Chapter Books for an 8 Year Old Boy: 10 exciting series to keep him reading

My friend Jessica contacted me on Facebook to ask for some recommendations for her son. You guys, I haven't seen her kids since they were tiny! How fun.

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

The Secrets of Droon by Tony Abbott
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.

The Bailey School Kids by Debbie Dudley and Marcia Thronton Jones
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.

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol, narrated by Greg Steinbruner
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!

Wayside School by Louis Sachar
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.

Alvin Ho by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
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.

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
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.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
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. 

Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
This book was fun and funny and "Hello, Star Wars you are so popular right now!" I liked this one well enough that I would totally read it aloud to my kids. It is a six book series.

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.


I know for a fact that he has already read the Jedi Academy series, but I just had to stick that one on here, in case others haven't heard of it. Also, our family favorite, Mameshiba. They're perfect for the eight year old (and they make me and Jacob laugh, too!) And the graphic novel adaptations of L. Frank Baum's classic Wizard of Oz books that Eric Shanower adapted and Skottie Young drew. Those are so good! I bet the original Oz books would be a big hit with an eight year old as well.

What do you think? What would you add to this list?


  1. Thanks for the suggestions Alysa, we're always seeking out good books to read and we haven't read any of the ones listed above except the Boxcar Children.
    Some "traditional" books that my 9 year old boy has enjoyed reading are: Call it Courage, Sign of the Beaver, Ranger in Time(Rescue on the Oregon Trail) and Ranger in Time(Danger in Ancient Rome), The Mystery of the Burmese Bandicoot and the sequel The Case of the Purloined Professor, and Hardee boy series. He also loves historical fiction.

    Other favorite books we have read out loud to our 9,7,5, and 3 year old over the past couple of years include: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Ginger Pye, Pinky Pye, The Moffats, The Chocolate Touch, Mr. Popper's Penguins, The Little House on the Prairie Series, Caddie Woodlawn, My Father's Dragon, Carry on Mr. Bowditch, Jonny Tremain, Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates, Charlotte's Web, Winnie the Pooh originals, The Mixed Up Files of Mrs.Basil E. Frankwwiler, One Grain of Rice, Two Against the North,and Twenty One Balloons.

    1. Glad you liked the list, Jenni! And thanks for your recommendations. I looove From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler.

    2. We discovered Three Tales of My Father's Dragon a couple years ago and have read it multiple times. A very old, but still wonderful, book.

    3. Oh, are there 3? We read and enjoyed My Father's Dragon, but didn't know there were more.

  2. Great list! I'll pass this along to parents and kids ready for this type of series.


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