What are some good chapter book series to give as gifts to 6-9 year olds? I'm glad you asked! A great early chapter book will have kids entranced until the final page, eager to get to the next installment in the series. Perhaps there will be a few, or many, laughs, maybe even a couple of gasps, but there should definitely be a lot of smiles.
Whether your kids want mysteries, graphic novels, adventure or superhero stories, these early chapter book sets make great gifts. Many of them come boxed, for that extra snazzy something, but other sets can be lovingly assembled by the giver. If the set isn't boxed the individual titles are listed underneath each review blurb.
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The Gumazing Gum Girl!
by Rhode Montijo
This book series cracked my son up. With tons of illustrations, the book's format and humor will appeal to reluctant readers. Gabby Gomez loves bubble gum but when her mom decides she has had enough, Gabby chews one more piece and when the bubble pops, Gabby is transformed into Gum Girl!
- Chews Your Destiny
- Gum Luck
- Popped Star
- Cover Blown
Narwhal and Jelly
by Ben Clanton
This is a lovely and funny-cute graphic novel series. Each book is three stories about the cheerful, silly Narwhal and his straight-person type sidekick, Jelly. Each story is a very sweet story that emphasizes the pleasure of friendship and having a positive outlook.
by Sharon Draper
A diverse group of four boys call themselves the "Black Dinosaurs," build a clubhouse, decode secret messages and solve mysteries. This is a solid series from Sharon Draper that kids will like. There's a bit of humor, appealing characters and, of course, some mystery.
by Beverly Cleary
Henry often plays second fiddle to the wildly popular Ramona; I imagine because his scrapes are not quite as precarious as those of his more famous neighbor. Nevertheless, his tales are worth reading. Henry Huggins is a good choice for young readers who want to tackle books that a bit longer than most books for kids their age.
The Bad Guys
by Aaron Blabley
I read the first book in the series out loud and my then-8 year old and I could not stop laughing! He subsequently gobbled up the next books in the series on his own. Mr. Wolf is on a mission to change his reputation and convinces his fellow reprobates, Mr. Snake, Mr. Piranha and Mr. Shark to join him in the Good Guys Club. Their first mission is to free 200 dogs from the Maximum Security City Dog Pound! Absolutely hilarious and extremely silly in the very best way.
by Saadia Faruqi
Meet Yasmin is a very early beginning chapter book series about a charming Pakistani-American girl. Each book is divided into four separate stories in which Yasmin uses her creative energy and high imagination to solve problems. Delightful and a good choice for very young readers. There are 12 books so far. Meet Yasmin! includes the first four books.
by Abby Hanlon
These books had me and my son in stitches as we were reading it. Dory is a highly imaginative 6 year old. Her older brother and sister invent a "Mrs. Gobble Gracker" in order to scare Dory into "not behaving like a baby," but Dory grabs onto the idea and her imagination runs away. Dory's imaginary world and the real world overlap in hilarious ways.
Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face
by John Dougherty
If your kids love over the top weird and crazy, this British import is for them! Stinkbomb and his sister Ketchup-Face are certain the badgers are responsible for their missing money. So they head out to meet King Toothbrush Weasel to foil the evil, treacherous bad-news badgers. This series is incredibly silly and kids will LOVE it. I read it aloud and particularly enjoyed the metafictional narrative elements.
The Chicken Squad
by Doreen Cronin
Dirt, Sugar, Poppy, and Sweetie are chicks with varying degrees of intelligence who solve backyard crimes that inevitably involve the squirrel population. Cronin imbues her book series with some old fashioned whodunnit flavor. You can almost hear the 1940s movie voices in your head.
by Leonore Look
Alvin suffers from anxiety over many things and this leads him to become mute at school. Nevertheless, his family life, antics and tales of how he navigates "scary things" never fail to charm. This series makes a great book set for readers who enjoy character driven stories with a lot of humor.
- Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
- Allergic to Camping, Hiking, and Other Natural Disasters
- Allergic to Birthday Parties, Science Projects, and Other Man-made Catastrophes
- Allergic to Dead Bodies, Funerals, and Other Fatal Circumstances
- Allergic to Babies, Burglars, and Other Bumps in the Night
- Allergic to the Great Wall, the Forbidden Palace, and Other Tourist Attractions
A Boy Called Bat
by Elena K. Arnold
Third grader, Bixby Alexander Tam, goes by the nickname Bat and exhibits behaviors that place him on the autism spectrum. He flaps his hands and avoids eye contact, but the author never labels Bat "autistic." She simply allows us to see Bat, and all his friends, as unique individuals. Bat's divorced mom is a veterinarian and one day she brings home baby skunk. Bat wants to take care of it and must prove to his mom that he knows what he is doing. Full of wonderful characters and lots of interesting information about skunks, this is an absolutely delightful book series.
- A Boy Called Bat
- Bat and the Waiting Game
- Bat and the End of Everything
by Kara West
This is a wonderful beginning chapter book series about an 8 year old girl who finds out she is a superhero when she receives an invitation to attend an after school Program for In-Training Superheroes! Now she must figure out a way to be both a regular girl AND a secret superhero!
- Adventure early chapter books
- Magic early chapter books
- Great early chapter books to give as gifts - match a child's interest to the book
Note: As a group, readers ages 6-9 will represent a wide range of reading levels. Some 9 year olds will still be learning fluency and some 6 year olds will be voracious readers. If you are concerned about choosing a book set with a specific reading level, you can use the Scholastic Book Wizard to determine the levels of any of the above books.