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>Trivia question

>What novelist for children with more than three or four books to his or her name has never written a sequel? I ask because I’m surveying my books to be be reviewed for the September issue (surveying being far more entertaining than actually, you know, reviewing) and, like, six out of the seven novels are sequels. (And Jen and Martha know to keep the fantasy far, far from me so it’s not that.) I thought Katherine Paterson, but then Martha pointed out that Lyddie shows up twice.

If any M.L. S. student is in need of a thesis topic, I think it would be very interesting to examine sequel-publishing over time. We’ve always had ’em, I know, but do publishers these days routinely encourage writers to follow a successful book with a related one? Or have they always?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Anonymous says:


    Do Jen and Martha keep you safe from ALL fantasy, or only sequels? Is it the doorstops that frighten you? Is it Elves? Fairies? Ghosts? Or just any hint of the supernatural?

  2. Liz Bicknell says:

    >I don’t believe Ron Koertge has ever written a sequel. Certainly, the seven YA novels Candlewick Press has published with him are all stand-alone titles.

  3. >Hmm. If there’s a sequel in Laurie Halse Anderson’s world, I can’t think of it. But I’m probably just being dense. Sarah Dessen? (Not counting that movie where they tried to make two of her books the same … though I think one character may make a repeat appearance. Damn.) Kathe Koja?

    There are question marks after these because I’m not feeling certain about them. I bet I think of seven other possibilities after I click post.

  4. Anonymous says:

    >Patrice Kindl. She has created several entrancing heroines but never followed up. What happened after the ending of OWL IN LOVE?

  5. Barbara O'Connor says:

    >I have seven middle grade novels – no sequels.

    Barbara O’Connor

  6. >Ellen Raskin (I’m working from memory, but I don’t remember any of hers being sequels).

    I was going to say Scott O’Dell — but doesn’t the heroine of Island of the Blue Dolphins show up again?

    Elizabeth Speare
    Lois Lenski
    Marguerite De Angeli
    None of EB White’s children’s books were sequels
    Robert O’Brien (thought that’s fantasy. But the sequels were written by his daughter)
    E.L. Konigsburg’s are all standalone…
    Ann Rinaldi (No, wait, Wikipedia tells me three of her books are a trilogy. but that’s just 3 out of dozens)

    which of course is proving your point, isn’t it. They’re all stuff I read as a kid.

    Oh – Kate DiCamillo’s aren’t sequels. But they’re kinda fantasy. Hm.

  7. Roger Sutton says:

    >All of these suggestions are good except Konigsburg, whose latest books are all looped together in various ways.

    It’s the high-fantasy door-stoppers I try to avoid. Just not my thing (although it used to be) and there are plenty more around here who know them better and love them more.

  8. >That’s a funny thought. I didn’t realize how sequeled the world had gotten until, at a meeting, someone from my press asked if my next book was a sequel to the first. When I said “no” people clapped and made faces of pretend shock, and then everyone laughed. So at least at Random House Young Readers, it would seem the editors are happy to get a non-series book.

    James Thurber did 3, no sequels. Lois Lenski?

  9. >Lenski popped to mind. Also Thurber.

    When I went to a meeting at Random House not long ago, I was asked if my next book was a sequel. When I said “no” people made faces of pretend shock, and a few clapped. So I’m not sure the editors are pushing this. At least not at RHBFYR.

    My understanding has been that a sequel almost never does as well as the first book.

  10. >sorry bout that. it looked like th comment hadn’t gone through…

  11. Anonymous says:

    >Laurie Halse Anderson wrote a series, WILD AT HEART,

  12. Elizabeth says:

    >To your last question, Roger, I think now nearly every children’s publisher asks a writer with a “big” book to go back to that well again, and yes, I think that request was much less frequent in days of yore. Jean Craighead George didn’t write a sequel to My Side of the Mountain for years, until given sufficient encouragement. And by the way, Ellen Raskin’s heirs have approved a sequel to The Westing Game, which will be coming from Dutton. Elizabeth Winthrop ask asked to do a sequel to Castle in the Attic for years before she did one, and I can think of a major YA novel where the author has been asked to write about the characters again, but so far he hasn’t been interested.

    You know, Andrew Clements has written series, but as far as I can think of, none of his middle grade novels, like Frindle, have recurring characters–each is a stand alone.

    I think Laurel raises an interesting question, and it’s similar to one we often hear discussed about movies. What book sequels were more popular than the originals?

  13. >He doesn’t win the contest (The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen follows Whales on Stilts) but perhaps M.T. Anderson deserves an honorable mention for books most divergent from one another. And Whales on Stilts isn’t exactly a big book; I think he went back to Thrilling Tales because he wasn’t finished with them.

  14. >David Almond hasn’t written any sequels, I don’t think.

    I thought Colin Thiele was a possibility, but it seems he did write at least one sequel, “Aftershock”, the sequel to “Shatterbelt”. But that’s the only one I can identify from more than 60 books.

    I can think of a few other Australian writers, but they wouldn’t be known in the US. (Although Melina Marchetta’s 4th novel is to be published in a couple of months and there are no sequels in sight.)

  15. janeyolen says:

    >Ann Turner, no sequels I believe.

    James Thurber.

    T. H. White. (though one could argue that since MISTRESS MASHAM’S REPOSE riffs on the Liliputians left behind. . .and of course his adult Arthurian books are sequels.


  16. Anonymous says:

    >David Almond; and possibly Anne Fine (although A Summer House Loon and The Other Darker Ned go together and are now published as a single book On The Summer House Steps).

  17. Anonymous says:

    >Sharon Creech, no?

  18. marypearson says:

    >I only have five books to my name (one still forthcoming) and no sequels, but certainly don’t rule out the possibility in the future. I think authors probably always have a character or two that they are reluctant to let go of and entertain the possibility of revisiting them. Perhaps now the book world is just more receptive to that idea too, so we are seeing more sequels and series.

  19. Jeannine says:

    >In the mid 1800s, the Horatio Alger series of hardworking boys making good opened up ideas of what children’s literature could be. The Alger editor wanted to bring in female readers, and asked Louisa May Alcott to give it a try. Because the money looked good, she agreed, and Little Women was first published at about half its present size. It was successful, so Good Wives tacked on, and sequels and some pretty bad but commercially successful novels followed. — Jeannine Atkins

  20. lsparkreader says:

    >7 novels, no sequels here. Although I’d never say never.

    My editor once said to me, “If a novel needs a sequel, it shouldn’t.” Pithy, perhaps, but I’m not sure I agree. –Linda Sue Park

  21. >Jan Mark only did one sequel: Voyager as the sequel to Riding Tycho. All her others were stand-alones.

  22. Nancy Werlin says:

    >Seven books from me; no sequels.

    I do think sequels and series are more encouraged right now than they were previously, however. It’s all part of “branding.”

    -Nancy Werlin

  23. >Another – until Sea of Trolls/Silver Apples, I don’t think Nancy Farmer’s books are sequels (although, admittedly, I haven’t read all of them).

    Some of Rosemary Sutcliff’s kind of are, though its not the characters who continue from book to book but artifacts over time.

    And I’m bummed about a “sequel” to The Westing Game. Not as bummed as I am to find out that someone has written a prequel series to Anne of Green Gables, but pretty bummed.

    Were any of Isabelle Holland’s books sequels?
    Zibby O’Neals weren’t, but there were only 3.
    Norma Klein? Robert Cormier? Irene Hunt?

  24. Anonymous says:

    >Re: Laurie Halse Anderson: A secondary character from SPEAK was the main character in CATALYST, no?

  25. Brenda Bowen says:

    >Karen Hesse has never written a sequel to any or her books. Nor has the ever-inventive Adam Rapp, right?

    I like what Linda Sue Park’s storied editor told her about sequels. I will put that in a “words from the wise” fold of my brain.

  26. Anonymous says:

    >Are sequels a bad thing? As a child I loved the E. Nesbit books about the Bastable children, all of the Oz books, the Ramona books, Joan Aiken’s series about Dido & Simon . . . I ask out of ignorance: is there a critical prejudice against sequels?

  27. Roger Sutton says:

    >Last anon, some books require sequels and some books invite them, but for some books (cough Small Steps cough) they seem a manufactured extension that no one was really looking for. I think Nancy is right, there are more today because With so much more fiction is being published, a sequel allows not one book but two or three or more to keep their heads poked above the water.

  28. Roger Sutton says:

    >Interesting thing re Zibby ONeal–her first two books were written as one, but editor Deborah Brodie told her to split them.

  29. Anonymous says:

    >Sharon Creech has indeed written a sequel:

    Love That Dog / Hate That Cat

    Have any of these authors written sequels? I can’t think of any:

    Karen Cushman
    S. E. Hinton
    Margaret Mahy
    Uri Orlev

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