Chapter Books for Young Readers: Timeless Favorites for Boys AND Girls

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Months ago we hit a spell where both of the older kids (5 and 6 at the time) were absolutely insatiable when it came to chapter books. Cecilia especially would read a book, adore it, and then read it again 2 or 3 times in the same day! So I knew it was time to branch out, but there are so many completely lame chapter books out there and I wanted to stock our shelves with *good* material that I wouldn't regret in the long run.

I turned to my wonderful list of Facebook friends to ask for their recommendations and discovered a HUGE treasure trove full of wonderful chapter books that are sure to please young readers!

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Now, this obviously isn't an all-encompassing list - there are more awesome books out there that I didn't mention (and I'm sure my amazing readers will jump in with suggestions in the comments!), but I think it's a good start. I'm breaking them into loose categories, but some of them really fit into more than one.


Jessica Day George (her Castle Glower series and Dragon Slippers series are great for young readers - the other books will appeal more to older readers)
Patricia Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles are lovely and fun, featuring a strong female protagonist without being too stereotypically "girl power" ish.
Howl's Moving Castle (as well as others in the series, and most all of Diana Wynne Jones' books)
Roald Dahl's books are hit-or-miss with my kids - my very silly son loves them, but my more straight-laced daughter says they're too silly (although she really enjoyed Matilda, but I've hidden The Witches from them because I remember being terrified by it as a child!)

"Historical" Fiction: Not necessarily focused around a certain event in history, but focusing on much earlier time periods

Little House Series (now available to download as audio books, too!) is one that gets read over and over in our house!
Caddie Woodlawn is a great book for kids who have loved Little House
Classic American Girl books (like these - they're only available used but you can usually find them at the library, too) are also great, and cover a wide range of historical time periods.
Latsch Valley Farm Series starts off in the 19th century and spans several generations of the Polish family through the series.
Lois Lenski (Strawberry Girl in particular has been recommended by many, and I found Indian Captive fascinating as a girl)

Wholesome Fun:
Betsy Tacy is such a sweet series! We've only read the first few, but they continue through Betsy's adolescence.
B is for Betsy (and others in the Betsy series) is similar in feel to the Betsy Tacy books, too.
Milly-Molly-Mandy has sweet little stories that enchanted both my son and daughter.
Children of the Noisy Village (and other Astrid Lindgren books - I love Pippi!)
Henry Huggins (and other Beverly Cleary books, although the Henry ones are our favorites, and my son loves Ramona)
Grandma's Attic Series
Mrs. Piggle Wiggle

Family Books:
Noel Streatfeild's Shoe books (Theatre Shoes and Ballet Shoes are our favorites) - some of my absolute favorite books from my childhood, and lovely to read about strong sibling relationships.
E Nesbit books (esp. The Railway Children)
The Boxcar Children has a HUGE number of books in the series, and a sweet movie based on the first book that is very family-friendly.
The Fairchild Family Series
Hilda Van Stockum books
The Moffatts (and really all Eleanor Estes books)

There are so, so many more! What would you add to the list?

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