Early Chapter Books

Bunny & Tree book cover

Bunny & Tree

Balint Zsako

jE Zsako
Picture Books, Early Chapter Books, Fantasy, Adventure

"Bunny, who's looking for his rabbit friends, convinces Tree that it's time to uproot and see the world."

Casey's picture

This is a beautiful long-form, wordless picture book debut! I'm hopeful we see more like it from Balint Zsako. -Casey

The skull : a Tyrolean folktale book cover

The skull : a Tyrolean folktale

Jon Klassen

jFICTION Klassen, Jon
Kids, Early Chapter Books, Fiction, Paranormal, Short Story

"This is an old story. It is about a girl named Otilla who runs away. It is also about a house in the woods, and a skull who lives there, and a secret the skull has, and the night that Otilla finds out what that secret is."--

Angie's picture

Jon Klassen’s signature offbeat humor takes a turn for the ghostly in this retelling of a traditional Tyrolean folktale. Steeped in shadows and threaded with subtle wit—with rich, monochromatic artwork and an illuminating author’s note—The Skull is as empowering as it is mysterious and foreboding and quite different from most of our chapter books on our shelves! -Angie

The Civil War of Amos Abernathy book cover

The Civil War of Amos Abernathy

Leali, Michael, author.

jFICTION Leali Michael
LGBTQ+, Early Chapter Books, Fiction

"Amos Abernathy lives for history. Literally. He's been a historical reenactor nearly all his life. But when a cute new volunteer arrives at his Living History Park, Amos finds himself wondering if there's something missing from history: someone like the two of them. Amos is sure there must have been LGBTQ+ people in nineteenth-century Illinois. His search turns up Albert D. J. Cashier, a Civil War soldier who might have identified as a trans man if he'd lived today. Soon Amos starts confiding in his newfound friend by writing letters in his journal--and hatches a plan to share Albert's story with his divided twenty-first century town. It may be an uphill battle, but it's one that Amos is ready to fight."--Amazon.com.

Zach's picture

For Pride I want to focus on this book because of how special to me it is now. If I had had this book when I was Amos' age I could have seen myself so much earlier than I did. Maybe I would have come out sooner, maybe I would have been able to accept myself sooner. As I was reading I saw myself in a lot of the characters, even now as an adult there's a lot you can learn and realize about yourself looking back at how teens are today versus how you might have been. The writing and relationships in this book had me feeling like a teen again, but in the best way--the nervousness of my first relationship, the excitement that comes with sitting next to one another watching a movie, pushing your leg against them, moving your pinky closer and closer until you're finally holding hands at that one instance is so so special but so so tiny in scope. The Civil War of Amos Abernathy is also incredibly inspiring. Sometimes it's important to break the rules of the world which are neither just, nor fair, and that message comes through here--books like this will change lives for not only the children and teens who read them, but our whole future. It will tell them that things sometimes need to change and change can come from them. -Zach

The first case book cover

The first case

Ulf Nilsson

jFICTION Nilsson Ulf
Mystery, Early Chapter Books

When Vladimir the squirrel's stockpile of nuts disappears, the portly Detective Gordon deputizes his young, enthusiastic friend Buffy the mouse to help him discover the identity of the thieves.

Anne W's picture

This is the first in a four-book series about the bumbling, often flustered (but totally endearing) Detective Gordon (a frog) and his sidekick Buffy (a mouse). The mysteries (translated from the original Swedish) are clever and funny, gentle but contain enough action to sustain interest, and are heavily illustrated and perfect for those just getting comfortable with chapter books (around first and second grades). They also make great family read-alouds. The newest (and last) book, A Case with a Bang, just hit ICPL shelves. -Anne W

Akiko on the Planet Smoo book cover

Akiko on the Planet Smoo

Mark Crilley

Diverse Characters, Adventure, Early Chapter Books, Fantasy

Akiko Series, Book 1 When this fourth-grader comes home from school one day, she finds an envelope waiting for her with no stamp and no return address. The message inside reads Dear Akiko: We are coming to get you. Meet us outside your bedroom window tonight at 8:00. Don't forget your toothbrush. How could anyone meet her outside her window? She lives on the 17th floor, for goodness sake. But that evening, as Akiko is preparing to study for tomorrow's geography test, she finds a small spacecraft hovering outside her window with two odd little men inside. They have been sent to whisk Akiko off to the Planet Smoo where she will lead a team enlisted to find the King of Smoo's kidnapped son, Prince Froptoppit. Akiko, the leader of a rescue mission? She's too timid to be on the school's safety patrol! So begins Akiko's adventure across the land of Smoo to find a prince and become a leader.

Alexander's picture

Added by Alexander

Rabbit & Bear. Attack of the snack book cover

Rabbit & Bear. Attack of the snack

Julian Gough

jFICTION Gough Julian
Early Chapter Books, Kids, Humor

When Rabbit and Bear's swim is disturbed by a small owl, Bear is interested in learning more but Rabbit relates horror stories and wants to imprison the sleeping bird.

Angie's picture

Rabbit and Bear books are great for beginning readers; the simple stories, laugh out loud humor and great illustrations mean that they are the perfect transition from picture books to chapter books. Plus they are a great and fun read aloud to younger kids. Look for the other four books in this hilarious series! -Angie

The Beatryce Prophecy book cover

The Beatryce Prophecy

Kate DiCamillo

jFICTION DiCamillo, Kate
Adventure, Early Chapter Books

"We shall all, in the end, be led to where we belong. We shall all, in the end, find our way home. In a time of war, a mysterious child appears at the monastery of the Order of the Chronicles of Sorrowing. Gentle Brother Edik finds the girl, Beatryce, curled in a stall, wracked with fever, coated in dirt and blood, and holding fast to the ear of Answelica the goat. As the monk nurses Beatryce to health, he uncovers her dangerous secret, one that imperils them all--for the king of the land seeks just such a girl, and Brother Edik, who penned the prophecy himself, knows why. And so it is that a girl with a head full of stories--powerful tales-within-the-tale of queens and kings, mermaids and wolves--ventures into a dark wood in search of the castle of one who wishes her dead. But Beatryce knows that, should she lose her way, those who love her--a wild-eyed monk, a man who had once been king, a boy with a terrible sword, and a goat with a head as hard as stone--will never give up searching for her, and to know this is to know everything. With its timeless themes, unforgettable cast, and magical medieval setting, Kate DiCamillo's lyrical tale, paired with resonant black-and-white illustrations by Caldecott Medalist Sophie Blackall, is a true collaboration between masters"--

Anne M's picture

Kate DiCamillo's work is always magical and this book is no exception. Set in a somewhat Medieval time period, Beatryce, our protagonist wakes up with no memory sleeping on a bed of straw holding the ear of a goat. Slowly, things get revealed to her: she can read, she can write, her name is Beatryce. She finds a band of friends (always slightly a misfit band of friends, the goat for one), and as her memory returns, she goes to try and find her mother. If you have a child who loves adventure, here's their book. Sophie Blackwell's illustrations are beautiful. This is a chapter book, but it is also a good one to read aloud. -Anne M

Maniac Magee book cover

Maniac Magee

Jerry Spinelli

jFICTION Spinelli, Jerry
Early Chapter Books

After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee's life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his contemporaries.

Beth's picture

Added by Beth

Mockingbird book cover


Kathryn Erskine

jFICTION Erskine, Kathryn
Early Chapter Books

Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger's Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

Beth's picture

Added by Beth

Anne of Green Gables. book cover

Anne of Green Gables.

L. M. (Lucy Maud) Montgomery

jFICTION Montgomery, L. M.
Early Chapter Books

Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.

Beth's picture

Added by Beth