For emerging readers, finding the right book is crucial to their independent reading. Beginning chapter books are a great way to challenge themselves with a longer story while maintaining reading on their level. Many beginning chapter books incorporate illustrations onto the pages to help new readers.
Beginning chapter books often come in series. This is great for voracious young readers who tear through the short books. The characters and setting become familiar and reliable for emerging readers. It also makes it easy for them to choose their next read. They can just select whatever comes next in the series.
Here are some of the best beginning chapter book series for your child to try:
Most Popular Series
These are some of the most popular beginning chapter book series your child will encounter.
Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne: This series has been around for decades and for good reason: each book follows siblings Jack and Annie as they explore history and science. There is also a series of books about myths and legends.
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey: Captain Underpants is a silly series that's sure to delight readers who love "potty humor." That being said, it's not for everyone, so consider previewing or reading along with your child.
Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park: This is another series that adults either love or hate. It is extremely popular with young readers. Junie B. Jones is a sassy kindergartener with a lot of strong opinions. Junie doesn't always make good choices and the books reflect the consequences of her actions. She uses mean words often in the books, so depending on the child, it may be worthwhile to have discussions about Junie's negative behavior.
Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant: These books might be classified as "easy readers" in some libraries or book stores. It's a simple story about a boy and his great Dane, Mudge. They go on many fun adventures together.
Prolific Series (20+ titles)
If you have a voracious reader, check out one of these series below. Each one has over 20 books in the series, with some coming in at over 100!
My Weird School by Dan Gutman: Each book in this series focuses on a different strange teacher at a weird elementary school. There are a number of spin-off series that will keep readers entertained for a long time.
Cam Jansen by David Adler: Cam Jansen is an amateur detective that uses her photographic memory to help her solve crimes. Parents may remember these books from their childhood and enjoy revisiting them with their child.
Geronimo Stilton by Geronimo Stilton: These books are told (and authored!) by a fictional mouse reporter. Each book chronicles another adventure in Stilton's life.
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene: For young mystery lovers, Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew is a great first experience with the iconic series. They are formulaic mysteries that help emerging readers develop an understanding of the pace of mystery stories.
Pet Rescue Adventures by Holly Webb: For animal lovers, the Pet Rescue Adventures series will give them plenty to enjoy. These books are sweet and gentle, perfect for young advanced readers.
Rainbow Magic by Daisy Meadows: For an excellent example of a "prolific" series, look no further than Rainbow Magic. There are over 200 books in this series! Each book follows a world of sugary sweet fairies and magic. They are short, quick reads and your reader will likely mature past them before ever coming close to finishing the entire series.
Katie Woo by Fran Manushkin: These are wonderful books to transition from picture books into chapter books because there are colorful illustrations on each page. Try this series as one of the first beginning chapter books for your child.
Wonderful Newer Series
These series are still getting their start. While they haven't been around for decades like some of the others on this list, they're all wonderful and new books are continuously added to each series.
Jada Jones by Kelly Starling Lyons: Jada Jones is a happy, spunky girl who learns life lessons in each of these stories. They are written by a Black author, making it a great Own Voices choice for young readers.
Jasmine Toguchi by Debbi Michiko Florence: This series celebrates Jasmine Toguchi's Japanese-American heritage in every book. Readers will learn how mochi is made and about traditional Japanese drumming.
Lola Levine by Monica Brown: Lola Levine is a Jewish-Peruvian girl and each book celebrates her multicultural identity. Lola is smart and feisty but not "mean," setting a good example for impressionable readers.
Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliot: These are adorable books written in a "journal" format with fun, colorful illustrations on each page. It's wonderful for young advanced readers as well as older struggling readers.
Sherlock Sam by A.J. Low: Sherlock Sam and his robot Watson team up to solve mysteries in Singapore. Sam is Korean and these books incorporate Asian culture into the stories.
Yasmin by Saadia Faruqi: This is a wonderful new series about a Pakistani-American second grader named Yasmin. The books are beautiful, with color illustrations on each page. They're perfect for beginning readers of all ages.
Zoey and Sassafras by Asia Citro: For lovers of science, magic, and fantasy, Zoey and Sassafras is a great choice. Zoey uses science to heal magical creatures. It's a great beginning chapter book series.
Great Series No Longer Published
These books are wonderful series that are no longer being added to. Young readers can still enjoy them even if they won't get any new books.
Milo & Jazz Mysteries by Lewis B. Montgomery: This series is similar to Cam Jansen in that it stars two mystery-solving friends. There are 12 books in the series, enough to keep most young readers entertained for a while.
Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary: This is a classic series for a reason. Beverly Cleary creates a relatable character in Ramona, who grows from a preschooler into a 5th grader throughout the series. Readers will relate to Ramona's antics and her struggles to get along with her sister.
Nikki and Deja by Karen English: Nikki and Deja are best friends and neighbors. This is a simple series about Black girls just living life. Karen English offers young readers great positive representation about young Black girls.
Sofia Martinez by Jacequline Jules: For readers interested in the Spanish language or Latino culture, this series is a great choice. There are Spanish words throughout the books and each one includes a glossary in the back. This series last published a book in 2018, so it is possible new books could be added.