While Charlie still enjoys picture books, for the most part we read chapter books at bedtime. I vastly prefer reading chapter books because it’s so much more fun for me! Below you’ll find the books we’ve finished, as well as books on our to-read list after the jump!
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The first chapter book I read to Charlie was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory because I thought he would love that he shared a name with the main character. I’ve since gifted this book to many of Charlie’s friends (who have told me they’ve read it dozens of times). We’ve talked a lot about little Charlie Bucket and how there are many people in the world who don’t have that much. I think it’s taught Charlie a lot about gratitude and selflessness.
Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon – Many people recommended this as a first chapter book because it is full of so much adventure as well as fun illustrations. And what little boy or girl doesn’t like dragons?
Galaxy Zack – I ordered this book on a whim while surfing Amazon one night, and Charlie was instantly hooked. I would highly recommend this as a first chapter book because there are illustrations on every page. It can be hard to go from books that have colorful illustrations on every page to no illustrations at all, so this is a great transitional book. There are 8 books in the series and we’ve read each of them multiple times. Charlie was already fascinated by space, so this book was a great fit for him.
National Geographic First Big Book of Space – When Charlie became fascinated with space and dinosaurs after a visit to the Natural History museum, I picked up this space book and the dinosaur version. They have a number of other topics in this series, and they’re perfect books for kids 4+ with large text, age-appropriate information and tons of pictures. Charlie knows all about gravity, the red eye of Jupiter, meteors and so much more because of this book.
The Magic School Bus – This isn’t really a chapter book, but while there are illustrations on each page, the books are longer and they’re definitely for kids that are 4+. There are many books in this series and a cartoon too. Charlie can’t get enough of them. Each book teaches a science-themed lesson, and it’s amazing how many facts they cram not only into the story, but also around the perimeters of each page. Charlie truly learns something new from each book!
Captain Awesome – Captain Awesome is a chapter book similar to Galaxy Zack with illustrations on each page. It’s about a little boy who has a secret superhero identity. It’s obvious why little boys would like this book! There are 11 books in the series and we’re currently working our way through all of them.
These are the books on our current to-read list. Many of them are obviously classics and books we all read growing up like The BFG, James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl is a genius), Charlotte’s Web, Little House in the Big Woods, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (Judy Blume books seriously changed my life!), Ramona the Pest and Pippi Longstocking.
I never read the Magic Treehouse Series since it was first published in 1992, but many recommend it as an excellent first chapter book. Each of the 51 books is filled with a new adventure. I also never read The Boxcar Children series, although that was around when I was a kid. This 100+ book series is another extremely popular first chapter book.
Also on my list is A Treasury of Children’s Literature, which is a compilation of classic fairy tales. Charlie has been really into classic fairy tales like Jack and the Beanstalk and Little Red Riding Hood for a while now. We’ve checked out a bunch of books from the library, but I still haven’t found an amazing book so I’ve had my eye on this one.
Finally I loved reading the encyclopedia (World Book then Britannica) growing up, and though that’s something our kids probably won’t experience, I can’t wait to get Charlie his first encyclopedia. The New Children’s Encyclopedia, DK First Encyclopedia, and Knowledge Encyclopedia all by DK Publishing look fantastic. Charlie loves all things science, space, earth, and nature, so I’m sure he will love these books.
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I can’t wait to get started reading some of these books with Charlie! They’re going to bring back so many memories from my own childhood.
Do you have any recommendations for first chapter books? Do you have any books from your childhood that you can’t wait to share with your little ones?