Yesterday, we were saddened to learn Donald J. Sobol, that the author the Encyclopedia Brown series, has passed away at the age of 87. We loved the Encyclopedia Brown books as kids, and the sad news sent us on a little trip down memory lane — but not just for Encyclopedia and Sally, for all the YA series that brought us joy as, well, young adults (and, we admit, since then). Just for fun, we’re going to look beyond the obvious choices, but rest assured that we consider The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, the Harry Potter books, and The Hunger Games series to be among the best as well (even at the tippy top). It’s just that we think they’re so well established already that you really don’t need to see them on a list like this — you can probably just look over at your shelf. Click through to see a few of our most beloved YA (and older children’s book) series of all time, and if we’ve missed the books that made your younger self spin, please share the wealth and add to our list in the comments.
Encyclopedia Brown, Donald J. Sobol
Good, good Leroy Brown, aka “Encyclopedia” due to his extensive brain power and working knowledge of pretty much everything, was one of our favorite characters as young readers — though Sally Kimball, Brown’s bodyguard, best friend, and trusted purveyor of female perspective, gives him a run for his money. As wonderful as the characters are, though, the setup of the books were even better — each installation was chock-full of mysteries that the reader was invited to solve along with Encyclopedia and Sally (answers in the back), so they encouraged us to work our logical skills as well as our imaginations. “25 cents per day, plus expenses – No case too small.”