Your 1st grader is just transitioning from picture books to ones with more words and a readable storyline. There are books specifically written for practicing reading and getting kids excited about this new avenue of discovery and entertainment. Here is a list of chapter books we recommend checking out and giving to your little ones to get them started on their magical journey of reading.
1. The Magic School Bus
This wonderful series was popular for my childhood and still holds relevance and excitement today! These kids’ chapter book teaches kids about science and discovery in a fun and imaginative way to inspire and motivate your kids to be curious. With each book, Mrs. Frizzle takes her students on a field trip to explore something new about the world we live in.
2. Jigsaw Jones
This original series is full of adventurous stories of 3 kid detectives solving mysteries through puzzle solving. James Preller does a great job in capturing the excitement of adventure and his books will make even the most reluctant reader addicted.
3. The Ultimate Stink-tastic Collection
Megan McDonald is gold in her Stink series for kids where she follows a little boy trying to manage everyday life and problems from the perspective of a child. This means dramatic and exaggerated with new life and new experiences, great for kids to relate and laugh along with!
4. The Judy Moody Most Mood-tastic Collection Ever
These fun books are written for 3rd graders or younger, confident readers that enjoy relatable characters like Moody Judy with her constantly changing moods and desires to change the world. Megan McDonald inspires kids to be their authentic and unapologetic selves through her wonderful books.
5. Junie B. Jones Complete First Grade Collection
These silly stories were another of my favorite series growing up and helped me advance to the next reading level. Junie B. shares her hilarious antics in darling stories that will make your kids laugh and never put her books down, a great addition to any school library.
6. Henry Huggins Series
These classic stories are actually the storyline that led to the Ramona Quimby series, set in the 1950s about a young boy growing up discovering about the world with his dog Ribsy. Beverly Cleary does a great job in painting a picture kids can follow along with and relate to in many different ways.
7. Ramona Quimby Series
This popular series is a must-have for any book list of chapter books for kids. Ramona is an American girl trying to maneuver school with teachers, workloads, and bullies. Very relatable characters and perfect to keep in your classroom library.
8. Amelia Bedelia Chapter Book
This funny reader series follows Amelia Bedelia as she makes friends and goes through the many experiences of being a young girl. This 4-book series is a great addition to your kid’s reading list.
9. Horrid Henry’s Mischievous Mayhem Collection
Horrid Henry is an incorrigible kid with a perfect little brother that loves to cause mischief wherever he goes. The colorful illustrations and stories in this joke book are cute and fun for any young reader to laugh along with.
10. Nancy Drew Book Collection
Carolyn Keene does not disappoint with her classic books of Nancy Drew mysteries. She has more than 30 books in her award-winning series, great for independent readers who love spending rainy days curled up with a good chapter book.
11. Charlie & Mouse
Laurel Snyder creates magic with two goofy brothers in her chapter books. They create imaginary games, fictitious friends, and have ridiculous adventures that will captivate your young reader and improve their reading comprehension skills, and creativity.
12. Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy’s Ultimate Chapter Book Quartet
A spin-off of the Fancy Nancy series Nancy Drew, readers can continue following their favorite private eye as she solves mysteries and makes friends. This cute series includes sweet stories and adorable illustrations.
13. Dog Man: The Supa Epic Collection
These graphic novels were written by the same author who wrote the infamous Captain Underpants series, Dav Pilkey. This part-dog, part-man, crime-fighting hero has a new and exciting adventure on every page!
14. Everything You Need for a Treehouse
Emily Hughes and Carter Higgens give us this adorable, age-appropriate nature book for kids that shares the magic of treehouses and living close with nature. Giving your 1st graders this single book is sure to inspire them to love and respect nature in the best ways.
15. Pedro, First-Grade Hero
Fran Manushkin gives 1st graders a hero to look up to and learn from in Pedro. His adventures are filled with action and appropriate for your 1st grader’s reading level. It’s also nice to see more multicultural characters making appearances in children’s books.
16. Fly Guy Series
These funny, imaginative, and illustrative stories by Ted Arnold follow an outrageous fly around as he tackles the big bad world around him. This series is great for early readers with lots of pictures and goofy storylines.
17. Hank Zipzer Collection
Henry Winkler gives us Hank Zipzer, “the world’s greatest underachiever”! This series gives students some encouragement maneuvering growing up with learning disabilities. A great series for any young reader to learn and understand more about themselves and their peers.
18. Dragon Masters Series
These easy-to-follow grade books are perfect for the blooming independent reader looking for adventure and reading growth. Tracey West does a great job in creating a series students can use to improve their reading comprehension in a fun and engaging way.
19. The Baby-Sitters Club Graphic Novels
Ann. M Martin gives us this popular series following the ups and downs of being a babysitter. These books are great for kids growing up and learning about responsibility and the challenges of wanting to make your own money and get more control over your life in a cute and relatable way.
20. Sofia Martinez Book Series
This book series follows a 7-year-old bi-racial girl as she maneuvers the world between her English and Spanish heritage. Her adventures are heartfelt, sweet, and important for the many multi-racial kids growing up in today’s international world.
21. Yasmin Boxed Set
Saadia Faruqi gives us magic with her courageous and inspiring 2nd-grade character named Yasmin. Sharing her Pakistani-American family and culture, along with her desire to learn about and explore the world, your students will love to learn from her.
22. Zoey and Sassafras Book Series
This magical series by Marion Lindsay and Asia Citro guides the reader on Zoey’s journey as she realizes her family’s house attracts sick, magical animals that need her help. Follow along as Zoey uses science to solve mysterious illnesses and saves these fascinating creatures!
23. Penny and Her Sled
Kevin Henkes gives our 1st graders the perfect first books to start their reading experience. These simple chapter books follow Penny the Mouse as she goes on cute little adventures and solves basic life problems. Great for reading-aloud practice as well.
24. The Puppy Place Book Set
Ellen Miles gives us complete cuteness with these adorable puppy stories about a foster family taking in new puppies all the time to protect them and help them find new/permanent homes. The series touches on important topics like animal care and the issues of spay and neutering.
25. If I Built a Car (If I Built Series)
The first of 3 books in the series, Chris Van Dusen gives us imaginative stories about big dreams and the inventor and explorer in all of us. These books are great for your 1st graders to read and understand that they can reach for the stars and do anything they set their minds to.
26. Humphrey’s Tiny Tales 6 Books Set
Betty G. Birney gives us an adorable series with an adventurous classroom hampster named Humphrey. He is constantly leaving the safety of his cage, meeting new animals, and learning things about the big, big world around him (just like your kids!).
27. Ready, Freddy! #1: Tooth Trouble
Freddy is a quirky 1st grader that always seems to have a new problem to overcome. His goofy antics and relatable stories are perfect for the beginner readers in your life just getting into chapter books and series. Abby Klein is a genius at capturing the silliness and seriousness of being a kid.
28. Piper Green and the Fairy Tree
This chapter book series follows Piper green, a unique young girl living on the coast of Maine. She is honest, and brave and will take your young readers on exciting adventures they will get lost in for days on end.
29. Endling: The Last
This award-winning book is the first of 3 adventure books by Katherine Applegate that will take your kids on one action-packed adventure after another. These fantasy books are a wonderful series with beautiful illustrations and lessons about love, courage, and friendship.
30. The Questioneers
Get your little kiddos thinking and exploring their curiosity with this chapter book series about the power of asking questions and seeking answers. A great series to inspire big ideas and courageous endeavors!
31. Princess Cora and the Crocodile
A story of finding yourself and what it means to have fun, discover new things and explore with an unlikely companion. Princess Cora is tired of being told how to spend every day, ALL day by her parents, so she asks for help from her fairy godmother. Little does she know what form of help will come in.
32. The Infamous Ratsos
This series is the brilliant brainchild of Matt Myers and Kara Lareau, and these trouble makers give the name a new meaning. In a city where you have “soft” and “tough” rats, they want to be the toughest! The problem is that when they try to do something bad, it ends up turning out to be good…what are these trouble “attempters” supposed to do to prove their worth?
33. Zeus The Mighty
This is a 4-book series that tackles Greek mythology in a creative critter-filled way! The mighty Zeus is a hamster with a big personality and even bigger ambitions. Follow him and the other gods and goddesses on adventures jam-packed with furry fun!
34. Mercy Watson
Best-selling series by Kate DiCamillo, Mercy is a pig that loves looking for snacks and ends up finding more than she bargained for. Her adventures range from fighting crime, to rescue missions, and going undercover. Your little 1st-grade readers will love the following Mercy along with her wild escapades.
35. Audrey L and Audrey W: Best Friends-ish
They might share the same name, but that seems to be the ONLY thing they have in common. This series follows two Audreys as they maneuver elementary school and the challenges kids face during this time in their lives. A great series for newly independent readers!
36. How to Read a Story
Kate Messner shows beginner or reluctant readers the joys of reading in this delightful picture book with step-by-step instructions for reading aloud. It promotes friendship and sharing good stories that make us happy and help us grow.
37. The Princess in Black
Written by the talented duo Shannon and Dean Hale, this 9-book series tells the fantastic tales of Princess Magnolia, a dainty and properly sweet princess who has an alter ego called the Princess in Black that protects her kingdom. This charming series has easy-to-read text and cute pictures to keep your readers engaged for all 9 books!
38. Anna Hibiscus
Anna Hibiscus is a young girl born in Africa to a Canadian mother and African father. Her small town has a lot to teach, this beautiful series exposes readers to a new and exciting country, culture, and way of life. Follow along with Anna in this 10-book series as she discovers all there is to see, eat, hear, and do!
39. Owl Diaries: Eva’s Treetop Festival
Your little readers will get wrapped up in this 15-book bestselling series by Rebecca Elliott. Eva the owl and her animal friends are always getting themselves into tricky situations. Thankfully they have each other to brainstorm and find solutions that work! With color illustrations and a relatable character on each page, reading never felt so whimsical!
40. Nate the Great
This hit series by Cam Jansen and Marjorie Weinman has 28 books in total, each one telling the stories of Nate, the greatest detective alive! These mystery stories are the perfect grade books for readers to improve their problem-solving and critical thinking skills.
41. The Fantastic Frame
Lin Oliver transports readers into a magical new world with this 5-book original series full of fantasy, adventure, and danger! Tiger and Luna are neighbors and new friends who meet a mysterious old lady with an enchanted frame. They quickly discover they can go into these famous paintings, but the trick isn’t getting in…it’s getting out!
42. Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark
The classic series gets a new twist in these graphic novels with the same style readers know and love from the Magic Tree House franchise. Jack and Annie are ready for more exciting adventures, including being transported back to when dinosaurs lived. Now all they have to do is find out how to survive!
43. Magic Bone: Be Careful What You Sniff
Nancy Krulik sends the adventurous reader along with Sparky, a sweet but messy puppy, as he digs up a magical bone. In this first book of the 11-book series, Sparky bites the bone and is transported to London. What does he see, smell, eat…and how is he going to get back home?
44. Geronimo Stilton: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye
Talk about a series that your 1st grade readers can enjoy for years. This hit series by the main character and author Geronimo Stilton has 81 books to devour. Each following the little mouse adventurer as he goes on quests to find treasure and other cool stuff.
45. Hum and Swish
A new kind of picture book with a beautiful story and important message written by Matt Myers. Jamie is a young girl who enjoys spending time by herself. She is building a sandcastle at the beach and trying to find peace amidst people interrupting her. Follow Jamie and learn about how it feels to be an introvert in a social world.
An ode to the friendship between an animal and its owner, Alison McGhee shares a beautiful story about the magical power that bonds pet and master. With easy-to-read text and colorful illustrations, this book is great for beginner readers to practice with.
47. There’s No Such Thing as Little
A heart-warming and inspirational story by Leuyen Pham shows there is no such thing as “little”. A great lesson for young readers to learn as they begin on their adventures in this big world.
48. Henry and Mudge
The perfect companion series for new readers to get addicted to and fall in love with Henry, a young boy, and his giant dog Mudge. Follow along on their numerous adventures with cartoon illustrations and simple sentences great to encourage reading for fun.
49. Jasmine Toguchi
Part of a 5-book series about a spunky Japanese-American girl named Jasmine Toguchi and her family that lives in Los Angeles. Each book shares some insight and information about the Japanese culture and exposes young readers to new customs, foods, and ways of living.
50. Monster and Boy
This 3-book series is jam-packed with friendship stories that will teach your kids what it means to be loyal, courageous, and kind. The unlikely pair meets when the monster under the bed swallows Boy, and from then on their friendship blossoms.
51. Snail And Worm: Three Stories About Two Friends
These two goofy little guys and the adventures they embark on are the perfect beginner book for young readers who are ready to move on from picture books to chapter books! Snail and worm travel through the pages in simple illustrations and cute stories your kids will love.
52. Frankie Pickle
A series for the imaginative adventurer in all of us. Frankie is a young boy who loves to make-believe, make messes, and make his life a blast of fun! In the first book of the series, Frankie’s dirty room turns into a jungle landscape with danger at every corner, especially in the closet of DOOM!
53. Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
This chapter book tackles the challenges many kids face dealing with anxiety in a big and sometimes overwhelming world. Teachers and classmates are the scariest of all for little Alvin, but when he is home, he turns into Firecracker Man who isn’t afraid of anything. This series does a great job of explaining how anxiety shows up in kids and how we can understand and help them better.
54. Kai, Ninja of Fire
Part of the Ninjago series, Kai is a young warrior in training excited to get out there and save the world! With the help of his master, can he control himself, remember his training, and become a great fighter?
55. A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever!
We all remember the excitement of summer vacation! Spending time outside with your friends, no school, and no rules. These two best friends, James and Eamon get to spend their break at a nature camp and with their grandparents. What sorts of mischief and adventures will they get into?