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55 Of Our Favorite Chapter Books For 1st Graders

As newly independent readers, it is important for 1st graders to have the right books to help develop their confidence and skills.

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55 Of Our Favorite Chapter Books For 1st Graders

Here is a list of our favorite chapter books for 1st graders to read.

1. Narwhal And Jelly – Ben Clanton

This box set includes the first three books from the New York Times bestselling series – Unicorn Of The Sea, Super Narwhal And Jelly Jolt, and Peanut Butter Jelly.

It even comes with a poster. These sweet stories have lovely illustrations and are perfect for 1st graders.

2. Magic Tree House – Mary Pope Osborne

The Magic Tree House is a classic book series for children aged between 5 and 8.

It follows Jack and Annie as they find a magical tree house filled with books, and end up going on lots of different adventures.

This set includes the first 4 books – Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight At Dawn, Mummies In The Morning, and Pirates Past Noon.

3. Amelia Bedelia – Herman Parish & Lynne Avril

Ameila Bedila is an excellent book series for children aged between 6 and 8 years old, making it ideal for 1st graders. Amelia is a lovable character and her stories are relatable and fun.

This set includes 4 books – Amelia Bedelia Means Business, Amelia Bedelia Unleashed, Amelia Bedelia Road Trip, Amelia Bedeila Goes Wild.

4. The Big Book Of Silly Jokes For Kids – Carole P Roman

Independent reading doesn’t always have to be story books. Joke books are a great way to encourage children to read.

They will also read aloud and start to memorize the jokes, so they are developing multiple skills at once.

5. The Never Girls – Kiki Thorpe

This Disney Chapter book series is about four best friends who are whisked off to Never Never Land. It is a dream come true when they get to meet Tinkerbell and other magical friends.

This set includes 4 books – In A Blink, The Space Between, A Dandelion Wish, and From The Mist.

6. Junie B Jones – Barbara Park

Barbara Park is known for her ability to make reading fun, and these books are no exception.

Junie is a wonderful character who takes the readers on hilarious adventures, with themes that are relatable for first graders.

This is a 4 book collection which deals with concepts like starting school, getting a baby sibling, and secrets.

7. The Ramona Collection – Beverly Cleary

This 4 book collection includes Beezus And Ramona, Ramona The Pest, Ramona the Brave, and Romana And Her Father.

Ramona has an interesting perspective on the world, and faces challenges that many first graders will understand and relate to.

8. The Princess And The Pirate – A M Luzzader & Anna M Clark

This is one of the books in a 6 part chapter book series written for children aged 6 to 9 years old. It takes place in Wildflower Kingdom, a fantasy land with princesses, unicorns, dragons and friendly animals.

The Princesses are scared of pirates, but when the pirates help them to follow a treasure map the girls realize that they should not always judge a book by its cover.

9. The Berenstain Bears’ Big Book Of Science And Nature – Stan & Jon Berenstain

This book is designed to make learning fun and accessible for children aged between 3 and 6 years old.

They can learn about the world around them whilst practicing their reading skills and even taking part in family activities.

10. My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish – Mo O’Hara

This is a trilogy box set that includes My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish, The SeaQuel, and Fins Of Fury.

It is about a boy called Tom who uses a battery to zap his goldfish back to life. He ends up with a zombie fish with hypnotic powers and the unlikely duo get swept up in an adventure.

11. Zoey & Sassafras: Dragons & Marshmallows – Asia Citro & Marian Lindsay

This award winning book is part of a heart-warming series that first graders will love. They are easy to read with wonderful illustrations, and are suitable for children aged between 4 and 8.

Zoey learns that injured magical animals are arriving in her back yard and she decides to help them, including a little dragon named Marshmallow.

12. The Secret Explorers And The Lose Whales – SJ King

This is one of the books in a 15 part book series, so if you like characters there are plenty more stories to enjoy. The Secret Explorers are a group of children from all over the world.

They come together to use their combined knowledge to solve problems, including helping a pod of whales who have lost their way.

13. Patrick Pickle Bottom Everyday Mysteries: The Case Of The Brazilian Vase – Mr Jay

Mystery stories are great for 1st graders – they can use their critical thinking skills and the curiosity keeps them hooked. This book series is great fun and has a very likable character to follow.

14. Pudgy’s Surprise: The Little Pony With A Big Heart – Jeanne Mellin

This award winning chapter book is suitable for children up to 8 years old. It is about a girl called Cindy and her pony, Pidgy.

They have a lot of fun together, but Cindy wants a show horse to impress her friends. One day, Pidgey goes missing, and Cindy realizes that she should have appreciated him more.

15. Unicorn Academy: Rainbow Of Adventure – Julie Sykes

This magical book series includes 4 books that 1st graders will love – Sophia And Rainbow, Scarlett And Blaze, Ava And Star, and Isabel And Cloud.

Each one is about a student at Unicorn academy who gets their own unicorn to be their best friend. With mysteries to solve and adventures to be had, these books are fun and exciting to read.

16. Ivy & Bean – Annie Barrows & Sophie Blackall

The Ivy and Bean book series is perfect for 1st graders who want to practice independent reading.

It is about finding a friend in someone you thought you didn’t like, and how much fun you can have when you find common ground with them.

Included in this set are three books – Ivy & Bean, Ivy & Bean And The Ghost That Had To Go, and Ivy & Bean And The Fossil Record.

17. Grumpy Monkey: Who Threw That? – Suzanne Lang & Max Lang

The first Grumpy Monkey Book was a picture book. This sequel is a graphic novel chapter book to help young fans move on to the next stage of reading.

It is a longer story with more dialogue and is great for 1st graders to practice independent reading with a comedic plot to keep them interested.

18. I Need A New Butt – Dawn MacMillan & Ross Kinnaird

This is a funny story about a boy who finds a problem with his butt – it has a big crack in it!

He goes in search of a new butt, and realizes that there are lots of different kinds of butts – robot butts, armor butts and even rocket butts.

19. Henry Heckelbeck Gets A Dragon – Wanda Coven & Priscilla Burris

This is the first book in a 13 part series that is designed to help 5 to 9 year olds with their reading.

It is easy to read with plenty of illustrations to keep children focused on the story, whilst encouraging independent reading.

Henry has a magical mother and a magical sister, but he is just a normal boy. That is, until he finds a book of spells and accidentally brings his toy dragon to life.

20. Goodnight Stories For Rebel Girls – Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo

This is a number 1 New York Times bestselling collection of inspirational stories about women.

The 100 stories are about women from the past and present, and are illustrated by female and non-binary artists from all over the world. The true stories are told in a fairytale style to make them ideal for children.

21. Chloe And The Mermaid Club – A M Luzzader

Chloe, Emma and Ava are in the mermaid club, a magical club under the sea where friends can have fun and go on adventures together.

It is a 3 part series that is great for getting 1st graders into chapter books, moving them onto the next phase of reading.

In this story, Chloe accidentally makes a mistake. She wants to run and hide, but decides to ask her friends for help instead.

22. Beginner’s World Atlas – National Geographic

An atlas is a great book for a 1st grader to learn lots of different things about the world around them.

This National Geographic atlas is fun and educational, with plenty of pictures along with interesting facts.

23. Max E James – J Ryan Hersey & Gustavo Mazali

The Max E James book series is a chapter book series which is designed to encourage children to read more. This book includes three stories – Fishing Fever, Winter Wipeout, and Crash Course.

24. Prince Martin & The Thieves – Brandon Hall & Jason Zimdars

Prince Martin is a boy Prince with a livable canine sidekick. In his 7 part book series he finds himself getting into all sorts of adventures.

The books are written with a subtle rhyme and rhythm which helps to build the pace and assist 1st graders with pronunciation.

This is the second book in the series, which also works as a stand alone story.

25. Nate The Great – Majorie Weinman Sharmat & Marc Simont

This is book 1 of a 29 part series which is ideal for children aged between 5 and 7.

It follows Nate, the greatest detective, whose fun stories encourage children to use critical thinking skills and practice problem solving as they help him solve the clues.

The illustrations really help to bring the stories to life.

26. Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Tutu Many Problems – Whoopi Goldberg

This is the 4th book out of 6 in the award winning and bestselling series Sugar Plum Ballerinas written by Whoopi Goldberg.

It is set in the Nutcracker School Of Ballet in Harlem, and teaches children about how to work together and support one another as a team. It is perfect for children between the ages of 6 and 10.

27. The Story Of Spiderman – Marvel World Of Reading

If you know a first grader who is a fan of comic books and’or Marvel films, then this is the perfect chapter book to encourage them to read.

It is the story everyone knows and loves about how Peter Parker becomes Spiderman, but adapted for children who are developing their reading skills.

It features compound sentences, simple contractions, and introduces themes of conflict resolution.

28. Dog Man – Dav Pilkey

Dog Man is a graphic novel from the best-selling creator of Captain Underpants.

It is the first in a series of 11 which follows the latest comic book creation of George and Harold – a heroic canine with the body of a human and the head of the dog who is committed to fighting crime.

29. Rebekah Girl Detective – PJ Ryan

This 8 part book series is made up of short and enjoyable stories. Rebekah and her best friend, Mouse, are determined to solve every mystery they come across.

Included in the set are the following titles – Mysterious Garden, Alien Invasion, Magellan Goes Missing, Ghost Hunting, Grown-Ups Out To Get Us, The Missing Gems, Swimming With Sharks, and Magic Gone Wrong.

30. Princess Truly: I Am A Super Girl – Kelly Greenwalt & Amariah Rauscher

This book is part of the acorn scholastic range which is designed to help improve fluency and confidence in young readers.

It has fun illustrations and a fun story to keep children engaged and help them to really enjoy reading and see it as a fun thing to do.

31. Star Wars: A Jedi You Will Be – Preeti Chhibber

This fun book is narrated by none other than Yoga himself, It was released to celebrate the 40th anniversary of The Empire Strikes Back and re-lives one of the most iconic sequences in the movie, as Luke trains with Yoda to become a master of the force.

32. Unicorn Diaries: Bo’s Magical New Friend – Rebecca Elliot

Sparkle Grove forest is the home of the magical unicorns. Rainbow Tinsel Tail goes to Sparkle Grove School with the other unicorns, where each one has their own magical power.

Rainbow has the power to grant wishes, but can she grant her own wish?

The thing she wants more than anything is a best friend, and when sunny arrives at the school it seems her wish might just come true.

33. The Adventures Of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain

This children’s classic is perfect for a more advanced 1st grade reader. It is about a young boy called Tom Sawyer who is growing up on the banks of the Mississippi river with his aunt.

Tom gets into all sorts of classic American boyhood adventures with his friends – caves, spooky houses, treasure hunting, and much more.

34. Cat Diaries: Secret Writings Of The Meow Society – Betsy Byars & Betsy Duffey & Laura Myers & Erik Brooks

After the success of Dog Diaries, Betsy Byers and her two daughters are back with Cat Diaries. The annual gathering of the society is an event where cats can share their fascinating stories.

Pirate cat has a story about mouse hunting and hidden treasure, Chico the tiny cat has a story about fighting crime, and Georgio has some new and exciting cat recipes.

35. Sideways Stories From Wayside School – Louis Sachar

Louis Sachar is an award-winning and bestselling young adult author who has created this book series for children.

Wayside school is a wacky place where there is always something comically odd going. It’s not surprising, given that the school was built sideways.

This set includes Sideways Stories From Wayside School, Wayside School Is Falling Down, Wayside School Gets A Little Stranger, and Wayside School Beneath The Cloud Of Doom.

36. Judy Moody And The Not Bummer Summer – Megan McDonald & Peter H Reynolds

This is book 10 of 15 in the Judy Moody series, a favorite with teachers. It is ideal for children aged 7 and above but children aged 6 could also read it if they are already confident with independent reading.

Judy comes up with a thrilling idea to make sure that her summer isn’t boring. It involves tightropes, monsters, treasure hunts and a midnight stake out – and a few surprises along the way.

37. The Hardy Boys Secret File Collection – Franklin W Dixon & Scott Burroughs

This set includes books 1 to 5 in the Hardy Boys Secret File Collection. These mystery stories are perfect for children aged 6 to 9.

Frank and Joe Hardy are brothers growing up in Bayport. Whenever there is trouble, you can count on the Hardy brothers to solve the case.

The titles in this collection are Trouble At The Arcade, The Missing Mitt, Mystery Map, Hopping Mad, and Monster Of a Mystery.

38. Fitting Out: The Friendship Experiment – Sarah Giles

Max is a 10 year old boy who is a little shy. Elementary school suddenly gets a lot harder when his best friend moves away.

Max needs to figure out how to make new friends in time for the new school term to start, but he only has 4 weeks!

This funny and heartwarming story teaches children an important lesson about making new friends and being yourself.

39. Junkyard Adventures: Word Dragon – Tevin Hanson

This action adventure chapter book is a great way to help children test their spelling and build their confidence with independent reading.

Eli and Grace visit an antique store and make an interesting discovery – there is a dragon in the junkyard.

Not just any dragon – a word dragon called Fireball who loves to play scrabble. Teachers, parents and children love this book.

40. The Bears On Hemlock Mountain – Alice Dagliesh

Johnathan is a young boy who has always been told that there are no bears on Hemlock mountain. He disagrees, and is determined to find out once and for all.

This chapter book is ideal for children aged between 5 and 9.

41. Bramble & Maggie: Horse Meets Girl – Jessie Haas & Alison Friend

Maggis is devoted to her horse, Bramble, even if she does have some funny ways!

Bramble is a spirited horse looking for just the right owner when Maggie comes along. Maggie is determined to show Bramble that she will look after her.

42. Act Normal And Don’t Tell Anyone About The Zombie Robots – Christian Darkin

This ‘read it yourself’ chapter book is aimed at children aged 6 and above which makes it ideal for 1st graders.

Jenny and Adam notice that all of the adults are addicted to a new video game, so they decide to have some fun themselves by creating robots.

43. Ballet Bunnies: Ballerina Birthday – Swapna Reddy & Binny Talib

This full color chapter book is perfect for any 1st graders who love dancing and ballet. It is the 3rd story in a 6 part series so there are other books that they can also enjoy.

44. Summer Pony – Jean Slaughter Doty & Ruth Sanderson

Ginny has always dreamed of having a pony, but when her parents rent a pony for the summer it has clearly been mistreated. Can Ginny help the pony to recover and still have a great summer?

45. Aliens For Breakfast – Stephanie Spinner & Johnathan Etra

This hilarious story has been delighting children for a decade. It is about a young boy who sits down for breakfast and finds aliens in his cereal box. It is ideal for children aged 6 to 8 years old.

46. Cat & Cat Adventures: Journey Into Unibear City- Susie Yi

This is the 3rd book in the Cat & Cat Adventures series. Squash and Ginny must follow the clues to recover the Dragon Witch’s collection of magical artifacts.

47. The Critter Club – Callie Barkley

Amy, Ellie, Liz and Marion are best friends who have one thing in common – they love animals!

In this 4 part series the four girls help each other to rescue animals in need, including a puppy, a turtle, a bunny and a litter of kittens.

48. Noodleheads: Take It Easy – Tedd Arnold

Noodleheads is a graphic novel series designed for 1st and 2nd graders. In this story, Mac and Mac learn how to make their favorite pie.

This funny story encourages critical thinking and includes plenty of jokes and wordplay.

49. The Bad Guys – Aaron Blabey

The bad guys are fed up with their negative reputation, and decide to become do-gooders to turn things around. This book series has now been turned into an animated movie.

50. Flat Stanley – Jeff Brown

The Flat Stanley books have been around for over 50 years and they are still a great choice for 1st graders who want to build confidence with independent reading. This set includes 4 fun stories.

51. Dragon Masters: Chill Of The Ice Dragon – Tracey West

This book is aimed at newly independent readers and will help them to build confidence and reading stamina, improving their concentration levels.

52. Star Wars: A Luke & Leia Adventure: Flight Of The Falcon – Disney Choose Your Adventure

This book allows the reader to change the outcome of the story based on the choices they make as they read.

This is a fun and engaging way to get 1st graders to spend time working on their reading skills.

53. Purrmaids: The Scaredy Cat – Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

The purrmaids are mermaid kittens who live in the sea and have lots of fun adventures together. In this first book of the series, Coral is scared to swim to the tortoiseshell reef with her friends.

54. Doctor Grundy’s Undies – Dawn McMillan & Ross Kinnaird

From the creative team that brought you ‘I Need A New Butt’ comes another hilarious story that will have you laughing.

55. The Nocturnals: The Mysterious Abductions – Tracey Hecht & Kate Liebman

This is one of the books in the fantastic nocturnals series which features a cast of nocturnal animals.


This list includes an excellent variety of books that are perfect for 1st graders to enjoy.

Simon Lewis

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