DaddyRead: The Best Chapter Book List

the guide to great read aloud books

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Reading Aloud Chapter Books for 3,4,5, and 6 year-olds

Audiobooks For Young Children

Recommended Read Aloud Chapter Books

preschool read aloud chapter books

kindergarten read aloud chapter books

first grade read aloud chapter books

third grade and up read aloud chapter books

Recommended Read Aloud Picture Books

infant picture books

toddler picture books

preschool picture books

second grade read aloud picture books

Recommended Chapter Books for Independent Readers

Reluctant Reader Chapter Book List (Independent Reader)

Third Grade Chapter Book List (Independent Reader)

Fourth Grade Chapter Book List (Independent Reader)

Fifth Grade Chapter Book List (Independent Reader)

Sixth Grade Chapter Book List (Independent Reader)

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The Best Chapter Book List

The Best Chapter Book List



The books in this list are some of the best chapter books around. They are engaging, exciting, and addicting. These books contain strong plots, without long, boring setting descriptions and the characters are fully three-dimensional. They are also relatively easy to read, so they are a great starting point for reluctant readers.

[1]

Star Jumper (Series)

Asch, Frank

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

This is the journal of a cardboard genius, Alex, who has a little brother who annoys him to the point that he decides to build a star ship (out of cardboard, it really works) so he can move to a different planet.


[2]

The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy (Series)

Boniface, William

illus. Gilpin, Stephen

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 5

The hero is an ordinary boy (no superpowers) in a world where everyone is literally a superhero. The book is written with a lot of educational points and is enjoyable, though the plot is a little bit weak.


[3]

The Name of this Book is Secret (Series)

Bosch, Pseudonymous

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 5
audiobook CD

An entertaining adventure series. Two kids investigate the disappearance of several people, leading them to the classic evil-want-to-live-forever-villains. The narrator is very funny, though sometimes a little obtrusive. However, the narrator sort of gives a lesson on how to write fiction, pointing on various plot twits and pitfalls. All in all, this book is quite original and with a teacher or parent as a guide, many lessons on writing can be learned.


[4]

Artemis Fowl (Series)

Colfer, Eoin

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 5
audiobook CD

Don't expect Artemis Fowl to be Harry Potter's younger brother. In fact, Artemis is a young evil genius. Though Artemis does not have magical talents, his intellect is almost magical. Magic does come into the book by way of a very untraditional representation of fairies and elves. At parts, the book is hilarious, and witty. I would give the first book a try.


[5]

Eoin Colfer's The Legend of Spud Murphy (Series)

Colfer, Eoin

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 4

Each book of this series has a legend that gets debunked. In Spud, two brothers are punished by being forced to spend the summer in the library, with the meanest librarian on earth. Well, she is pretty mean but it all turns out good in the end.


[6]

The Magician's Boy

Cooper, Susan

illus. Riglietti, Serena

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

An adventure through fairy-tale realm, with some new twists on old stories.


[7]

Moongobble 1: The Dragon of Doom

Coville, Bruce

illus. Coville, Katherine

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3
audiobook CD

This is the first book in the Moongobble and Me series. Edward, a young boy apprentices to a neophyte wizard, Moongobble. Moongobble has a habit of messing up his spells and turning things to cheese. The Moongobble series has all the elements of fantasy: knights, dragons, witches,... but none of the violence usually present: the dragon of doom turns out to be roughly a foot long. The writing is witty, but simple enough for a four year old to understand.


[8]

The Monster's Ring: A Magic Shop Book (Series)

Coville, Bruce

illus. Coville, Katherine

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 4

A boy buys a ring from a strange shop which turns him into a dragon whenever he turns the ring. He gets back at the school bully. However, things don't work out when he can't turn back into a boy.


[9]

Horace Splattly: The Cupcaked Crusader (Series)

David, Lawrence

illus. Gott, Barry

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

One way you can tell how much your kids like a book is how loud they cry when you close the book and announce bedtime. This book is exciting enough to elicit protests. It is exciting, action packed with a super hero, but mild enough to read to a young one. Each book contains a mystery that the listener can try to figure out (it is pretty obvious to the adult reader).


[10]

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

Dicamillo, Kate

illus. Ibatouline, Bagram

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 4
audiobook CD

Edward is a porcelain rabbit, who can not move, but has thoughts and emotions. He gets swept through time (the story lasts around one generation) and touches the lives of various people. I judge a book by its ending, mostly. This one has a good ending.


[11]

The Tale of Despereaux

Dicamillo, Kate

illus. Ering, Timothy Basil

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 5
audiobook CD

Most people hate books where the narrater is obtrusive. Not so with this book. The narrater makes a complicated story accessible to a young listener. Despereaux is a young mouse who is in love with a princess. It sounds absurd, but it really is a neat story.


[12]

The Giggler Treatment

Doyle, Roddy

illus. Ajhar, Brian

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

Do you think it is funny when some one steps in dog poo? If so, you'll find this book funny. When a parent is mean to a child, the parent gets the giggler treatment: a day where he repeatedly steps in dog poo. The book is extremely off beat, which makes for a nice change.


[13]

Aliens for Breakfast (Series)

Etra, Jonathan; Spinner, Stephanie

illus. Bjorkman, Steve

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

An (good) alien arrives in Richard's morning cereal box and helps him save the world from an evil alien.


[14]

Tashi (Series)

Fienberg, Anna and Barbara

illus. Gamble, Kim

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

Warning: although the Tashi stories are simple to understand, they are very much in the style of the old fairy tales. In this first volume, there is a Hansel and Gretal adaptation and it could be a little scary or graphic for some kids. Tashi is character and hero who currently lives in modern Australia, but previously lived in Feudal Japan. Each book in the series tells of Tashi's past adventures where he outsmarts an evil war lord or other villain The stories are clever, and short. This particular book contains the first 7 book in the series.


[15]

Andrew Lost

Greenburg, J.C.

illus. Palen, Debbie

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

Andrew is a child genius inventor. His inventions take his cousin Judy and him on various adventures. Each adventure lasts four books (each book is almost always 75 pages) and it is possible to read adventures out of order. The books are filled with scientific facts: the author is an established biology children's textbook writer. I personally learned a lot of neat science from the books. Don't think these books are dry, Greenburg mixes in interesting facts throughout the adventure.


[16]

Have Space Suit Will Travel

Heinlein, Robert A.

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 6
audiobook CD

I learned about this book from my favorite author, George R.R. Martin. When he was a kid, this book opened his eyes to the universe. It starts small, a boy wins a space suit and wants to go to the moon. By the time it is over, the fate of the human race is at stake. Heinlein is great for learning real science. Did you know he was the official commentator when men first walked on the moon. Books like his can really make young kids interested in science. It is a shame that today kids are only interested in Harry Potter.


[17]

Scary School

Kent, Derek

illus. Fischer, Scott M.

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 6

This book is a silly horror book. The story is told by the ghost of a student who died in a class science experiment. Kids get eaten by monsters but come back as baby monsters. When you first read the book, you might think it is inappropriate, but I think the goriness desensitizes you. Each chapter is a short story, but the chapters are tied together pretty strongly, though each is from the point of view of someone different.


[18]

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Lin, Grace

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 5
audiobook CD

A child goes on a fairy tell adventure, rescuing a dragon along the way, with the hope of finding the Old Man of the Moon (a personification of destiny); set in the far east in the distant past.


[19]

The Dragon's Child

Nimmo, Jenny

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 4

A little dragon falls off of his mother's back as they are fleeing danger (he is too young to fly). An orphan slave girl secretly cares for him until he grows and one day, saves her from danger. It is a good, simple adventure story that is not scary, but interesting and has some emotional depth.


[20]

Magic Tree House

Osborne, Pope Mary

illus. Murdocca, Sal

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3
audiobook CD

The Magic Tree House series is a great stepping stone between picture books and chapter books. Most books written for a pre-k listening level take place in a realistic setting, like school. Not so with the magic tree house, it takes Jack and Anne throughout time and space: from the time of the dinosaurs to the future when men have colonized the moon. The books are exciting to read: Jack and Anne are often in real danger, though you know they will always make it back home. These books are also available in an audio format. I recommend reading at least the first four books. If you, the adult reader, gets bored, try playing the audio versions.


[21]

Junie B. Jones (Series)

Park, Barbara

illus. Brunkus, Denise

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

I read the first book, where Stupid Smelly Bus and stopped. I enjoyed the book; my child enjoyed it. But, every other word Junie says is the word stupid. In fact, my child started using the word stupid so much that I returned the rest of the series to the library. But, in fairness to the book, the book is good. There is another issue: Junie does not always speak in a grammatically correct fashion. This doesn't bother me but it bothers some people.


[22]

Hatchet

Paulsen, Gary

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 5
audiobook CD

This extremely popular book is based on the true story of a teenager who survives a plane crash, and then survives on his own in the Canadian Rockies, all thanks to his hatchet.


[23]

The Littles (Series)

Peterson, John

illus. Clark, Roberta Carter

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

These books are part of a series. Imagine little people living secret lives under our noses, in our houses. The littles look just like us except that they have tails.


[24]

Captain Underpants (Series)

Pilkey, Dav

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

If you know any little boys (or girls) or don't like listening (or reading) books, Captain Underpants is the book for them. Two boys distribute their Captain Underpants comic book. They get in serious trouble with the meanest principal. It turns out, that after hypnosis, the principal becomes a real Captain Underpants. He shoots bad guys by rubberbanding his underwear. So far I have read four books: my favorite is Professor Poopy Pants. Both you and your child will be laughing hysterically. Be sure to read this to girls also. Girls like adventure books also.


[25]

Harry Potter (Series)

Rowling, J.K

illus. GrandPre, Mary

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 6
audiobook CD

While it is true that Harry Potter is a boy wizard, it is not what makes the book good. This is apparent by the multitude of new young adult fantasy books recently published. Harry Potter is good because it is witty, well written, emotional, strongly plot driven, and most of all: because so many of the characters are so lovable.


[26]

The Absent Author (A to Z Mysteries Series)

Roy, Ron

illus. Gurney, John Steven

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

A to Z Mysteries is a series of 26 little mystery books. The detectives are three kids who are very perseverant. As adult, I don't usually read mysteries, but for the child listener, they are like simple puzzles: can the child figure out the mystery? As you read this book to them, ask them questions about different clues. See if they can solve the mystery.


[27]

Holes

Sachar, Louis

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 5
audiobook CD

Holes is a really neat, original book. A young teenager gets sent to a juvenile detention camp after being falsely convicted of steeling a pair of used sneakers. At camp, they must, in the hot dessert, dig a 5 foot diameter, 5 foot deep, hole each day.


[28]

Marvin Redpost

Sachar, Louis

illus. Hughes, Neal

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

Kidnapped at Birth is the first book of the Marvin Redpost series. Marvin, a third-grader, is a bright boy with a conscious. The books hold the attention of young children, even as young as four years old, yet appeal to the adult also. Many short novels that are suitable to be read aloud to young children purely plot driven, and many times, dry and predictable. Not so with Sachar: his books are truly literature for the young. Though we have rated them for the preschooler, even an adult will enjoy reading them, and so will older children. My two favorite books in the series are 'Why Pick On Me' and 'Alone In His Teachers House.'


[29]

Wayside School Stories

Sachar, Louis

illus. Mccauley, Adam

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 4

This is a collection of loosely tied short stories that take place in school. All the stories are interesting. Most are strange; some have lessons; some poke fun at society. Both the young and old will enjoy these stories, though at different levels.


[30]

The Houdini Box

Selznick, Brian

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 4

One could also classify this book as a picture book. This book tells a story of a little boy who idolizes the Great Houdini. The boy meets Houdini and is invited to learn some of his secrets, but never gets the chance....


[31]

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

Selznick, Brian

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 4
audiobook CD

I call this book: the worlds thickest picture book. The book measures roughly 526 pages, with something like 200 illustrations. When one does the subtraction one comes up with roughly 300 pages of text; however many text pages have only a few lines, and many pages are blank. What I am trying to say is that the book looks formidable, but it is quite possible to read the book to a preschooler. You can do it in 3-4 days, even. The illustrations are wonderful, and the story is complex and suspenseful. The writing is clear. It tells the story of an orphan who lives inside the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, fixing clocks and an automaton.


[32]

Chocolate Fever

Smith, Robert Kimmel

illus. Fiammenghi, Gioia

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 4
audiobook CD

Chocolate Fever is a great example of an excitingly, developed story that a really young listener could enjoy. A boy eats too much chocolate and gets a strange measles-like disease. He is on the run from the police when he meets a truck driver pulling---you guessed it---chocolate. The truck driver is a black man and racism is discussed. In America, today, racism and segregation against black people is not so public as it was years ago, so when reading this to a young child you should explain this when it comes up in the story.


[33]

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Snicket, Lemony

illus. Helquist, Brett

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 5

The book starts off with a three siblings who find out they have just been orphaned. In a humorous and exaggerated Harry Potter sort of way, they are mistreated by their foster father, who plots to steal their family fortune. Though there was no magic in the first book, it does have a fantasy feel to it. The narrator constantly defines vocabulary words, which makes it a little annoying for an older reader, but great for young ones.


[34]

Keena Ford and the Second Grade Mix-up

Thomson, Melissa

chapter book
Grade Reading Level 3

An honest mistakes makes Keena's teacher believe that Keena's birthday is in the first week of school. Keena doesn't correct the mistake and tries to lie herself out of the sticky situation.