I want your third grade 8- year-old boys and girls to have lots of good chapter books to read. That’s why I’ve put together a list of all the books I’ve reviewed and recommend for 8- year olds in third grade.
LEXILE: A reader recently asked me to include the Lexile reading levels of the books on this list. If this is helpful, you’ll see a number followed by an L. The general reading levels for third grade are 330L to 770L according to the Lexile website. (If there is no number listed, it’s because I didn’t find it’s Lexile level.)
But please don’t limit your kids to reading books exactly on their so-called reading level. There is more wiggle room with what children can comprehend than a particular reading level. In fact, levels can inappropriately limit a child’s book choices.
TOO CHALLENGING? That being said, if you find a book that you think will be interesting but too challenging for your child, use it for a read aloud at bedtime. Kids still need to be read to and hear as much story and vocabulary as possible. This is a great way to spend time together and to read more difficult books.
You Might Also Like:
The Best Book Series for 3rd Graders
Summer Reading List for 3rd Graders
Nonfiction Books for 8-Year-Olds
Need a book list that is slightly easier or harder? Try one of these:
Best Books for 8-Year-Olds (Third Grade)
A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author by Ron Roy
510L, DRA 30, Guided Reading N
The A to Z Mysteries series rocks! None of the books need to be read in any particular order, each has a self-contained mystery. I think my kids read most of the books in this series and several more than once. In this story, the famous writer that is coming to the bookstore doesn’t show up. Dink and his friends, Josh and Ruth Rose, must find out what happened. BOXED SET
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Geneva B
740L, Guided REading T, DRA 40-50
When Jax’s mom drops him off with an irascible old lady named Ma, he learns that she helps magical animals travel between worlds. In this case, three dragons. But, he and Ma accidentally travel back in time instead of to the world of magic, and Ma gets stuck there. It’s up to Jax to rescue Ma and deliver the dragons to where they belong. The only problem? Besides finding the transporter, one of the dragons is missing– stolen by his best friend’s little sister, and they’re growing bigger. Get this book and its sequel, The Dragon Thief, together so you don’t have to wait to find out what happens with the stolen dragon…I listened to both on audiobook and adored the talented narrator who made this exciting fantasy story come to life.
Who Would Win? Whale vs. Giant Squid by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Rob Bolster
700L, Guided Reading Q, DRA 40
Third-grade teachers tell me that their students can’t get enough of the Who Would Win? books. (Which just proves that reading comprehension happens in a little harder books if students are motivated!) In this book pitting two ocean carnivores against each other, you’ll learn facts about the sperm whale and the giant squid then read an imagined story where these two creatures face-off. Can you predict who will win? See all the informational books in the Who Would Win series.
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
FANTASY / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Guided Reading Q, DRA 40
This popular graphic novel series is about two siblings trying to save their mom who was taken to an underground world of elves, demons, robots, and talking animals. Beautiful artwork with compelling characters and an adventurous plot make this a very popular hit with young readers.
Dog Man by Dav Pinkey
GRAPHIC NOVEL / HUMOR
390L, DRA 38, Guided Reading P
Weird. Quirky. Funny. I think all three describe this new graphic novel from the creator of Captain Underpants. In the first story, a police officer and a dog are joined together — the top from the dog, the bottom from the officer to make: Dog Man. Dog Man solves crimes and has adventures, the likes of which will entertain 8-year-old readers for hours.
Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey
GRAPHIC NOVEL / HUMOR
My writing teacher’s heart adores this book about encouraging kids to write their own comics! Plus, it’s totally hilarious. Cat Kid teaches a class for the tadpoles about making your own comic books…which doesn’t go well until the tadpoles get excited about failure and get started writing and drawing. If you like a lot of silliness (including potty humor) with great messages about writing, creativity, and persistence, read this book next.
Kristy’s Great Idea Babysitter’s Club #1 by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
REALISTIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Lexile IG350, DRA 34 Guided Reading O
We’re loving these updated Babysitter’s Club graphic novels by the uber-talented Raina Telegemeier who wrote the highly-acclaimed Smile and Sister. I recommend starting with book one since the stories are told in a specific order with details from previous stories. These are funny and fun to read, maybe even more than once. BOX SET HERE.
I Survived by Lauren Tarshis
HISTORICAL FICTION / ADVENTURE
700L (depends on the title)
Wow — these are excellent, fast-paced adventures set during significant historical events. Your kids will zip through the adventures while learning about history. The books are always about a young person trying to survive the book’s historically important, life-changing event such as Pompeii, the Titanic, Pearl Harbor, or the Battle of Gettysburg.
Stick Dog by Tom Watson
700L, DRA 38, Guided Reading P
Stick Dog is hilarious. Why is he called Stick Dog? Because our author/narrator can’t draw. And also, because he likes sticks. The funny cartoonish illustrations make this story of stray dogs easy to read and very entertaining series for kids.
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon
810 L, DRA 40, Guided Reading Q
Talk about a HILARIOUS remix of Sleeping Beauty! In this (much better) retelling, the princess realizes she can’t die until she’s 18 so she concludes that she must be INVINCIBLE and acts accordingly. My daughter loved these stories for many years of elementary school.
Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
SCI- FI (series!)
650L, DRA 40, Guided Reading R
Engaging from the first page, this is a relatable graphic novel adventure story about a young boy, Roan, who dreams of becoming a pilot . . . but gets into Jedi school instead. He’s the oldest new student, everyone else started long before him. Roan has ups and downs, as one does at a new school, but finds his place at the school and new friends. Highly recommended!
Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere by Elise Gravel
If you like kooky books, this book fits the bill. Olga finds an unusual, unknown creature whom she names “MEH” after the sound that it makes. She uses her deductive reasoning to figure out what it is (something new!) and what it likes to eat (olives)! But what will she do when Meh disappears? Here’s what I love about this book… One, the illustrations rock! Two, the narrator’s voice is believable and funny. Three, the plot includes mean girls who aren’t so mean after all.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Opal’s preacher father is always too busy and her mother has been gone since Opal was three, something Opal has always wondered about. But Opal finds someone to care for, a stray dog that she names Winn-Dixie, and that dog brings hope and meaning into 10-year old Opal’s life. Brilliant, heart-warming storytelling.
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Hysterical! I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s a fantastic read for 8-year olds. Danny Dragonbreath is a dragon without dragon fire and good friends who make his life more…complicated but interesting.
Jada Jones Rock Star by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
REALISTIC / STEM
Jada starts the school year hoping to find new friends, hopefully, ones that love rocks like she does. She misses her best friend but feels excited when her class studies geology. Unfortunately, one bossy girl in Jada’s group project makes fun of Jada’s interest in rocks. This is a well-written STEM story that shows the challenges of getting along with others and staying true to yourself. Plus, you’ll like that the main character (of color) is a big science nerd! ADDED TO: STEAM and STEM Chapter Books for Kids
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
Mercy lives with Mr. and Mrs. Watson. They feed her buttered toast and take her for drives in their convertible. One night, Mercy gets scared and decides to sleep with Mr. and Mrs. Watson. Can you imagine what happens next? Hilarious and quirky, this is a silly series filled with the many amazing adventures of a pampered pig named Mercy.
Judy Moody Was in a Mood by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Want to get your kids reading a great series? Try Judy Moody. She’s a relatable third grader with a big personality, an annoying little brother, and humorous antics.
The Bad Guys #1 by Aaron Blabey
530 L, DRA 38, Guided Reading Pr
Bad Guys is a hysterical book and a favorite series for many boys especially. Mr. Wolf invites other bad guys to a meeting with hopes they will join him in being good. Lots of drawings and minimal text make this a sure-bet for beginning readers who like irony and humor. (Note: If you don’t like potty humor, this is not the book for you. I will admit, after a few books, I was DONE with it.)
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL
310L, Guided Reading R, DRA 40
The Zita books rock — they’re full of adventure, humor, and fantastic characters!! Zita is an awesome, courageous problem-solving heroine who accidentally gets stuck in space while trying to save her friend from kidnappers and save the universe.
Zoey and Sassafras Dragons and Marshmallows #1 by Asia Citro, illustrated by Marion Lindsay
SCIENCE / FANTASY
580L, Guided Reading O, DRA 34
This is an entertaining story with the coolest mix of science and magic, a diverse main character, and fantastic illustrations that will get kids reading and learning. Zoey, like her mom, can see magical creatures and is tasked to care for any injured creatures that might need help. In this story, she uses her science skills (including research and the scientific method) to figure out how to care for a sick baby dragon.
Ada Lace is On the Case by Emily Calandrelli with Tamson Weston, illustrated by Renee Kurilla
MYSTERY / STEM
Ada moves to a new neighborhood where she observes everything that happens out her window. She and a new friend notice a distraught neighbor whose dog is missing and they determine to solve the mystery. Along with another neighbor boy, they use science and technology to solve the mystery of the missing dog. ADDED TO: STEAM and STEM Chapter Books for Kids
Trapped in a Video Game by Dustin Brady, illustrated by Brady Jessee
Gamers and nongamers alike who love exciting and dangerous stories won’t want to miss this excellent series. Jesse’s friend gets an early release of a video game — and it sucks in both boys. They’re literally trapped. Inside the game, they meet a classmate who has been missing for weeks, now a grown-up man in the game. Because there’s no way out.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
Guided Reading T
One of the most popular book series ever, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, shares the hilarious story of Greg, in his own words and drawings. Life in middle school is not easy. And Greg is here to prove it! One thing you’ll notice about these books is that kids will read them more than once which is great if you have them all. (hint, hint)
Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski
FANTASY / HUMOR
Once upon a time, a regular girl and her brother accidentally go into a fairy tale. And mess it all up. (Whoops.) We love all the books in this series — they’re very clever and entertaining! BOX SET
Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe’s Wiener Getaway by Max Brallier, illustrated by Rachel Maguire and Nichole Kelley
I resisted reading this for a while but after seeing so many kids LOVING it, I knew I should give it a go. Now I know what the fuss is all about — it’s got non-stop action and danger, potty humor, space adventures, zombie aliens, mutant worm wrestling, a misunderstood evil princess, good friends, video games, and a diabolical, hunting-them-down evil queen. Not to mention, loads of cartoon illustrations throughout and hilarious writing with a gazillion exclamation marks!!!!
The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler
My daughter and I loved this entertaining new series about a boy ghost, Kaz, who is blown away from his family and into a new haunt, a library. But who is the library ghost that is already there? He and his new friend, Claire, decide to be detectives and discover the secret of the ghost as well as search for his missing family.
The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne
Guided Reading M, DRA 24
A MUST-READ series for all kids! These combine mystery, history, magic, and adventure as siblings Jack and Annie adventure through time. If you love The Magic Tree House series, you’ll also like these books.
The Magical Reality of Nadia by Bassem Youssef and Catherine R. Daly, illustrated by Douglas Holgate
Funny, entertaining, and filled with important themes of friendship, growing up, and racism, this is one of my new favorite books! Nadia unexpectedly discovers an ancient Egyptian teacher (Titi) trapped in her hippo amulet. He comes out onto a paper and TALKS! Tita helps Nadia with problems she faces at school like the new kid who is rude and prejudice about her Egyptian culture and troubles with her friends who are working together on a school project. Totally wonderful, heartfelt, and relatable.
Unicorn Academy: Sophia and Rainbow by Julie Skyes, illustrated by Lucy Truman
Well-written and charming, this unicorn book series is sure to entrance many young readers. In this story, Sophia arrives at Unicorn Academy and is paired with the lovely Rainbow. But, she feels guilty for making a new friend and leaving her best pony, Clover, back at home. On top of that, the unicorns’ magic is wonky because the lake is being poisoned. When someone accuses Sophia, she and her new friends decide to investigate.
Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril
DRA 38, Guided Reading P
I’ve been enjoying these updated Amelia chapter books by the original author’s son. In this silly story, Amelia looks for ways to earn money for a new bicycle. BOX SET
Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody, illustrated by Yehudi Mercado
GRAPHIC NOVEL / SUPERHERO
By day Claude is Leon’s pet but by night, he’s Cat Ninja, Metro City’s protector! His nemesis is Leon’s sister’s evil hamster, Master Hamster. Learn the Cat Ninja’s origin story then follow his perilous, exciting, and humorous adventures!
BUGS! Animal Planet Amazing Animal Facts Chapter Books by James Buckley, Jr.
SCIENCE / STEM
Highly interesting books in full color with photographs, illustrations, and kid-friendly design! I’m impressed with the way this book series delivers factual information without dumbing it down or making it too difficult to read. Amazing Animal Facts Chapter Books give 8-year-olds a science chapter book series they’ll love. ADDED TO: STEAM and STEM Chapter Books for Kids
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
REALISTIC / HISTORICAL FICTION / BOOKS ABOUT DOGS
From his beginnings as a maltreated German police dog (sensiive reader alert!) to subsequent adoption and new life as a beloved movie star, this suspenseful story is filled with both love and hope along with false accusations and jail time. Readers will zip through this heart-warming story and dog lovers will be extra impressed with this German Shepard’s incredible true story. Fantastic black-and-white illustrations throughout.
Stink and the Shark Sleepover by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
550L, DRA 24, Guided Reading M
Kids love the Stink stories because they’re so relatable. In this story, Stink gets to sleepover at the aquarium. While he’s there, he learns more about sharks, gets to solve a mystery, learns a ghost story, and has tons of fun.
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
ADVENTURE / HUMOR
510L, Guided Reading M, DRA 24
Get ready to laugh along with these charming young friends who are always involved in funny situations and problems. It’s a fantastic series about two girls with unique personalities.
Notebook of Doom by Troy Cummings
Guided Reading N / DRA 30
A kid-favorite series that you’ll also love! Alexander discovers his new town is FILLED WITH MONSTERS! And, he’s right in the middle of everything especially after he finds an old notebook of drawings and facts about monsters. Fun with an edge of scary.
Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Sam Ricks
Sam isn’t thrilled about becoming a hall monitor. Especially when he discovers that the school is ALIVE and trying to harm the students. Sam has quite a wild adventure trying to save the students from the school. I think kids who like sort of scary things (it’s not too bad) will enjoy this book.
Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Another enjoyable book in the Nancy Clancy series. In this book, Nancy and her best friend, Bree, decide to play matchmaker for Nancy’s babysitter, Annie, and her guitar teacher, Andy. Funny and fun! BOX SET
Lily and the Great Quake: A San Francisco Earthquake Survival Story by Veeda Bybee
In the early 1900s in San Francisco, California if you were of Chinese descent, it was illegal to live anywhere else except for Chinatown. When a huge earthquake hits California, its destruction caused fires to burn Chinatown to the ground. The earthquake’s destruction forces young Lily and her family to leave Chinatown for Oakland amidst the chaos. Throughout her story of life in Chinatown and evacuating during the fires, we see the prejudice she faces due to her looks and culture. Very well done.
Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
I really loved this story told in first-person from Eleanor’s point of view. It’s about the friendship challenges when Eleanor gets jealous of a new girl she thinks her best friend Pearl might like better than her.
Here’s Hank: Bookmarks Are People Too! #1 by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver
Hank’s brain freezes up when he talks to people — and also when he tries out for his class play. That’s why he gets the bookmark role. But, when the lead actor flubs his lines, Hank jumps in to save the play from disaster. I love Hank’s relatable character to whom learning doesn’t come easily.
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
If you like mythical creatures, independent thinkers, and mysteries, you’ll love this first book in the Pip Bartlett series as much as me. Pip’s world is just like ours except for one significant difference — magical creatures exist and often are pets!
Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
SCI-FI / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Guided Reading O
Hilo can’t remember what happened to him before D.J. finds him crashed landed on Earth. Hilo does remember an evil monster robot that has followed him to Earth. This ends on a cliff-hanger but is worth it — it’s a great page-turning adventure!
The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai by Jen Johnson, illustrated by Wellington Sadler
Absolutely inspiring with beautiful African-inspired illustrations, this exceptional narrative biography story is about a woman named Wangari who studied biology in her native Kenya and later in the United States. When she returned to Kenya, she realized that the deforestation was ruining farmer’s ability to grow crops so she started a tree-planting movement. Facing lots of opposition, Wangari was arrested and jailed. Once released, she continued her work of planting trees and eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize. Helpful informational insets detail facts about deforestation, school in Kenya, and more.
Catnapped! Puppy Pirates by Erin Soderbergh
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.
Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay
I loved this story of how Lulu and her cousin help their neighbor Arthur learn to love and care for his rabbit. She does this by writing George the rabbit notes and giving him gifts — not from her but from her pet rabbit named Thumper. (I also appreciate that the main characters are diverse– Lulu and her family have brown skin!!)
Geronimo Stilton #1 Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
530L, DRA 34, Guided Reading O
Geronimo Stilton is a newspaper writer/adventurist. These books share his adventures written in interesting fonts and colorful illustrations. I personally find the design of the books distracting as did my kids but for many kids, the style adds to the engagement and entertainment factor of the reading experience.
Mango and Bambang The Not-a-Pig by Clara Vulliamy
Mango rescues Bambang, an Asian tapir, from a busy street and the two become best friends. Together they find adventures, learn more about each other, and teach people that Bambang Is. Not. A. Pig. Four sweet stories of friendship and fun.
You’re Amazing, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke
REALISTIC / AFRICAN CULTURE
Reading this book transports one into the lively, family-filled world of amazing Anna who lives in Africa. Written in a series of vignettes, we read how Anna keeps getting into trouble for her twin little brother’s mischief, about her beloved grandfather’s passing, and how Anna helps everyone remember her grandfather. It’s a lovely book filled with charm, personality, and a strong sense of place.
Beatrice Zinker Upside-Down Thinker by Shelly Johannes
Beatrice is a divergent problem solver. When her best friend Lenny comes back from camp a changed girl, she seems to have a new best friend that is NOT Beatrice. Kids will be cheering Beatrice on as she tried to figure out how to reconnect with her best friend. Cute!
Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lane Smith
Lulu is a demanding daughter and she WANTS a pet dinosaur. Will she learns her valuable lesson in this hysterical story? You’ll laugh through this one, I promise!
Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
In the sweetest story of friendship, 10-year-old Livy meets Bob, a green zombie-looking monster wearing a chicken costume who is living in the closet at her grandma’s house. He’s actually been waiting for Lizy to return for the last 5 years. The weird thing? Livy can’t remember him at all. Even when she leaves the house for an errand, she forgets about Bob. But, she’s determined to help Bob find his way back home. Wherever that may be.
If the Magic Fits (100 Dresses) by Susan Maupin Schmid
Darling Dimple is thrilled to be moved from a kitchen scrubber to an upstairs dress presser for the princess. One day, she discovers a special closet of enchanted dresses. When Darling suspects a plot against the princess she uses dresses magic to help her investigate. Who is trying to free the dragons? Who wants to take over the kingdom? This lovable heroine and the charming magical plot will enchant readers.
Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce
430L, DRA 40, Guided Reading R
We LOVE this hilarious series about Nate’s life at home, school, and sports. Some, like this one, are written in a combo of text and comics while others are graphic novels such as Big Nate Welcome to My World. BOX SET
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.
Who Was Jackie Robinson? by John O’Brien, illustrated by Gail Herman
BIOGRAPHY / NONFICTION
Jackie Robinson broke many barriers as the first African American on the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team with his exceptional baseball skills. Read about his challenges, his grit, and his extraordinary strength of character. Kids LOVE these books! Find more books in the Who Was? series.
Shelter Pet Squad: Jelly Bean by Cynthia Lord
Suzannah joins the Shelter Pet Squad because her apartment building doesn’t allow pets. She meets a sad girl who has to leave her guinea pig, Jelly Bean, at the shelter due to moving. Suzannah promises the girl she’ll find Jelly Bean a good home. Only it’s not as easy as she first thought. The Shelter Pet Squad works together to find the perfect home for Jelly Bean — a kindergarten classroom.
Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
A warm-hearted, sweet story about a Latinx girl who’s an entrepreneur and devoted daughter and granddaughter. When her grandpa (tata) tells Sarai Gonzalez that his rental house is being sold, she determines to help by selling more cupcakes than ever. Even her sisters join in to help and so do her cousins. A darling start to a new series inspired by Sarai’s own life!
Shredderman: Secret Identity by Wendelin Van Draanen
Illustrated with comics, hilarious and relatable, this book has it all. Awesome for 8 year olds who like humor and superheroes.
Stella Diaz has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez
Loosely based on the author’s own childhood, 3rd grader Stella is very, very quiet in both Spanish and English. She feels separate, just like the word alien that describes her green card status being born in Mexico and moving to Chicago as a baby. A fish research project for school helps Stella find her voice and overcome her fears.
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
320L, Guided Reading Q, DRA 40
If you haven’t read these addictive and hilarious graphic novels, they are a must for anyone who has eaten lunch at school. BOX SET
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
460L, Guided Reading P, DRA 38
Old school humor at it’s best! These books describe a wacky school with crazy teachers and even crazier students and events. BOX SET
The Vanishing Coin (Magic Shop Series) by Kate Egan and Mike Lane, illustrated by Eric Wight
Kids like fourth-grader Mike who can’t sit still will relate to Mike’s struggles with getting work done, avoiding the school bully, and staying out of trouble. It’s such a great story because Mike discovers something that he IS good at something– magic.
Magical Land of Birthdays by Amirah Kassem MAGICAL REALISM
This story features many cultures starting with the main character, Amirah who lives in Mexico with Arabic heritage. Amirah loves cooking and baking and when her neighbor gives her an old cookbook titled The Power of Sprinkles, Amirah knows it’s the perfect cookbook for her upcoming birthday cake. Strangely enough, there’s a recipe inside called Amirah’s Birthday Cake! Even stranger, that night, she’s transported to the Magical Land of Birthdays where she meets other kids with her exact same birthdate as her who are from different areas of the world. Together they have an exciting, magical adventure that includes finding a missing B-Bud girl, parties, unicorns, and of course, cake.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson
HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL
DRA 40, Guided Reading Q
Sarcastic and hilarious, this is a laugh-out-loud story about a precocious young girl and her reluctant unicorn “best friend”. BOXED SET
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
REALISTIC / HUMOR
My 8 year old daughter read this first and begged me to read it immediately. It’s SO funny! And, you can learn some valuable cow trivia. But, it’s mostly the hilarious adventure of two pranksters who eventually work together to pull off the biggest prank of all time — a prank that will ensure they get April Fool’s Day off from school.
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara
Hysterical and totally believable about what would happen if your goldfish dies and you bring him back to life. Except now he’s a zombie…one that can mesmerize you with his powerful eyes so you’ll do anything he wants. Aaaah! BOXED SET
Ranger in Time #1: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner, illustrated by Kelley McMorris
Ranger, a golden retriever trained for search-and-rescue, travels back to the Oregon Trail to help a family in need. It’s an easy chapter book that begins the series, introducing the ups and downs of traveling on the Oregon Trail. (Also on: Wholesome Easy Chapter Books for Boys)
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
This story is a beautiful tribute to the power of friendship touching on love and death as well. It’s a classic for a reason and one of the best-written children’s books in existence.
Wondrous Rex by Patricia MacLachlan
WHOLESOME / WRITING
Maxwell the Magicial brings Grace and her writer aunt Lily his dog Rex to be aunt’s assistant when Aunt Lily and Grace both have writer’s block. Rex is a kind and magical dog who reads, writes, and gives wonderful wisdom about life and writing. His guidance helps both Lily and Grace grow in confidence, inspiration, and love. Absolutely charming!
The BFG by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake
The Big Friendly Giant snatches Sophie and takes her to the Land of Nod with other not-friendly, people-eating giants. Sophie and the BFG plot to stop the mean giants and save the world. The text is filled with lots of creative, made-up words which while fun, can be tricky for some readers.
Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery
This book not only hooks the reader with its space-adventure plot and hilarious narrator Carl invites YOU to find the missing priceless artifact requiring bravery, heroism, and drawing. Yes, drawing. Along the journey to retrieve the artifact from Captain Sleezoog (he’s a slug,) you must do your part. So you’ll make sure (by drawing) that you’ve got a spacesuit, you’ve packed everything you need to bring, the rocket design is perfect plus has some silly (bandages!?) extras, and lots more as the adventure ensues. It may sound contrived but it’s a fun, engaging adventure that any kid, artist or not, will love. And there is MORE in the series! Also read: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate!
Dory and the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon
Dory is one of my favorite book characters because her imagination is THE BEST! She has three imaginary friends: one monster friend, one fairy godmother that’s actually not a lady, and one bad lady nemesis. I love this story because she meets a real-life friend who understands all about imaginary friends and together, they’re the perfect match.
Frankie Pickle by Eric Wight
Your kids will totally relate to this imaginative boy whose wild adventures are written in comic form — it’s funny and entertaining!
The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
I loved this Sherlock-inspired book because it’s very well written and tells a great story. John Watson and his mom move to Harlem. There he meets a unique girl named Shelby Holmes who reluctantly allows him to tag along with her as she solves her latest crime — the mystery of who took a posh, show-dog from a classmate’s secure house.
Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Stephanie Yue
If you like mystery, adventure, and CATS, you won’t want to miss this entertaining graphic novel! Katie desperately wants to join her friends at their summer camp so to earn money, she gets a job for her neighbor Madeline catsitting 217 cats. But, something is VERY weird because these are super-smart cats with destructive behaviors and powerful abilities, not to mention that Katie finds evidence that her neighbor might be the supervillain, Moustress. Then, when the Moustress gets captured, Katie decides she and the cats must take action and save their friend.
STAT: Standing Tall and Talented: Home Court by Amar’e Stoudemir, illustrated by Tim Jessell SPORTS
Based on the real story of Amar’e Stoudemire, this is the story of when he was 11, a skateboarder, a basketball player, and a worker with his dad’s landscape company. When other kids start trash-talking his friends, he uses his intelligence and basketball skills to find a solution.
The Year of the Book by Andrea Chang
Growing up is challenging and in the first novel, The Year of the Book, Anna turns to books for company while she learns how to make friendships in real life. The subsequent books in the series are just as realistic and well-written. I highly recommend this series!
The Kicks by Alex Morgan
Finally, a fantastic book (series) for soccer girls! If you have a soccer player in your house, you’ll want to get your soccer lover this book –actually, buy her the entire series. Written by Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. Soccer team member (among other things), Alex Morgan, these are realistic stories of life, friendship, and playing soccer.
Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Eliazbet Vukovic
Jasmine is so jealous that the older kids in her family have important jobs on the mochi-making day — she wants to do what the older boys and men are doing, pound the mochi rice. Her understanding father figures out a way for Jasmine to join in. And even though it didn’t work out how she wanted, her family is proud of her and decides it’s okay to break some rules like who gets to pound the rice. Not only is the story’s message sweet, Jasmine’s Japanese-American culture and warm family community shine through.
Zoo Camp Puzzle by Gail Herman
Ava and Rosie are not excited to move to the zoo for the summer where they notice missing pronghorns and suspicious trucks. With the help of their brother Ethan, the siblings must figure out what’s happening and how to keep the animals safe. Throughout the book, you’ll find pages with activities like puzzles and mazes as well as information about the animals at the zoo. You’ll love both the mystery story and the factual sections of information. It’s really well done! Also in the series: Puppy Rescue Riddle.
The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
Class pet, Humphrey, is a hamster who travels to a students’ home on the weekends and has lots of adventures.
Get to Work, Hercules! (Myth-O-Mania) by Kate McMullan
HUMOR / MYTHOLOGY
We adore the Myth-O-Mania series. It’s hilarious! Hades narrates the TRUE stories of the Greek Myths with panache. (Apparently, his younger brother Zeus is a big fat liar and edited all the myths to make himself look good.) In this story, Hades watches over his young, not-too-smart nephew, Hercules whom Hera has it out for. LOVE it!
Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown
HISTORY / HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Short funny stories about the life of a Neanderthal family are intermixed with factual information about the actual history of this time period — hunting practices, size of large cats, that sort of thing — in a graphic novel from the author of the Jedi Academy series perfect for 8-year-olds.
The Perilous Princess Plot (Buckle and Squash) by Sarah Courtauld
Very sarcastic and funny humor will keep you entertained throughout this book about a silly sister obsessed with princes who gets kidnapped and her more reasonable sister who comes to the rescue.
Dying to Meet You 43 Cemetery Road by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
L 730, DRA 50 Guided Reading U
The 43 Old Cemetery Road early reader series is a funny and punny adventure with a kid, a cat, a grumpy ghost, and a really cool writing style in letters, emails, newspaper clippings, jokes, and more. These books are addictive!
The Curious Cat Spy Club by Linda Joy Singleton
What a fantastic new book series — my daughter and I devoured it. Three kids from seemingly different social circles band together to rescue kittens they find in a dumpster — then solve the mystery of who would try to kill the kittens.
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of a Dare by Herobrine Books
Short sentences with witty observations on life from the perspective of a Minecraft zombie will crack you up. I was surprised that this was such an entertaining, funny read. Nothing scary. Just fun. Especially for Minecraft enthusiasts. (These are FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers!)
Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors
REALISTIC / FUNNY
Dog owners will nod along with the ADHD stream of conscious narration of Wedgie, the barkie dog who LOVES everything. Contrast this with the diabolical plotting narration of the evil genius guinea pig Gizmo who is horrified to be living in a Barbie house instead of his own “habitat.” Selfors skillfully addresses a family in transition through the humorous lens of its two pets.
Into the Game (Minecraft Woodsword Chronicles) by Nick Eliopulos
First in one of the BEST Minecraft book series, this adventure follows five players who are transported inside the game– and it’s real and they’ll have to use all their survival and problem-solving skills to stay alive. BOXED SET of Books 1 – 4 HERE.
Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters by Ailsa Wild, illustrated by Ben Wood
Squishy discovers a boy hiding from the police in the basement of her apartment building. She wants to keep it a secret from her step-sisters but one thing leads to another, and the twins find out. Together, the three help feed the boy until they discover who he really is. Squishy begins to think of her sisters as bonuses, not step-sisters, which makes her feel a lot better about living with them. I really enjoyed this big-hearted mystery.
Power Forward by Hena Khan
Filled with Urdu and Pakistani culture, this is a short beginning chapter book about a boy who loves basketball. Unfortunately, he skips violin lessons and lies to his parents in order to go to extra basketball practices. Zayd learns some hard lessons both about honesty and communication with his family which, in the end, makes his life better.
Dolphin Rescue (Animal Planet Adventures #1) by Catherine Nichols
Siblings Maddie and Atticus can’t figure out who is dumping trash everywhere. And when they rescue a baby dolphin entangled in trash, they know they must get to the bottom of this mystery. Full-color photographs with information about dolphins, marine life, and more add-in bonus nonfiction information for readers.
Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce
REALISTIC / STEM
Ellie, Engineer is a well-written STEM adventure that makes engineering seem enticing and creative! After a disastrous “french braid machine” tangles her best friend’s hair, Ellie, who already considers herself as an engineer, plans to make her BFF a new birthday present — a dog house. She gets help from a neighbor boy and a group of girls from school who are bitter rivals until Ellie helps them work together. It’s a perfect, pro-STEM story for girls.
Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab by Science Bob Pflugfleder and Steve Hockensmith MYSTERY
Siblings Nick and Tesla are shipped off to live with their mad-scientist Uncle Newt for the summer while their parents are . . . doing something with soybeans in Uzbekistan. When left to fend for themselves, they discover something very suspicious happening at the old mansion down the street, more than just losing their rocket in that yard. Fun and adventurous!
The Case of the Claymore Diamond Math Inspectors by Daniel Kenney and Emily Boever
Viva math! These friends love math and are proud of it — in fact, they’re sure they can use their math skills to solve crimes. This first mystery is about a jewelry store robbery. And they do solve it by finding clues that the police miss, freeing an innocent man. This is a delightful easy chapter book series.
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Andrea Beaty successfully writes her famous main characters of Rosie Revere, Iggy Peck, and Ada Twist into a fun-filled, STEM adventure chapter book. Rosie’s Aunt Rose and her WWII friends, the Raucous Riveters, need Rosie’s help. Their friend June broke both her arms and she needs an invention so she can paint in the upcoming art contest. Can Rosie and friends invent something to help June paint with her casts? After one disaster after another, including at the art contest, Rosie continues to persevere and problem-solve to find a solution that will work.
Secret Agent, Jack Stalwart by Elizabeth Singer Hunt
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.
Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion by R. A. Spratt, illustrated by Dan Santat
This quirky adventure is about a dad who detests his children and tries to get rid of them (to Nicaragua in this case) but their amazing nanny (who is a pig) always figures out how to outsmart the dad. I love Nanny Piggins!
The Philly Fake Ballpark Mysteries by David A. Kelly, illustrated by Mark Meyers
MYSTERY / SPORTS
Not only is this a well-written mystery, but I also loved how the author included so much history within the story about two young baseball fans who hope to show fans that the Phillie Phanatic isn’t to blame for their team’s losing streak.
Katerina Ballerina by Tiler Peck and Kyle Harris, illustrated by Sumiti Collina
An earnest young girl loves ballet but since her dad can’t afford lessons, she watches YouTube videos and practices in her room. After a disastrous talent shows Katerina’s dad her bravery, Katrina’s dad stretches the budget for lessons. It’s not a great start though– she shows up in red swimming suit and homemade tutu! But she makes a friend who helps her learn ballet terms and adjust to formal classes. As Katrina becomes more serious in her dancing, a competition reminds Katrina that she needs to balance both working hard and enjoying dancing.
Key Hunters and the Mysterious Moonstone(Key Hunters #1) by Eric Luper
In this first book, two friends discover a letter from their favorite librarian saying she’s trapped in a book. They decide to go into a book to rescue her. They arrive in 19th century England to help a detective find a stolen gem.
Secrets of the Manor: Claire’s Story, 1910 by Adele Whitby
I loved this beginning chapter book — it’s a captivating story about an orphan girl who moves to France to live with friends of her family. She befriends a servant girl and the duo realize there are mysteries that must be answered — like what happened to the daughter of the manor and why did her parents send her to this family. An excellent first book in a new series for early readers!
Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets! by Kate Messner, illustrated by Brian Floca
Just like her mother, 3rd grader Marty loves animals. She wants to “adopt” a chimp in the chimp sanctuary. To raise money, she decides to pet sit. Soon she gets more pets than she and her friends can handle including a trash-talking parrot, a python who escapes, and a gerbil who might just be that big bulge in the snake. Luckily, Marty’s cool grandma helps save the pet-sitting business from total disaster. A well-paced adventure that kids will enjoy.
Misty the Abandoned Kitten (Pet Rescue Adventures) by Holly Webb
In this charming easy chapter book, Amy finds and secretly cares for a kitten. We learn that the kitten does belong to someone, an older person with a bossy bigger cat so the kitty didn’t get enough to eat or any attention and ran away. Luckily, all’s well that ends well, Amy gets to keep the kitty! This book is a good choice for 8 year old animal lovers. (If you like this book, you may want to read more in the Pet Rescue Adventures series.)
Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan
When a traveling minstrel foretells that he is to become a hero, Wiglaf sets out to fulfill his destiny: he signs up at the Dragon Slayers’ Academy. But how can he ever hope to be a dragon slayer when he can’t even stand the sight of blood? Very funny.
Jessica Finch in Pig Trouble by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Erwin Madrid
410L, DRA 24, Guided Reading M
Jessica Finch is a delightful early chapter book with exceptionally pleasing and colorful illustrations. Jessica wants nothing more than a pig for a pet. For her birthday. When a misunderstanding happens with her best friend, Judy Moody, Jessica learns a valuable lesson about not making assumptions nor calling people names. This is one of my top picks for an early chapter book, I loved it! BOXED SET
A Topps League Story: Book One: Jinxed!by Kurtis Scaletta illustrated by Eric Wight
This is a story that will appeal to readers even if they don’t love baseball as much as Chad, the main character. He’s thrilled to be a bat boy for the summer but can’t understand why his classmate Dylan isn’t as thrilled. Nor can Chad figure out how to help his favorite player who can’t seem to stop all his bad luck. Is he jinxed?
Third Grade Mermaid by Peter Raymundo
Even mermaids have spelling tests and swim team. Cora must get her spelling grade up or she’s off the team. But that’s not all– an angry shark, a helpful gigantic shrimp, and friendship troubles make this an entertaining undersea adventure.
Shai and Emmie Star in Dancy Pants! by Quvenzhane Wallis with Nancy Ohlin, illustrated by Sharee Miller
Shai and her two friends are preparing for a dance contest. She’s pushing her friends hard to be perfect instead of having fun. Will she learn what’s important and what isn’t? Relatable with an appealing plot and characters.
Ruins Rules the School (Goldie Blox #1) by Stacy McAnulty
ADVENTURE / STEM
Goldie must attend a “high-performing” school with other kids who aren’t as “out-of-the-box” as Goldie. When she enlists her new classmates to help her reopen her old school, amazing transformations occur for both Goldie and her new friends.
Good Crooks Missing Monkey!by Mary Amato, illustrated by Ward Jenkins
Will your 8 year olds enjoy reading about children of thieves who really want to do good things, not bad things like their parents? When these kids’ parents steal a monkey from the zoo, the kids must figure out how to return it without their parents figuring out that their children are up to … good.
Easy and fast to read, this is a series of colorful princess stories(printed on colored paper) stories. My third grader loved these.
More Chapter Books for 8-Year-Olds
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