Early Chapter Books for Newly Independent Readers

Early Chapter Books for Newly Independent Readers

When I first started sharing books on my Instagram page the category of books people were most grateful to hear about were early chapter books. The short, highly illustrated, engaging books intended for newly independent readers. For a long time I felt like there were not a lot of great options available, but in the last several years this genre has really expanded and I want everyone to know about the quality books available to kids starting off on their reading journey! These books are perfect for newly independent readers or for reading aloud to kids as they adjust to listening to books longer than picture books.

All books featured on this list are around 100 pages long, have short chapters, high interest plots, and frequent illustrations. Most books are about 1st or 2nd grade reading level for independent reading.

I have separated the list into a couple different sections depending on the text to illustration ratio so you can have an idea of which books your child is most suited for.

Disclaimer: Some of these books I received free from publishers, but all decisions whether to include on this list were my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means I receive a small commission if you purchase through the links (at no additional cost to you).

Full color illustrations on every page, high text to illustration ratio. Perfect for first transitioning from picture books to chapter books.

Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo

The Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale

Fabled Stables series by Jonathan Auxier

Meet Yasmin series by Saadia Faruqi

The Adventures of Caveboy by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen

The Story of Diva and Flea by Mo Wilems

More text per page, illustrations on every page spread, but usually black and white:

The Kingdom of Wrenly series by Jordan Quinn

Dragon Masters series by Tracey West

The Adventures of Sophie Mouse series by Poppy Green

The Kung Pow Chicken series by Cyndi Marko

Mia Mayhem series by Kara West

Louise Trapeze series by Micol Ostow

A bit longer text with fewer illustrations, but still frequent:

Zoey and Sassafrass series by Asia Citro

Mindy Kim series by Lyla Lee

Tales from Deckawoo Drive series by Kate DiCamillo (a spin-off series featuring side characters of the Mercy Watson series)

Jasmine Toguchi series by Debbi Michiko Florence

Aven Green series by Dusti Dowling

Too Small Tola by Antinuke (check out the giveaway of this one happening on my Instagram right now!)

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. So many we’ve read, but lots of new ones! You’re making this mama happy!😁

    1. I am so glad to hear that!!

  2. This is exactly what I need for my son! He’s just in kindergarten but is a voracious reader! And his quirky self loves organizing, so a collection of a series thrills him. 🙂

    1. I’m so glad it is helpful! I love when there is a full series so kids can keep going with a premise and characters that works for them!

  3. This is the level of books I struggle to find. I have a difficult time finding ones I enjoy as well as the kids, so thank you for your list!

    1. I’m so glad it was helpful and I hope you find some books both you and your kids love!

  4. Great resource, thanks! We are currently loving Sophie Mouse, but look forward to trying out some others. ☺️

    1. Sophie Mouse is my 5 year old’s current favorite as well! When I asked her for her top choices she said Princess in Black, Sophie Mouse, and Fabled Stables.

  5. Ooh I need to check these out. Love princess in black and zoey.

    1. Those were two of the first of these series that we loved!

  6. What a compilation! So resourceful. Our fav is mercy Watson forever

    1. Mercy Watson is a forever favorite for us as well!

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