70 Favorite Chapter Books for Boys

70 of our favorite chapter books for boys. Some have been family read alouds, others have been audio books they have enjoyed while playing Lego or coloring.

The books on the list were read to our sons over a span of three years – covering ages 4 – 7. These are the more excellent books we have enjoyed and ones we would recommend. The book list starts with the most recently read books. These books are in no way intended just for young children – most of these will become their personal reading material a few years from now – but a love for good books can be built into a young child and these are treasures we have enjoyed in our journey to building a love for books into our sons. 


The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting is the second in the Doctor Dolittle series. It too was listened to as an audio book and was enjoyed.


The Story of Doctor Dolittle by Hugh Lofting was listened to as an audio book and the adventures of this eccentric man and his talking animals was thoroughly engaging.


Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is a great classic for boys, full of adventure and lots to feed the imagination.


Ida Early Comes Over the Mountain by Robert Burch is hilarious. I picked it up at a thrift store quite randomly and it is such a fun story! A widower takes on a lanky, uncultured woman to help with the children and housekeeping. It is heartwarming and funny.


Milly Molly Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley is all about a little girl and her adventures. The chapters are almost independent stories about Milly Molly Mandy (there is zero suspense!) but the book is well written and surprisingly engaging and does an excellent job modeling good character and virtues.


Best Stories for Seven Year Olds by Enid Blyton is a collection of short (one sitting!) stories that are imaginative and silly.


 By the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder – another in the Little House series.


The Story of Saint Nicholas by Mildred Luckhardt is a fabulous story about the life of the man now known as St. Nicholas. I happened upon this book at a thrift store but there are a few copies on Amazon for under $10 – and this book is so worth having in your collection! At just over 100 pages it is a quick read. The illustrations help keep wandering minds engaged and you will walk away with a deeper understanding of the mans life and mission.


Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett was enjoyed as an audiobook. It’s the story of a poor boy who, once orphaned, learns he is heir to his grandfathers wealth and goes to live with the selfish, old man and a beautiful relationship develops between the two.


Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter is a wonderful story that really showcases good character and attitudes.


Five Children and It by E Nesbit is a delightfully fun story about five children who discover a sand fairy that grants them their wishes – in hilariously mixed up ways!


Tales of Beatrix Potter is an unabridged audio of the classic stories that were enjoyed.


Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates was listened to as an audiobookis a great story and gives a look into the Dutch culture.


A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens was enjoyed as an audiobook.


The Swiss Family Robinson was listened to as an audiobook and was enjoyed.


Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes was read by Paul to the boys and they all enjoyed the story of a silversmith during the Revolutionary War.


D’aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths was read once we had completed a good assortment of fairy tales – I felt this was a good way to introduce Greek Myths to them. This book is concise, well organized, and has great illustrations. We thoroughly enjoyed it! I did do some minor editing {omitting content or rephrasing it} but it was minimally needed.


The World’s Best Fairy Tales, compiled by Reader’s Digest is an excellent collection of fairy tales that we thoroughly enjoyed. It has a mix of well known and uncommon stories and beautiful art work. The stories are short enough to read a few each evening alongside another read aloud.


Bobbsey Twins of Lakeport by Laura Lee Hope is a fun story about the Bobbsey family and their two sets of twins. The chapters end with cliff hangers and left the boys wanting more and more. In reading book 1 to the boys I told Judah that all the other books in the series were to be read by him – he loved the first book but hasn’t yet started reading the rest of the series on his own yet.


Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift {this particular edition by Danbury Press has excellent and engaging pictures throughout it.} I had never before read the entirety of this story and it is an incredible work of art. I loved reading it and the boys loved listening – an excellent story!


Homer’s The Odyssey rewritten for children by Geraldine McCaughren is a fabulous introduction to the adventures of Odysseus. We had fun reenacting a scene from the book, seen here.


Stuart Little by E.B. White is a classic, fun story about the adventures of a mouse, Stuart, whose family are real people. 


The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit is a sweet story of three children who, along with their mother, are forced to leave their nice home when their father disappears mysteriously. The characters of the children are rich.


The Happy Prince and Other Stories by Oscar Wilde was discovered on a list about well known authors (of grown up books) that had also written children’s stories. I hunted down the book and we enjoyed this collection of fairy tales by Wilde.


The Magic World by Edith Nesbit is a collection of twelve delightful short stories; each one uniquely flavored and interesting.



Little Pear
by Eleanor Lattimore is a fantastic series about the every day life of a little boy in China – Little Pear and the Rabbits and More About Little Pear are just as excellent. Think Little House series in China in the early 1900’s with a Chinese boy. That’s probably a rather random connection — but these stories are innocent, rich, informative, funny and reach all the senses. Our family has fallen in love with Little Pear!


Treasures of the Snow by Patricia ST John is a story that shows the human struggle with hate and pride and the power of God’s forgiveness. It beautifully portrays struggles of the heart and how what appears good isn’t necessarily good and that what is evil might, in fact, be struggling to overcome that and be in need of a second chance.


The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories by Hans Christian Anderson is a delightful collection of fairy tales as they should be told – most definitely not Disney stories. Discretion should be used with sensitive children.


Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a fabulous story that showcases hard work and strong morals. An excellent story to expose boys to that will help reinforce good character and will leave you hungry with the million references to foodb


The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford is the story of three house pets that set out across the Canadian wilderness to find their owners. Judah (6) was captivated.


Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sydney is a heartwarming story about five siblings and their widowed mother and the joy that existed in their poverty. Incredible family values and strong character and rich words make this a precious and valuable story.


Boys of Grit Who Never Gave Up by Elsie E. Egermeier is a collection of stories of well known men from history including Thomas Edison, Abraham Lincoln, Washington Irving and Henry Ford. Each chapter gives a brief look into the life, struggle and success of the man. It was incredibly encouraging and inspiring to read these stories, and the briefness of each story made it easy for the boys to follow along.


Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensk is a delightful story about two families in backwoods Florida – the new family has dreams of making a profitable garden, the family that has lived there their entire lives aren’t going to stand for it. I really appreciated how the characters were developed and the crabby bitterness of the one family is understandable (though still wrong) as you get to know them and the hardships they’ve endured.


Ink on His Fingers by Louise A. Vernon is the story of Johann Gutenberg and his printing press. It is an historical fiction account, and was just enough to whet their appetite for further reading on the life and work of Gutenberg in the future.


 

Two Little Savages by Ernest Thompson Seton is a fascinating book filled with facts, told in story form, about survival, animals and nature. It was a really hard book to read out loud to my boys – it had many new words that needed to be explained as well as many concepts they wanted to talk about (for example; how to make a smoke fire.) I spread out the reading of this book over several months, and was greatly relieved when we finally finished it. However – the information they gleaned from this book has been coming out in their play, and it is definitely one to reread – or assign to them for them to read – when they are older.


 

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (book 1) by L. Frank Baum is fabulously imaginative and rich in language. A classic story and one my boys greatly enjoyed.


 


The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White is a charming story about a trumpeter swan, Louis, that cannot make a sound and his adventure in learning to adapt to that and his friendship with a boy. 


The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis – Paul just completed reading this to the boys, and as usual with all Chronicles of Narnia books, they loved it. {In fact, they’ve listened to them all on audio, but begged to have them read to them as well.}


Story of the World by Susan Wise Bauer, read by Jim Weiss. {this audiobook has been recorded twice – this is the most current one and is suppose to be better than the first one.} While this book is actually meant to be a text book for a year long history school curriculum we just about finished it on our 20 hour round trip drive. It’s well done, engaging and informative. We paused it often to discuss it and look forward to listening to the other three sets later on.


Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery {we listened to the audio version.} I enjoyed listening to this more than the boys, but there were parts of it that really grabbed their attention and they would play quietly while listening to this playing.


Mary Jones and Her Bible by Mary Ropes, revised and updated by Christopher Wright is a true story that takes place in the early 1800’s. It is about a little Welsh girl that desires a Bible. She learns to read, and then saves her money for six years in order to purchase a Bible of her own – something that most people in Wales did not have due to a shortage of printed Bibles. It is a short, easy read. Her love for the word of God and its impact on her life is worth reading and impressing upon young children. The brief mention of the history of the London Bible Society is interesting too. 


The Story of the Hippopotamus by Alfred Milotte is a book about the life of a hippopotamus in Africa, based on the observations of Mr. Milotte and his wife, who had been hired by Disney to do quite a few documentaries. The book is engaging and easy to read out loud – all while having a rich language and fascinating details. There are pencil drawings throughout the book of the things being described. This was our second time reading this book, and it will be reread again in a few more years.


Dear America: Like the Willow Tree by Lois Lowry is an historical fiction journal of an 11 year old girl, Lydia. The book is interesting and informative and we all learned some new things about the Spanish Flu epidemic and the Shaker community at Sabbathday Lake and their religion. {Two notes: first, we took care to point out the differences in beliefs and thoroughly discuss them with the boys. This book mentions a “father mother god” and creating a heaven on earth by striving for perfection, among a few other things we talked over with the boys. Secondly, an interesting discovery via Google; as of 2012, only three Shakers still remain – and they live at Sabbathday Lake!}


Teddy’s Button – by Amy LeFeuvre is a captivating story for young boys on Christian living and the struggle between living for the Lord and ones own prideful self. It was written back in 1890, and yet is relevant for today and draws in young boys with its military references. A beautiful book that will encourage good character and strong morals in young boys.


Sir Malcolm and the Missing Prince published by Lamplighter Publishing. This is a must read story in every family. When a selfish young prince proves to his father that he is unfit to rule the kingdom the King allows his right hand man, Sir Malcolm, to do with the boy as he sees fit. Sir Malcolm takes the boy on a journey and leaves him in a remote village to be raised by an older lady. An incredibly rich story that illustrates the need for character and that struggles and trials produce character.


The Robbers Cave published by Lamplighter Publishing is an incredible story about a young man and his mother who are kidnapped by a band of robbers. A story of redemption, forgiveness and salvation. The gospel message is very clear in this story and is an excellent one for reinforcing Christian character in our children.


The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is a delightful story of the exciting and humorous adventures of a young mouse.


Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder – the second in the series. The boys really enjoy these books!


Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder – the first in the series. A great book to give the boys a glimpse of pioneer living. Illustrations throughout held Wesley’s attention.


Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis – the 4th book in the series of The Chronicles of Narnia


Eric Liddell: Something Greater Than Gold by Janet and Geoff Benge –  GREAT story to read to boys! Eric Liddel was a man of exceptional character – he loved the Lord, treated his wife and daughters with love and tenderness and served whole heartily those his path crossed – whether it was a competitor at the Olympic race, a wounded Chinese man in a worn torn city, or fellow prisoners in a camp guarded by the Japanese. Excellent role model.


Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – second in The Chronicles of Narnia series. The boys adore this series.


The Borrowers by Mary Norton is an imaginative story of little people living under the floorboards of a house, surviving off the leftover and forgotten remains of the humans.


The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis. {Read to them by my sister when she visited for a week.} The first in The Chronicles of Narnia series.


Christie’s Old Organ, Or, Home Sweet Home by Mrs. O. F. Walton is a precious story of a little orphaned boy, Christie, on a quest to find out how he and his older friend, Mr. Teffy, can get to heaven, or Home Sweet Home. It very clearly gives the gospel message and lays out a beautiful story with noble character.


The Secret World of Og by Pierre Burton is an exceptionally imaginative book about 5 children who discover the secret world of Og under their playhouse – a world of little green people that live in a land of creative play. This book is delightful and funny and I couldn’t help but read several chapters at each sitting, resulting in the book being completed in about 5 days.


The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron is a wonderful piece of retro science fiction that draws you into the incredible imagination of the author. An adorable book that brings out rich characters and a hope in science and technology from a time past.


The Queen’s Smuggler: William Tyndale  – by Dave and Neta Jackson. An easy to read biography on the life of William Tyndale. Part of the Trailblazers series, which does take a few liberties by adding in fictitious child characters to help tell the story and make it a bit more child friendly.


The Little Lame Prince and His Traveling Cloak – unabridged by Miss Mulock is a fantasy story about a little lame prince who had his kingdom stolen from him. Richly written with descriptions that draw you into the wonder of the little prince seeing the world for the first time once he escapes from his imprisoning tower. Well worth the read.


The Space Ship Under the Apple Tree by Louis Slobodkin is very imaginative, although a bit awkward to read aloud, about a Martian from Martinea that befriends a human boy in his quest to collect information about humans.


Peter Pan – unabridged by J.M. Barrie was a bit challenging to read through as a read aloud! But once we started it Judah insisted we finish it, and so we persevered through it. It has some fabulous sentence structure and detailed descriptions.


David Livingstone: Africa’s Trailblazer  – by Janet and Geoff Benge is part of the Christian Heroes: Then & Now series. Well written and engaging.


Winnie the Pooh - by A.A. Milne is adorable and funny and delightful. I am so glad we read this! A worthwhile, charming read.


THE LITTLE PRINCE. Translated from the French by Katherine Woods – We have read this twice now to them. Charming and full of wit.


Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink – An excellent story about a little girl in the 1860’s and her grand adventures in Wisconsin.


Andy Buckram’s Tin Men by Carol Ryrie Brink – An imaginative, fun book about a boy who creates Tin Robots that come to life and help him and a friend survive when they are stranded on an island.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – Fun and imaginative, with rich characters and natural consequences for behavior.
Edited while being read out loud for some words we’d rather not introduce at this time.


Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White – Classic story of Charlotte, the spider, and Wilbur, the much loved pig.


Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C Holling – The adventures of a little hand carved boat traveling through the Great Lakes.


The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Spear – The story of a boy, left alone in a cabin while his father goes to bring the rest of the family to their new home, and his fight for survival and his budding friendship with the local Indians.


 

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Jessica Lynette

29 Comments

  1. This is a great list that I'm looking forward to using in a few years time! There are several of the fantasy stories I'm surprised I haven't heard of. Have you thought about reading The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe any time soon, or is that too old for them?

    • They have heard most of that series on audio book, and my sister read them the Magicians Nephew a few weeks ago when she was here, so I need to add that to the list.

      I should probably add all of the audio books they've listened to to the list too, they're quite fond of listening to books that way. Our library has a rotten selection of audio books :(

      • When did you start reading chapter books to Judah? I know younger kids always seem to get them at an earlier age because they join in with the older, but when was Judah attention span enough to enjoy the longer, no-picture stories?

        • We started Judah when he was 3 – The Little Prince was our first, our favorite, and repeated twice.

          The others that he was read at 3 he has no memory of (that I am aware of) and I kept them off the list as I'll reread them to the boys this year.

          The Little Prince is a great book to start with, in my opinion, as it has a lot of illustrations throughout.

          When he was 4 he showed an obvious delight in the books. Now, at 5, he asks for them daily.

          Wesley still prefers picture books, but listens to the chapter books.

  2. Thanks for the great list! For some reason I always find it harder to choose books for my boys than for my daughter! My boys are now 3 and 4 so just starting to enjoy longer books.

    Right now we are working our way through the Magic Treehouse books. All of my kids love them – they are not too long, each one covers a different time/place in the real world and they have a few great pictures in each.

    I love that they are getting exposure to a lot of different topics and when they show a real interest in something (for example the polar bears, the titanic, the pyramids etc) we go to the library and find a few more books on it. I also like that in the story, if the kids want to know about something, they look for the information in a book. This has given me an opportunity to get to know them each a little better by keeping track of who ask questions about what.

    I was able to buy 42 of the books for $70 through a Scholastic book order and when the kids have outgrown them I will donate them to the library.

  3. We read Peter Pan too! Such wonderful words! How fun would it be if people spoke with such detail now?!?

  4. For boys as they grow bigger:

    Bud, Not Buddy

    The Tale of Despereaux

    Holes

    Hoot

    Mrs. Frisby and The Rats of NIMH

    The Bronze Bow

    Hatchet

    Percy Jackson

    The Red Pyramid

  5. I am well-pleased with this list, especially du St-Exupery, White, Barrie and Dahl.

    Might I suggest spicing it up with some Lewis Carrol? Opium induced dream sequences are always the best places to start books from, and I'm sure the absurdism would tickle the kids' brains something awful.

  6. The Henry Huggins series by Beverly Clearly is great for boys. She actually wrote a number of good books that boys might like too, like Ralph S. Mouse. I'm looking forward to reading them to my sons.

    Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It's the story of her husband's life on the farm when he was 9.

  7. Great chapter books for young boys are the Eddie series by Carolyn Haywood. Many libraries are getting rid of this series, but they are innocent, clean books. The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman was a favorite–we couldn’t put it down. Another series we love are Ralph Moody’s Little Britches books. Great character-building, only a few swear words here and there need to be blacked out spoken by the cowboys. I, Juan de Pareja is also on our list, as is Retreat to Glory, and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch. Where the Red Fern Grows and Big Red are also favorites.

  8. Thank you for sharing this! I really appreciate it, especially because I tend to feel overwhelmed with the selection of books at the public library. The books I pick up seem to have pointless stories that really don’t teach any character qualities at all. I’ve gone a couple times and walked out empty handed. ~yessel

    • You are welcome! I know good books are hard to find – I have spent a lot of time reading book lists and researching books trying to find good stuff for us!!

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