First Chapter Books {Series About Boys}

List of more than 20 early chapter book series about boys

Early and First Chapter Books about Boys

Do you have a kid looking for his first chapter book? For the last few weeks we’ve been exploring early chapter books for kids. We’ve made book lists about animals, girls, and friends & families. Naturally, this week we move on to chapter books about boys, all given a seal of approval by my son. A word of advice to parents of girls: these are not books for boys, they are about boys, girls will enjoy them, too!

There has been a lot of chatter lately that reluctant readers are sometimes lured into reading through the use of an e-reader. In this list I indicate which books are available for the Kindle.

Note: Book covers and titles are affiliate links.

Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon. As far as I’m concerned, this classic trilogy is a must read for every child. Even if you’ve read it out loud, don’t let that stop you from offering it up as an independent read.

The Stories Julian Tells. When I first brought this book home from the library, Kiddo informed me that his 2nd grade teacher told the class these were some of her favorite books. I haven’t read them all (yet) but I can see why. I was tempted to judge the book by its cover (I am not a fan of photo-covers) but am glad I gave these well-written books a chance. Imaginative Julian gets into mischief with his tall tales, but fortunately he has a loving, forgiving family. There are also books about Julian’s sister, Gloria (I wish I had known about those before I wrote the early chapter book list of series about girls!) and his younger brother, Huey.

Zapato Power. I have a great love for Freddy Ramos. After all, he and his mom love to read together. It’s also nice to see a Latino superhero, do you know many of those? One day Freddy receives a mysterious pair of shoes which turn out to have magical powers and Freddy, being the kind of boy he is, uses their power for good. This series was also on my list of Superhero Picture and Chapter Books.

Roscoe Riley Rules. Roscoe Riley was one of Kiddo’s favorite series when he first began reading chapter books. Notably it was written by this year’s Newbery winner! I think sometimes parents write off books (esp. those about boys) that have cartoon-like covers and silly subtitles such as “Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs” as fluff. But this is a serious mistake; Roscoe is a charming, well-intentioned kid, who just happens to have a lot to learn about solving problems. And don’t we all?  (Available on Kindle)

Alvin Ho. Alvin has an anxiety complex: he’s afraid of everything and he’s so afraid of school he doesn’t even talk. This may seem like a dubious premise for young readers, but my 8 year old really enjoys this series. Alvin is a highly intelligent boy; his Chinese heritage, love of Henry David Thoreau (yes, you read that right), attempts to be a gentleman and loving family make for some great reading. There are loads of cultural references (my favorite is is dad’s penchant for Shakespearean curses) which are defined in a humorous glossary. We listened to a stellar audiobook version on a long car trip which kept us giggling. (Also available for the Kindle.)

The Amazing World Of Stuart. There are two books, Stuart’s Cape and Stuart Goes to School in this double edition. Fans of Sara Pennypacker’s more famous heroine, Clementine, will want to read these earlier books about Stuart, an 8 year old who fashions himself a cape by stapling 100 ties together. This awesome cape turns out to have quite a bit of magical influence over the quirky, funny and highly lovable Stuart.

Stink. The younger brother of popular series girl, Judy Moody, has an unfortunate nickname. He’s also short and tired of being bossed around by his older sister. Kiddo’s favorite was #4: Stink and the Great Guinea Pig Express; while he read it he could not stop laughing. A kid who finds reading fun is a kid who will read more. (Kindle version available.)

The One and Only Stuey Lewis. Imaginative second grader, Stuey Lewis has trouble with reading, a bit of a rivalry with his older brother. Each chapter is it’s own story, and sometimes thing go a bit wrong for Stuey, but his creativity and a few friends help him overcome the hurdle.s  (Kindle version also available)

Invisible Inkling. Somehow, an invisible (not imaginary) bandapat from the Peruvian Woods of Mystery has made it to Brooklyn, where he is now dragging  Hank in all sorts of adventures.  One of the more advanced series on this list, though still considered an early chapter book. Emily Jenkins is one of my favorite authors (readers of this blog may recall the numerous times I have professed my love for another early chapter book series, Toys Go Out). The third book comes out in July and I already know by the title, The Whoopie Pie War, that I will LOVE it. (Kindle version also available.)

Andy Shane. The Andy Shane books are great choices for kids who have just barely moved beyond easy readers. Andy Shane is being raised by his Granny Webb (quite a character, herself) and navigating his friendship with the very extroverted Dolores. Kirkus does not give starred reviews casually, my friends!

Horrid Henry. This is another series I thought I wouldn’t like based on the name and I always cringe at the idea that “reluctant readers” need a book about kids doing silly things in order to read. But after reading so many (oh, so many) books for these lists I have really relaxed my snobbishness and look beyond the cover. Simon’s Horrid Henry books contain stories (as opposed to an overall story arc) and the vocabulary and short sentences and laugh-out-loud (yup, just like it says on the cover!) humor make them an excellent choice for the earliest chapter book readers.

Horrible Harry. (See my literary commentary above!) Harry’s best friend, Doug, narrates these fun stories. Most of the action centers around school life and although Harry does get into a bit of mischief, he is a good friend and is very likeable. There is also a spin off series about Song Lee, the “nicest girl in Room 2B.” (Kindle version available.)

EllRay Jakes Is Not a Chicken. Vertically-challenged EllRay takes note that he is one of the few non-whites at his suburban school. Some parents may not like the way the first book deals with bullying (I like that the book did not take a simplistic stance), but I am including it because it is shameful how few early chapter books there are about African-American boys. Please, if you know of some others, leave a comment on this post! (Also on Kindle)

Calvin Coconut. Quick, name all the books you know set in Hawaii: go! … Yeah, I thought so. These books are realistic stories about a 4th grader living with his single, working mom and little sister in Paradise. (Also on Kindle.)

The Knights’ Tales. I quite like these quirky books with their bumbling characters who are heroes in spite of themselves, but the tongue in cheek humor may go over the heads of younger readers. That’s okay because there is a big need for early chapter books which are sophisticated enough to appeal older readers who still need books at an early level. If you kid likes to listen to tales of yore, try these books out. (Also available for the Kindle.)

7 x 9 = Trouble! and Fractions = Trouble!. Wilson struggles with math and feels embarrassed to have a tutor. Claudia Mills is one of those authors that you may not have heard of, but you should always check out what she’s writing. These books are good for the older end of the early chapter book age range (i.e. kids should understand what multiplication and fractions are) and I’m hoping there will be a third book!

Mostly Monty. Johanna Hurwitz, author of one my favorite early chapter books series, The Riverside Kids, is currently publishing this series about first-grader Monty, a shy, smart book lover who worries about his asthma.

Marvin Redpost. Louis Sachar, the award winning author of Holes, first published this 8 book series beginning in 1992. Like many of the other series here, the story lines follow the trials of an imaginative boy who needs to problem-solve. Luckily these are written in Sachar’s slightly absurdist trademark style.

Jake Drake. Andrew Clements, author of Frindle, wrote 4 books about the school-yard adventures of Jake Drake. Clements employs an unusual narrative device — 4th grader Jake narrates these stories about what happened to him in 2nd grade. Jake reflects on the character-building lessons he learned in an appealing, realistic voice.

Melvin Beederman Superhero. Some superheros are weakened by Kryptonite, some by bologna. Such is the fate of Melvin, a graduate of Superhero Academy. Melvin and his partner, Candace, battle against the McNasty Brothers.  For kids who like superheros, silly puns, and who think Los Angeles is i need of a good crime-fighting duo, these are the books to read. (Only book #4 on Kindle.)

Captain Awesome is not the most sophisticated series but it’s useful for kids who are just moving past easy readers or kids who may be late readers and want to read chapter books “like their friends.” Short chapters, lots of illustrations, large fonts and silly situations increase its attractiveness to early readers. Be prepared: Captain Underpants will surely come next. (Also on Kindle.)

Many of you will probably leave me a comment telling me I forgot about Nate the Great, but I didn’t forget, you’ll see him soon. I hope this list gets you started. If you need even MORE ideas for early chapter books, check out all the lists in this series:
Early Chapter Books about Boys {Stand Alone Novels}
Early Chapter Books about Animals
Early Chapter Books about Girls {Series}
Early Chapter Books about Girls {Stand-Alones}
Early Chapter Books about Friends and Families

This post contains affiliate links.

Any books you would add to the list? Don’t forget to visit this link –> Master Index of all my book lists.

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  1. says

    A lot for us to look into here as my daughter has tended to stay with girl protagonists. I think the only ones she’s read are Horrible Harry and Ellroy Jakes; I read the first Alvin Ho book and liked it.

  2. says

    Our boy series reading is seriously lacking around our house of girls. We haven’t read any of these featured. But the one early chapter book series about a boy that my girls have read and enjoyed, because it features animals, is the Akimbo series by Alexander McCall Smith. The series features the adventures of Akimbo, an African boy living with his parents on a game preserve, where his father is a park ranger. Each of the five books features Akimbo’s adventures with a different kind of animal. (The books are illustrated by LeUyen Pham.)

    • MomandKiddo says

      Argh! I thought Akimbo was a stand alone book and was going to feature it next week! Double Argh! I really need to Google these things before I type up the posts.

  3. says

    What a great list! My 6 year old son is tearing through books right now and I’m always looking for a new series. He’s read a few of these series and really enjoyed them, but I’ll have to check the library for some other of your suggestions.

    • says

      Ok, I couldn’t resist, I added our review of Captain Underpants which we reviewed a very long time ago. This is a shining example of a book that kids LOVE and which often don’t get looked at very closely by parents. I really enjoyed tearing it apart! lol

  4. says

    Thank you so much for such a wonderful list. I have to admit that I’m unfamiliar with most of these, and I really look forward to checking them out! We are reading the Magic Tree House series right now, and R really loves that the main little boy wears glasses like him. I bet he’ll love some of these others too!

  5. MomandKiddo says

    Thanks Joyce! I definitely recommend starting with My Father’s Dragon. My sons also The Magic Tree House- it was on last week’s list!

  6. Jen says

    Brilliant – we love your lists! My 6 year old loves Horrible Harry and Roscoe Riley – I think he really identifies with the main characters. We’ve also read Horrid Henry which went down well and the ‘Nate the Great’ books. His absolutely favourite save-up-his-pocket-money-to-buy series is the ‘Just …..’ books by Andy Griffiths. Thanks for some great ideas for new books, once we get through all the girl chapter books we have borrowed from the library (Amber Brown is the hit so far!).

  7. Katie says

    Thanks for the great list my son has Dyslexia and we are just starting to feel comfortable in the chapter books even though he is 10. You forgot the Flat Stanley chapter book series which are great reads.

    • MomandKiddo says

      Hi Katie! I’m so glad the list will be useful for you! I know I left Stanley off the list. I was trying to keep it manageable and left several series off that maybe I should have included. Thanks for leaving a comment to remind others of that good series!

    • MomandKiddo says

      I know you’ll find something, but check out the book list of series about boys, too. That one also has choices that may appeal to reluctant readers.

  8. says

    Looking at the list, I realized that we have bias to girl heroines – we read a lot more books from your other lists than from this list. Perhaps it’s time to liven things up a bit!

  9. Shirley says

    I am trying to look for the books in the library according to your list. I really appreciate that. My son loves the Arthur series (Chapter Book) by Marc Brown.

  10. amy Brink says

    Great list! Another awesome series is the “Hey, Jack!” books by Sally Rippin. They are sold through Usborne Books but can also be found online at amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. My first grader (whose name is also Jack) loves these and really identifies with the title character. For girls, Sally Rippin also has the “Billie B” books, which is about Jack’s best friend. They are a perfect first step into chapter books. Highly recommend!

  11. Jen says

    Hi – I wanted to pop back in and say that we have just got hold of the Stuey Lewis books and they have been a huge hit with my 7 and 5 year olds. My 7 year old took a LONG time to learn to read and found the process very frustrating so he can really relate to Stuey’s experiences. The only bad thing is that they want me to cook French toast for breakfast now like Stuey’s mum does and we are in the middle of a heatwave so I am trying not to use the stove!

  12. Stephanie says

    Very late with a comment, but I found your post while searching for ideas for reading with my kindergartener. Thank you for all of the great ideas! I’ll add another suggestion- I just finished reading Lois Lowry’s Sam Krupnik books (starting with All About Sam) to my kiddo. They are wonderful. My sensitive child really identified with smart, earnest preschooler Sam and the family, teachers and neighbors who treat his opinions and interests with respect. There is plenty of fun in these stories, but Sam is never the object of the fun.

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