A few weeks ago I shared with you my family’s favorite children’s books. Now I would like to share our favorite young chapter books. Some are from my childhood, or my husbands, but these are mostly my girls favorite books or in some cases series of books.
I think you’ll recognize a lot of these books. You really just can’t get away from the classics, but there are a few newer books. I will say they are probably more girly books. I’m sure if my son were of the age to read chapter books there would be a different selection of books. Probably some more sci-fi books or something. So I do apologize if you have boys and these hold little interest to them. But that’s where my readers come in. I love to hear what others are reading so be sure to comment with your family’s favorite books too.
Top 12 Early Reader Chapter Books
When I asked my girls for their favorites they just kept throwing more and more at me. So I couldn’t get it down to just their top 10. We had to go with top 12. These are all books that are great for upper elementary school grades like grades 3, 4, and 5. Possibly even middle to end of 2nd grade many of these can be read. Maybe with some help. My oldest has mostly moved onto Young Adult books, but she will read these to her sister and has held onto them in her little library to reread for a quick read. I will get around to sharing those top pick books for the older children too though. But for now here are the favorite early reader chapter books that are enjoyed most in our house.
Ramona Quimby books by Beverly Cleary. I loved the whole series of Ramona Quimby books when I was a child. My oldest daughter really got into them too. When I asked her for her favorite, this was at the top of her list. Ramona’s life adventures as a young child. How she deals with her big sister, Beezus. Just the whole entire series are a hit with my girls. Just like they were a hit for me when I was a child. There are 8 books in this series.
Beezus and Ramona, Ramona the Pest, Ramona the Brave, Ramona and her Father, Ramona and her Mother, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Ramona Forver, Ramona’s World.
Junie B. Jones books by Barbara Park. Here’s another series of books from my childhood which my children have taken interest in. My middle daughter had this first on her list of books. They are very similar to Ramona books. Just follows the different adventures of Junie B going through life as a 1st grader or 2nd grader. There are twenty seven books in the series. I won’t list them all. I don’t think my children have read all of them, but I’m sure they have come quite close.
The neat thing about both the Junie B. Jones books and the Ramona books is while it’s a series of books you don’t have to read them in a certain order. They have many of the same characters in them, but you can pick up any one of them and won’t feel lost as they are not a continuation of the one before it.
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket. This was a series that my oldest daughter loved in 4th grade. My middle daughter began to like it too, but it was a little hard for her to read so this has been a series of books that my girls have shared. My oldest reads it with her to help her. So it’s a more advances series. This seems to be one that boys and girls both like. Well, at least my girls do. It’s an adventure series. There are 13 books in the series. All about the Baudelaire orphans. They have a series of very unfortunate events happen to them. Lemony Snicket warns that they are stories about these three children which are all unhappy and wretched and will leave you in despair. So not your typical fairy tales, but nothing to cause nightmares, I promise. It is all about these 3 orphans who are adopted by Count Olaf who turns out to be an evil villain which the children try to escape.
Tales Of A 4th Grade Nothing by Judy Blume or The Fudge books. This was a favorite of my husbands. So far all of my children have enjoyed them too, but this is the one series of books that my husband has loved talking to our children about. This is a four book series of books which 4th grader Peter Hatcher has the terrible problem of dealing with his little brother, Fudge. Fudge is an annoying little brother as most little brothers are and this series delves into the adventures of the two brothers. This particular book deals with how Peter feels ignored because little Fudge is always in trouble. Having temper tantrums, smearing food on the walls, and trying to fly. How do you compete with that?
Other books in the series include Superfudge, Fudge-a-mania, and Double Fudge.
The Chronicles Of Narnia by CS Lewis. This was my absolute favorite series of books when I was in elementary school. From The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe to Prince Caspian the whole series was captivating to me. The story of 4 siblings who step foot into a wardrobe and are transported to a magical land called Narnia with creatures like a half man half goat. It’s a mystical magical place which draws the children in and gives them the adventure of a lifetime. There are seven books in this series and I was never able to just stop after The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. There’s also Prince Caspian: The Return To Narnia, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Horse and his Boy, The Magician’s Nephew, and The Last Battle.
They created a movie based on the first book in the series which just so happened to come out around the time my oldest was beginning to read chapter books. So there was a lot of hype around it in the media back then, but my daughter still enjoys the series. I don’t think as much as I did, but it was a lot of fun sharing these books with her.
It is about a 12 year old girl named Annabella whose parents are divorced and are completely opposite. She splits time with her parents. At her moms house she’s called Anna at her dad’s house she’s called Bella and she develops this split personality because of these polar opposite parents of hers. And Annabella must then go on being your typical preteen dealing with friends and teachers and coaches and even boys all while also dealing with all of the drama of her parents divorce. I think this can be really easy to relate to for a lot of young girls. Even both of my girls who don’t have parents who are divorced found this book to be interesting.
Ivy And Bean by Annie Barrows. Here’s a favorite series of my middle daughter. There are currently 8 books in the series with a 9th one about to come out this fall. The series is about children and making friends. You know how parents are always making their kids play with other children, but you never like them?
Well, Ivy and Bean are two extremely different girls. They couldn’t be more opposite from each other and they think they are just going to hate one another, but yet somehow their differences turns them into the best of friends.
The series goes through many different adventures and circumstances the girls get themselves into. From ghosts, to plotting to get rid of bad babysitters, to dancing Ivy and Bean use each others strengths to get them through whatever life throws at them.
Charlotte’s Web by EB White. Who doesn’t know about Charlotte’s Web? The story of a pig named Wilbur who befriends a spider named Charlotte. They meet in the barn and become friends and eventually Charlotte has to rescue Wilbur with the help of a rat who doesn’t do anything for anyone unless there’s something in it for him.
A book that I myself probably read a million times over. As a matter of fact when I was discussing books with my girls my oldest found my copy of Charlotte’s Web which had a bookmark left in it. She thought I didn’t read the whole thing. I explained to her it was probably me rereading it after about the 50th time. My middle daughter has been reading this one recently probably on her second go around on it actually.
Stuart Little by EB White. There’s not much by EB White that I don’t think my family just loves. Stuart Little is no different. The story of a little mouse who is determined to not let his size get in the way. He feels he can do whatever humans do and he sets out to do it. Adventurous and funny it’s really no wonder that my girls enjoy this book so much. And well who doesn’t love stories that have animals in them?
The Mouse and the Motorcycle is about a mouse named Ralph who tries to ride a toy motorcycle, but can’t. The little boy who owns the toy ends up teaching him how to ride the motorcycle and thus develop a special bond. The go on many adventures together because once a mouse can ride a motorcycle the possibilities are endless.
Almost reminds me of If You Give a Mouse A Cookie. These tricky little mice in all of these stories.
This is also a part of a series of books about Ralph the mouse. This book is number one of three.
Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene. This is another series of books, only these are mysteries. You’ve probably heard of them before. Nancy Drew is a detective who goes around solving all of her friends crimes. Using critical thinking skills and deductive reasoning she solves the crimes and mysteries of things like the old clock or the hidden staircase. This is actually a 175 book series. One which has been published from 1930-2003. So these books have been around for a long time. They are also now publishing a much more contemporary version of Nancy Drew mysteries which might be of more interest to children today, but my oldest seems to be enjoying some of the classics. She has been reading some of my old books from my childhood. These books have been around forever and definitely some great must reads for anyone who’s interested in a good mystery.
Rent A Third Grader by BB Hiller. The story of a 3rd grade class who just love this retired police horse. But the horse is fated to become dog food and when the children get wind of it they devise a plan to raise money so that they can then become the owners of this horse saving him from this terrible fate. So each 3rd grade student does numerous odd jobs to save this horse.
I have never read this book before, but my middle daughter insisted it be on this list because she really enjoys it. Hey, if it has animals in it it’s likely to be a hit I suppose.
So there you have it, the must read books according to my 2 oldest, me, and my husband. Books that have been well loved in our household.
What are your favorite early reader chapter books? I’m always looking to expand my children’s horizon in reading. So please share your favorites.