Introducing American Books to an International Audience
America has its own share of books that make excellent reading for an international audience. These books share what it means to be part of an American family, living with this country’s culture and the values Americans embrace. Some books reflect modern living while others harken back to another time.
One such set of books is The Happy Hollisters by Jerry West. Written in the 1950s and 1960s, this series offers a slice of life from a more innocent time in American history. Geared toward children aged 4 to 12, this series of 33 books appeal to kids who like a bit of mystery in their stories, blended with history, science, and social studies. Originally published in hardcover, the books are now available in paperback and Kindle formats.
The Happy Hollisters Adventures
The Happy Hollisters are a family that includes five children and their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Hollister. Mr. Hollister owns a store that carries hardware items, toys, and sporting goods. Mrs. Hollister is a stay-at-home mom who focuses on taking care of the kids.
The series begins when the family moves into a house on Pine Lake. As soon as they move in, mysterious adventures begin. Each volume focuses on a mystery that the kids go out to solve on their own, with minimal assistance from their parents.
The kids range in age from ages 4 to 12. Pete, the oldest, is 12. He loves sports as does his sister, Pam, who is 10. Energetic Ricky is the next oldest at 7, followed by 6-year-old Holly, a fun-loving tomboy. The baby of the family is 4-year-old Sue. The kids are usually joined on their adventures by their dog, Zip, and their cat, White Nose.
Each book in the series was carefully crafted to build a love of reading in its audience. Every chapter ends with a twist or cliffhanger, designed to get the child excited about the next page. This format, designed for emergent English-language readers, lends itself well to international readers as well.
If you are looking for an American series for an international audience, The Happy Hollisters is where you should start.