In February, I shared the first half of my list of favorite chapter books to read aloud in the post Amazing Chapter Books To Read To the Kids in Your Life, Part 1. The time has come for Part 2! These are books I’ve read aloud over and over and still love. They have major kid appeal and are also enjoyable for adults to read.
I’ve summarized each book as well as included why my students have enjoyed them so much and which grades I usually read them to. These books can be read to many other ages, but these are the grade-levels that seem to enjoy them the most.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, by Chris Grabenstein
The town of Alexandriaville has a brand new library, and it’s no ordinary library. It’s a library created by the zany game maker Luigi Lemoncello. For its grand opening Mr. Lemoncello chooses 12 kids to stay overnight and have the most fun- and game-filled sleepover of their lives. They do have a blast, but when the group wakes up the next morning, the doors to the library are locked and they find out they’re actually part of a much bigger escape game. Using their wits to solve puzzles and analyze clues, the kids battle to be the first one out. Who will it be?
Why Kids Love It: Kids become very invested in the competitive aspect of the escape game. They are huge fans of the main character, Kyle Keeley, and his group of friends and desperately want them to be the first ones out of the library. The villain in the story, the snobby Charles Chiltington, is one they love to hate. They want to see him go down.
The puzzles are also a huge draw. Young readers enjoy solving them alongside the characters and feeling like they’re part of the action.
Grades I Read It To: 4th Grade
The Witches, by Roald Dahl
Witches have the following characteristics: no hair, no toes, inky spit, and claw-like fingernails. If you ever encounter one, especially if you’re a child, get as far away from them as you can!
When an unlucky boy accidentally ends up in the thick of one of the witches’ ghastly meetings (during which they plan the demise of children around the world), he realizes he needs to find a way to save all the kids across the globe. The only trouble is the Witches have turned him into a mouse!
Why Kids Love It: Scary stories are always enticing and this one is just scary enough without being terrifying (for most kids). Plus, this book has a plot-line that makes the young protagonist the hero, despite the majorly frightening odds of being captured by a witch. Note: If you read the Grand High Witch’s voice in chraracer (aka a weird amalgamation of a Russian accent mixed with lots of other eastern European-ness), you will make your listeners giggle big time.
Grades I Read It To: 3rd Grade
The World According To Humphrey, by Betty G. Birney
Everyone needs help in their life and sometimes it comes from the most unlikely places. For the kids in Room 26, their help comes from the class’ pet hamster, Humphrey. Unbeknownst to the human characters in the book, Humphrey can read, write, and even shoot a rubber band! Whether he’s in the classroom or at a student’s home for the weekend, he manages to solve the problems plaguing the humans around him. From getting a family to watch less TV to helping the janitor find love, Humphrey is the best class pet around.
Why Kids Love It: First of all, Humphrey is adorable. The picture of him on the cover elicits lots of “awws” right from the get-go. Then once story starts, Humphrey’s adventures and hilariously human observations get lots of laughs. No kid can resist this adorable hamster.
Grades I Read It To: 1st – 2nd Grade
Sideways Stories from Wayside School, by Louis Sachar
Wayside School is not a normal school. Instead of a being a one-story building with 30 classrooms, it is a 30-story building with one classroom on each floor! Wayside School is definitely weird, and the class on the 30th floor fits right in. One student can only read upside down, another is an ice-cream addict who even eats it in the classroom, and another wants to sell her toes! And that’s just a tiny taste of the wackiness at Wayside School. There are 30 chapters of off-the-wall tales to enjoy.
Why Kids Love It: Kids just go nuts for this book because the it’s so absurdly funny. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that the teacher of the 30th floor class, Ms. Jewls, says at one point, “Children are really smarter than their teachers.”
Grades I Read It To: 3rd Grade
Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic, by Emily Jenkins
Lumphy, a stuffed buffalo, Stingray, a stuffed stingray, and Plastic, a rubber ball (though she doesn’t know that’s what she is) are great friends. When the Little Girl is away at school or asleep, they have the most fantastic adventures. While they don’t always get along, they help each other through dangerous trips to the beach (there are garbage sharks there!), treacherous visits to the washing machine, and disastrous bathtub experiences.
Why Kids Love It: Toys Go Out is in the same vein as the Toy Story movies and kids always respond positively to the idea that their toys come to life when they’re not in the room. The toys’ adventures are incredibly entertaining, but it’s their dialogue that really draws readers in.
Grades I Read It To: 1st Grade
What are your favorite books to read aloud to the kiddos in your life? Please share in the comments below!