Jordan and I both enjoy reading, and we have been pleased that all of our boys love books as well! I decided to post some of our favorite books, and I thought I would start with chapter books. We are always looking for good books for Aidan (2nd grade) to read – he reads at a high level, but I am not ready to turn him loose in the library to pick out books about who knows what!
In selecting books for the boys, we are looking for books that will be of educational value, of course, but that will also enhance their character rather than undermine it. So many books (and kid’s TV shows – don’t get me started on that one!) are filled with mouthy children who are portrayed as so much smarter and wiser than the adults. This is not what we want to fill their minds with.
Here are some of our favorite books – either for reading aloud or for experienced readers to read on their own. All links are Amazon affiliate links.
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
This was the first chapter book that I read out loud to Aidan – he was about to turn 5. This book is a fantasy story about the narrator’s father who travels to Wild Island to free a baby dragon. Along the way, he uses all kinds of interesting items that he has packed in his knapsack (like chewing gum, a hairbrush, and ribbons) to get past all of the dangerous wild animals on Wild Island. An adorable story!
We read this Newberry Medal book (published in 1951) this fall as part of our Sonlight homeschool curriculum. We did it as a read aloud, but I think that most kids age 8 and up could handle it on their own. Ginger Pye is a puppy owned by Jerry Pye and his sister Rachel. Having just gotten a new puppy ourselves, it was the perfect time to read this book! We cried together when Ginger was stolen from the Pye’s yard and loved the happy ending in which Ginger is safe with his owners again! (Sorry to give away the ending, but I’m sure you knew the dog wouldn’t stay stolen in a children’s Newberry book!)
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol
Aidan has only read the first book in this series, but we will definitely be looking for more! He loved the mysteries, and Jordan and I laughed about the fact that he thinks about the solution for about 2 seconds and then flips to the back to read the answer. That’s our Aidan!
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warren
This series might be my all time favorite, although it’s tough to say! I love the Boxcar Children books because the kids are respectful and courteous, yet never boring! Each book has some sort of mystery, and the kids go on all kinds of adventures. These books inspire a lot of creativity. Although there are many, many books in the series, Gertrude Chandler Warren only wrote the first 19. We have found that the later books are not nearly as good as the ones written by the original author.
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Jordan read this book out loud to Aidan when he was 5 or 6, and now Aidan has gone on to read it himself at least twice more. It’s definitely a favorite! This story is about a boy named Omri who receives a plastic Indian figure as a gift. The Indian comes to life when Omri locks him in a little cupboard, which leads to all kinds of adventures! In one part, the Indian makes himself a paintbrush out of hair, and Aidan decided he would try that. Yes, he did. Cut a chunk right out of the front of his hair. At least he didn’t try to build his own fire… (The book really does not encourage kids to do crazy things – I think that was just my child!)
Holly Feb 14, 2011
My 8-year-old loved My Father's Dragon and the Boxcar Children books (I don't remember which one he's on). We'll have to check out the others.
Kristalyn Feb 15, 2011
thank you for posting this. i will be saving this for when my 5 yr old shows interest in chapter books. i, absolutely LOVED the boxcar children. my other favorite as a child was The Littles.
Krista Feb 20, 2011
Thank you so much for sharing these suggestions. I have a four year old son who loves books. It is great to know about quality literature. Please post more suggestions!
Samantha Mar 29, 2015
Thank you so much for your list! I think we'll be reading several of these in our near future. Right now we've been reading The Littles and my 6 year old has really been enjoying them!
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