Whether you’re a parent, teacher, librarian, or grandparent, you want to find the best children’s chapter books to share with the kids in your life–your own children, grandkids, patrons, or students in your class.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve carefully curated book lists of the best children’s fiction and nonfiction books. I’ll share recommendations and booklists to help you get your readers matched with the right books for them.
My passion for books for kids began early with weekly trips to the library and a home without a television. (Nothing to do but read!)
As a former elementary teacher, former literacy trainer, and parent of two, my passion for books grows yearly. I read not just to share the best books with my students and kids, but I love reading children’s books. In fact, I love finding books with excellent writing and storytelling, so I read thousands of children’s books yearly.
What is a chapter book?
Chapter books are books for beginning readers ages 6 to 9, usually in grades 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. They are books with illustrations and larger text size that are comprehensible to new readers. Chapter books are shorter than middle-grade books, averaging about 125 pages.
Chapter books formerly was the term that applied to any book with chapters.
However, in recent years, the term middle grade has become more commonly used for books written for children ages 9 to 12 in grades 4 through 7 and chapter books now only refers to the easy chapter books for beginning readers.
Also, check out these engaging chapter book activities to extend the book!
What makes a good chapter book?
The best chapter books aren’t too text-heavy, are filled with illustrations, and contain engaging narrative stories with memorable characters and perfect, zippy pacing.
Young readers love books about themes that resonate with their daily lives, such as friendship, family, learning from mistakes, trying new things, and more. Other young child-friendly themes in chapter books teach life lessons or illuminate the world. These timeless themes include kindness, problem-solving, feelings, accepting differences, grandparents, embracing your culture, and solving mysteries. Look for books that explore difficult concepts like grief and divorce.
Stories about these themes have many different storylines or plots, ranging from silly stories to warmhearted tales.
Funny books are always popular with growing readers, so keep silly chapter books in rotation.
Of course, good chapter books include unforgettable characters. Whether hilarious, beloved, quirky, or funny, you’ll find new and favorite characters from the chapter books on this list.
What are the best read aloud chapter books?
Children of all ages, not just young children, benefit from adults reading aloud to them.
Choose read aloud books that appeal to your child’s interests or that are about topics and themes you want to introduce. Let your kids help choose. Their choice don’t need to be a best sellers, just interesting to them, well-written, and engaging. See if you find your next read aloud on the lists below.
Read aloud a variety of books. It’s important to share other books in addition to fiction. Read nonfiction, classics, picture books, and contemporary about lots of different topics.
Plus, reading books out loud to children builds their literacy skills, including learning new vocabulary words and a child’s understanding of story elements.
Best Chapter Books for Beginning Readers
Ages 0 to 4