The best laugh-out-loud chapter books

Laurie Calkhoven Author Of Roosevelt Banks and the Attic of Doom
By Laurie Calkhoven

Who am I?

I am a former book publishing professional turned full-time children’s book author. I’ve never swallowed a frog, battled imaginary bears, or had a slime war with ghosts like my character, Roosevelt Banks, but I have written more than fifty books for children. These range from beginning readers (You Should Meet Misty Copeland) and chapter books (Roosevelt Banks, Good-Kid-in-Training) to middle grade historical novels (Daniel at the Siege of Boston, 1775).

I wrote...

Roosevelt Banks and the Attic of Doom

By Laurie Calkhoven, Debbie Palen (illustrator),

Book cover of Roosevelt Banks and the Attic of Doom

What is my book about?

When fourth-grader Roosevelt Banks learns that there’s a new baby on the way and he’s going to have to move into the spooky, ghost-filled attic, he launches into a campaign to do anything but. His plan to move into a fort in the woods fails, and a ghost-busting exercise goes terribly wrong, leaving Roosevelt—with the help of Tommy, Josh, and Eddie Spaghetti—to find the courage to defeat the biggest, spookiest ghouls ever. School Library Journal says this sequel to Roosevelt Banks, Good-Kid-in-Training, “has a lot going for it—a serious life change, a kooky childhood challenge, an affable cast of pals, and caring, serious parents... An often silly, sometimes sweet read; many kids will recognize themselves in Roosevelt’s big imagination and will enjoy spending the summer in his insular, intimate neighborhood.”

The books I picked & why

Shepherd is reader supported. We may earn an affiliate commission when you buy through links on our website. This is how we fund this project for readers and authors (learn more).

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

By Lenore Look, LeUyen Pham (illustrator),

Book cover of Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things

Why this book?

This is the first book in a hilarious chapter book series that deals with facing your fears in a fun, kid-friend way. Alvin, who is afraid of everything from girls to elevators and especially school, channels his inner superhero, Firecracker Man, to brave the outside world. This book is great for both beginning and reluctant readers. I loved watching Alvin conquer his fears and transform into Firecracker Man!

Waylon! One Awesome Thing

By Sara Pennypacker,

Book cover of Waylon! One Awesome Thing

Why this book?

Waylon has lots of ideas for making life more awesome through science, like attracting cupcakes by controlling gravity. But it's impossible for him to concentrate on his inventions when Arlo Brody is dividing the fourth grade boys into two groups. His attempts to navigate fourth grade and be friends with everyone (except for one very scary new kid) are hilarious.

Jada Jones: Rock Star

By Kelly Starling Lyons, Vanessa Brantley-Newton (illustrator),

Book cover of Jada Jones: Rock Star

Why this book?

With pockets full of rocks and a purple-dragon T-shirt, science-loving Jada Jones makes her debut in this early chapter book series. When her best friend moves away, school is the last place Jada wants to be, until her teacher announces a project about rocks and minerals. The only problem—she’s in a group with two BFF’s who don’t seem to like her or her ideas. Readers will love reading about Jada’s journey to new friendships and becoming a fourth-grade rock star—setting her up for new challenges in subsequent titles. I love the fact that Lyons created a science-loving girl.

Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan, 1

By Frances O'Roark Dowell, Amy June Bates (illustrator),

Book cover of Sam the Man & the Chicken Plan, 1

Why this book?

Sam the Man wants a job. His next-door neighbor will pay him a whole dollar each time he can convince her dad, Mr. Stockfish, to join him for a daily walk. But getting Mr. Stockfish to leave the living room isn’t easy. So when another neighbor asks if Sam would like to watch her chickens, he jumps at the chance. Chicken-sitting is way more fun than he expects, and soon Sam the Man is watching a chicken of his very own. The story is satisfying and funny and readers will want to learn all about Sam’s adventures in the rest of the series. Sam’s creative problem-solving skills had me laughing out loud.


By Sara Pennypacker, Marla Frazee (illustrator),

Book cover of Clementine

Why this book?

Okay, fine. Clementine—a not-so-common third grader—is having a disastrous week. But maybe can she find a way to make it better. Her attempts to make that happen, despite yucky eggs, being sent to the principal’s office, and making everyone mad at her will have both adults and kids laughing out loud. Once you read this first book in the series, you’ll want to read them all.

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in school, best friends, and Chinese Americans?

5,887 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about school, best friends, and Chinese Americans.

School Explore 168 books about school
Best Friends Explore 49 books about best friends
Chinese Americans Explore 29 books about Chinese Americans

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie, Hand-Me-Down Magic, and Lola Levine Is Not Mean! if you like this list.