It’s a good challenge to have…How do you find age-appropriate books for advanced readers? Sometimes that decoding puzzle gets solved early and some children just take off through books. We want to keep the reading momentum going so we need to fuel it with great books.
But, we have to mindful that these new readers are young and we want the content to match their maturity. So, I’ve gathered a list of books that we can hand over to children and trust that they’ll be able to handle the content.
Considerations When Moving Children Along Into Lengthier Books
Most middle-grade chapter books are written for children in the 8-12 or 9-12 age bracket. So, a 5 or 6-year-old isn’t necessarily ready to jump into every middle-grade chapter book. Keep in mind what is developmentally appropriate and the sensitivity of your young readers.
Just because a child is a decoding whiz doesn’t mean that he/she has all the tools required to navigate more difficult text. As children move into chapter books we start to have subplots, more character nuances, and more mature themes. Most children will need help navigating these new features.
Series Books for Advanced Readers in K-1
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Early Reader Chapter Books
Early reader chapter books are a great place to start. They still provide picture support. The content can be trusted. The length of the books are manageable with shorter chapters. And many of them are part of a series so if children find one they like, they can plow through the whole series. Many libraries even keep these early chapter books in a separate section of the library to make finding them even easier.
The early chapter book series I recommend the most often is Zoey & Sassafras by Asia Citro. A young girl and her mother have the ability to talk and help creatures who ring their barn doorbell for help. Zoey, her mom, and cat, Sassafras, use science to help solve issues. It’s a top-notch series.
Another out of the box thinker and problem solver is Yasmin in the Meet Yasmin! series by Saadia Faruqi. This spirited 2nd grader makes for a fun read and I love that the series has colored illustrations.
The Nikki & Deja series by Karen English lets us tag along with two best 3rd grade friends experiencing being kids together. They experience cliques, birthdays, starting a newsletter and more.
Animal lovers will enjoy the My Furry Foster Family series by Debbie Michiko Florence. An 8-year-old girl and her family foster animals in their home. Each story features different foster animals from cats to dogs to birds. If the student likes this series he/she can move on to the Animal Inn series by Paul DuBois Jacobs and Jennifer Swender.
My son plowed through the Freddie Ramos series by Jacqueline Jules first listening to them on audiobook and then reading them. A young boy discovers a gift of zapato power shoes from a mystery sender. They are just the gift he needs.
For even more early chapter books see our lists below.
Chapter Book Series
Here are some more book series that are a step above early reader chapter books. I actually like to read the first book in a series with the child either as a read-aloud or side by side reading. Then, discuss it, learn about the characters, etc. before letting them plow through the rest of the books in the series.
There is a new neighbor in town and her name is Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren. She has wild red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another!
Heartwood Hotel by Kallie George is the story of a little mouse who stumbles upon an animal hotel inside a tree in the forest during a storm. She ends up staying and helping the hotel in a big way.
If your reader loved the movie, Toy Story, try the Toys Go Out trio of books by Emily Jenkins. Three toys (a stuffed stingray, a stuffed buffalo, and a red plastic ball) become friends and their days are full of discovery and adventure.
I recently read More Than Marmalade by Rosanne Tolin about Michael Bond the author of the Paddington series. It’s always fascinating to hear the story behind the story. New readers to the classic Paddington books will be interested in knowing that the author actually got the idea for the stories from a stuffed bear that sat in his house.
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner is the story of four orphaned siblings who find an old boxcar to live in for a short time. The kids are extremely resourceful and do well taking care of themselves. Eventually, they are reunited with their kind grandfather who brings them to his house to live. But, he also has the boxcar moved to the backyard so the kids can play in it whenever they want. The series is now written by other authors and there are over 100 books to read.
Anna Hibiscus books by Atinuke are a true delight. Annna Hibiscus lives in Africa with her immediate family and lots of extended family. Family and love of family is at the heart of this series.
Adventure lovers will enjoy the Ranger in Timeseries by Kate Messner. Readers will head to the South Pole, the Titanic, the Oregon Trail, and more interesting locations with a pretty special dog. Readers may also enjoy the Time Jumpers series by Wendy Mass too.
Another timeless classic are The Mouse and the Motorcycle books by Beverly Cleary. I mean who wouldn’t love reading about a mouse who cruises around an inn on a little motorcycle.
For another animal series, check out the Humphrey series by Betty G. Birney. Humphrey is the class pet hamster and in book one he travels home with different students on the weekends and holidays. He’s in for some big adventures. Also, check out the Og the Frog series.
Beatrice Zinker series by Shelley Johannes is all about a young 3rd grader girl who does her best thinking upside down.
As a child, I loved books about things that were miniature sizes like The Littles and the Borrowers. They always reminded me of the little world that lived inside Ernie’s windowbox on Seasame Street. Well, check out The Doll Peopleseries by Ann M. Martin for some pint-size mystery and adventure as two dollhouse families join together to solve a mystery.
The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall is a modern series with a classic feel. We meet the Penderwicks as they arrive at their summer vacation home and they meet an interesting boy to adventure with in Massachusetts.
Printable Advanced Reader Series Book List
Grab a printable list of the books above. Just click the download purple button link below.
What other book series would you add to the list? Leave a comment below.
Keep inspiring young readers.