This list with 27 of the best chapter books for boys has stories that even the most reluctant reader will enjoy! It's no secret that boys sometimes need a little more motivation to read, but this list contains books with high-interest content and charming illustrations for beginning readers in elementary school and advanced readers for 4th graders. Go to your local independent bookstore or school library, or pop into your local library and find these fun series, stories, and other wonderful books for kids.
Horrid Henry is a popular series about a very misbehaved, mischievous boy who always lands himself in trouble. The author of the Horrid Henry series, Francesca Simon, created these early readers, audiobooks, fact books, and joke books in this funny series.
These graphic novels written by Laura Knetzger are so much fun and the perfect books for boys. The main characters are two beetles who go on various adventures together. These books are the perfect blend of weirdness, silliness, and introspection.
George Brown is a loveable and hilarious series written by Nancy Krulik about George Brown. George is a 4th grader and is named the class clown. His silly antics make for great fun and great reading. These books are for advanced readers from 2nd grade up.
The Zach and Zoe Mysteries is a wonderful series written by Mike Lupica. The series is the perfect starter set for early chapter book readers. The series follows the sport-loving duo, Zach and Zoe, as they solve mysteries and play their favorite sport!
Captain Underpants is a wildly popular series that follows two 4th Grade boys, Harold Hutchins and George Beard, and Captain Underpants, a made-up character from one of the boys' comic books who comes alive and makes sure there is always fun and trouble around.
First chapter books, or what I also like to call, "early chapter books" are books for kids ages 6-10. This is a tricky age to target because it is also the age when kids are first learning to read. So one 6 year old may be ready for chapter books, but his classmate may not yet be reading at all. Both scenarios are absolutely normal. In fact I had one of each!
This list of first chapter books in my series of book lists aimed at this reading level features boy protagonists. But note to parents: these are not books for boys, they are about boys, girls will enjoy them, too! I am simply using the protagonist as a useful sorting tool for my themed book lists. At the end of this post you will find links to all sorts of other early chapter book lists, including books about girls! These first chapter books about boys cover a variety of reading levels. If you are looking for a specific Lexile level you can use this handy dandy tool.
Pedro First Grade Hero (series) by Fran Manushkin, illustrated by Tammie Lyon. This is a great series for the youngest readers, Kindergarteners through 2nd grade who are ready for chapter books. Pedro's friend Katie Woo has long had her own series but now Pedro steps into the spotlight as he plays sports, looks for bugs and runs for class president. This is a sweet series and I like the way the illustrations set the stage for each chapter's action.
The Miniature World of Marvin and James by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy. If I were to recommend a book about two beetles jumping into a pile of pencil shavings inside an electric pencil sharpener, you might look at me a little askew. Actually the book is about how the beetle, Marvin, spends his time while his best friend (and human), James, is at the beach. Elise Broach's middle grade book Masterpiece, introduced the duo to the world, and this new early chapter book is a charmer. I also found the text extremely appropriate for early readers. There is a lot of good repetition of vocabulary without being annoying, an interesting and funny story to carry the reader along, as well as good emotional content to help kids connect the story to their own experience. The pencil sharpener incident is simply the most memorable part of the story and the one that my son wanted me to read to him again and again.Waylon! One Awesome Thing by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee. Waylon is the star of a new series by the author of Clementine. Waylon is a super charming 4th grader who saves his money to buy a special notebook in which to record all his ideas for inventions. But at school the "cool kid" is dividing the class into teams. How will this affect his friendships? And what about that Bully? And his sister is acting so weird! I adored this book and can't wait to read more. Suitable for kids ages 7 and up.
Roscoe Riley Rules by Katherine Applegate. Roscoe Riley was one of my son's when he first began reading chapter books. I think sometimes parents write off books (esp. those about boys) that have cartoon-like covers and silly subtitles such as "Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs" as fluff. But this is a serious mistake; Roscoe is a charming, well-intentioned kid, who just happens to have a lot to learn about solving problems. And don't we all?
Invisible Inkling by Emily Jenkins. Somehow, an invisible (not imaginary) bandapat from the Peruvian Woods of Mystery has made it to Brooklyn, where he is now dragging Hank in all sorts of adventures. One of the more advanced series on this list, though still considered an early chapter book. Emily Jenkins is one of my favorite authors (readers of this blog may recall the numerous times I have professed my love for another early chapter book series, Toys Go Out).
Andy Shane by Jennifer Richard Jacobson. The Andy Shane books are great choices for kids who have just barely moved beyond easy readers. Andy Shane is being raised by his Granny Webb (quite a character, herself) and navigating his friendship with the very extroverted Dolores.
Horrid Henry by Francesca Simon. This is another series I thought I wouldn't like based on the name and I always cringe at the idea that "reluctant readers" need a book about kids doing silly things in order to read. But after reading so many (oh, so many) books for these lists I have really relaxed my snobbishness and look beyond the cover. Each chapter is a self-contained story and the vocabulary and short sentences and laugh-out-loud (yup, just like it says on the cover!) humor make this series an excellent choice for the earliest chapter book readers.
The Knights' Tales by Gerald Morris. I quite like these quirky books with their bumbling characters who are heroes in spite of themselves, but the tongue in cheek humor may go over the heads of younger readers. That's okay because there is a big need for early chapter books which are sophisticated enough to appeal older readers who still need books at an early level. If you kid likes to listen to tales of yore, try these books out.
7 x 9 = Trouble! and Fractions = Trouble! by Claudia Mills. Wilson struggles with math and feels embarrassed to have a tutor. Claudia Mills is one of those authors that you may not have heard of, but you should always check out what she's writing. These books are good for the older end of the early chapter book age range (i.e. kids should understand what multiplication and fractions are) and I'm hoping there will be a third book!
Mostly Monty. Johanna Hurwitz, author of one my favorite early chapter books series, The Riverside Kids, has also written a series about first-grader Monty, a shy, smart book lover who worries about his asthma.
Captain Awesome by Stan Kirby is not the most sophisticated series but it's useful for kids who are just moving past easy readers or kids who may be late readers and want to read chapter books "like their friends." Short chapters, lots of illustrations, large fonts and silly situations increase its attractiveness to early readers. There are also a bazillion books in the series, to keep your kids reading reading reading.
Our boy series reading is seriously lacking around our house of girls. We haven't read any of these featured. But the one early chapter book series about a boy that my girls have read and enjoyed, because it features animals, is the Akimbo series by Alexander McCall Smith. The series features the adventures of Akimbo, an African boy living with his parents on a game preserve, where his father is a park ranger. Each of the five books features Akimbo's adventures with a different kind of animal. (The books are illustrated by LeUyen Pham.)
Brilliant - we love your lists! My 6 year old loves Horrible Harry and Roscoe Riley - I think he really identifies with the main characters. We've also read Horrid Henry which went down well and the 'Nate the Great' books. His absolutely favourite save-up-his-pocket-money-to-buy series is the 'Just .....' books by Andy Griffiths. Thanks for some great ideas for new books, once we get through all the girl chapter books we have borrowed from the library (Amber Brown is the hit so far!).
Thanks for the great list my son has Dyslexia and we are just starting to feel comfortable in the chapter books even though he is 10. You forgot the Flat Stanley chapter book series which are great reads.
Great list! Another awesome series is the "Hey, Jack!" books by Sally Rippin. They are sold through Usborne Books but can also be found online at amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. My first grader (whose name is also Jack) loves these and really identifies with the title character. For girls, Sally Rippin also has the "Billie B" books, which is about Jack's best friend. They are a perfect first step into chapter books. Highly recommend!
When kids graduate from picture books to chapter books, it's a great moment. Here's a list of some of our favorite books for early readers -- they all have engaging stories and relatable characters to help make the chapter-book transition easier. Some, like Poppleton, work for either read-alone or read-aloud, helping kids get used to plot and chapter structure. For more surefire picks, check out our Best Book Series and Graphic Novels lists, and get tips on how to encourage and support young readers. 2b1af7f3a8