The most recommended chapter books

Who picked these books? Meet our 86 experts.

86 authors created a book list with a chapter book, and here are their favorites.

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Book cover of Jada Jones: Rock Star

Laurie Calkhoven Author Of Roosevelt Banks and the Attic of Doom

From my list on laugh-out-loud chapters.

Why am I passionate about this?

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).

Laurie's book list on laugh-out-loud chapters

Laurie Calkhoven Why did Laurie love 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.

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

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Jada Jones as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Fans of Princess Posey and Ivy and Bean will enjoy engaging with science-loving Jada Jones in this easy-to-read chapter book.

When Jada Jones's best friend moves away, school feels like the last place she wants to be. She'd much rather wander outside looking for cool rocks to add to her collection, since finding rocks is much easier than finding friends. So when Jada's teacher announces a class project on rocks and minerals, Jada finally feels like she's in her element. The only problem: one of her teammates doesn't seem to like any of Jada's ideas. She doesn't seem to like…


Book cover of Megabat

Dani Jansen Author Of The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life

From Dani's 6-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Teacher Makeup enthusiast Cat herder Writer Reader

Dani's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Dani's 6-year-old's favorite books.

Dani Jansen Why did Dani's 6-year-old love this book?

Two words: talking bat. Daniel has just moved to a new house and he does not want to be there. Then he starts to hear dripping.

When he investigates, he discovers a crying bat who also happens to...talk. Together, they come up with some wild plans to get the bat back home to Borneo. My kid laughed and asked to keep reading even when he could have watched TV instead! 

By Anna Humphrey, Kass Reich (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Megabat as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A sweet and hilarious chapter book about a boy and a bat, two unlikely friends who bond over loneliness, jellyrolls and Darth Vader.

Daniel Misumi has just moved to a new house. It's big and old and far away from his friends and his life before. AND it's haunted . . . or is it?

Megabat was just napping on a papaya one day when he was stuffed in a box and shipped halfway across the world. Now he's living in an old house far from home, feeling sorry for himself and accidentally scaring the people who live there.

Daniel…


Book cover of Balto of the Blue Dawn

Natalie Rompella Author Of Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

From my list on middle grade sled-dogs.

Why am I passionate about this?

Sled dog racing? I knew nothing about it most of my life. I became interested after writing a nonfiction book on the history of sled dog racing. So interested, I wrote a novel on it—Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners. I attended local sprint races and even traveled to Alaska to see the start of the Iditarod. I learned so much watching the mushers prepare and the excitement of the dogs. I still enjoy watching the Iditarod, the Yukon Quest, and local sprint races. I’m excited to share a list of great sled-dog books. What I like about my list is that all the books are so different! 

Natalie's book list on middle grade sled-dogs

Natalie Rompella Why did Natalie love this book?

This sled dog book is both fantasy and historical fiction—a truly unique genre mix. Jack and Annie travel back to Nome in 1925 during the diphtheria epidemic to help with the sled dog relay to deliver the serum. The Author’s Note at the end tells a bit more about the history of the serum race. This book is part of the Magic Tree House’s Merlin Mission series, which is for readers who want a bit more of a challenge. 

By Mary Pope Osborne, Sal Murdocca (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Balto of the Blue Dawn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

The #1 bestselling chapter book series of all time celebrates 25 years with new covers and a new, easy-to-use numbering system!

The magic tree house has returned and it’s taking Jack and Annie back in time to Alaska, 1925. There they meet Balto, a jet-black Siberian husky destined to save victims of the diphtheria epidemic. But the trail isn’t easy, and Balto is going to need Jack and Annie’s help!

Formerly numbered as Magic Tree House #54, the title of this book is now Magic Tree House Merlin Mission #26: Balto of the Blue Dawn.

Did you know that there’s…


Book cover of A Magical Friend

Linda Chapman Author Of Star Friends: Mirror Magic

From my list on fiction for children who love magic and animals.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up as an only child, books and animals were hugely important to me – they were my friends and I really wanted to believe in a magic that would allow me to talk to animals and them to me. I have now written over 250 books and pretty much all of them have either magic or animals in or a combination of both – unicorns, ponies that turn into magical horses, star animals who teach the children they bond with how to do magic, mermaids with sea creatures as pets. I really love to write – and read – about magical animals and their very lucky human friends!

Linda's book list on fiction for children who love magic and animals

Linda Chapman Why did Linda love this book?

Chloe Ryder is one of the (many) alter-egos of my writing partner, Julie Sykes (we write the Unicorn Academy and Forever Homes series together). Julie wrote this series years before we started collaborating and I have always loved it (as did my pony-crazy daughter when she was eight). It’s a perfect series for younger middle-grade readers who like their magic to be very sparkly. If they get hooked on the first one there are plenty more to read! When Pippa gets whisked away to the island of Chevalia, she quickly makes friends with Princess Stardust, a talking pony, and discovers that the magic horseshoes that give the ponies their magic have gone missing. Can Pippa help the ponies find their horseshoes and save their wonderful island before it’s too late?

By Chloe Ryder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Magical Friend as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Chevalia is an enchanted island where ponies and horses rule, its magic powered by eight golden horseshoes hanging in the royal castle. But the horseshoes have been stolen and must be found before Midsummer Day or the island will lose its magic . . .

A Magical Friend
On her summer holiday by the sea, pony-mad 81/2-year-old Pippa is transported to Chevalia. A beautiful white pony gallops over and introduces herself. This is Princess Stardust, the youngest pony of the royal family; impulsive, impatient . . . and she has always wanted a pet girl of her own. Chevalia needs…


Book cover of Heartwood

Ellen Dee Davidson Author Of Wind

From my list on middle-grade and young adult environmental fantasy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up playing in nature: body surfing the waves in Southern California, backpacking in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, swimming in rivers. For the past thirty years, I’ve lived in the redwoods of Northern California. Spending so much time in the peace and beauty of nature has filled me with joy and deep respect for the incredibly interconnectedness of living ecosystems. I’ve also had a lifelong passion for reading, especially fairy tales, fables and fantasies. Combining nature and fantasy in my writing allows me to explore ideas and inspirations about how we can live in harmony on our one beautiful planet.

Ellen's book list on middle-grade and young adult environmental fantasy

Ellen Dee Davidson Why did Ellen love this book?

A fable about forest creatures coming together and putting differences aside to save their home from the Smashbasher. This book is an early chapter book for 7-9-year-olds and includes beautiful illustrations. The trees have names and are inhabited by various creatures. Heartwood will bring children closer to the magic of the forest and nature. 

I recommend this book because I live in the redwood forest and love trees myself. The book captures the essence of the magic we feel when we enter an unspoiled forest, and how important it is to protect these sacred and life-giving places. The fact that the only way for the forest creatures to save their home is to find their similarities and work together strikes me as particularly relevant today.

By Pollyanna Darling, Kirsty Chalmers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Heartwood as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Quarrelling erupted. The faeries bickered amongst themselves. The magpies and squirrels tossed spiteful comments at each other across the clearing. The mushrooms started to wilt in the nasty atmosphere created by the squabbling. And the Smashbasher crept closer, gobbling up the forest, chomping the old ones, crushing and crunching its way toward The Linney."

Will the forest creatures find a way to save their homes? Can they put their squabbles aside and come up with a plan to stop the Smashbasher? You can find out by sitting down somewhere comfortable and reading this book.

Heartwood is a full colour, illustrated…


Book cover of The Terrible Two

Allan Woodrow Author Of The Curse of the Werepenguin

From my list on will make you laugh.

Why am I passionate about this?

I always wanted to be a writer, but as a kid, my teacher told me to write about what I know, and I didn’t know much. I didn’t know much for a long time, but eventually started writing anyway. Today, I’ve written more than thirty books for children including the popular novels Class Dismissed, The Pet War, Field Tripped, and Unschooled. I also write books under a variety of pen names, such as “Fowler DeWitt.” When I’m not writing I’m probably visiting a school or a library. I live with my family outside Chicago. 

Allan's book list on will make you laugh

Allan Woodrow Why did Allan love this book?

Miles Murphy has always been his school’s star prankster, a position he assumes will continue when he moves to a new school. Wrong. He quickly discovers the school already has a prankster, and Miles has a lot to learn about successful pranking if he’s going to keep up with his new rival. The outrageous and ingenious pranks, combined with great characters and hilarious writing, make this book by Mac Barnett and Jory John a fall-on-the-floor delight. 

By Jory John, Mac Barnett, Kevin Cornell (illustrator)

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Terrible Two as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, 11, and 12.

What is this book about?

Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that's famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town's best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.

It's prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank…


Book cover of Art & Max

Dorothia Rohner Author Of I Am Goose!

From my list on children’s books with nature, whimsy, and humor.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was born into a large, unique family. Our house was nestled in the Colorado foothill mountains. Our small tv with the rabbit ear antenna had one fuzzy station, so we depended upon our imaginations for entertainment. We read fairy tales, performed puppet shows, fed fairies on the full moon, painted, drew, wrote stories, explored the canyon. I once observed a small pebbled cylinder inch its way across a puddle. I thought it was magic! It was a caddis fly larvae. That spark of excitement from nature, imagination, and whimsy are what inspire me today when I create. I hope these books will inspire you–or at least make you laugh.

Dorothia's book list on children’s books with nature, whimsy, and humor

Dorothia Rohner Why did Dorothia love this book?

Art and Max is one of my favorite picture books because it contains humor, knowledge, great characters, and imagination. David Weisner is a master at capturing expression and pushing the limits of the imagination to amuse and surprise the reader. Art is a serious artist reptile, Max is an overexcited literal lizard that wants to learn to paint. He is a serious annoyance to Art. When Art finally agrees to let him paint, confusion on what to paint explodes into a mess. Each art mishap resembles famous artist styles and techniques. It’s a funny, clever, and imaginative book that both children and adults enjoy.

By David Wiesner,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Art & Max as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Max and Arthur are best friends who both want to make art. Arthur is an accomplished painter; Max is a beginner. Max's first attempt at using a paintbrush sends the two friends on a whirlwind adventure with paints, pastels and pencils, which turn out to have unexpected pitfalls.

Heavily influenced by surrealist Salvador Dali, Wiesner has crafted a fascinating story about friendship, creativity and the mysterious place where these two forces meet.


Book cover of Sprite's Secret

Bobbie Hinman Author Of The Sock Fairy

From my list on children’s books about fairies.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have always been fascinated by fairies. I remember watching dragonflies in my backyard, convinced that they carried fairies on their backs. I hung pictures of fairies on my bedroom walls. I even moved my dollhouse furniture outside and set it up under a tree so the fairies would be comfy. This wasn’t as farfetched as it sounds when you consider that I grew up before the digital age and was always encouraged to use my imagination. When the movie Peter Pan was released, I fell in love with Tinkerbell. I’m convinced that all of this prepared me to become the writer of a series of fairy books. Who knew?

Bobbie's book list on children’s books about fairies

Bobbie Hinman Why did Bobbie love this book?

I love children’s series that encourage young readers to keep track of what their favorite character is up to in the next book…and the next. Pixie Tricks is an early chapter book series that does just that. In the first book, the main character finds a portal to the fairy world right in her own backyard. In the following books, she must deal with baffling situations such as mysteriously leaking faucets and figuring out a way to rescue her cousin who is somehow trapped inside a video game. There are 5 books in this series and children ages 6 to 8 love to collect them all.

By Tracey West, Xavier Bonet (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sprite's Secret as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Fairies + magic + fantasy + New York Times bestselling author Tracey West = Pixie Tricks!

Pick a book. Grow a Reader!

This series is part of Scholastic's early chapter book line, Branches, aimed at newly independent readers. With easy-to-read text, high-interest content, fast-paced plots, and illustrations on every page, these books will boost reading confidence and stamina. Branches books help readers grow!

Eight-year-old Violet didn't expect to find a portal to the fairy world in her backyard. And she certainly didn't think she would have to defend the human world from trickster pixies! With the help of her new…


Book cover of Great-Grandpa's in the Litter Box

Tina Proffitt Author Of Come Back: How Past Lives with Animals Changed the Way I Think about Death

From my list on reincarnation.

Why am I passionate about this?

Tina Proffitt is a former educator in love with writing romance novels, who believes there’s nothing more romantic than reincarnating with those she loves. After her first one-on-one past life reading with Dr. Doris E. Cohen, she was hooked and has never looked back. (Pun intended) She wants to share her passion for living a life free from fear and full of love. She writes reincarnation romance novels in the genres of mystery, science fiction, contemporary, and YA.

Tina's book list on reincarnation

Tina Proffitt Why did Tina love this book?

On a much lighter note, The Zack Files Great Grandpa’s in the Litter Box by Dan Greenburg is a children’s chapter book with a big message, using humor to sum up what reincarnation really is (at least when souls reincarnate as pets). In a nutshell, the titular cat reincarnates to clear up unfinished business with his loved ones who survived him. This book manages to simplify in less than sixty pages what could take a scholar a lifetime to disseminate.

By Dan Greenburg, Jack E. Davis (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Great-Grandpa's in the Litter Box as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

What I wanted was a cute little kitten. Instead, I got a tough tomcat that talks. And that's not all! He says he's my Great-Grandpa Julius and he needs my help. And messy litter box or not, family is family!


Book cover of The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Tziporah Cohen Author Of No Vacancy

From my list on middle grade set in motels and hotels.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a kid, staying in a motel, even a run-down one, was a real treat. Flicking on all the switches to see what they controlled, exploring the bathroom for fun soaps and little shampoo bottles, sharing a room with my sister, swimming in the motel pool, and getting to eat sugar cereals at breakfast—all this was a wonderland to me as a kid. It was part of what made writing No Vacancy so much fun. There’s so much you can do with a motel or hotel setting, and I love to see what other authors come up with. I hope you do too!

Tziporah's book list on middle grade set in motels and hotels

Tziporah Cohen Why did Tziporah love this book?

I grew up reading just about everything that Beverly Clearly wrote, and while it would be impossible for me to choose a favorite, Ralph S. Mouse’s adventure with a boy named Keith, who is vacationing in the Mountain View Inn with his family, is one that doesn’t get old, even after all these years. What kid wouldn’t love a story about a talking mouse, not to mention a mouse that saves the day riding a toy motorcycle in search of medicine for his sick new human friend? I certainly did! And if you can’t get enough of Ralph, there are two more books in the series.

By Beverly Cleary, Jacqueline Rogers (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mouse and the Motorcycle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

In this imaginative adventure from Newbery Medal–winning author Beverly Cleary, a young mouse named Ralph is thrown into a world of excitement when a boy and his shiny toy motorcycle check in to the Mountain View Inn.

When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith's red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles. Whether dodging a rowdy terrier or keeping his nosy cousins away from his new wheels, Ralph has a lot going on!…