The 50 best read-aloud chapter books for young kids

The 50 best read-aloud chapter books for kids

I love to read chapter books aloud to my two boys. Even though my six year old is getting to the point where he can read on his own I still love snuggling up with a good book with my boys on either side of me. It is great bonding time and fun to have an excuse to reread your favorite childhood books or discover a new adventure together.

Here are a few things that I’ve learned while reading chapter books aloud to my boys.

1. Don’t underestimate your child’s reading comprehension! There have been times when I’ve been reading and I think to myself that there is NO way my kids are catching on to this story, but they do! Jungle Book was one of those books. My husband read it aloud to them and the first time I heard him reading I was sure my boys would never ask to hear more, but they did, and they loved the book.

2. Books that have a drawing every few pages are nice to keep them engaged (especially for my 4-year old), but it isn’t necessary.Sometimes it’s fun to see their imaginations working without looking at pictures.

3. This part is fun. Or embarrassing. Or will get you out of your comfort zone. Or is a great way to practice being a stage actor. However you look at it, don’t forget to use dramatic voices and use your hands. Give each character their own voice. Nothing will make your child lose interest in the story quicker than a monotone voice. The story doesn’t have to be read in a boring way, make it fun and even a little silly.

4. If there is a book that is terrifying your child or you feel the material may be too much for them, put it away and try again when they are older. Don’t scar your child with a book, we want reading to be fun! My six year old was a little nervous by BFG, but insisted he was okay. If I knew he was seriously terrified we would have put it away for when he was ready. You want the books to spark their imagination and to help them form a love of reading, not to create nightmares.

Here is a list of some of our favorite chapter books that we have already read and some more that we can’t wait to read:

1.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl

2. The BFG
by Roald Dahl

3. Charlotte’s Web
by E.B. White

4. Stuart Little
by E.B. White

5. The Mouse and the Motorcycle
by Beverly Cleary

6. Mr. Popper’s Penguins
by Richard Atwater

7. Magic Tree House series
by Mary Pope Osborne

8. Hank the Cowdog series
by John R. Erickson

9. Sideways Stories from Wayside School
by Louis Sachar

10 .Chronicles of Narnia series
by C.S. Lewis

11. The Jungle Book
by Rudyard Kipling

12. The Great Brain
by John D. Fitzgerald

13. The Borrowers
by Mary Norton

14. Toys Go Out
by Emily Jenkins

15. The Moffats
by Eleanor Estes

16. Matilda
by Roald Dahl

17. How to Train Your Dragon
by Cressida Cowell

18.  Holes
by Louis Sachar

19. The Indian in the Cupboard
by Lynne Reid Banks

20. The Boxcar Children series
by Gertrude Chandler Warner

21. The Tale of Despereaux
by Kate DiCamillo

22. The Little House Collection
by Laura Ingalls Wilder

23. The Spiderwick Chronicles
by Tony DiTerlizzi

24. Danny the Champion of the World
by Roald Dahl

25.James and the Giant Peach
by Roald Dahl

26. Fantastic Mr. Fox
by Roald Dahl

27. Junie B. Jones
by Barbara Park

28. The Family Under the Bridge
by Natalie Savage Carlson

29. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
by Robert C. O’Brien

30. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E.L. Konigsburg

31. Shiloh
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

32. Harriet the Spy
by Louise Fitzhugh

33. Ivy & Bean series
by Annie Barrows

34. The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
by A. A. Milne

35. Peter Pan
by Bobby Driscoll

36. The Doll People 
by Ann M. Martin

37. The One and Only Ivan
by Katherine Applegate

38. Choose Your Own Adventure books

39. Hatchet
by Gary Paulsen

40. Island of the Blue Dolphins
by Scott O’Dell

41. Nancy Drew
by Carolyn Keene

42. Pippi Longstocking
by Astrid Lindgren

43. The Trumpet of the Swan
by E. B. White

44. Freckle Juice
by Judy Blume

45. The Judy Moody
by Megan McDonald

46. Beezus and Ramona
by Beverly Cleary

47. Rufus M.
by Eleanor Estes

48. How to Eat Fried Worms
by Thomas Rockwell

49. Fat Men From Space
by Daniel Manus Pinkwater

50. Secret Agent Jack Stalwart
by Elizabeth Singer Hunt


Of course there are 100s more awesome chapter books for kids, but this at least gives you a place to start. Did I leave one of your favorites off the list? Let me know in the comments!



I made another awesome list of read-aloud chapter books from your suggestions and comments.

Click the picture below to check it out:

50 favorite read-aloud chapter books







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  • January 25, 2014 - 11:02 pm

    Wendy - True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. A Little Princess.ReplyCancel

  • January 26, 2014 - 7:35 pm

    Carol gibson - The Secret in Miranda’s Closet by Sheila GrenwaldReplyCancel

  • January 26, 2014 - 8:35 pm

    Katie - How old are your kids? Little Pear is great, The Courage of Sarah Noble, Mr. Poppers Penguins, Tumtum and Nutmeg, Fancy Nancy chapter books and American Girl books. I have almost 4 year old girl and 20 month boy. May be a challenge to find read alouds they both enjoy down the road!ReplyCancel

  • January 27, 2014 - 1:29 am

    Gabriela - Where The Red Fern Grows
    I enjoyed reading this book to my son. Especially in the end. It was a very sad ending, but it was good to see that my son could be affected by the written word.ReplyCancel

  • January 27, 2014 - 6:30 am

    Traci - Anne of Green Gables series was a favorite of my kids!ReplyCancel

  • January 27, 2014 - 10:47 am

    Tisha - Can’t leave out “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannett! Kids love that three-book series! Also any of the Junior Classics for Young Readers – if you really want a fun one to do the voices, try Treasure Island!ReplyCancel

  • January 27, 2014 - 3:03 pm

    Shannon - My 4 year old daughter and I are reading round 2 of Ella Enchanted… but don’t make the mistake of trying to watch the movie. A great girl power spin on an old fairy tale.ReplyCancel

  • January 27, 2014 - 10:40 pm

    Meg - Another great one is The Prince of the Pond by Joanna Napoli. I remember this one from 4th grade and bought it for myself with my first paycheck after I turned 18. Still one of my favorite stories. 😀ReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2014 - 1:47 am

    Heidi - Thank you for this excellent list! This includes many of my favorites. I have 5 children ages 12, 10, 8, 8, and 4. The youngest doesn’t always get as much out of reading together as the rest, but to this day their favorite 2 books we’ve read aloud are “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again” by Frank Cottrell Boyce and “The Magician’s Elephant” by Katie DiCamillo. Thought I’d mention them, since I didn’t see them on there. Anything by Roald Dahl or J.K. Rowling is pretty high up on their list of favorites as well.ReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2014 - 3:09 pm

    Mindy - Junie B Jones, the Fudge Series by Judy Blume, James & the Giant Peach, Boxcar Children, Homer Price have been our favorites so far (son just turned 6). Thanks for the new ones to add to our list!!ReplyCancel

  • January 28, 2014 - 8:45 pm

    Denny Shaffner - Where the Red Fern Grows
    and The Education of Little Tree.ReplyCancel

  • January 29, 2014 - 5:06 am

    Charlotte - There’s a number on there we have read (my boys are six and four) and many we haven’t that I will be getting hold of. Some other ideas, that we have been reading: the Faraway Tree series, Secret Seven and Famous Five, all by Enid Blyton; The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy Boston; The String Family by Patricia Cleveland, My Naughty Little Sister and the Tales of Joe and Timothy by Dorothy Edwards, the Melendy books by Elizabeth Enright.ReplyCancel

  • January 29, 2014 - 2:38 pm

    Patrick - One Thousand and One Nights (AKA Arabian Nights)ReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2014 - 12:18 am

    Leah Harvath - Great list! I still read read to my boys and they are 10 and 14. It’s such a great opportunity to bond with your kids over a good book and then discuss it afterwards. Love it!
    –Leah @ http://www.fabulousfarmgirl.comReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2014 - 7:12 am

    Petra Lucas - Love this list! I’m pleased that I have some of them already but it never occurred to me to read them to my little guy already. Thanks for sharing this. You have inspired me to write about reading with my little boy. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2014 - 1:14 pm

    Alyssae - The Neverending Story by Michael Ende! My parents read it to me when I was 4 and it is still one of my favorite books ever!ReplyCancel

  • January 30, 2014 - 10:08 pm

    Emma Jenkins - The Secret Garden andThe Last of the Great Wangdoodles wasn’t mentioned. I loved reading some of these books you listed as a child.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2014 - 10:12 am

    Melissa Hadfield - You guys are awesome! Thanks for sharing some of your favorite books with me! You are reminding me of so many books that I loved as a child and forgot about. Keep the suggestions coming!ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2014 - 1:06 pm

    Emma - I’m 16 and love to read…..I remember I read American Girl books and the Dear America series in 3rd grade and would go to the library all the time. The Littles, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, Caddie Woodlawn, Number the Stars, Because of Winn Dixie, Tuck Everlasting, Runaway Emily, A Wrinkle in Time…..the list goes on and on and onReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2014 - 5:11 pm

    Emily - Wish for suggested ages for these!! We read thru several when our kiddo was 5, but ‘The Tale of Desperaux’ was TOO MUCH – the mom drowning in her soup scarred my son deeply. It took months to undo the damage!! (Great story – just not for that age – I wish someone had told me!)ReplyCancel

    • February 1, 2014 - 6:11 pm

      Melissa Hadfield - So good to know about the Tale of Despereaux! I have had it recommended to me, so that is why it made the list. I made this list with 4-8 year olds in mind.ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2014 - 10:59 pm

    Jerica - I teach second grade and most of the books you listed are on my bookshelf in my classroom. My favorite childhood series were Little House on the Prairie, The Babysitters Club, & Anne of Green Gables. A new series I’ve discovered as an adult is the Clementine series – I read it out loud to my class for the first time and found myself laughing out loud more often than they did. I also enjoyed Lulu and the Brontosaurus – it provides lots of dramatic demonstrations opportunities! Thanks for sharing your list – I’m inspired to start a new read with my class next week!ReplyCancel

  • February 2, 2014 - 8:30 am

    Abbie L. - The Wind in the Willows, Inkheart, The Secret Garden; and if you can find it The Stray by Dick King Smith is an amazing book! Also, for older kids, Fig Pudding by Ralph J. Fletcher is really good. It does have the death of a family member in it, but it is a beautiful story and deals with grief very well; rare in a children’s story.ReplyCancel

  • February 5, 2014 - 5:21 pm

    Emily - Love some of these! I’m a 1st grade teacher, currently reading Sideways Stories From Wayside School and my kids are laughing hysterically! I would really recommend the Magic Tree House series. Another funny series that I’ve used before is the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. As a kid, I know that my mom read The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe to me. For slightly older kid, some of the Bruce Coville books like Jennifer Murgley’s Toad or Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher are great!ReplyCancel

  • February 6, 2014 - 7:01 pm

    Nicolette - A top that I’ve read for people with children spread out in age is to read art the oldest child’s level. They are the most likely to get bored.ReplyCancel

  • February 6, 2014 - 10:00 pm

    Darcy - One I read to my classes is Walk Two Moons by Sharon CreechReplyCancel

  • February 7, 2014 - 3:48 pm

    Samurai Mom - The Tale of Despereaux by Kate diCamillo, SO SO much better than the movie!ReplyCancel

  • February 8, 2014 - 11:28 am

    Deb - I think they’re mostly out of print but the All of a Kind Family series was one of my favorites.ReplyCancel

    • March 26, 2014 - 9:43 pm

      Dee Tee - I ADORE the All of A a kind Family books!! Read them over and over and over…ReplyCancel

    • July 18, 2014 - 4:05 pm

      Kayla - We had two All of Kind Family books growing up, and I loved them! I need to ask my mom if she still has them…!ReplyCancel

  • February 9, 2014 - 2:02 pm

    Lauren - My 4 year old and I loved Betsy-Tacy 🙂 The second one, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, was good, too. But I heard the next one was when the kids are in High School, so that’ll probably need to wait few years. We are enjoying a Katie Kazoo Switcheroo book right now. We’ll be checking out a new one from the library soon!ReplyCancel

  • February 9, 2014 - 2:12 pm

    Nicole - Great list. Another book my boys loved is The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall. We’re currently all enjoying Flora and Ulysses by Katie DiCamillo. This book begs to be read aloud!ReplyCancel

  • February 13, 2014 - 10:34 am

    Jennifer - Wolf Story, Jenny and the Cat ClubReplyCancel

  • February 17, 2014 - 9:37 pm

    Tiffany - The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. 8 year old and up
    Love, love, love it!!ReplyCancel

  • February 18, 2014 - 8:55 pm

    Emily - The Penderwicks, Trixie Belden series, The Little House series, Depend on Katie John by Mary Calhoun, and the Santa Paws series by Nicholas Edwards are all wonderful books for younger kids. I also enjoyed the Bobbsey twins when I could find that series.ReplyCancel

  • February 19, 2014 - 10:59 pm

    tori - I love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. A childhood favorite that I have read to my kids and my students every year. A must read. There are 3 in the series but the first is my favorite!ReplyCancel

  • February 23, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    Lisa - Anything by Kate DiCamillio is a wonderful read aloud. I teach 3rd grade and my students all love the stories. But they are not Disney style endings- or middles- or beginnings. They have real emotions which I think most 3rd graders appreciate. That said, you NEED to read your books ahead of time. Don’t ever let it be in front of the kids as your first read. This will save you awkward cover ups for fowl language, or images or themes that they aren’t ready for. I also love Carl Hiaasen young adult books, and M.T. Anderson- for silliness.ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2014 - 7:53 am

    Linda - One of the very best read aloud books I read to my kids was The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick–my kids could hardly stand to wait to read the next chapter. We would study the drawings to really capture the happenings in the story. Years later the movie came out and we all enjoyed watching our favorite book adapted to that medium.ReplyCancel

  • February 24, 2014 - 9:12 pm

    Karen - The White Giraffe series is amazing. White Giraffe, Dolphin Song, The Last Leopard, & The Elephants Tale.ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2014 - 8:37 pm

    Samantha - Peter Pan is not written by Bobby Driscol. The story was created by J. M. Barrie. Driscol was the voice actor for the Disney cartoon. And you linked it to the movie, not to a read aloud book. Otherwise great list, I would add Winnie the Pooh 😀ReplyCancel

  • March 2, 2014 - 4:01 pm

    Tonya - What an amazing list!! I remember reading some of these as a kid and my kids already have and have read a bunch of these as well. So glad I kept some of my book collections as a kid to pass on to mine. Oh, a great book to add to your list (my absolute favorite) Where The Red Fern Grows. LOVE it!ReplyCancel

  • March 3, 2014 - 4:23 pm

    Emma - The Magic series by Edward Eager were my FAVORITE when I was a kid. Also, I’m glad to see so much Roald Dahl on this list 🙂ReplyCancel

  • March 10, 2014 - 8:14 am

    Alex esarey - The Last of the Really Great wangdoodles! My students love it!ReplyCancel

  • March 27, 2014 - 8:44 pm

    Ashley Jenkins - Phyllis Reynolds naylor has a series about Alice McKinley! They are awesome!!!!ReplyCancel

  • March 29, 2014 - 6:33 am

    Addeee000 - This is a fantastic list. Thank you for the post! For the past few weeks my partner and I have been reading our 6 year old the first book of the Harry Potter series – which we were disappointed to have not seen on your list! While we weren’t sure he would be able to grasp the complexities of the novel, to our astonishment and utter delight he has! Not only does he follow me around the house daily asking if we can read more, he has infinitely impressed us with his comprehensive understanding of the story and it’s characters. I avidly agree that it is imperative to not underestimate our kids and recommend the HP series for your little ones!ReplyCancel

  • March 29, 2014 - 8:10 am

    Cathy - One that is often missed, but shouldn’t be, is The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards. It is a wonderful read aloud with colorful imagery and great characters.ReplyCancel

  • April 25, 2014 - 7:12 am

    Morgan - My absolute favorite is The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It’s a beautiful story and adults learn from it as well!
    Another that I read as a kid and still remember to this day is The Bridge to Terebithia. Heartbreaking, but really good.ReplyCancel

  • April 27, 2014 - 6:56 pm

    Patty - Wonder by: R.J Palacio, I read it with my nine year old son, It is an amazing book. A must read.ReplyCancel

  • May 22, 2014 - 10:49 pm

    Chanel Atkinson - My mom read so many of these as I eas growing up, some of my favorite memories. I can’t wait to read them to my own one day.ReplyCancel

  • June 5, 2014 - 1:31 pm

    Sonja - Great for 7 – 9 year olds as read alouds–The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop and Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright. These are both adventure type books that both boys and girls enjoy. They both have sequals when your kids ask for more! I always read to our kids on car rides and all three of my children love reading and were identified as “gifted” in school. This sounds terrible but I don’t think they were as gifted as they were “prepared” with a rich vocabulary and experiences. They are now adults and still prolific readers. Talk with your kids!!ReplyCancel

  • June 16, 2014 - 11:09 pm

    Jessica - A lot of wonderful books have been mentioned. These aren’t for really young kids, but I also loved reading Maniac Magee, Savvy, Remarkable, and the Giver to my kids. Love A Wrinkle in Time too, but I’m not sure my kids were ready for it.ReplyCancel

    • June 17, 2014 - 10:47 am

      Camille Walker - Awww, I love Wrinkle in time too! You can check out our “read aloud” chapter books post that you might enjoy as well! 🙂 Thanks for the input we’ll add them to the list!ReplyCancel

  • July 15, 2014 - 9:35 am

    Branden - Great list! My 4 year old son and I have read several of these this summer and we can’t wait to go the the library to check out more of your suggestions. Others we have read, that aren’t on your list, include My Father’s Dragon and Doctor Doolittle. He loved both of these. Thanks for the great suggestions!ReplyCancel

  • July 25, 2014 - 8:07 pm

    Rachel - Mary Poppins is just so wonderful! I read it to my precocious three and a half year old, and he was riveted. Still talks about it now that he is six. Vivid imagery and appreciation for the plasticity of imagination/real world play when very young.ReplyCancel

  • July 31, 2014 - 5:10 pm

    Ashleigh - Gone Away Lake and Return to Gone Away by Elizabeth Enright are excellent reads as well. The main characters are a boy and a girl (cousins). They find a ghost town and basically make it their go to place. It’s such a fun story.ReplyCancel

  • July 31, 2014 - 10:23 pm

    Roni - I agree with Tiffany-The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is phenomenal!!! My daughter & second graders LOVED this book!!!ReplyCancel

  • September 9, 2014 - 1:52 pm

    Page - So many great books already listed! Adding the following that my children loved when 4-10. The Freddy Books by Walter R. Brooks; The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede’s; Childhood of Famous America Series; Misty of Chincoteague and anything else written by Marguerite Henry; The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster; A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck; The Pony Pals series by Jeanne Betancourt; Pippi Longstockings; and the Cherry Ames series by Helen WellsReplyCancel

  • October 8, 2014 - 10:12 pm

    Seth - Page- I have read The Phantom Tollbooth to my kids too and I have loved as they did since I was young. It’s fun and challenging for the person reading it too. Great list. Thank you all for sharing!ReplyCancel

  • October 10, 2014 - 9:12 am

    Stephanie - What about for an 18 month old? We read lots of books and at bedtime she loves to snuggle up and listen to longer stories. We read Dr. Seuss’ Sleep Book almost every night. I’d love to broaden our horizons a bit!ReplyCancel

    • October 10, 2014 - 9:34 am

      Melissa Hadfield - Stephanie,
      That’s a great question! 18 months old is still too little for chapter books, but really any picture book is great. My kids have all loved Sandra Boynton books. They are silly and cute and they might even have you giggling a little. We have also really like “If you give a…” books. Like “If you Give a Mouse a Cookie” and “If You Give a Pig a Pancake.”ReplyCancel

  • September 18, 2015 - 9:01 am

    Lisha - I don’t see any books on that list that are culturally diverse.ReplyCancel

  • March 7, 2016 - 12:07 pm

    Abigail - Thank you for making this list! I have read some of these to my 7,6, and 4 year old but i found interesting titles I’m sure my kids will want to explore! The one book we are currently on is Stuart Little. am i reading this book wrong? I had never read Stuart Little but have seen the movies and knew of the books. My son picked it out since it was his turn and i was more than excited. EB White has been one of our favorites and have read Charlotte’s Webb Five times, however This book seemed to have run on sentences and the chapters were more of a random collections of things Stuart has done in his life. ON the last chapter my son asked me to move on that he didn’t want to read it and even though i was secretly glad i was also very disappointed. My daughters also said they didn’t enjoy the book.ReplyCancel

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