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looking for good easy chapter books for (almost) 8yo boy...

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I'm hoping to get some recommendations for chapter books for my (soon) 8yo son. He's outgrown the Magic Tree House series, but I'm having a hard time finding something for him that's worth reading...? He doesn't like mysteries or spooky stuff... Funny would be good, as long as it's well written... Any suggestions?


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Here are some favorites of my daughter:


1. Right after "MTH level": Catwings, My Father's Dragon series. My daughter also liked A Light in the Attic/Where the Sidewalk Ends at this level, for humor.


2. A little further on my daughter, who is an animal lover, loved: Bless this mouse (it's at MTH grade level, but the content -- such as mouse reproduction! -- puts it slightly beyond that imo), Charlotte's web, Flora and Ulysses (funny to children and adults alike), the Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane.


To go between 1 and 2, you might find the Special Read-aloud editions (BIG with bigger pictures) or if those aren't available, large print editions helpful.





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Encyclopedia Brown is kind of mysteries but they are funny mysteries, not scary ones.  


DS went from MTH into the Warriors books, about tribes of feral cats.  It definitely kept him occupied (there are a bunch of them, and they are long for the reading level) but in warning, they are quite violent.  It's all cat violence, so not really scary exactly, but I am somewhat tired of telling the kids to quit pretending to be cats and jump on each other and scratch and growl and etc.  They *love* them though.  


He really liked Arthurian tales books and Robin Hood (the easiest version, I forget the writer's name) at that stage, too.  

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Look at Sonlight's Reader package for grade 2 and grade 3, and also the Read Alouds from Core A.


I would look for the Henry Huggins books or anything by Beverly Cleary, anything by E.B. White, the Boxcar Children series, the My Father's Dragon series, anything by E. Nesbit, the Baseball Card adventures by Dan Gutman, or the Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.

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  • 2 weeks later...

They aren't exactly chapter books, but my son (just 7, reads well above his age) has been burning through the Graphic Revolve graphic novels put out by Stone Arch Books. We find them through the library, searching for the terms 'graphic revolve'. They are introductory level graphic novels of great works of literature, like Robin Hood, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea, Dracula, etc. They are quick, easy, and he's looking forward to reading the unabridged versions as soon as he's at that reading level.

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*cracks knuckles*


Honestly, making booklists is my favorite pastime :)


To compose this list, I diligently compared the AR reading level of each book with the average reading level of the Magic Tree House books - about second to third grade, though there are a few outliers that come in at a fourth grade reading level. You shouldn't take reading levels too seriously (among other things, different leveling systems wildly disagree with each other), but it's all right as a starting point. I did not put them in order, but the "harder" books are, as a rule, towards the bottom of the list.


Now, I know some boys that age are afflicted with weird feelings about reading  books with female protagonists. This shouldn't be encouraged, and so I haven't edited out books with female protagonists. However, in deference to the possibility of cooties, I have italicized those books with male protagonists.


Many of these, perhaps most of them, are series, btw.


Ruby Lu, Brave and True


Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders


Freddy Ramos Takes Off


Calvin Coconut


How Tia Lola Came to Stay


The Stories Julian Tells


The No. 1 Car Spotter


Anna Hibiscus


Nikki and Deja


Keena Ford


EllRay Jakes is Not a Chicken


Clara Lee and the Apple Pie Dream


Astronaut Academy


Seaglass Summer


Sasquatch Escape


Alvin Ho


Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally)


The Year of the Dog


The Grand Plan to Fix Everything




Misadventures of the Family Fletcher


When Life Gives You OJ


Yang the Third and Her Impossible Family (some books in this series have male protags)


I Want to Go Home!


The Children of Noisy Village


There we go! That's fairly comprehensive! Of course, if you could maybe clarify by what sort of books you consider "worthwhile" or "well-written" I could maybe make a more targeted list...?

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Oh, and of course, your son is not too old for picture books :) Many picture books are very well-written at quite a high reading level because they assume an adult will read it to the child. They can be a good way for a child who is perhaps a little intimidated by longer books to get in some quality reading time. Plus - pictures!

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Oh, and of course, your son is not too old for picture books :) Many picture books are very well-written at quite a high reading level because they assume an adult will read it to the child. They can be a good way for a child who is perhaps a little intimidated by longer books to get in some quality reading time. Plus - pictures!


Yes, my daughter at the moment is refusing chapter books on principle - but she will willingly read picture books with more and better text than many of the chapter books for her reading level.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 4 weeks later...


- Billy and Blaze series (Anderson)

- Buddy, the First Seeing Eye Dog (Moore)

- Barry, the Bravest St. Bernard (Hall)

- The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Standiford)

- Balto and the Great Race (Kimmel)

- Five True Dog Stories (Davidson)

- Seven True Horse Stories (Davidson)

- Nine True Dolphin Stories (Davidson)

- Follow My Leader (Garfield)

- Dolphin Adventure; Dolphin Treasure (Grover)

- Horse Heroes (Petty)

- Chester Cricket series (Selden)



- riddle series by Eisenberg and Hall (ex: Ribbit Riddles, Bunny Riddles, Puppy Riddles, etc.)

- Commander Toad series (Yolan)

- The Bears on Hemlock Mountain (Dalgliesh)

- Flat Stanley series (Brown)

- McBroom's Wonderful One Acre Farm and sequels (Fleischman)

- The Whipping Boy (Fleischman)

- Henry Huggins series (Cleary)

- Miss Pickerell series(MacGregor)

- Time Warp Trio series (Scieszka)

- Diary of a Wimpy Kid series (Kinney)

- Fly on the Ceiling (Glass)

- Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares (Murphy/Walz)

- Pippi Longstockings; Pippi in the South Seas (Astrid)

- Calvin and Hobbes comic collections (Watterson)

- Squish series (Holm)

- Owly series (Runton)


Fantasy or Talking Animals

- Catwings  (series)  (LeGuin)

- Dragonslayer Academy series (McMullan)

- The Littles series (Peterson)

- Moomintrolls series (Jannson)

- Dragon Breathe series (Vernon) -- humorous


Myths / Fairy Tales

- Flying Horse: The Story of Pegasus (Mason)

- Snake Hair: The Story of Medusa (Spinner)

- Monster in the Maze (Spinner)

- The Blind Men and the Elephant (Backstein/Mitra)

- Sim-Chung and the River Dragon (Schecter)

- Peach Boy (Hooks)

- The Warrior Maiden (Schecter)

- A Grain of Rice (Pittman)

- Aladdin (Mistry)

- Tales of Robin Hood (Claybourne)

- Robin Hood: Tale of the Great Outlaw Hero (Bull)

- The Tall Book of Christmas (Smith)

- Reader's Digest: World's Best Fairy Tales (Sideman)


Real Life

- Billy and Blaze series (Anderson)

- Light at Tern Rock (Sauer)

- Follow My Leader (Garfield)

- The Moffats series (Estes)

- Grandma's Attic series (Richardson)


History Adventure

- Robinson Crusoe Reader (Cowles) -- a simplified retelling; this was a *favorite* of our DSs at that age

- The Minstrel in the Tower (Skurzynski) 

- The Arrow and the Apple (Buff)

- Robin Hood: Tale of the Great Outlaw Hero (Bull)

- Marco Polo (Graves)

- Phoebe the Spy (Griffin) 

- Wagon Wheels (Brenner)

- The Courage of Sarah Noble (Dalgliesh)

- Chang's Paper Pony (Coerr)

- Silver (Whelan) -- daughter of an Alaskan "musher" gets a sled dog puppy

- Pioneer Cat (Hooks)

- Snowshoe Thompson (Levinson)

- The Big Balloon Race (Coerr)

- The Little Riders (Shemin) -- WWII occupied Europe



- The Story of Thomas Alva Edison (Davidson)

- Helen Keller (Davidson)

- Helen Keller's Teacher (Davidson)

- Helen Keller: Courage in the Dark (Hurwitz)

- Louis Braille (Davidson)

- Eric the Red and Leif the Lucky

- The Wright Brothers (Reynolds)

- Little Sure Shot: Annie Oakley (Spinner)

- Robert Fulton, Boy Craftsman (Henry)

- Dinosaur Hunter (Alphin)

- The Great Houdini: World Famous Magician (Kulling)


Stepped Readers - Non Fiction

- Gargoyles (Dussling)

- Days of the Knights: A Tale of Castles and Battles (Maynard)

- Pirates: Raiders of the High Seas (Maynard)

- Moonwalk (Donnelly)

- Ice Mummy: Discovery of a 3,000 year old Man (Dubowski)

- Civil War Sub: Mystery of the Hunley (Jerome)

- USS Monitor: Iron Warship That Changed the World (Thompson)

- Finding the Titanic (Ballard)

- Mountain Climbing: Scaling the World's Highest Peaks (Martin)

- Greg's Microscope (Selsam)

- Hill of Fire (Lewis)

- Race Into Space (Arnold)

- Dinosaur Hunter (Alphin)

- Giant Squid: Mystery of the Deep (Dussling)


books by Clyde Bulla:

- Viking Adventure

- The Sword in the Tree 

- A Lion to Guard Us

- The Secret Valley

- Riding the Pony Express

Edited by Lori D.
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At eight, for a reluctant reader I would not hesitate to allow graphic novels for the text to sink in, provided I could track it. Just a thought, for easy reading. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is drivel, yes, but if it gets your kid to fall asleep with a book in his hand... he can slowly work up to less drivel.

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