This list of the best early chapter books for boys ages six to ten is important because let’s face it: boys and girls don’t always enjoy the same kinds of books. Boys are notorious for being reluctant readers, especially when they’re younger. If you have one that enjoys reading, then yay you (and him)! But typically boys — when they do get into reading — like funny stories, adventure stories, fantasy, sci-fi, and a good dose of graphic novels. And that’s what I’ve included on this list — minus the fantasy.
All of these books are series, which is excellent to keep kids coming back. I’ve listed the first book in the series. I’ve also split this list into boy early chapter books for first & second graders and books for third graders and fourth graders. Still, it is worth mentioning that kids read what they can, want, and enjoy. And reading levels vary, so feel free to choose books that suit your kids. I’ve also tried to select books that feature good role models, and not those in which naughty kids never face any consequences.
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Best Chapter Books for First and Second Grade Boys
EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken
EllRay Jakes is tired of being bullied by fellow classmate Jared Matthews. But when EllRay tries to defend himself, he winds up in trouble. Then his dad offers him a deal: If he stays out of trouble for one week, they’ll go to Disneyland! EllRay says he can do it. But saying it and doing it are two very different things.
Andy Shane and the Very Bossy Dolores Starbuckle
Andy Shane did not want to be in school. He did not want to be at morning meeting. He did not want to sit up straight on the rug. Andy Shane would much rather be home catching bugs with Granny Webb than sitting in class with the likes of know-it-all Dolores Starbuckle. Any minute, Dolores is likely to shout out, ‘Ms. Janice, someone’s not sitting properly!” or “Ms. Janice, someone’s misusing the math materials!” (meaning him, of course). At rhyme time, the words bug and rug get stuck in Andy’s throat while Dolores yells out of turn, “Hullabaloo and Kalamazoo!”
“I hate school,” he blurts out at the end of the day to Granny Webb, who is sympathetic but firm. But when Granny makes a surprise visit to school with a monarch caterpillar, everyone is mesmerized and Andy remembers how much he knows about insects himself. Even Dolores Starbuckle can’t help but be impressed!
Truman the Dog (My Furry Foster Family)
“T” is for Truman, tricks, and TROUBLE! Truman the black lab might be an older rescue dog, but he’s still got enough mischief beneath his collar to keep eight-year-old Kaita Takano and her animal-fostering family on their toes from morning till night. Chewed through and through, the playfully illustrated, Kaita-narrated chapter book promises plenty of canine fun.
Charlie & Mouse
Four hilarious children’s stories, two inventive brothers, one irresistible and award-winning beginner chapter book—now in paperback! Join Charlie and Mouse as they talk to lumps, take the neighborhood to a party, sell some rocks, and invent the bedtime banana. With imagination and humor, Laurel Snyder and Emily Hughes paint a lively picture of brotherhood that children will relish in a beginning chapter book format; making this a perfect book for young readers graduating from picture books.
Pedro, First-Grade Hero
Spend some time with Pedro, Katie Woo’s fun-loving friend. From a buggy disaster to a run for class president, Pedro has what it takes to be the hero of first-grade. No matter what he’s doing, Pedro is always good for some laughs and adventure.
Mostly Monty: First Grader
A shy boy with asthma starts first grade — and comes into his own — in this appealing story for early chapter book readers.
Six-year-old Monty doesn’t have a brother, a sister, or a pet. What he does have is asthma, which sometimes makes it hard to breathe and often makes him feel like he’d rather be somebody else. And now that he’s starting first grade, he’s very nervous about being with all those kids he won’t know. Luckily, he loves to read — even really hard books — and has a talent for finding things, from a cocooning caterpillar to classmates who want to be in his very own club. With familiar situations and gentle humor, Johanna Hurwitz follows an endearing character as he discovers that being himself can be pretty great after all.
7 x 9 = Trouble!
Wilson Williams worries about passing his times-table tests
Wilson has a hard time with math, especially with Mrs. Porter’s timed multiplication tests. If only he were as quick as Laura Vicks, the smartest kid in third grade, or as quick as his brother, Kipper — a kindergartner. Wilson’s mother and father try to help, but Wilson doesn’t appreciate having to do practice tests on a play date. Fortunately, his friend Josh Hernandez is a comfort, as is Squiggles, the class hamster. Wilson is sure that with his own little animal squeaking and cuddling beside him, he could learn anything. But his mom doesn’t like pets. So Wilson bravely struggles on, hoping that one day in the not-too-distant future he’ll pass all his times-table tests. Then, surprisingly, Kipper comes to the rescue.
With sensitivity and gentle humor, Claudia Mills examines a common childhood fear and a common family experience. G. Brian Karas provides tender, funny pictures.
Stink: The Incredible Shrinking Kid
Shrink, shrank, shrunk!
Every morning, Judy Moody measures Stink and it’s always the same: three feet, eight inches tall. Stink feels like even the class newt is growing faster than he is. Then, one day, the ruler reads — can it be? — three feet, seven and three quarters inches! Is Stink shrinking? He tries everything to look like he’s growing, but wearing up-and-down stripes and spiking his hair aren’t fooling anyone into thinking he’s taller. If only he could ask James Madison — Stink’s hero, and the shortest person ever to serve as President of the United States.
In Stink’s first solo adventure, his special style comes through loud and strong — enhanced by a series of comic strips, drawn by Stink himself, which are sprinkled throughout the book. From “The Adventures of Stink in SHRINK MONSTER” to “The Adventures of Stink in NEWT IN SHINING ARMOR,” these very funny, homespun sagas reflect the familiar voice of a kid who pictures himself with super powers to deal with the travails of everyday life — including the occasional teasing of a bossy big sister!
Here’s Hank: Bookmarks Are People Too! #1
Hank stars the same Hank as in the bestselling Hank Zipzer series, only this time he’s in 2nd grade! Hank is a kid who doesn’t try to be funny, but he somehow always makes the kids in his class laugh. He’s pretty bad at memorizing stuff, and spelling is his worst subject. (But so are math and reading!) In the first book in this new series, Hank’s class is putting on a play, and Hank wants the lead part: Aqua Fly. But he freezes in his audition and can only buzz like a fly. His teacher creates a special part for Hank, a silent bookmark. This may seem like an insignificant role, but when his enemy, Nick McKelty, freezes during the performance, it’s up to Hank to save the play!
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea (A Narwhal and Jelly Book #1)
Narwhal is a happy-go-lucky narwhal. Jelly is a no-nonsense jellyfish. The two might not have a lot in common, but they do they love waffles, parties and adventures. Join Narwhal and Jelly as they discover the whole wide ocean together.
A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. In the first, Jelly learns that Narwhal is a really good friend. Then Narwhal and Jelly form their own pod of awesomeness with their ocean friends. And finally, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever — even though it doesn’t have any words…or pictures!
Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship, the benefits of working together and the power of imagination in the delightful Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea.
Detective Camp (A to Z Mysteries Super Edition, No. 1)
Welcome to summer camp for detectives! The kids can’t wait to spend a week following clues and learning about the science of crime solving. Soon all the campers are working on a mystery. But while Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose are figuring out their part of the puzzle, they stumble onto something suspicious. Could a real crime be happening at detective camp?
Best Chapter Books for Third and Fourth Grade Boys
A Boy Called BAT
For Bixby Alexander Tam (nicknamed Bat), life tends to be full of surprises—some of them good, some not so good. Today, though, is a good-surprise day. Bat’s mom, a veterinarian, has brought home a baby skunk, which she needs to take care of until she can hand him over to a wild-animal shelter.
But the minute Bat meets the kit, he knows they belong together. And he’s got one month to show his mom that a baby skunk might just make a pretty terrific pet.
The Carver Chronicles: Dog Days
It’s tough being the new kid at Carver Elementary. Gavin had lots of friends at his old school, but the kids here don’t even know that he’s pretty good at skateboarding, or how awesome he is at soccer. And when his classmate Richard comes over and the boys end up in trouble, not only does Gavin risk losing his one new friend, he has to take care of his great aunt Myrtle’s horrible little dog as punishment.
To make matters worse, Gavin seems to have attracted the attention of the school bully. Will he be able to avoid getting pounded at the skate park? And how is he ever going to prove he’s cool with a yappy little Pomeranian wearing a pink bow at his side?
Weekends with Max and His Dad
Max and his dad love their weekends together. Weekends mean pancakes, pizza, spy games, dog-walking, school projects, and surprising neighbors! Every weekend presents a small adventure as Max gets to know his dad’s new neighborhood—and learns some new ways of thinking about home. Acclaimed author Linda Urban deftly portrays a third-grader’s inner world during a time of transition in this sweet and funny illustrated story that bridges the early reader and middle grade novel.
Road Trip with Max and His Mom
Third-grader Max is heading off on a road trip with Mom. With miles to travel, cousins to meet, and a tall roller coaster to ride (maybe), it will be an adventure! But Max always spends weekends with Dad; will Dad be okay if he’s left behind? And will Max be brave enough for all the new explorations ahead of him?
Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) (Bobby Vs Girls)
With the hilarious adventures of Bobby Ellis-Chan, Lisa Yee and Caldecott Medalist Dan Santat bring their gifts for finding the funny (and the truth) in everyday situations to chapter-book readers.
Meet Robert Carver Ellis-Chan — a perfectly normal fourth-grader who gets into perfectly crazy situations! Like when he was running for class president and discovered his big sister’s panties (static-) clinging to the back of his sweater. Or when he got stuck to the rare sticky (and stinky) Koloff tree on a field trip. . . . Then there’s his family — busy mom, ex-pro football player dad, a bossy older sister and an adoring younger one — and best friends (one of whom is a secret, because she’s a *girl*). Life may be complicated for Bobby, but it’s going to turn out just fine.
Dog Man: From the Creator of Captain Underpants (Dog Man #1)
George and Harold have created a new breed of justice. With the head of a dog and the body of a human, this heroic hound digs into deception, claws after crooks, rolls over robbers, and scampers after squirrels. Will he be able to resist the call of the wild to answer the call of duty?
Dav Pilkey’s wildly popular Dog Man series appeals to readers of all ages and explores universally positive themes, including empathy, kindness, persistence, and the importance of being true to one’s self.
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’ s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle
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! And with a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there’s nothing this little mouse can’t handle.
George Brown, Class Clown: Super Burp! #1
The first day at a new school is always the hardest, right? No, not always as George finds out the hard way. On the second day at…Sugarman Elementary School, he is suddenly seized by uncontrollable burps, burps so loud they practically break the sound barrier, burps that make him do wild and crazy stuff and land him in trouble with a capital T. One thing is for sure: these are not normal burps, they are magic burps—and they must be stopped! But how?
The School is Alive!: A Branches Book (Eerie Elementary #1)
Eerie Elementary is one scary school!This series is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book line called Branches, which is 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!In this first book in the series, Sam Graves discovers that his elementary school is ALIVE! Sam finds this out on his first day as the school hall monitor. Sam must defend himself and his fellow students against the evil school! Is Sam up to the challenge? He’ll find out soon enough: the class play is just around the corner. Sam teams up with friends Lucy and Antonio to stop this scary school before it’s too late!
Penguin Problems (The Life of Ty Book 1)
Winnie Perry’s sweet baby brother, Ty, is the quintessential dreamer, full of big ideas and wacky plans that only a seven-year-old boy could hatch. Whether it’s battling the family cat with a Dustbuster or smuggling a baby penguin out of the aquarium, Ty is always in the middle of a well-intended, big-hearted scheme.
In the spirit of the Judy Moody spinoff Stink series, Ty will work his way into the hearts and funny bones of a whole new generation of Myracle fans.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants: Color Edition (Captain Underpants #1)
George and Harold are a couple of class clowns. The only thing they enjoy more than playing practical jokes is creating their own comic books. And together they’ve created the greatest superhero in the history of their elementary school: Captain Underpants! His true identity is SO secret, even HE doesn’t know who he is!
The No.1 Car Spotter
The start of an exciting new series about the irresistible No. 1, whose hobby is car spotting but who is good at solving all sorts of problems for his village.
When the family’s cart breaks down and there’s no way of bringing goods to market, it’s No. 1 who devises the Toyota Cow-rolla and saves the day. He runs errands for his family and helps Mama Coca-Cola feed the busloads of people who stop for her delicious fried akara. No. 1 even helps Grandmother get to the medical centre when she can’t afford treatment.
Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet
Fourth-grader Calvin lives near the beach in Oahu with his mom and little sister. Mom says: “You’re the man of the house.” But Calvin’s not great at being the man of the house, or taking care of his responsibilities. He’s too busy having fun with his pals, and avoiding Tito, the bully.
Trouble Magnet is the first book in a new series for younger readers full of all the fun of growing up in Hawaii. It introduces a wonderful multicultural cast of characters, including Mr. Purdy, who calls his fourth-grade class Boot Camp; Uncle Scoop, who runs the lunch wagon at the beach; Ledward, Mom’s 6’7″ boyfriend; and gorgeous, intimidating, 15-year-old Stella-from-Texas, who arrives to be the live-in babysitter—and to step all over Calvin’s turf.
A Bear Called Paddington
The classic novel about Paddington—who’s now a major movie star!
Paddington Bear had traveled all the way from Peru when the Browns first met him in Paddington Station. Since then, their lives have never been quite the same . . . for ordinary things become extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved.
Horrid Henry and his neighbor Moody Margaret decide to make the most sloppy, slimy, sludgy, sticky, smelly, gooey, gluey, gummy, greasy, gloppy glop possible. Is it the best glop in the world or the worst thing that’s ever happened to them? Plus three other stories so funny we can’t even mention them here.
Freddie Ramos Takes Off (Zapato Power)
One day Freddie Ramos comes home from school and finds a strange box just for him. What’s inside? ZAPATO POWER-shoes that change Freddie’s life by giving him super speed! But what will Freddie do with his fast new skills? Weird things are happening at the Starwood Park Apartments where he lives, and his friends at school need his help. Is Freddie Ramos ready to be a hero? In this imaginative new story by Jacqueline Jules, an ordinary boy in a city neighborhood learns how to use his new-found powers for good. Illustrations by Miguel Benitez lend just a touch of comic-book style to this chapter book adventure.
The Miniature World of Marvin & James (The Masterpiece Adventures, 1)
In this Masterpiece Adventure, the first in a companion series for younger readers from bestselling author Elise Broach, James is going on vacation for a week. His best friend, Marvin the beetle, has to stay at home. Without James to keep him company, Marvin has to play with his annoying cousin, Elaine. Marvin and Elaine quickly find themselves getting into all sorts of trouble—even getting trapped inside a pencil sharpener! Marvin misses James and starts to worry about their friendship. Will James still be Marvin’s friend when he gets home or will James have found a new best friend?
All About Sam
Sam Krupnik finally gets to tell his version of life with his big sister, Lowry’s popular Anastasia Krupnik.
Roscoe Riley Rules #1: Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs
When his classmates can’t sit still for a big performance at school, Roscoe Riley takes matters into his own hands with a liberal dose of Super-Mega-Gonzo Glue—which his mom calls the don’t-you-dare glue because Roscoe isn’t supposed to use it.
Roscoe doesn’t mean to break the rules—he just can’t help himself! After all, his teacher’s job might be at stake and desperate times call for desperate measures.
Roscoe and his comical misadventures will appeal to fans of Megan McDonald’s Stink series; Nancy Krulik’s George Brown, Class Clown series; Rebecca Elliott’s Owl Diaries series; and Dan Gutman’s My Weirder School series. This repackaged edition includes Roscoe Riley’s Time-Out Activities, featuring lists, games, and more.
Ballpark Mysteries #1: The Fenway Foul-up
Thanks to Kate’s mom, a sports reporter, cousins Mike Walsh and Kate Hopkins have tickets to the Red Sox game and All Access passes to Fenway Park. But as they’re watching batting practice before the game, the lucky bat of Red Sox star slugger Big D is stolen . . . right in front of dozens of people. Without the bat, Big D can’t seem to hit a thing. Can Kate and Mike figure out who pinched the bat before Big D and the Sox chalk up a loss?
Bella is the very best dog a family could ask for. Only her family, the McBrides, don’t see it that way.
Ever since Mrs. McBride’s belly started growing, they don’t seem to appreciate the way Bella cleans the crumbs from the kitchen floor or how she’s always willing to play fetch after a long day. And when Bella’s valiant attempt to save the Christmas tree ends in disaster, she finds herself being swiftly abandoned at the pound.
As the reality sinks in that she is unwanted, Bella is heartbroken. Where did she go wrong?
Things look bleak until a kind couple, the Roses, take Bella in. Her new life is filled with wonderful things like parks and snowballs, vanilla ice cream, and the National Geographic Channel. But as the weather turns cold again, the Roses start acting strangely and Bella wonders if she can really trust them. Do they actually love her, or is history about to repeat itself?
And will Bella be able to find a true home in time for Christmas this year?
There they are: 33 of the best early chapter books for boys between the ages of six and ten! Whether your boy is in first grade, second, third or fourth, I hope you find some fun choices here. Want more books for boys (and girls) of varying ages? Check out these lists:
More Books for Boys (and Girls)
- 77 Best middle-grade books for boys (about boys!)
- Best chapter books for second graders
- Funny middle-grade books to make you LOL
- 35 Best books for third graders
- The 33 best books for fourth graders
- 25 Best books for fifth graders
- 25 Chapter books for beginning readers
Which of these best early chapter books for boys have you read? And which would you recommend? I’d love to know!
What do you think? Leave a comment