Are you wondering what books to get for the kids on your list? I have 36 books from different genres that are sure to excite your children and will help you find the perfect chapter book gifts!
chapter book gifts: realistic fiction
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt. Ally is dyslexic and has no faith in herself, but her teacher helps her to find her true potential.
Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff. Trent is starting middle school and he’s heard the stories about it being such a rough time. However, after his experience in fifth grade he is hoping that it’s a big improvement and he can make a fresh start! Then after Trent stands up for a girl in the park, Fallon, who is being teased and bullied because of her severe scar, they slowly become friends, but it’s not easy. As you read this book, you’ll find your heart breaking a bit for both of the kids, but you’ll also find yourself feeling very proud of how they tackle their problems.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall; Lexile 800 – 940; AR 4.7 – 5.6. This is a fun chapter book series about four sisters, a very interesting boy and two rabbits. The books are heart warming stories, which are full of adventure.
Sports Illustrated for Kids Chapter Book series by various authors. Lexile 500 – 570; AR 3.0 – 3.7. These are short, easy to read chapter books, each focusing on a different sport
Judy Moody by Megan McDonald. Lexile 490 – 590; AR 2.9 – 4.2. Judy is a third grader with lots of dilemmas, but she always seem to devise an intriguing solution to every problem. These are fun to read easy chapter books to entice early readers.
The Year of… series by Andrea Cheng (realistic fiction). Lexile 590 – 690; AR 3.9 – 4.3. This charming series is narrated by 11 year old Anna who exhibits thoughtfulness and understanding of others in each book.
The Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick. Lexile 800 – 890; AR 4.6 – 5.1.Realistic fiction; Each book in the series focuses on the book being read and discussed by the mothers and the sixth grade daughters in the group, such as Little Women or Pride and Prejudice. The stories explore the relationships between the mothers and daughters, the daughters relationships to one another and their growing up experiences.
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass. In a few short months, Jeremy will turn 13. Then a mysterious wooden box is delivered, but it is locked up tight with no key to be found. This story describes Jeremy’s search for the key to the box left to him by his late father, so that he can learn the true meaning of life before his 13th birthday.
Everyday Angel series by Victoria Schwab – realistic fiction, (ages 8 – 12). Lexile 690 – 730; AR 4.6 – 5.1 This sweet three book series focuses on an angel, Aria, who is earning her wings by helping girls who are struggling.
Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger. Lexile 680 – 760; AR 4.6 – 4.9. Dwight, normally thought of as a loser in the sixth grade at McQuarrie Middle School, leads the class to solve their problems with a wise and all knowing finger puppet, Yoda.
Cupcake Diaries by Coco Simon. Lexile 600 – 780; AR 4.0 – 4.8. Katie feels a bit lost when she starts middle school, but she soon finds three new friends who join her to form a cupcake club that spreads joy and earns money.
The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele Weber Hurwitz. This is an inspiring story for a read aloud or for your child to read on their own. After her Grandma’s death, Nina decides to do something ordinary and unnoticed every day of the 65 days of summer to see if she can really make a difference.
chapter book gifts: Humor
Sideways Stories by Louis Sachar. Lexile 440 – 550 ; AR 3.3 – 3.8; Wayside School was supposed to have 30 classrooms all on one floor, but the builder made a mistake and put them one on top of each other, so the school is 30 stories high. And all sorts of strange and funny things happen in those rooms, especially on the 13th floor!
Clementine Series by Sara Pennypacker and Marla Frazee. Lexile 670 – 720. AR 3.9 – 4.6. A very funny series about Clementine, who has ideas “constantly springing up in her brain” which very often lead to a trip to the principal’s office.
Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. Lexile 530 – 850; AR 4.3 – 5.1. These are funny, action packed chapter books filled with lots of illustrations on each page, as well as a bonus comic section, which help to draw in a reluctant reader.
chapter book gifts: mysteries
Friday Barnes, Girl Detective by R.S. Spratt; This is such a new series that it doesn’t yet have a lexile or AR level, but I think it will be for grades 4 – 7. I’m including it because I think it’s going to be very popular and is the perfect choice for those voracious readers who enjoy a good mystery. It got starred reviews in Booklist and Publisher’s Weekly, which is always a good sign.
A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy. Lexile 410 – 550. AR 3.4 – 3.9. Third Graders, Dink and his pals Josh and Ruth work their way through the alphabet mystery series for young detectives.
Ivy and Bean by Anne Barrows. Lexile 490 – 550; AR 3.2 -3.9. The series follows the adventures of best friends, Ivy and Bean, as they solve one mystery after another.
Ballpark Mysteries by David A. Kelly and Mark Meyers. Lexile 540 – 590. AR 3.7 – 4.0. These are fun, puzzling mysteries, with two nine year old detectives as the main characters. Every story is set at a different ballpark and includes historical details about the park.
Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobel; Lexia 580 – 720; AR 3.9 – 5.2. Each book contains ten stories and always begins the same, with an explanation about who Encyclopedia is. Therefore, the books can be read in any order, which makes it very easy when checking them out from the library or buying the book. Encyclopedia is a fifth grade super detective who always solves the mystery by the end of the chapter. Readers can check their own solutions with Encyclopedia’s, which are found at the back of each book.
Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage. This is a hilarious mystery, with endearing characters.
chapter book gifts: historical fiction
I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis. Lexile 590 – 740; AR 3.9 – 6.4. Each book describes an 11 year old boy’s experiences in the midst of a disaster such as Hurricane Katrina, Pearl Harbor and the Hindenberg.
Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz describes the adventures and struggles of the first female rider for the Pony Express.
Glory Be by Augusta Scattergood. This story describes Gloriana June Hemphill’s life in Hanging Moss, Missippi, during the summer of 1964. She is so excited to celebrate her birthday in just a few weeks at her community pool, but after it becomes law that the pool must be integrated, it is closed to all. This is a memorable novel about fighting discrimination, family, friendship and making choices.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. In a series of poems, the author shares her experiences of being an Aftrican American girl growing up in the 60s and 70s during the Civil Rights Movement.
The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. This novel tells the story of Ada and Jamie as they struggle to find safety, love and a new family in the British countryside during World War II.
chapter book gifts: graphic novels
Smile series by Raina Telemeier (realistic fiction, graphic novel) Stories about growing up told with humor and art.
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney; Lexile 950 – 1020 (You need not be concerned about this high level, because this is a graphic novel and is enjoyed by all ages. A great choice for reluctant readers!); AR 5.2 – 5.8. This series, which is full of harmless fun, follows Greg Heffley as he records his daily middle school life.
Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce. Lexile 420 – 520; AR 2.4 – 3.5.Big Nate is a mischievous, fun middle school character who encounters a lot of stress because of his teachers, his parents and his annoying older sister.
chapter book gifts: fantasy
Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne; Lexile 230 – 540; AR 2.8 – 4.0. This series describes Annie and Jack’s adventures as they fly through time in a magic treehouse.
Half Upon a Time series by James Riley. Jack, son of Jack and the Beanstalk is working to save his family’s reputation along with the help of May, who is actually from this world and is very confused to discover that she is in the middle of a fairy tale adventure.
Story Thieves series by James Riley. Owen is bored with his life and is in the library when he sees his classmate, Bethany climb out of a storybook. It turns out she is half storybook character and is searching every book in the library looking for her fictional father. Owen is sworn to secrecy and joins her in her search.
Fablehaven Series by Brian Mull; Lexile 700 – 790; AR 4.8 – 5.6. Kendra and Seth are sent to spend the summer with their grandfather, who they barely know. He warns them to stay out of the woods surrounding his house, but of course, Kendra and Seth can’t help but venture into the forest. Their explorations lead them into many adventures after discovering the mythical and magical creatures that live there.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan; Lexile 630 – 790: AR 4.3 – 6.0. This is an extremely popular series with lots of action and adventure involving Greek Gods and monsters.
Heros of Olympus by Rick Riordan; Lexia 620 – 690; AR 5.2 – 6.1. This is the follow-up series to Percy Jackson which includes the same main characters and brings their adventures to a satisfying conclusion.
Tuesdays at the Castle series by Jessica Day George; Lexia 770 – 830; AR 5.2 – 5.8. This series describes growing up in magical Castle Glower that grows new rooms and secret passageways to help the princess and her siblings in their daily adventures.
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien; Lexile 790; AR 5.1. Mrs. Frisby is a widowed mouse with four small children and a huge problem. She must move her family to their summer home immediately, or face almost certain death. This is the first of three books in the series. If your child enjoys these, you can suggest The Redwall series by Brian Jacques next.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown. Roz, a robot, finds herself alone on a desert island with no way to get home. However, Roz is very intelligent and very adaptable, so she quickly learns how to cope with living in the wood by observing the unwelcoming animals. This novel is heart warming, full of action and is one you won’t want to miss!
Now your life just got a little easier! Surely some of these titles will help you to check off the chapter book readers on your list! Do you have some titles I’ve missed? Please let us know in the comments, so that everyone’s December is a little easier!
P.S. The picture book gift list is coming soon!