Endangered Series #23: Horrible Harry
Popularity comes, popularity goes. As librarians we’re always balancing between what will circulate like crazy and what we need to have in the collection. And we’re not the Library of Congress – we can’t (and shouldn’t) keep everything.
An endangered series is one that appears to be waning in terms of popularity. But popularity isn’t everything. Should it stay, or should it go? Or think of it this way – if you were starting a library today, would this series make the cut? Let’s discuss.
Horrible Harry (series) by Suzy Kline
This chapter book series ran from 1988 to 2019, spanning 30 years and 37 books. Books 1-16 were illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz. Books 17-37 were illustrated by Ann Wummer.
The Case for Keeping: Illustrated chapter books serve such an important role on the path to literacy for kids. They sit at that important place right between early readers and longer novels. Chapter book series are often the books that get kids reading, as they get comfortable with the characters and plot structures. Horrible Harry definitely falls into this category.
The Case for Not: As is often the case for older chapter book series, they can lose steam after a while if parents/teachers/librarians aren’t actively pushing them.
Refresh? While the composition notebook-style look of the books has remained the same from the beginning, there’s a good chance many libraries don’t have later books in the series.
My Verdict: We’re keeping ours. This series seems primed for a boost via a book talk.
What are you doing with this series at your library? Anyone willing to fess up that they still have these on the shelf?
Filed under: Endangered Series
About Travis Jonker
Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at email@example.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.
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