Too Small Tola is a new chapter book from Atinuke featuring three stories about a girl living with her grandmother and siblings in Lagos, Nigeria. Everyone teases Tola — sometimes lovingly — for being so small. They think she can’t lift heavy loads or do other things because of her size. But Tola’s grandmother reassures her that you can be small, but mighty, and Tola proves that she is!
Recommending readalikes can be a tricky process, but as I said in the first post in this series, I enjoy the process of finding similar threads running through even books that appear different on the surface. Today’s pick is Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby, Age 8, which is part of the Ramona series. I loved this book, and the movie adaptation of Ramona and Beezus, with Joey King and Selena Gomez (which was my introduction to the series).
I debated making this list of picture books and chapter books releasing in 2021, but this year, I’ve enjoyed several exceptional picture books and chapter books. 2021 is shaping up to be even better. Happily, this list seems to be a more diverse selection and having read several of the picture books on this list, I can wholeheartedly recommend these books.
This list of the best 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.
Finding chapter books for fourth graders is fun, because at this stage, most nine-year-olds are strong enough readers. A few of them still like to see some pictures in their chapter books, but others can handle reading up to 200 pages of fiction (or more). Whatever your fourth-grader’s reading level, I’m pretty sure you’ll find a couple or more books for them among these 33 chapter books for fourth-graders. I’ve separated those that feature illustrations from the chapter books that do not.
The non-illustrated chapter books I’ve chosen are technically “middle-grade books” for ages 8-12. But these picks are well suited for younger readers because they feature younger protagonists, fewer pages of text, less intense subject matter, and a “young” voice.
Twig and Turtle are two sisters whose parents have just moved into a tiny house! The family has done some major downsizing — the kids even had to choose just five toys they could keep, and now they have to clean up after playing with their toys. Both girls are also adjusting to a new neighborhood and new school.
Turtle, the younger girl, seems to be adjusting well at school, making friends and having a good time. But for the older girl, Twig, things are a bit harder. She’s self-conscious about having few clothes in rotation and being new in general. Twig is also missing their Great Dane, Bo, whom they had to leave at their Grandma’s because of the tiny house. Twig decides that the she will convince her mother to let Bo move in with them again.
Finding chapter books for second graders can be tough, because these kids are often new to reading and we don’t want to discourage them with bulky chapter books. Ideally, these kids would be seven-year-olds. The selections for this age (unless you have a faster reader) tend to be heavily illustrated, featuring text in much larger fonts and simple story lines. If you’re an adult reader, you could get through these books in under an hour or much less. Series are also a hit for this age group.
Just for reference, in the States, third graders are generally about eight years old. If you’re fortunate, you may already have a big reader on your hands who isn’t afraid to shoot for younger middle-grade titles like some of those on this list. Typically, though most eight-year-olds prefer smaller chapter books, under 150 pages, with lots of pictures and larger fonts than the typical middle-grade book. Kids at this age also like series — they want to remain in the same universe for as long as possible, so most of the books on this list are part of series.
These chapter books for third graders are good for independent reading and also for readalouds! All except one are heavily illustrated, and I’ve tried to include picks for a variety of interests.
Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business is the first book in the Mindy Kim series. Mindy and her father have recently moved from the city to a suburb in Florida where she is the only Asian girl in her school. On top of that, Mindy’s mom died shortly before their move and her dad is adjusting to being a single parent. Like any normal child, Mindy wants to be liked at her new school. She’s fortunate to meet a new friend on her first day, even though the kids complain about the way her Korean lunch smells.