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Beginner Chapter Books for Kids

Vanessa Brown recommends chapter books to share with your little readers.

We are just now entering the new world of chapter books for kids. Boy, is it nice for my oldest daughter and me to read something that has more of a plot, story line and character development to it! I have noticed that with these chapter books she becomes really attached to the characters. She pretends to be them throughout the day and wonders what they will be up to in the next chapter.

She isn’t reading on her own yet, but I really think you can move up to chapter books earlier than you think with your kids. Her love for reading has grown even more with the introduction to chapter books. This list I have complied really is my opinion on beginning chapter books you can read together with your child.

Authors and Series

Beverly Cleary

Sometimes I think I am a bit obsessed with Beverly Cleary. I ask everyone if they remember her books from when they were a child or if their children love them now. I am baffled when I get the response, “Ramona who? The Mouse and the Motorcycle…I think we saw the movie.” Come on people! Beverly Cleary! She is a must read. The beautiful thing is this author is perfect for ANY child, boy or girl. And frankly, her books are enjoyable for the parent to read as well.

The Ramona Series

The Ralph Series

The Henry Series

Leigh Books

To see a complete list go to the author’s webpage. She also has quite a few published in Spanish.

Ivy and Bean, by Annie Barrows

Sometimes this series can remind me of a modern day Ramona, but oh-so completely different. Two friends, Ivy and Bean, are complete opposites which makes for a lot of fun. Your girls will see themselves in both characters and giggle at everything they do together. Because it is spot-on. This is how you should act when you are in 2nd grade, which sometimes we all forget. You can read more about the books at the author’s web page.

Elephant and Piggie Books, by Mo Willems

Not only are these good beginning chapter books for their simplicity and ease of reading, but they are really quirky unique books. I really enjoy books about friendship and so do children. Sometimes the characters help solve problems for each other, get on each others’ nerves, get in big fights or show how great it is to have friends. You can read more about these books on the author’s blog.

Encyclopedia Brown Box Set by Donald Sobol

My husband loved this series when he was little, and they have redone all the illustrations to make them more modern. It follows a 10 year old boy who has an uncanny knack for trivia and solves mysteries for his neighborhood friends in his local detective agency. Really, what could be better than that?

Little House on the Prairie Books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

With how fast paced, automated and computer screened out life is for our kids, these ARE a must read. Great educational read for history and American culture.

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Recommended for You

Sarah Pennypacker

You probably know her as the author of the fantastic Clementine series, but were you aware that she also has a series just for boys called Flat Stanleys? She also has written quite a few other chapter books. See a complete list at her site.

Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys

Adventure, excitement, heroes and all perfectly clean. You don’t have to worry about your kids reading anything you don’t want them to in these books.

The Baby Sitters Club, by Ann M. Martin

I recently learned that there was a huge amount of BOYS back in the day reading these the same time I was! And now the illustrations have been changed to be more modern. They have also turned some of the books into comic books!

Honorable Mentions

Zorgamazoo, by Robert Weston–A very unique chapter book done in complete rhyme.

Fairy Haven and the Quest for the Wand, by Gail Levine–For those kids, of course, that are in love with fairies.

The Flight of the Silver Turtle, by John Fardell–To fulfill the need for Sci Fi!

Ottoline Goes To School--Great books for kids you may have that get nervous going to school for the first time each year.

Summer Ball, by Mike Lupica–For the kid you have that only wants to think sports sports sports.

Only Emma, by Sally Warner–Great book for when you are going to have a new addition to your family.

Read more from Vanessa Brown at, and

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