6.25.2015

20 Series for Advanced First and Second Grade Readers {and a few extras}

It can be tough finding books for young reader who are reading at a higher reading level. This list of books is for 7-8 year olds who are reading around the 5th or 6th Grade level. Yeah for books for kids!
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It can be a daunting challenge to find great books for a 7- or 8-year old to read that are (a) at his or her reading level and (b) age appropriate. So many of those books have story lines that may be a little too intense or mature for her tender little heart, so I've been on a serious search. After spending way too much time on Amazon and Goodreads, asking friends, and begging for help at the library, here's what I found!

Criteria:

-An age range with a minimum number no higher than 8
-A minimum reading level of 2nd Grade, but no higher than 5th Grade
-Themes of fairy tales, space, and adventure preferred
-Avoid stories with a primary focus on popularity, love stories, and friendship dramas.

The list (in no particular order and linking to the first book in each series):

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley

First Book in the Series: The Sisters Grimm

Books in Series: 9

Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6, Ages 7 - 13

Publisher's Summary: Fans of fractured fairy tales will be delighted to discover the fantasy, mystery, adventure, and humor in the beloved New York Times bestselling Sisters Grimm series by Michael Buckley, now with new cover art. As featured on NBC’s The Today Show, the nine wildly popular books are favorites around the world. They were among the first books to bring a distinctly girl-power spin to fairy tales—a spin taken up by hit movies and shows TV such as Once Upon a Time, Grimm, and Maleficent, the bestselling book series The Land of Stories, and other. New covers will appear on book one, The Sisters Grimm: The Fairy-Tale Detectives; book two, The Sisters Grimm: The Unusual Suspects; and book three, The Sisters Grimm: The Problem Child. Books four through nine will be available in revised editions soon.

In this first book in the series, orphaned sisters Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their recently discovered grandmother, Relda Grimm. The girls learn that they are descendants of the Brothers Grimm, whose famous tome of fairy tales is actually a history book. The girls are pitted against a giant, who has been rampaging through town. But who set the giant loose in the first place? Was it Mayor Charming (formerly Prince Charming), who has plans to get his kingdom back? The Three Not-So-Little Pigs, now working as police officers? Or a giant-killer named Jack, currently working at a Big & Tall store?

With an irresistible combination of adventure and imagination, the Sisters Grimm series injects classic fairy tales with modern day sensibilities and suspense, creating a fantastical combination readers of all ages will love.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

First Book in Series: How to Train Your Dragon

Books in Series: 12

Reading Level: Grades 3 - 7, Ages 8 and Up

Note: The movie version is only very loosely based on this series of novels by Cressida Cowell.

Publisher's Summary: Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.

American Girl by Various Authors

First Book in the Series: Meet Kirsten

Books in Series: 12 series, each based on a different girl, with six books in most of them

Reading Level: Age 8 and Up

Publisher's Summary: Kirsten Larson and her family arrive in America in 1854, after a long sea voyage. Everything looks so different from the life Kirsten knew back in Sweden--the ways people talk and dress seem strange! Getting lost in a big city and parting with her best friend only add to Kirsten's worry. Will she ever feel at home here? It is only when the Larsons arrive at a tiny farm on the edge of the frontier that Kirsten believes Papa's promise--America will be a land filled with opportunity for them all.

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

First Book in the Series: The Bad Beginning

Books in Series: 13

Reading Level: Grade 5 and Up, Ages 8 - 12

Publisher's Summary: Are you made fainthearted by death? Does fire unnerve you? Is a villain something that might crop up in future nightmares of yours? Are you thrilled by nefarious plots? Is cold porridge upsetting to you? Vicious threats? Hooks? Uncomfortable clothing?

It is likely that your answers will reveal A Series of Unfortunate Events to be ill-suited for your personal use. A librarian, bookseller, or acquaintance should be able to suggest books more appropriate for your fragile temperament. But to the rarest of readers we say, "Proceed, but cautiously."

Space Taxi by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer

First Book in the Series: Space Taxi: Archie Takes Flight

Books in Series: 4

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 4

Publisher's Summary: Archie Morningstar learns a big family secret and helps save the universe. All before breakfast!

It's not every day a regular kid like Archie gets to wake up at midnight. But today is Take Your Kid to Work Day, and Archie is finally allowed to ride along in his dad's taxi cab. He has been waiting eight years, eight months, and eight days for this moment to arrive.

But he's about to discover his dad is no ordinary cab driver...In fact, he drives an intergalactic space taxi! All night long, he shuttles aliens from one corner of the universe to another. And being a space taxi copilot is no easy task: Archie must steer them into wormholes, keep them from crashing into planets, deal with a very unusual cat...and save the universe from an evil mastermind!

Space Taxi marks the debut of a brand new chapter book series from New York Times bestselling author Wendy Mass and teacher Michael Brawer, filled with humor, adventure, and plenty of science to impress your friends and teachers!

Candy Fairies by Helen Perelman

First Book in Series: Chocolate Dreams

Books in Series: 14

Reading Level: Grade 2 - 5, Ages 7 - 10

Publisher's Summary: In Chocolate Dreams, Cocoa the Chocolate Fairy is blamed for the missing chocolate eggs—but really it’s the sour troll Mogu who stole them! Can Cocoa save the chocolate eggs and restore the balance of Sugar Valley?

The Never Girls by Kiki Thorpe

First Book in Series: In a Blink

Books in Series: 9 Reading Level: Grades 2 - 4, Ages 6 - 9

Publisher's Summary: The Disney Fairies star in a magical all-new early chapter book series for kids ages 6 to 10—The Never Girls!

Kate craves adventure and excitement.
Mia loves dresses, roses, and anything beautiful.
Lainey dreams of talking to animals.
Gabby believes in fairies more than anyone.

In a blink of an eye, these four best friends all get their biggest wish—they’re whisked off to Never Land, home to Tinker Bell and her fairy friends. The adventure of a lifetime is just beginning! But how will the Never Girls ever get home again?

Nancy Clancy by Jane O'Conner

First Book in Series: Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth

Books in Series: 5

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 5, Ages 6 - 10

Publisher's Summary: For young readers who grew up with the bestselling Fancy Nancy picture books, Nancy Clancy is now starring in her own chapter books!

In this first in a series of delightful chapter books, Fancy Nancy takes on the role of detective. When one of Nancy's classmate's most treasured possessions disappear from school, it's up to detective Nancy to solve the mystery and save the day.

With the help of her friend Bree, she follows the clues to an unexpected source. Fans of Nancy Drew's Clue Crew will be among the readers happy to see a new Nancy join the ranks of super sleuths!

Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski

First Book in the Series: Fairest of All

Books in Series: 10 (so far)

Reading Level: Grades 4 - 6, Ages 8 - 12

Publisher's Summary: Mirror, mirror, on the basement wall . . .  Once upon a time my brother and I were normal kids. The next minute? The mirror in our basement slurped us up and magically transported us inside Snow White's fairy tale. I know it sounds crazy, but it's true.

But hey -- we're heroes! We stopped Snow White from eating the poisoned apple. Hooray! Or not. If Snow White doesn't die, she won't get to meet her prince. And then she won't get her happy ending. Oops.

Now it's up to us to:
- Avoid getting poisoned
- Sneak into a castle
- Fix Snow White's story

And then, fingers crossed, find our way home.

Amelia Bedelia by Herman Parish

First Book in the Series: Amelia Bedelia Means Business

Books in Series: 8

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 4, Ages 6 - 10

Publisher's Summary: Amelia Bedelia makes her chapter book debut! In Amelia Bedelia Means Business, a New York Times bestseller and the first book in the new chapter book series, young Amelia Bedelia will do almost anything for a shiny new bicycle.

Amelia Bedelia's parents say they'll split the cost of a new bike with her, and that means Amelia Bedelia needs to put the pedal to the metal and earn some dough! With Amelia Bedelia anything can happen, and it usually does. Short, fast-paced chapters, tons of friends, silly situations, and funny wordplay and misunderstandings make the Amelia Bedelia chapter books an ideal choice for readers of the Ivy and Bean, Magic Tree House, and Judy Moody books. Features black-and-white pictures by Lynne Avril on every page!

We started this as a read-aloud, but put it down when my daughter lost interest. However, once she could read them on her own, the entire series was a big hit. Amelia Bedelia is always going from one hilarious misunderstanding to another in these chapter books. Some of the puns went right over my 7-year old's head, but enough of them stuck for a fun experience.

The Boxcar Children Mysteries by Gertrude Chandler Warner

First Book in the Series: The Boxcar Children

Books in Series: 137!

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 5, Ages 7 and Up

Publisher's Summary: The New York Times–bestselling tale of four orphaned siblings who will do anything to stick together, featuring more than thirty original illustrations.
Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden take care of one another. They have no parents, no other family—except for a grandfather they don’t care to see—and no home . . . until the night they find the boxcar. Old, rusty, lonely, and abandoned in the woods, it’s the perfect home for four brave children on their own.

Through hard work and courage, the Aldens begin to build a life full of fun and adventure. But when they’re faced with a problem they can’t solve themselves, they’re forced to look for adult help—and will find it in the most unlikely ally.

Anna & Elsa by Erica David

First Book in the Series: All Hail the Queen

Books in Series: 9 (so far)

Reading Level: Grades 1 - 4, Ages 6 - 9

Publisher's Summary: Princess Anna, Queen Elsa, Olaf the snowman, and the rest of the stars from Disney Frozen are back in an all-new magical chapter book series that is perfect for girls ages 6 to 9. Now that the castle gates are open, Anna and Elsa are thrilled to be finally getting to know their kingdom. Anna bubbles with enthusiasm for all the things to do and the people to meet in Arendelle, and Elsa loves using her magic to help the town. But sometimes even a queen needs a day off.

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol

First in Series: Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective

Books in Series: 28

Reading Level: Grades 3 - 7, Ages 8 - 12

Publisher's Summary: Leroy Brown, aka Encyclopedia Brown, is Idaville neighborhood’s ten-year-old star detective. With an uncanny knack for trivia, he solves mysteries for the neighborhood kids through his own detective agency. But his dad also happens to be the chief of the Idaville police department, and every night around the dinner table, Encyclopedia helps him solve his most baffling crimes. And with ten confounding mysteries in each book, not only does Encyclopedia have a chance to solve them, but the reader is given all the clues as well. Interactive and chock full of interesting bits of information—it’s classic Encyclopedia Brown!

Geronimo Stilton by Geronimo Stilton

First Book in the Series:  Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye

Books in Series: Too many to list! Here's the Amazon page for them.

Reading Level: Grade 5, Ages 7 - 10

Publisher's Summary:Geronimo Stilton was born in New Mouse City, Mouse Island. He is the editor and publisher of The Rodent's Gazette, New Mouse City's most widely read daily newspaper. He is the author of more than 40 adventure novels, and the recipient of the Ratitzer Prize for his books The Curse of the Cheese Pyramid and The Search for Sunken Treasure. In his spare time, Mr. Stilton collects antique cheese rinds and plays golf. He also enjoys telling stories to his nephew Benjamin.

Cam Jansen by David A Alder

First Book in the Series: Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds

Books in Series: 34, here's the Amazon page for the series

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 5, Ages 7 - 10

Publisher's Summary: Can Cam help catch the diamond thief? Cam and her friend Eric are sitting at the mall when the jewelry store is robbed. Cam sees the thief, but the police arrest the wrong person. Now it's up to Cam to catch the real criminal!

The Cam Jansen books are perfect for young readers who are making the transition to chapter books, and Cam is a spunky young heroine whom readers have loved for over two decades.

Twice Upon a Time Series by Wendy Mass

First Book in Series: Rapunzel

Books in Series: 3

Reading Level: Grades 3 - 7, Ages 8 - 12

Publisher's Summary: Rapunzel is having the ultimate bad day. She's been stolen by a witch, may have a ghost for a roommate, and doesn't even have a decent brush for her hair.

Prince Benjamin's got it pretty tough, too. His father wants him to be more kingly, his mother wants him to never leave her sight, and his cousin wants to get him into as much trouble as possible (possibly with a troll).

Both Rapunzel and Prince Benjamin are trapped--in very different ways. Once their paths cross, well, that's when things get really strange.

Journey back to the days when fairy tales were true with this fun and fresh spin on a timeless tale!

Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary

First Book in Series: Beezus and Ramona

Books in Series: 8

Reading Level: 8 - 12

Publisher's Summary: Having a little sister like four-year-old Ramona isn't always easy for Beezus Quimby. With a wild imagination, disregard for order, and an appetite for chaos, Ramona makes it hard for Beezus to be the responsible older sister she knows she ought to be…especially when Ramona threatens to ruin Beezus's birthday party. Newbery Medal winner Beverly Cleary delivers a humorous tale of the ups and downs of sisterhood. Both the younger and older siblings of the family will enjoy this book.

Land of Stories by Chris Colfer

First Book in Series: The Wishing Spell

Books in Series: 6

Reading Level: Grades 3 - 7, Ages 9 - 12

Publisher's Summary: Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales.

The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

First Book in the Series: Bad Kitty Gets a Bath

Books in Series: 10 (plus picture and board books, too)

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 6, Ages 7 - 10

Publisher's Summary: Pet owners beware!

Bad Kitty really needs a bath, and she is forced to take one in this hysterical new illustrated how-to for young readers. The following are some items you will need for Kitty's bath: one bathtub, plenty of water, dry towels, a suit of armor, a letter to your loved ones, clean underwear (because stressful situations can cause "accidents"), an ambulance in your driveway with the engine running, and, oh, yeah, you'll also need Kitty . . . but good luck with that! Kitty is at her worst in this riotous how-to guide filled with bad smells, cautionary tales of horror, and hopefully by the end . . . some soap.

My Little Pony Friendship is Magic by G.M. Berrow

First Book in Series: Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell

Books in Series: 6, plus spinoffs like The Princess Collection and Equestria Girls

Reading Level: Grade 3 - 7, Ages 8 - 12

This series picks up where Season Three of the show leaves off. Fans of the series will learn new details about their favorite characters and follow them on new adventures in Ponyville. Each story has humor, suspense, and a lovely moral at the end.

Publisher's Summary: Twilight Sparkle is a very special Pony and a loyal apprentice of Princess Celestia. Twilight Sparkle's life has been turned upside down by recent exciting events in Ponyville, so she sets off for the Crystal Empire to get advice from her former foalsitter, Princess Cadance. Join Twilight Sparkle in this original and brand-new adventure!

And a few extras that don't exactly meet the criteria:

Ever After High by Shannon Hale, Reading Level Grades 4 - 7, Ages 8 - 12: There is lots of talk of crushes and innocent love stories, as well as many pop culture references that could distract young readers. However, the concept and writing are so good in these books that I had to include them! There's also a show on Netflix and YouTube and four million dolls.



Jedi Academy by Various Authors, Reading Level Grades 3 - 8: Roan dreams of going to Pilot Academy like his brother, father, and grandfather, but is surprised to get the news that he is headed to Jedi Academy instead. This book is filled with jokes and familiar characters, all in a graphic novel style. At times, my daughter laughed so hard she cried while reading this book and she was constantly bringing it over to me to show me some silly part. The only reason it's not on the main list is a plot line about a middle school romance (Roan wonders if a girl likes him and learns to slow dance with a girl).


Are there any books you would add to this list?

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the ideas! Ordering Boxcar and Encyclopedia for Nolan today. He loves Magic Treehouse books, so hopefully he will like these too.

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    1. I hope Nolan likes them! Darcy hasn't started Boxcar Children, but I have the first one from the library and keep nagging her to start it, which I'm sure is why she hasn't yet. ;)

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  2. Thank you for putting together this list; I have the exact same problem with my just turned eight-year-old daughter. She has read a few of the series you mentioned, and we will definitely check out a few others. If you are still looking for books for your daughter, I have a few suggestions, although my daughter seems to prefer books with a little more history/adventure rather than fairy tales. Anyway, here they are:
    Secrets of the Manor series by Adele Whitby, the first book is Beth's Story, 1914
    The 13 Story Treehouse series by Andy Griffiths
    Tuesdays at the Castle series by Jessica Day George
    Liberty Porter, First Daughter by Julia DeVillers
    Magical Animal Adoption Agency: Clover's Luck by Kallie George

    Hope your daughter enjoys them!

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    1. Thank you so much for these recommendations! I am working on a second installment of books for this age group and will check all of these out.

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  3. I would suggest Kingdom of Wrenly. It's a great fantasy series (with dragons and knights) without the scary stuff. Thanks for your list!

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Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts!