A reader who works at a conservative school asked me for a wholesome book list for beginning (early / easy) chapter books that do NOT have potty humor nor rude characters with sass but would interest boy readers. So, I made this new list, specifically for that. These books are my choices for boys ages 6 – 9 with nice kids and plots that are decidedly lacking in toilet jokes.
An important element on this list is that the kids not be rude or sassy. I totally get this. And I really look for this in books with my own kids. It’s why I dislike the Junie B. Jones books. And it’s why my kids don’t watch the tween Disney shows.
That being said, I am not saying that kids who love potty humor are not nice. Not at all. I’ve been struggling to find a descriptive word that perfectly described this book list. A reader on Facebook suggested wholesome which I think is an apt word for these books! Thank you for the suggestion.
Want a similar list but for girls? Go here.
If you want wholesome chapter books for ages 9 – 12, visit this post.
A Wholesome Early Chapter Book List for Boys (Without Potty Humor or Rudeness)
Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder, illustrated by Emily Hughes EASIEST CHAPTER BOOK
Just a few sentences per page, this is a very easy chapter book collection of stories about two brothers and their childhood adventures. Relatable and endearing with a touch of humor.
Pigsticks and Harold and the Uptown Thief by Alex Milway EASIEST CHAPTER BOOK
Even better than the first book, the friends in this story are solving the case of the disappearing statue. The pair look for clues and interview suspects. Fantastic, colorful illustrations aid readers in solving the crime –maybe even before Pigsticks and Harold do. I enjoyed the story so much. It’s a great book to get kids thinking and interacting with the text while reading.
The Miniature World of Marvin & James by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
When James leaves for vacation, his pet beetle, Marvin, and sister get into some trouble inside the pencil sharpener. Luckily Marvin figures out how to save them both, James returns from vacation and all is well. This story is perfect for very beginning readers transitioning to chapter books.
Narwhal is exuberant to meet Jellyfish, his new imaginary friend who is imagining Narwhal at the same time. Although Jellyfish is more serious, you’ll love their adventures — forming a pod, having parties, eating waffles, and imagining. This is a feel-good friendship adventure told in graphic (cartoon) format that I absolutely loved. 5 and 6 year olds will, too! (Next in the series: Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt.)
Rise of the Earth Dragon (Dragon Masters) by Tracey West, illustrated by Graham Howells
The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne
We adore these (wholesome) magical adventures about siblings Jack and Annie whose forest treehouse transports them through time where they’ll help solve a problem. Each trip involves reading a book left by a mysterious librarian which gives them clues about solving their mission. Kids will learn about history while enjoying these historical, magical stories.
A to Z Mysteries by Rob Roy
This addictive mystery series will keep your kids reading for hours and days and months. My kids read them all more than once! We highly recommend this series, especially for kids around age 7.
The Dragonsitter by Josh Lacey illustrated by Garry Parsons
Written in increasingly funny (and alarming) letters we learn that Uncle Morton left his pet dragon for Edward and his mom and sister to watch — with no directions!! The dragon poops in their shoes, eats their pet bunny, and causes all kinds of destruction which all are the subjects of Edward’s letters to his nowhere-to-be-found uncle. Finally Edward hears from his uncle who suggests feeding the dragon chocolate. Will Edward’s mom lose her mind? Will the chocolate work to tame the dragon?
Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, illustrated by Marc Simont
Nate introduces readers to how to be a detective and find things– even if it’s for small cases such as a friend’s lost picture. Don’t miss the learning activities located at the end of the book.
Our Principal is a Frog by Stephanie Calmenson, illustration Aaron Blecha
I’m very excited about this new easy chapter book series called QUIX from Aladdin / Simon and Schuster. This first book is an engaging story about a fantastic school principal who is accidentally turned into a frog by a bumbling magician. Whoops! But, this is one dedicated principal. He finds a way to keep running the school — even as an amphibian.
Dig to Disaster: A Miss Mallard Mystery by Robert Quackenbush
Another QUIX book, this one is an exciting mystery adventure. Miss Mallard is on an archaeological expedition in jungles of South American but someone is trying to scare the group off. Not to worry. Miss Mallard is the duck for the job. She follows the clues in order to capture the sneaky treasure hunter.
Digby O’Day and the Great Diamond Robbery by Shirley Hughes and Clara Vulliamy
Charming illustrations in red and yellow colors help readers enjoy this story about Digby’s memorable vacation. He and Percy visit the fancy Hotel Splendide. While there, the singer Peaches Meow’s, diamonds are stolen! With the help of a new friend on the island, Percy and Digby catch the thieves.
Good Dog, McTavish by Meg Rosoff, illustrated by Grace Easton
I adore this endearing story about a family in chaos and the dog (and youngest sibling) who fixes everything. The writing is brilliant with subtle, rye humor. When a mom quits “momming”, the youngest daughter, Betty, suggests that the family get a dog. Betty chooses McTavish the dog at a shelter or does McTavish choose them? Right away, he gets to work organizing the family which… takes plans and more plans. SO sweet — I love this wholesome story.
The Last Firehawk: The Ember Stone by Katrina Charman, illustrated by Jeremy Norton
Tag, an owl, is in training to become an Owl of Valor. One day while playing tag with his squirrel friend, Skyla, Tag finds a golden egg who hatches into a Firehawk, the last one alive. Tag and friends must keep the Firehawk, Blaze, safe. Then they’ll quest to find the magical stone that may save their land from the Vulture and his army of tiger bats. This easy chapter book introduces kids to epic fantasy stories with the theme of good vs. evil.
Detective Gordon A Case in Any Case by Ulf Nilsson, illustrated by Gitte Spee
The Storm (The Lighthouse Family) by Cynthia Rylant
Pandora is a kindhearted cat who lives in a lighthouse all alone. Seabold lives on a boat all alone. Until one day a storm shipwrecks him at the lighthouse. Soon, a friendship develops and the lighthouse isn’t lonely anymore, especially after the friends rescue a family of orphaned mice. Kind characters and a cozy family theme with a gentle adventure make this a wholesome reading choice for young readers.
Galaxy Zack by Ray O’Ryan
What a fun concept for a new reader, illustrated chapter book — moving to a new planet! I enjoyed reading Galaxy Zack. It’s fun and relatable. Boys (and girls) are sure to devour this far-out series.
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 a simple story that introduces the ups and downs of traveling on the Oregon Trail, starting off a new historical fiction easy chapter book series.
Secret Agent, Jack Stalwart: Escape of the Deadly Dinosaur by Elizabeth Singer Hunt
9-year-old Jack became a secret agent so he could search the world for his missing older brother, Max. In this adventure, he’s investigating a science fair where an experiment creates a dangerous dinosaur who terrorizes New York. Filled with lots of fun interesting gadgets!
I Survived by Lauren Tarshis
Your kids will zip through these fascinating adventures. The books are always about a young boy trying to survive the historically important, life-changing event.
Greetings From Somewhere The Mystery of the Mosaic by Harper Paris, illustrated by Marcos Calo
When these two kids accompany their parents to Venice, Italy, they’ll get the chance to solve two mysteries. I liked the bits of geography and history embedded in the story.
The Whodunit Detective Agency The Diamond Mystery by Martin Widmark, illustrated by Helena Willis
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 fun series filled with many amazing adventures and excellent illustrations.
A Topps League Story: Book One: Jinxed! by Kurtis Scaletta illustrated by Eric Wight
This is a wholesome beginning chapter book 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?
The Vanishing Coin (Magic Shop Series) by Kate Egan and Mike Lane, illustrated by Eric Wight
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
Boys (and girls) will love this story about a real dog’s life. From his beginnings as a maltreated German police dog 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 with fascination; dog lovers will be extra impressed with this German Shepard’s incredible story. Fantastic black-and-white illustrations throughout and easier text, make me think this is about the 2nd or 3rd grade reading level.
Dolphin Rescue (Animal Planet Adventures #1) by Catherine Nichols
Zoo Camp Puzzle by Gail Herman
The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
This is a simple but wholesome beginning chapter book about a mouse grows up at Buckingham Palace longing for an identity. Not only does he not know his parents, he doesn’t even know his name! Happily, his adventures lead him to a very satisfactory conclusion.
Jaden Toussaint, the Greatest Episode 1: The Quest for Screen Time by Marti Dumas
What kid doesn’t want more screen time? Jaden has a plan for convincing his parents that he needs more time — and he’s going to use his big brain and his fellow kindergarteners to help.
The Philly Fake Ballpark Mysteries by David A. Kelly, illustrated by Mark Meyers
Not only is this a well-written mystery, but I also loved how the author included so much history within the story. The mystery has a great hook and the story is wholesome. One of my top picks for early chapter books!
The Greatest Star on Earth (Three-Ring Rascals) by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
When a newspaper reporter decides to write about the greatest star of the circus, all the performers worry so much that they end up getting sabotaging their own acts. Soon the circus is left with no performers and a stand-in ringmaster (who is helped along by the smart book-writing mice.) This is a fun and funny easy chapter book in a new series, Three-Ring Rascals, that both my daughter and I enjoyed.
The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
Humphrey is a beloved class pet and a favorite book series for many children. Humphrey, our narrator, lives in Room 26 but each weekend, he gets to go home with a student. Get ready for funny (and enlightening) adventures.