The 15 Best Chapter Books for Children Ages 4-10+
Through my experience of having four children and growing up reading, these are 15 of the best books to start a child reading or listening to chapter books. It is fun for the whole family and is great bonding time.
Old Mother West Wind
Old Mother West Wind, by Thornton W. Burgess, is filled with fun stories about animals. When I began reading chapter books to my children(when the youngest was 3) I started with these. I suppose it's not quite a chapter book, as each "chapter" is really its own story, however the stories are fun and amazing for all ages. These stories are full of wonder, but also education and guidance. Everyone will fall easily in love with these characters.
Redwall, by Brian Jacques, is an exciting and though-provoking story of a young mouse and his warrior spirit. With rats as enemies, this brave mouse fights with his spirit and learns brevity, self control, and focus. These stories are intriguing and fun for many ages.
The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings
"Of course!", you're thinking. There isn't much that hasn't already been said about Lord of the Rings, but I'll take a shot anyway. Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien, is an epic fantasy adventure full of passion and commitment. It is a fun read for all ages!
The BFG, by Roald Dahl, is an interesting tale of a young girl who befriends a giant(BFG stands for Big, Friendly Giant). The descriptions in the book keep young readers(and listeners) paint a wonderful picture. What a fun tall tale!
Little House Collection
The Little House Collection, by Laura Ingalls Wilder, is packed with life in the pioneer days told by a young girl. This first hand point of view makes it easy to fall in love with her family and her daily life. It helps children to know how life was lived then and how different it is today. The details in this book are uncanny, and there is a lot to be learned from this series.
The Hardy Boys
Ah, yes. Mystery books. Classic Hardy Boys books, by Franklin W. Dixon, are exciting stories of mystery and curiosity. These are probably more for an older crowd, but still are worthy of this list. Adventures left and right!
The Boxcar Children Mysteries
The Boxcar Children Mysteries, by Gertrude Chandler Warner, are stories of 3 young orphan children who survive by living in an abandoned boxcar and solve mysteries. These curious children and their inquisitive nature is mesmerizing.
The Bobbsey Twins
The Bobbsey Twins mystery series, by Laura Lee Hope, are easy to follow adventures for many ages. It helps to develop vocabulary, and the children show concern and care for each other regularly.
The Tripods Collection
The Tripods Collection, by John Christopher, are science fiction books for young readers. I remember my Father reading this series to me when I was 7 years old, and it didn't scare me but at the same time was very exciting and captured my attention. They are easy to follow for young readers as well as older, and are helpful in using imagination with its descriptive words.
The Chronicles of Narnia
Of course! The Chronicles of Narnia! How fitting to be in this "best of" grouping. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, are harrowing fantasy stories. Imagination plays a big role here, and courage is a strong suit in these fantastic tales.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl, is a fun story with a lot of hidden meanings. An enjoyable classic for both young and old, the story is easy to follow and also leaves much up to the reader to paint a wondrous picture in their mind.
Okay, Garfield(by Jim Davis), is not quite a chapter book. I included Garfield in this list for readers with shorter attention spans and just as a fun, short read. I read these often as a child, and the Garfield books improved my vocabulary and spelling. They are great books to keep on hand when you don't have much time to read and perhaps need a little bit of a laugh! Some of the jokes younger children will not understand, but as time goes on they will begin to make connections in their mind and be able to comprehend the jokes with more accuracy, and therefore make it more comical!
The Adventures of TinTin
The Adventures of TinTin, by Hergé, are wonderful mystery tales told through a fun graphic novel. These are great for children who still enjoy picture books and their older siblings also! It is easy to laugh and go through emotions with this bunch of characters, and the stories are easy to follow for young readers with their pictures as a tool.
A Wrinkle in Time(Time Quintet)
Starting with A Wrinkle in Time, the Time Quintet series by Madeleine L'engle are astounding books of wonder and amazement. These science fiction/fantasy novels are a great science read as the child characters explore time, space, and the power of morals.
The stories of Sherlock Holmes, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, are wonderful mystery stories. Not quite a chapter book, but I think they deserve a place on this list because although there is some intertwining of the stories, many of the stories can also be read seperately. WARNING: as with all books I read to my children, I read them to myself first to make sure that there isn't anything too terribly scary or inappropriate. I suggest you read each of these stories before you read to younger children just in case. I remember thoroughly enjoying these stories as a child, and would often listen to the stories via book on tape.
Books are so much fun, and I greatly aspire to share my love of reading with my children. If you would like to do so as well, here are great starts to a chapter book list to read to your children. I would suggest the first to read to young children(beginning at age 3 or 4) is Old Mother West Wind. I still enjoy reading them to this day myself!