Try one of these best adventure books. I think they’ll keep your kids reading good books. (Here you’ll find chapter book reviews for beginning readers through teen readers, ages 6 to 16.)
Adventure Chapter Books for Kids
Battle Bugs #1: The Lizard War by Jack Patton (ages 6 – 8)
Max LOVES bugs — but he never expects to become one! Not that he’s a bug, he decides to help his new bug friends fight the invading lizards who want the bug’s island. Adventure, battles, and bugs make this a fun first read in a new early chapter book series.
Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot The Voodoo Vultures from Venus by Dav Pilkey, illustrated by Dan Santat (ages 6 – 8)
Ricky and his best friend, Might Robot spend action-packed days trying to save the world and get their chores done. Full-color illustrations make this enticing series even more interesting to read.
Secret Agent, Jack Stalwart by Elizabeth Singer Hunt (ages 6 – 9)
In this action-packed new series, nine-year-old secret agent Jack Stalwart travels the globe in search of his missing older brother Max while solving international crimes for the Global Protection Force.
Ferno the Fire Dragon (Beast Quest #1) by Adam Blade (ages 7 – 9)
This is a short, early chapter book about a young boy, Tom, who gets to go on a quest just like his father before him. Tom’s quest is to free a dragon from an enchanted collar which is making him destroy the kingdom. It’s a decent story –short, adventurous, and features a kid-hero. What could be better than that!?
Catnapped! Puppy Pirates by Erin Soderbergh (ages 6 – 8)
Calling all dog lovers! Read about the most awesome pirate puppies who, due to an unfortunate prank, are now prisoners on the pirate kitten’s ship –with no escape. This is a charming and funny rollicking adventure and #3 in the new Puppy Pirate series. See also: Puppy Pirates #1 Stowaway and Puppy Pirates #2 x Marks the Spot.
Dio-Mike and the T.Rex Attack by Franco (ages 6 – 8)
Michael travels with his paleontologist dad. On this particular trip, Mike wanders off and meets a girl who is trying to trap a REAL dinosaur to send it back in time from where it came. A simple adventure book with kid-appeal.
Ivy and Bean (ages 7 – 10)
This daring duo seems an unlikely pair which makes their adventures all the more entertaining. My kids loved, loved, loved these stories — and read them more than once!
The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt (ages 6 – 8)
Caught picking her nose . . . and eating it . . . means Mabel Jones is captured by animal pirates and taken to a world of animals. This is a fun adventure filled with crazy characters, a dramatic narrator, and goofy illustrations.
Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion by R. A. Spratt, illustrated by Dan Santat (ages 6 – 8)
I can’t believe I missed this series until now! It’s totally charming and entertaining. In this family, the dad detests the children and tries to get rid of them by sending hem to Nicaragua but their amazing nanny (who is a pig) always figures out how to outsmart the dad. I love Nanny Piggins!
Danger on the Reef by Jake Maddox
What an exciting adventure with great pacing. Jasmine and Arjun are siblings with scientist parents who are helping explore and clean up a coral reef. Arjun misbehaves while diving, putting himself and his sister in danger from a shark. It’s up to Jasmine to save his life and help him do better. In addition to a great adventure, you’ll also learn about ocean pollution and coral reefs.
Recipe for Adventure #1 Naples! by Giada De Laurentiis (ages 6 – 8)
Time-travel back to Naples, Italy with siblings Emilia and Alfie where they discover a world of pizza and help a new friend and his family with the important missing ingredient. Plus, 2 recipe cards. A great cooking adventure series that introduces geography, culture, and new foods.
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck, illustrated by Kelly Murphy (ages 6 – 8)
This is a simple but charming story about a mouse who grows up at Buckingham Palace longing for an identity. Not only does he not know his parents but he doesn’t even know his name! Happily, his adventures lead him to a very satisfactory conclusion.
Race the Wild series by Kristin Earhart (ages 7 – 9) Starting with #1 Rain Forest Relay and now with the latest, #4 Savanna Showdown, this adventure series is quick to read and constant action. Plus, each book is filled with interesting facts about the ecosystem the creatures who live there. Savanna Showdown ends the reality adventure race with Team Red winning on the last leg in Africa.
The Gumazing Gum Girl! by Rode Montijo (ages 6 – 8)
When Gabby Gomez pops her enormous gum bubbles, the gum envelops her and gives her superpowers which she uses to help others. Fun and entertaining!
Killer Species by Michael P. Spradlin (ages 7 – 10)
I loved this fast-paced adventure series about a mad scientist who creates a hybrid crocodile-dinosaur-bird killer creature to stop visitors from entering the Everglades. Emmet and his father arrive to investigate but when his father is kidnapped, Emmet and his friend, Calvin, know it’s up to them to find where the kidnapper is holding Emmet’s father. GREAT for reluctant readers — and anyone who loves a crazy sci-fi who-done-it!
Diary of an 8-Bit Warrior by Cube Kid, illustrated by Saboten (ages 7 – 12)
Runt is a 12-year old with real problems. He doesn’t want to be a typical villager with the typical boring life. He wants to be a warrior like Steve. So he’s excited when his school finally agrees that the villagers might need warriors to fight back against the nightly attacks. When Steve loses everything and moves in with Runt’s family, Runt hopes that Steve will help with warrior training. But it’s a guy named Mike whose in the village jail that helps because Steve is too depressed. Runt’s a relatable, mostly serious, character who just wants a different life — like most kids his age and is competing for a dream opportunity.
The Zombie Chasers by John Kloepfer and Steve Wolfhard (ages 7 – 10)
Filled with cartoon illustrations, this chapter book series highlights the bravery of a group of friends (and siblings) who will save the world from zombies. A fun adventure of kid-power.
Lost in the Pacific, 1942: Not a Drop to Drink by Tod Olson (ages 8 – 12)
Dog Driven by Terry Lynn Johnson (ages 8 – 12)
A story about finding your strength even if it looks like a weakness…McKenna enters a long dog sled race in order to bring awareness to her sister’s degenerative eye disease. Which McKenna can tell she has, too. Her eyesight is worse and worse. She just doesn’t want to tell her parents and be treated differently. During the race, she relies on her lead dog to guide the sled. Another racer, a boy with a blind dog, shows her that his dog is a powerful leader. He quickly notices that’s McKenna can’t see either. The challenges of the race and her new friendship help McKenna realize that just like Zesty the blind dog, she is not disabled and that her differences make her better.
Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart
Sent to an isolated boy’s prison, Jonathan has little time to adjust before all the prison’s adults are killed in a freak lightning accident. Soon a Lord of the Flies scenario develops, Jonathan’s friend is banished from the group, and a mysterious old librarian gives Jonathan books to read that strangely seems perfect for his situation. When a dangerous storm threatens the entire island, Jonathan must decide if he will abandon his guilt and step up to help the other boys. Moral dilemmas, suspense, and action, plus good writing make this an engrossing adventure.
The Outcasts: Brotherband Chronicles, Book 1 by John Flanagan
I’m a new John Flanagan fan — this was such a well-written story of a young, fatherless boy named Hal whose mom was an Araluen slave. To survive the town’s prejudice against him, he is helped by another outcast, his dead father’s former shipmate, a one-armed recovering drunk. When it’s time for his Brotherband training, he becomes the leader of a rag-tag group of boys. They’ll compete against better, stronger teams who don’t always play fair. The stakes are high and Hal must win even with his group of misfits.
Hero Rescue Mission by Jennifer Li Shotz
Survivor Diaries Overboard! by Terry Lynn Johnson
Explorer Academy: The Nebula Secret by Trudi Trueit
Wild & Chance by Alan Zadoff
The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke
This started out a little slow but once it got going, the story hooked me! 5 older orphans escape an adoption from an unscrupulous ship captain and use clues to find Milou’s long-lost parents. When they arrive at the location, there are no adults there so the kids make a puppet dad to trick the neighbors. To earn money for their illegal adoption, they plan a big puppet show. Meanwhile, the ship captain is searching for them — and won’t give up easily. An enthralling adventure with heroic, problem-solving kids!
Botswana Travels with Gannon and Wyatt by Patti Wheeler & Keith Hemstreet
Edge of Extinction The Ark Plan by Laura Martin
Action from the first page! This is a crazy good story about a dangerous world where cloned dinosaurs have taken over. Sky and her fellow humans live below ground in safety with Noah as their supreme ruler. Sky discovers that her missing (maybe traitor?) father left her a secret note with cryptic instructions on how to find him. She leaves the underground city in search. Barely outside a day, she and her friend Shawn are rescued from hungry dinosaurs by a boy who lives in a treetop enclave. When his enclave is attacked by Noah’s soldiers looking for her, Sky realizes that everything she believed about Noah is wrong and is even more determined to find her father. LOVED it!
The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell
It took me a few chapters to embrace this story but once I did, I found it to be a lovely, kid-powered adventure with a feel-good ending. Vita’s grandfather has been swindled out of their family mansion. She’s determined to right the wrong and enlists three other children to help her — a pickpocket and two circus boys. She makes a lot of mistakes — like confronting the evildoer — but learns and plots to succeed. And in the end, their little troupe of good thieves prevails!
Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, illustrated by Karl Kwasny
Not only is this story compelling and interesting, but so is the symbolism and life lessons. Charlie’s dad remarries and moves Charlie and his younger brother into the stepmother’s frightening purple mansion. There Charlie begins to have the most horrible nightmares — nightmares that blur between reality and dream. And when the witches steal Charlie’s brother into the nightmare world, Charlie and his friends must learn to face their fears in order to rescue his little brother and for the nightmare world not to have access to the real world.
The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Colgate
ADDICTING!! In this story, the zombie apocalypse is kind of fun. At least that’s how Jack approaches life and zombie fights. He and his best friend, Quint, live in an upgraded, well-defended treehouse (which is SO COOL I totally want to live there) where they plan for rescuing his crush June (even though she doesn’t need rescuing being quite capable) and fighting zombies. Illustrations throughout make this even more appealing to read and imagine. I absolutely love this series.
96 Miles by J.L. Esplin
“Dad always said if things get desperate, it’s okay to drink the water in the toilet bowl.” Isn’t this a great first sentence? An apocalyptic event has happened, there’s no electricity, the brothers are alone, and all their dad and their survival supplies were stolen at gunpoint. Now John and Stewart are on the road trying to get to a friend’s ranch for their supplies. It’s not going well–they’ve picked up a girl and her little brother not to mention Stewart is nonstop fighting with John. If you like survival stories, sibling stories, and adventure, this is a great choice.
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles, illustrated by Dapo Adeola
If you’re a fan of wild and wacky stories, this is the book for you. Cousins Otto and Sheed accidentally stop time, freezing all the people in the town. Mostly. Because a sinister Mr. Flux on a gigantic beast can move about as can all the people related to time like A.M. and P.M.and Father Time. Throw in some unexpected plot twists and excellent writing and it adds up to a delightful adventure that just proves you should be careful what you wish for…
Elements of Genius: Nikki Tesla and the Ferret-Proof Death Ray by Jess Keating
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibb
Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson
I thought this was not just a great series but I loved that it’s written in a combo of text and comics.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Kyle and a few classmates win a sleepover at the new town newly created library by game-creator Mr. Lemoncello. The silly Mr. Lemoncello devises a fun way to get OUT of the library — you can only get out if you solve the puzzles around the entire library. Will the kids work together or will it be every child for himself?
Masterminds by Gordon Korman
This is is a fantastic series that leaves you on the edge of your seat. Eli and his friends discover that their utopian town is all a big science experiment to determine if kids with bad genes, cloned from criminal masterminds, can be “good” when raised in the so-called right environment. The cloned kids know they can’t stay in the town anymore but how can they escape when the minute they reach the border, they feel violent pain and guards quickly surround them? And if they do escape, what will they do next?
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
This is the story of three children and one dog in medieval France on the run from the King. It tackles big issues such as faith, God, prejudice, friendship, and family. The writing, the story, the characters, and the themes all pack a big punch adding up to a compelling novel that will make you think deeply and leave you changed.
Tunnels series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
In pursuit of his missing father, Will finds a crazy, cult-like subterranean group controlled by frightening leaders who will stop at nothing to maintain control and order in their colony below the surface. I couldn’t put this book down and can’t wait to read the rest of the series.
The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks
Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard
Darkus Cuttle’s museum director dad mysteriously disappears from a locked room in the museum. Darkus learns that there’s something very strange going on . . . and it has to do with intelligent beetles and a cruel benefactress of the museum. This middle-grade chapter book took me by surprise; I really loved it.
H.I.V.E. (Higher Institute of Villainous Education) by Mark Walden
Otto is a prime candidate to become a super villain says the school H.I.V.E. that kidnaps him, enrolling him unwillingly in their island school for villains. Otto and his classmates plan a daring break-out. Plus they need to stop the mutant flesh-eating plant that’s attacking everyone in the school. A great adventure series!
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman
Aidan and Meg Falconer are their parents’ only hope. The Falconers are facing life in prison — unless Aidan and Meg can follow a trail of clues to prove their innocence. The problem? Right now they’re trapped in a juvenile detention center. Until they escape one night — and find themselves on the run, both from the authorities and from a sinister attacker who has his own reason to stop them. The Falconers must use their wits to make it across the country … with plenty of tests along the way.
Spy Camp series by Stuart Gibbs
12-year old Ben accidentally is recruited for a secret spy school. Which he kind of loves. Even though people are trying to kill him. And even though he’s not an encryption wizard. This is a fantastic, fast-paced and hilarious adventure series.
Tyrannosaurus Ralph by Nate Evans and Vince Evans
Horizon by Scott Westerfeld
The story begins with a plane crash over the Arctic Circle with only 8 kid survivors. The wrecked plane lands in a sinister jungle filled with attacking vines, shredder birds, and two moons in the sky. What happened to the Arctic? When the kids find an anti-gravity tool, they use it to help them fly so they can locate water and eventually, hunt for answers to where they are. Because they suspect someone engineered this dangerous world and more importantly, they need their help –Molly is getting sicker from the glowing green bird bite on her shoulder and they don’t want another death. (Yes, there is the death of the adults and one kid who dies in the story, too.)
Pararescue Corps by Michael P. Spradlin, illustrated by Spiros Karkavelas
The Jolly Regina: The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Jen Hill
Even before their parents disappeared, Jaundice and Kale Bland loathed excitement and adventure. But their boring existence is rudely disrupted when they are kidnapped by all-female pirates. Who would have thought they could adapt to pirate life, search for their long-lost pirate parents, and return home with the exact same desire for boring as when they left? Funny and very entertaining!
Theodore Boone The Scandal by John Grisham
This is my first Theodore Boone novel and I enjoyed it. I picked this book because it’s about teachers cheating on standardized tests. I think students, teachers, and parents can all relate to hating standardized tests so you’ll find this plot relatable and intriguing. Theodore, a helpful kid known for his burgeoning lawyering skills, learns that his friend wrote an anonymous letter to turn in the cheating teachers. Both he and his friend are conflicted, especially when the teachers lose their jobs and are prosecuted.
Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes
I thoroughly enjoyed this action-packed adventure story. Addison and Molly’s archeologist aunt and uncle are kidnapped for their specialized knowledge about the Incas and their famed, hidden treasure. But the kidnappers have underestimated the persistence and brilliance of Addison and Molly who, with their friends, pursue the treasure and their aunt and uncle.
Voyage of the Frostheart by Jamie Littler
You won’t want to leave this magical, dangerous, snowy world! Voyage of the Frosthart is a fantastic, illustrated adventure story about an orphan boy with forbidden musical powers. You’ll meet sentient creatures like the vulpi, a walrus and a yeti, not just human-kin, who live in Strongholds to stay safe from the monstrous Lurkers and Leviathans. After Ash’s Pathfinder parents disappear, Ash moves in with a strict guardian Yeti named Tobu. Unfortunately, they’re banished from their home when Ash uses his forbidden Song Weaver magic. They leave the village with a Pathfinder crew, a ship that sails over the snow. On their journey, Ash realizes that he can find his parents using the words in his childhood lullaby. But he’ll be tried, tested, and tricked. Who will he trust? And which side will he choose — light or dark?
Welcome to Wonderland Home Sweet Motel by Chris Grabenstein
P.T. (named after the other P.T.) tells the most creative stories — and it’s his creativity that hopefully will save his family’s motel from the bank. With only a month to raise $100,000, he and his new friend, the math whiz, Gloria Ortega, think they can do it with some unique promotions that include a talking frog and a pirate’s buried treasure. Unfortunately, they come up short only to discover that there might be REAL buried treasure somewhere at the motel.
Loot by Jude Watson
Once I opened this chapter book, I couldn’t put it down! When March’s dad falls off a building in his last jewel robbery (accident or not?), March is sent to foster care where he meets the twin he didn’t know he had. With the help of two friends at the foster home, they decide to escape and finish March’s dad’s plan to steal all the cursed Moonstones. One of the best adventures of 2014 – I loved it!
Shark Bait: Extreme Adventures by Justin D’Ath
I read Shark Bait in the Extreme Adventure series and though it was a fantastic book, especially for kids who love action, danger, adventure, with some cool environmental focus thrown in for extra pizazz.
Stranded by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts
Honestly, I was totally surprised that I liked this book. It’s a great adventure with real-life conflict between new step-siblings who are on a sailboat trip with their uncle. A storm sinks their ship and they barely make it to a deserted island. They’ll have to work together to survive. And hope their parents can find them. Great reading for anyone who loves action and adventure.
Surrounded by Sharks by Michael Northrop
Davey gets swept out to sea. He finds an empty water container to help him stay afloat but he’s getting tired. And sharks are circling. Meanwhile, his family is frantically looking for him and doesn’t even realize he went to the secluded beach. Great action and suspense throughout this adventure.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
This is a must-read, excellent Newbery winning book about amazing lab rats with intelligence who escape from the lab and form their own community. This was always one of my fifth graders’ favorite read-alouds.
To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
Someone is trying to frame Jackson for a prank he didn’t even commit — and they’re doing a great job of it! It will take months to prove the video is falsified and by then Jackson will have missed the robot contest due to his punishment. Jackson and his friends are determined to prove their innocence but it won’t be easy. This is a great adventure filled with twists and turns. I very much enjoyed it.
Seaborne: The Lost Prince by Matt Myklusch
In this well-written, fantastic action and adventure novel, Dean Seaborne grows up on a pirate ship as their best spy and con-artist. But when he messes up the latest mission, he must pass himself off as the long-lost prince of the mysterious island of Zenhala. Once there, he must find and steal the treasure for the pirates. But strangely, Dean really might be the long-lost prince and he’s not sure he wants to rob the island anymore.
Crossing the Line (The Raven Files) by Meghan Rogers
This is a captivating, action-packed adventure about a former teenage North Korean spy and assassin, Jocelyn. Now she’s in the U.S. and is working with her parents’ previous spy agency. She’s supposed to feed North Korea intel but she’s giving them garbage because she’s loyal to the U.S. Life is complicated. No one trusts her. And there’s still the problem of her missing father. Cliff-hanger alert and some language.
Pilfer Academy: a School So Bad It’s Criminal by Lauren Magaziner
Mischievous George is kidnapped from home and forced to attend a school for crooks — where the teachers are criminal and also not very familiar with words and pronunciation (this will make you laugh!) George goes along with his new program and classes but he feels awful when he’s bored to steal a child’s teddy bear. He realizes that maybe he is not cut out for a life of crime. The problem is how to escape? Because if kids who don’t make it at the school disappear. For good. Excellent!
Beneath by Roland Smith
The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
I enjoyed this fast-paced adventure and mystery book but if your child reads it, it requires some background knowledge of the U.S. political structure because the story takes place in D.C. with all the movers and shakers. So, learn what the Whip is. That kind of thing. But, I really liked the overarching themes of friendship, forgiveness, and redemption and found it to be a thrilling adventure story.
The Rig by Joe Ducie
Oh, this was a deliciously good action story. I loved how the author wove in the science-fiction elements with a realistic adventure story of incarcerated kids who are mistrusting, and find that there are a few people in the world that they can trust. This detention center is on an oil rig in the ocean. But Drake is determined to escape — especially after he discovers what the Rig is really doing.
A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin
Sent to the Stranje House for burning down her family’s barn after a failed invisible ink science experiment, Georgina soon learns it’s not really a reform school but a sanctuary for smart, female spies who can help the British government. It’s 1814 and the government is desperate for Georgina to succeed with her ink so they can successfully send messages across enemy lines. Entertaining and adventurous!
Lockdown (Escape from Furnace) by Alexander Smith
Action and intrigue from the get-go, this is an amazing book because you, like our main character, have no idea what’s going on. Alex is framed and sent to the underground Furnace jail where the other prisoners are also under 18 and randomly killed or tortured by beast-like creatures. But Alex won’t listen to his cellmate and survive, he wants to escape.
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
Wolf by Wolf is a high-stakes journey of wits and bravery, an author’s skillful writing and imagination, and a compelling story that won’t soon be forgotten. It imagines a world in which WWII ended very differently — with the Axis powers winning. Yael, our heroine, is a death-camp medical experiment escapee who can shapeshift into other humans. She braves a motorcycle race across half the world in order to first win and second get close enough to Hitler to kill him. This is a must-read novel!
The 5th Wave by
The Maze Runner by James Dasher
What a wild ride! Kids can’t put these books down. In this dystopian world, kids are either killed or must kill to survive. There are tons of plot twists that kept me surprised and entertained. Boxed Set HERE.
The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1) by Richard Paul Evans
A fantastic sci-fi adventure series about a boy with electrical powers and an evil group who wants to control him and others like him.
Delilah Dirk and the King’s Shilling by Tony Cliff (ages 13+)
This exciting adventure YA graphic novel is about a kick-butt heroine whose world travels are cut short when she returns home to England to get revenge, clear her name, and save the British army, even if she has to be her alter-ego, proper lady while she’s there.
The Living by Matt de la Pena
Shy is a teenager from the ‘hood working on a cruise line when a huge earthquake causes a tsunami that sinks the ship. As you can imagine, it’s a harrowing fight for survival on the open ocean with only a spoiled rich girl, and when they eventually make it to an island, there’s a strange illness, men with guns, and more danger than trying to survive on the ocean.
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