TV Show: Carmen Sandiego
Description: A master thief who uses her skills for good, Carmen Sandiego travels the world foiling V.I.L.E.’s evil plans — with help from her savvy sidekicks.
Readalikes for Gradeschoolers and up
Appeals: Adventure, fast-paced, girl power, international travel
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters (series) by Andrea Beaty
Amazon’s Description: Rosie Revere is no stranger to flops and fails, kerfuffles and catastrophes. After all, engineering is all about perseverance! But this time, Rosie has a really important project to tackle—one that feels much bigger than herself.
Crossover Appeal: This chapter book series (a companion to Beaty’s picture books) feature girls using their smarts and ingenuity to solve problems which often feature a subtle social justice bent.
Mac Undercover (series) by Mac Barnett
Amazon’s Description: James Bond meets Diary of a Wimpy Kid with this groundbreaking fully-illustrated chapter book series Mac B., Kid Spy. The precious Crown Jewels have been stolen, and there’s only one person who can help the Queen of England: her newest secret agent, Mac B. Mac travels around the globe in search of the stolen treasure…but will he find it in time?
Crossover Appeal: This series features similar plots to “Carmen Sandiego,” including globetrotting with a healthy dose of humor, and is heavy on cartoon illustrations that break up the text well for newly-independent readers.
Zita the Spacegirl (series) by Ben Hatke
Amazon’s Description: When her best friend is abducted by an alien doomsday cult, Zita leaps to the rescue and finds herself a stranger on a strange planet. Humanoid chickens and neurotic robots are shocking enough as new experiences go, but Zita is even more surprised to find herself taking on the role of intergalactic hero.
Crossover Appeal: This strong and independent female protagonist has the same do-gooder motivations as Carmen, and her space-based adventures are just as thrilling as Carmen’s.
The Princess in Black (series) by Shannon Hale
Amazon’s Description: Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret?
Crossover Appeal: A princess with a secret superhero identity who sneaks off from boring palace duties to fight monsters — what’s not to love?! The full-color illustrations and sparse text is a great fit for younger children transitioning to chapter books.
Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures (series) by Jeff Brown
Amazon ‘s Description: There’s no place on Earth a flat kid can’t go! Join Stanley on his very first adventure in the renowed Flat Stanley’s Worldwide Adventures series! Ever since Stanley Lambchop was flattened by a bulletin board, every trip is an adventure!
Crossover Appeal: Each book takes readers to another locale in each book, much like Carmen’s episodic structure, and is packed with just as much nail-biting, edge-of-your-seat adventure.