The Happy Hollisters

Reading stories should be part of a child’s life, beginning with parents reading books aloud at bedtime, then transitioning to the child reading on his or her own. Stories entertain children and spark their imagination, but they can do so much more. They can convey morals, build character, and teach respect.

Stories Designed to Be More Than Just Entertainment

Moral stories for kids have all the hallmarks of the best tales of childhood. They engage the child’s imagination. They entertain and make a child smile. They gain the child’s attention and keep it focused for the length of the story. But wholesome, moral stories have an added element as well: they instill a moral truth.

Kids love to read the same story multiple times (sometimes to the consternation of the parents). With moral stories for kids, this is actually a positive thing. The child becomes familiarized with the story and the moral lesson it conveys. Plus, each time the child reads the story, there is a chance for a one-on-one discussion of events and situations that occur. Those are teachable moments.

Looking for Stories That Teach Morals?

Finding stories that offer teachable moments can be a challenge. You want stories that will entertain while giving your child a chance to learn something about character, respect, and manners. One book series to consider is The Happy Hollisters.

The Happy Hollisters books center on a family of five children who take readers on adventures in sleuthing and mystery solving. The kids—Pete, Pam, Ricky, Holly and Sue—range in age from 4 to 12, the ideal ages for readers. Their father, Mr. Hollister, owns a hardware/sporting goods/toy store, while Mrs. Hollister is a classic stay-at-home mom. Each story begins with an exciting or mysterious situation that inspires the kids to do some amateur sleuthing. Carefully crafted cliffhangers and plot twists keep the readers wanting to turn the page for more.

The first four books were published in 1953. They were written under the name “Jerry West,” a pseudonym for children’s author Andrew E. Svenson. In addition to writing all  33 volumes of The Happy Hollisters, he also outlined, edited, and wrote a number of Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, and Bobbsey Twins volumes. Between 1953 and 1970, the last year of publication, over 11 million Happy Hollisters books were sold.

The long-lasting love of these books sparked renewed interest in the series, as original readers grew up and wanted to share their childhood favorites with their children and grandchildren. In 2010, the author’s family began reissuing the series, starting with volume 1, The Happy Hollisters. So far, volumes 1-19 and 21 have been reissued in paperback and digital formats, and several more will be reissued each year until the entire series is once again available.

Why the Happy Hollisters?

Each book in the Happy Hollisters series is carefully constructed to enhance a child’s love of reading, but that is not the only benefit. The stories are filled with moral lessons that offer many teachable moments: Do we follow the bad guy on our own or ask the police for help? What should I do if I’m separated from my family on vacation? Who is the proper owner of the valuable treasure we found? These classic children’s books convey morals, show children building character, and even model proper manners. Although the Happy Hollisters were written in the 1950s and 1960s, the stories are timeless in the valuable lessons they can teach today’s children.

If you are looking for moral stories for kids, give the Happy Hollisters a try. Your kids will get hooked on the first book.

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