Little Bookshelf: Librarian Recommended Beginning Chapter Books

When you child has learned to read and grown out of the leveled reader stages it may be hard to find good chapter books to encourage them to keep reading and to read longer. Choosing one that is two hard, long or complicated can be very discouraging to a new reader.

GuestLibrarianRLAPL Aleece Michalak from the Round Lake Are Public Library is with us this week with her recommendations for some beginning chapter books.

Eva’s Treetop Festival: A Branches Book (Owl Diaries #1) by Rebecca Elliott

Eva’s class is listening to scary stories and Eva’s imagination seems to run wild and she believes that she has seen a ghost. Nobody in her class believes her and Eva tries to track down the ghost to prove that it’s real. After a few more incidents with the ghost her class begins to believe her and they decide to go on a ghost hunt to capture the ghost.

The first thing I noticed about this book was the wonderful display of color and graphics throughout the whole book. The colors make the book very bright, cheerful and inviting to readers. This is a great book for kids that are transitioning from beginning readers to chapter books. The chapters are short and there are a lot of pictures to help guide readers along. The diary format is also very popular right now in books so this may make young kids excited to feel like they are reading something like Dork Diaries or Diary of a Wimpy Kid even though those may be too advanced for them right now. The illustrations were great for this type of book and the story is short and fun to read. This will be the next big thing for kids learning to read longer books.

*This is part of Scholastic’s “Branches” books which are geared to help bridge the gap from leveled readers to traditional chapter books. There are many new series books that are part of the Scholastic Branches brand.
Batter Up! (Jake Maddox Sports Stories) by Jake Maddox and Bob Temple

Caleb has always used a wood bat; however, after finally convincing his new coach to let him keep using it another team accuses Caleb of cheating by tampering with the wood bat. Now he is forced to use an aluminum bat and instead of hitting like he used to he is now striking out. How will Caleb recover?

This story is about Caleb’s love for baseball but also the love of his wood bat. This is a great story for beginning readers because of the simple text and the easy to understand dialogue that shows kids real situations that can happen. Overall a good sports story.

*Jake Maddox has a lot of different sports stories covering many different sports with main characters being both boys and girls so there may be some stories that girls will enjoy too.

Heroes in Training by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams

Zeus is just a boy that is constantly pestered by lightning. The lightning constantly attacks him but at the same time talks to him. He longs for adventure and he gets his wish after he is kidnapped by half-giants. In order to defend himself he grabs the first thing he sees, a lightning bolt and his adventures begin.

A great book that is perfect for kids that like mythology and adventure but aren’t quite ready for Percy Jackson or other similar books. The pace is fast and the adventure is at the forefront of the story. Also kids don’t have to know anything about mythology to enjoy this book.

The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Willems, Illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

Diva is a small dog that guards her home from behind the courtyard fence day in and day out until she meets Flea, a traveler that has no permanent residence. At first the two don’t seem to get along but once Flea tells Diva stories of what is outside the apartment courtyard fence it inspires Diva to become a traveler just like Flea and the two set off on many adventures.

This is a wonderful book about friendship and how people (or animals) can be different and be the best of friends at the same time. The illustrations are wonderful and realistic, the chapters are very short and Diva and Flea’s journeys helps transport readers along for the ride and take the leap into a new world together.

Chi’s Sweet Home, volume 1 by Kanata Konami

Chi is a newborn kitten that enjoys the daily life of a cat. However, since Chi was once an outdoor cat she wonders around outside to take in the sights as well as adjust to her new life indoors.

Overall this is a great series that is full of color and fun. There is not an abundance of text so it will not be intimidating for beginning chapter book readers. The illustrations help with some of the context of the words. While some of the words may be a little more difficult overall the stories are simple with very short chapters. A cute story that kids will enjoy.

*There are currently 12 volumes in this series.


Of course these books barely scratch the surface on beginning chapter books. There are so many more out there to enjoy like Flat Stanley, Arthur, Cam Jansen and Rainbow Magic to name a few. So don’t forget to stop by your local library to see what other wonderful books you can find.

Editor’s note: when we had a reluctant reader we found that the Billy B. Brown series was a perfect first chapter book to give her the confidence to move on to many of these listed.


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About Melissa Haak 626 Articles
Melissa is mom to 4. She used to dream of traveling the world, now she dreams of a clean kitchen. She can be found on most social media sites as @PBinmyHair because with this much hair and four kids, you're bound to find something in it.

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