17 Engaging Chapter Books Series for Kids Who Don’t Like to Read [2022]

Looking for the best chapter books for kids? I hear you, Friend.

My two oldest girls learned to read at age 4. Not surprisingly, I thought I’d hit the jackpot and they’d turn into book worms just like I’d always wanted.

Well, I was in for a shock when neither one of them took to reading for fun.

As they grew older, I made it my mission to look for the most engaging chapter books for kids. Fortunately, we found some chapter books that they enjoyed reading.

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Maybe your child is a reluctant reader like my girls. Or perhaps you’re trying to find some chapter books for kids who enjoy reading.

Regardless, this is the post for you!

Here are 17 engaging chapter books for kids that don’t like to read!

Table of Contents

The #1 Priority When Choosing Chapter Books for Kids

When choosing chapter books for kids, it’s essential to focus on the goal.

For instance, if your child doesn’t like to read, your goal should be to find books that are accessible.

What do I mean by accessible? Glad you asked.

What makes a chapter book accessible to a child who doesn’t like to read?

  1. Reading level is at or below their capability
    • When you’re trying to help a child develop a habit of reading for fun, you want the content to be at or below the child’s reading level to build confidence.
  2. Chapter books should be interesting to your child.
    • Let your child choose chapter books that are interesting to them.
    • Interest drives dopamine, the reward chemical in the brain.
    • Make reading inherently interesting, and you’ll have a more motivated reader.

By choosing books that are accessible, you increase the likelihood that your child will want to read.



15 Chapter Books for Kids Who Don’t Like to Read

The following list contains 15 amazing chapter books for kids. Books are in order by age range.

Chapter Books for Kids (Early Readers)

This first section contains chapter books for early readers. Suggested ages are noted for each book.

Please note that I list the publisher’s recommended age range. In other words, these are “age ranges” for a reason.

Please do not push your child to read only in their age range. Above all, allow their interests to guide their choices of books.

Let’s get to it!


1. Mercy Watson Series (ages 4-7)

I remember checking out the Mercy Watson series when my middle was younger. The series drew in both of my girls.

Written by the amazing Kate DiCamillo, this early chapter book series is a hoot!

The 6 book series centers around Mr. and Mrs. Watson and their beloved pet pig, Mercy.

Highlights of Mercy Watson series:

  • Ages 4-7 years old
  • Larger font
  • Massive colorful illustrations covering entire pages
  • Approximately 96 pages each
  • 6 books in the series

2. Princess in Black (ages 4-7)

The Princess in Black series is a great introductory chapter book series written by Shannon Hale.

Princess Magnolia is no ordinary princess. She turns into her alter-ego, the Princess in Black, to fight the monsters in Monster Land.

Highlights of Princess in Black:

  • Ages 4-7 years old
  • Large font
  • Colorful illustrations
  • A fun heroine to encourage young girls to be brave
  • Approximately 96 pages each
  • 9 books in the series

3. Rainbow Magic Series (ages 5-7)

The Rainbow Magic series is one of the first chapter book series that my middle daughter read.

If you have a child who enjoys fantasy and fairies, this is a great series to start with.

With close to 100 books in the series, if these are a hit for your child, they’ll be reading for a long time!

3 rainbow magic chapter books for kids

Highlights of Rainbow Magic:

  • Ages 5 to 7 (These are appropriate for older kids as well.)
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Black and white illustrations
  • Each book is centered around a new fairy.
    • For example, Crystal the Snow Fairy, Emily the Emerald Fairy, etc.
  • 100 book series

4. Fly Guy Series

The Fly Guy Series will not be seen in Charlotte Mason’s beautiful feast of books. Sorry. This is some serious “twaddle.”

However, Fly Guy did the trick and got my boy, who wanted nothing to do with reading, to pick up a book. I’ll take it.

Highlights of the Fly Guy Series:

  • Recommended for ages 5-8 (again, the range is much wider)
  • Captivating illustrations
  • Large font for struggling readers
  • Each page has at most one or two sentences
  • Silly humor that grabs kids’ attention

5. Princess Posey (ages 5-8)

One of AHFAS moms said that the Princess Posey series is the first series that her ADHD girl enjoyed reading.

Posey is a very girly-girly first grade girl whose life adventures make this series extraordinary!

Highlights of Princess Posey:

  • Ages 5-8 years old
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Several illustrations per chapter
  • Larger font size
  • Books around approximately 96 pages each

6. Dory Fantasmagory Series (ages 5-8)

Tiffany, another AHFAS mom, recommended Dory Fantasmagory. Dory is the youngest sibling in her family.

She desperately wants her big brother and sister to pay attention to her. Unfortunately, they want nothing to do with their baby sister.

So, Dory uses her imagination to live life to its fullest!

Highlights of Dory Fantasmagory:

  • Ages 5-8
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Adorable black and white illustrations on each page
  • Font size is larger
  • Books around approximately 176 pages each

7. Super Rabbit Boy (ages 5-8)

Dee recommends the Super Rabbit Boy series. These chapter books feature Rabbit Boy who lives a life of adventure in a video game.

This is a great series for any kid who calls themselves a gamer!

Super Rabbit Boy is part of Scholastic’s early chapter book series and is meant for reluctant readers.

Highlights of Super Rabbit Boy:

  • Ages 5-8
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Colorful full-page illustrations
  • Short paragraphs on each page of illustrations
  • Books around approximately 80 pages each

8. The Magic Treehouse Series (ages 5-8)

The Magic Tree House Series is a fantastic series of early chapter books.

While the publisher indicates ages 5-8 for this series, I think these are excellent for older kids as well.

The series’ main characters, Jack and Annie, have adventures through history! This, my friend, introduces kids to many historical events.

Yay!

Magic Tree House Titles include these and more.


Highlights of Magic Tree House:

  • Ages 5-8 (although, I think appropriate for older)
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Realistic greyscale illustrations
  • Larger font with lots of white space
  • Books around approximately 80 pages each

9. Owl Diaries (ages 6-8)

The Owl Diaries was recommended by multiple AHFAS moms.

This bright and colorful series is written in diary format that makes it so much fun!

The illustrations are stunning and make up the majority of the book.

owl diaries sample pages
photo credit Marilyn Benjamin (AHFAS Mom)

Highlights of Owl Diaries:

  • Ages 6 to 8
  • Nice mix of sight words and decodable words
  • Illustrations are stunning and colorful
  • Text is broken up into chunks (using speech bubbles) which is highly accessible to early readers

10. Stink (ages 6-8)

Stink is Judy Moody’s short little brother who measures himself daily to see if he’s grown.

Even more importantly, he’s a great character for reluctant readers.

Highlights of Stink:

  • Ages 6-8 years old
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Multiple large comic-type illustrations per chapter
  • 13 books in the series
  • Books around approximately 80 pages each


Must read chapter books ages 7 and up

The following books are appropriate for ages 7 and up. Again, use the age range as a guide only.

11. Dogman Books (ages 7-10)

The Dogman book series are graphic novels targeted to young boys. While technically not chapter books, I’m including them for a good reason.

Multiple moms have praised this series as the gateway book series for their reluctant readers.

I say, “Whatever works!”

From publisher:

“Dogman is half-dog, half-man and all-hero!”

Author Dav Pilkey has ADHD and spent quite a bit of his school years in trouble.

Fortunately, he used his “time-out” sessions to cultivate his love of art and storytelling.

Highlights of Dogman Series:

  • Ages 7-10 years old
  • Colorful illustrations in comic form
  • 10 books in the series
  • Positive themes such as empathy, persistence, & kindness
  • Books around approximately 80 pages each


12. Wings of Fire (ages 8-11)

I’ve heard moms singing the praises of Wings of Fire series for quite some time now.

Wings of Fire is an action and fantasy series that centers around a world of dragons.

Highlights of Wings of Fire Series:

  • Ages 8-11
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Minimal Illustrations
  • Text is fairly small and fills the pages
  • Approximately 300 pages each.

Wings of Fire Graphic Novels

Additionally, Wings of Fire also has a graphic novel series!

For kids who are not quite ready for chapter books, they can start with visually appealing graphic novels.


13. Encyclopedia Brown (ages 8-12)

The Enclyclopedia Brown mystery series helped my oldest finally become a reader!

Encyclopedia Brown was first published in 1963 and centers around a 10-year-old boy named Leroy Brown.

Leroy is the son of the chief of police and spends his free time solving mysteries.

There are ten mysteries in each book and each one is sure to intrigue your reluctant reader.

sample of encyclopedia brown illustration
Illustration from The Case of the Jade Sculptor

Highlights of Encyclopedia Brown:

  • Ages 8-12
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Black and white illustrations (1 per chapter)
  • Approximately 60-80 pages each.

14. James Patterson Books for Kids (ages 8-12)

James Patterson knows how to get kids reading! His chapter books for kids are engaging, well-illustrated, and fun.

My oldest started reading them when she was 12 and was addicted! She started with the hilarious Middle School Series and kept going!

James Patterson knocks it out of the park with these books! I read some aloud with my kids and laughed right along with them.

Highlights of James Patterson’s Books for Kids:

  • Ages 8-12
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Lots of silly & engaging black and white illustrations
  • Approximately 300 pages each

15. Whatever After Series (ages 8-12)

The Whatever After Series was and is a big hit in our home! The series follows Jonah (age 7), and his sister, Abby (age 10) through adventures in fractured fairy tales.

It all starts when Jonah accidentally finds a magical mirror in their basement. After showing his sister this mirror, the two enter the magical mirror and the adventures begin!

I asked my daughter for her top 3 favorites in the series. She gave me 4. Ha!

red book cover with young girl wearing a white apron with a red heart on it

She said she loved them all, but if she had to choose, her top 4 Whatever After books are:

Highlights of Sarah Mlynowski’s Whatever After Series:

  • Ages 8-12 (although, I think the range is much wider)
  • No illustrations
  • Text is double-spaced which is great for those with dyslexia and visual discrimination and tracking challenges
  • Highly engaging
  • Audiobook narrator is excellent

Whatever After on Audiobook

Also, I highly recommend Whatever After on audiobook.

The narrator is engaging. Plus, the rate of speech is just the right pace for those with auditory processing and language processing challenges.

In the end, if your child likes fractured fairy tales, give Whatever After a try. Regardless of age, it’s a fantastic series to get your reluctant reader reading.


16. Percy Jackson & the Olympians (ages 9+)

The Percy Jackson series is a high interest set of chapter books for kids.

My oldest loved the fun and thrilling adventures of the main character, 17-year-old, Percy.

The best part for reluctant readers?

Percy has ADHD, dyslexia and struggles in school, but leans into his strengths to be the hero!

Note that this series is NOT illustrated and the font size is rather small. This is an engaging series that’s likely to help an older reluctant reader.

Highlights of The Percy Jackson Series:

  • Ages 9+
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • No illustrations
  • Font size is small
  • Books around approximately 300-400 pages each

17. The Warrior Cat Series (ages 9-12)

The Warrior Cat series is an extremely popular series of books for late elementary and middle school age kids.

This fantasy chapter book series sucked in my oldest daughter at the age of 10.

The books in the series are ALWAYS on hold at the library because kids LOVE it!

If you have an older reader who can read, but is reluctant to choose reading over a screen, this is a great series to try! Its storyline is highly engaging.

Best part is that the series contains approximately 60 books to keep your child reading for a long time!

Highlights of The Warrior Cat Series:

  • Ages 9-12
  • Traditional chapter book format
  • Limited number of illustrations
  • Font size is small
  • Books around approximately 300 pages each

Recap

Finding chapter books for kids who don’t like to read can be tough.

Fortunately, there are many highly engaging chapter book series available to entice them!

If your children don’t like to read, keep this in mind. They don’t like to read YET.

Hang on to this list of chapter books and review it with your child. Ask them to choose one that sounds the most interesting.

Then go from there.

Bonus Tip to Help Your Child Learn to Like Reading

One last bonus tip to help your child enjoy reading.

Say you find a book that you know your child should like, but you know they won’t even try it because they hate reading so much.

What do you do then?

Friend, read the book TO your child. Incorporate books of interest into a family read aloud time. (Yes. Read to them even if your kid is a teenager.)

Make it easier for your reluctant reader to engage in the story. That’ll motivate them to read the next book in the series ON THEIR OWN.

Good luck, Friend! In this parenting thing with you!

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