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10 Great First Chapter Books Series for Kids

When kids are ready to make the transition from simple readers to being able to read chapter books independently, it's a great day. I love reading aloud, and I had been reading more difficult books to my children early on. (I think my oldest were 5 and 6 the first time I read all the way through Chronicles of Narnia.) So they were obviously not only ingesting beginner reader books.

But even though it's wonderful to expose kids to great books from early on, there's a great sense of accomplishment when they can finally read chapter books. It's also hard to find early chapter books that aren't pure "twaddle." Even though I've always tried to steer the kids toward good quality books, I know there's been quite a bit of twaddle consumed around here- especially as kids discovered easy-to-read chapter books that they were proud to read independently.

First chapter books for kids


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In this post I'm sharing some of our favorite early chapter books series. Many of these early chapter books come in series, so it's nice to find one that they are interested in and then be able to read the whole set. I'm not guaranteeing that all of these will meet the qualifications of "living books", but they were ones I could compromise on. And they were books my kids really enjoyed in that early chapter book stage.


The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne- In this popular series, a brother and sister discover a treehouse filled with books. The magic comes in when they realize that they can actually be transported to the places and times they're reading about. They have many adventures through the books they read in the treehouse. One really cool thing about these books is that there are also nonfiction companion books that give kids an opportunity to read even more about the places and time periods that Jack and Annie visit through their books.

Easy chapter books

Judy Moody by Megan McDonald- I won't say that these rank up there with the classics. But my girls all enjoyed the spunky heroine- Judy Moody. She finds adventure wherever she goes. And, Judy, the main character, doesn't seem to be as annoying as some children's characters are often made out to be.

Easy readers

Time Warp Trio by Jon Scieszka- These books appealed even to Charles who really has to be persuaded to like a book. The main characters in the series are boys, another factor that is appealing to more reluctant boy readers. In these books, Joe and his two friends find a mysterious blue book from Joe's uncle. The book takes them time traveling to all different time periods and places. They really turned out to be a good jumping off point for learning about different historical periods.

Elementary readers

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows- Ivy and Bean are two spunky best friends...even though they never would have thought they'd be. Adventures come to the two opposite friends. Although Bean is definitely a "tomboy", both characters are girls, so this series was more appealing to my girls.

Kids' chapter books

Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene- Because I was a Nancy Drew fan when I was younger, I enjoyed seeing this version of Nancy Drew books for younger readers. Nancy Drew is still in elementary school, and the mysteries that she and her fiends stumble into are much more tame- like finding a missing doll.

Kids' mysteries

A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy- This early reader mystery series is another that may appeal to boy readers. Several of the main characters- the friends who go on all of the adventures are boys. Each title uses alliteration- The Absent Author, The Bald Bandit-thus the A to Z series.

Kids' chapter books

Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat- Nate and his dog Sludge are super sleuths out to solve crimes. This is another series that has a boy as the main character.

Easy readers

Nancy Clancy by Jane O'Connor- Girls who loved the Fancy Nancy picture books may love watching her grow up in these chapter books where Nancy is older and is now on adventures and solving mysteries.
Mystery books for kids

Amelia Bedelia by Herman Parish- The Amelia Bedelia books are classics, and I read some of the original books aloud to my kids when they were younger. The original Amelia was a housekeeper who got into all kinds of scrapes because she took things literally. In the new books, there is a young Amelia who still gets a little mixed up and has all kinds of adventures and fun with idioms and wordplay thrown in. This newer version has an explanation of the idioms used in the book so that kids can better understand the humor.

Easy readers

Circle C Beginnings by Susan K. Marlow- These books are the first series featuring Andrea Carter, a young girl growing up on a ranch in California in the late 1800s. Andrea is a tomboy and usually goes by Andi. Horse lovers will especially like Andi because she's also a horse lover, and the books feature horses and their ranch prominently. The author has other Andrea Carter series that feature Andi growing up. She also has a series of Goldtown Adventures with a boy as the main character.

Horse books for kids


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