Superb Series for Early Chapter Book Readers (geared towards girls, but gratifying for all)

The Rainbow Fairies and The Rescue Princesses were some of the first series my girls grabbed and read with gusto. I can’t say I was sad when she finally moved on from the Rainbow Fairy books (how many slight variations can you make from the same exact plot!), but I am thankful for the part they played in her love of reading. 

The more books in a series the better when your child has just begun to work up their reading mojo. It makes the question of what to read next a lot easier to answer. So, if you are on the lookout for a series of books for your new and improving reader, fear not, there are numerous options outside the obvious and forevers like Boxcar Children, Magic Tree House, and Junie B. Jones. And while these series are great, having stood the test of time, if they don’t capture your kid, or they’ve already been read, here are six more options to pursue. 

(In compiling this list I looked for picture-heavy books with short chapters, that were a definite step above the easy reader. All of these series were housed with the “big” chapter books in our library and are targeted towards kids who are ready for something longer and more challenging than a book from the easy reader section of the library.) 


The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

From Amazon:  Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when . . . Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret — she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! From the award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter-book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.

A really fun series, smartly illustrated with lots of adventuring. Princess Magnolia is not your average princess, and that is a really good thing.

Readers 5 and up

The Adventures of Sophie Mouse by Poppy Green

From Amazon:  In the first book of The Adventures of Sophie Mouse, springtime has arrived at Silverlake Forest! The animals are coming out of their homes, buds are blooming on the trees, and the air smells of honeysuckles and tree bark. Sophie Mouse can’t wait to go back to school after the long winter break.

Even better, there’s a new student in class—Sophie loves meeting new animals! But the class gasps when Owen enters: he’s a snake! No one is brave enough to sit near him, or play with Owen at recess, or even talk to him. Can Sophie help her friends understand that Owen’s not scary after all?

With easy-to-read language and illustrations on almost every page, the Adventures of Sophie Mouse chapter books are perfect for beginning readers.

This is one of my niece’s favorite series. Sweet and endearing, it is a great set of chapter books to introduce your early reader to. 

Readers 5 and up

Sprout Street Neighbors by Anna Alter

From Amazon:  In the tradition of classics such as The Wind in the Willows and Winnie-the-Pooh comes Anna Alter’s first chapter book. 

Henry, Violet, Emma, Wilbur, and Fernando are neighbors in the same apartment building and they are also friends—though they have very different personalities and interests. Henry prefers peace and quiet, and poetry. Violet spends hours knitting and practicing her flute. Emma loves planning birthday parties. Wilbur would be happy to spend all day in his garden. And Fernando is just a little bit shy, but has a secret talent for the stage.

Sharing walls with your neighbor can sometimes bring the unexpected, but in the end, these five work together to overcome their differences.

Another charming series for new readers. The first book was made up of five separate stories that were both humorous and sweet (kind of reminded me of the classic Frog and Toad). I believe the other books in the series focus in on one story in the vein of more traditional chapter books. 

Readers 5 and up


Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth by Jane O’Connor

From Amazon: In this first in a series of delightful chapter books, Fancy Nancy takes on the role of detective. When one of Nancy's classmate's most treasured possessions disappear from school, it's up to detective Nancy to solve the mystery and save the day.

With the help of her friend Bree, she follows the clues to an unexpected source. Fans of Nancy Drew's Clue Crew will be among the readers happy to see a new Nancy join the ranks of super sleuths!

If your child loved Fancy Nancy, Nancy Clancy Super Sleuth is sure to be a hit. It is the same fun-loving characters but with longer adventures to be enjoyed by your reader. My son is really loving these right now!

Readers 6 and up

Clementine by Sara Pennypacker

From Amazon:  Clementine is having not so good of a week.

On Monday she's sent to the principal's office for cutting off Margaret's hair.

Tuesday, Margaret's mother is mad at her.

Wednesday, she's sent to the principal again.

Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her.

Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse.

And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her.

Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.

I really loved reading Clementine. She is a feisty and fun character with loads of personality who finds herself in very interesting situations. 

Readers 7 and up

American Girl Series

In my day, these included titles like Meet Kirsten or my daughter's favorite, Meet Kit. I don’t believe you can purchase these new anymore, but your library could still house them and you can always find used editions floating around. This series is a great way to introduce your kids to historical fiction from all kinds of different time periods. And, if your kids like them, there are American Girl Mysteries, the Beforever series (which replaced the original sets of books I believe) and a new series called the American Girl: Real Stories from my Time, a nonfiction series that also includes a bit of your favorite American Girl’s fictional story at the end.  All in all, the American Girl brand provides a plethora of reading material for your young reader.

Readers 7 and up


(PS Reader age recommendations are just that, recommendations. I list them, oftentimes pulled right off of Amazon, to give you a general guide.)

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