and their wits–to survive.  Perfect for readers who love the idea of kids on their own in the wild without adults.
  • The Dive (and sequels) by Gordon Korman: Four kids on a summer diving expedition discover sunken treasure.  The resulting adventure
    includes a race against time, sharks, and competition.  This will work for readers looking for adventure and survival skills, especially if they’re interested in the depths of the sea.
  • Storm Runners series bystorm-runners Roland Smith: A boy and his father are “storm runners,” which means they travel the country in pursuit of tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes. Instead of sitting in a classroom all day, Chase learns while on the road, but when the storm of the century hits, he’s in real danger.  Put this series in the hands of bad weather junkies.
  • The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka: In this series that blends the fantastical with the historical, three boys use a magical book to hop around in time, visiting places like the knights of the round table and the Jolly Roger pirate ship. Scieszka is known for blending his humor with a fast-paced plot, and readers interested in the historical will gobble this series right up.

Feel free to let me know if there’s something major I’m missing–I’m always happy to add more titles to my list for the voracious readers.


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