Jessica says her son is about middle-of-the-pack for reading with his class, and she asked especially that I give her recommendations for traditional chapter books, rather than graphic novels. I love graphic novels, but ok, I'll rein myself in.
My son Benjamin, who is seven years old and an advanced reader, is informing a lot of my recommendations in this post. Book cover images will link you over to Amazon, and if you make purchases through my links I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.
10 exciting chapter book series
This is series that my 7 year-old son, who is an advanced reader, really enjoys. He gets them from his teacher's classroom library. So, admittedly, I haven't read any of the The Secrets of Droon. But from what I've seen they look fun and imaginative and about the same length as Magic Tree House books.
When Benjamin started bringing these home, it took me back to my school days. I loved these books! There is a whole series of them, including Ghosts Don't Eat Potato Chips and Angels Don't Know Karate and so forth. In each one there is something mysterious about the adults at the Bailey School and definite evidence for fun supernatural shenanigans.
We listened to some of these on audio recently and they were super fun to experience together. We would pause the audio when prompted and try to work out the solutions. I just found one on the library discard shelf the other day, and Benjamin was so into it that he didn't want to put it down when we got in the car. They also encourage him to re-read: he was telling me he wanted to read the case again before he checked the solution, to see if he could work out the answer for himself. Hooray for critical thinking!
These aren't new but they're still hilarious! The Wayside School has many fun characters and zany problems. I think these are a must for an eight-year-old! The humor is silly but not crass, the writing is excellent and the characters are well developed. A modern classic.
These are new and they're hilarious! Alvin is a first-grader, but rest assured that kids of all ages and adults are amused by the antics of this adorable Asian-American. He has "so-so performance anxiety disorder" and can't actually speak at school, or when he gets in too deep in other situations. This lends to funny moments, poignant moments, and I think it builds empathy for kids who suffer from anxiety. I know it did for me.
Classic! Benjamin prefers to read these in graphic novel format, and Levi loves the one we have on audiobook. I think he's listened to it upwards of 10 times. My husband Jacob read these in his own childhood. If you haven't tried these yet, give them a shot.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
I've read some of the books in this series, and we've listened to some on audio as a family. The audiobooks are done by a full cast. We all loved them . . .except for one of the narrators, sigh. So good though! I definitely recommend the books. Dragons and wizards and enchanted swords aplenty.
Every library is gonna have these and they're worth the read. If he doesn't like the first one, leave it at that, but if he does, there are 12 more!
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
I admit that I haven't read this series myself, yet. But I do plan on it! I've heard so, so much good about them. And with the movies out, they're back on the radar of kids and teachers, too.
This book was fun and funny and "Hello, Star Wars you are so popular right now!" I liked this one well enough that I'd totally read it aloud to my kids. It has three of four sequels as well.
Ok Jess, I know that you said you're NOT looking for graphic novels, but I just had to put a few of them on this post.
What do you think? What would you add to this list?