Children's Chapter Books

Children's chapter books are short novels of around 100 pages which are broken into chapters short enough to be read in one sitting. Short chapters mean that the story moves fast and there are plenty of places to stop if your child has had enough. Chapter books are therefore ideal for when your child first starts to read and will help to develop their appetite for reading.

childrens chapter books

Many children's chapter books are also perfect for reading aloud to younger children. I started reading chapter books to my son when he was four years old (in addition to picture books), and he loved them. It was a great way of gradually extending his attention span - first we would read just one chapter and later, as his attention span increased, he would beg me for more.

To try to come up with a definitive list of the best children's chapter books I combined over 20 highly regarded lists of children's books including winners of prestigious children's books awards, reading lists from reputable sources and bestselling books of all time. Those books mentioned on more than one list are shown below, with books at the top receiving the most mentions.

"Sarah, Plain and Tall", which tops the list with four mentions in the source lists, tells the story of Sarah, who comes from Maine to answer a widowed midwestern farmer's advertisement for a wife and mother to his two chidren. 'Winne-the-Pooh' and 'The Velveteen Rabbit' are the oldest books on the list, both having been first published in 1926. Roald Dahl, one of my family's favourite authors, appears twice, with "The Enormous Crocodile" and "George's Marvellous Medicine".

Sarah, Plain and Tall 1. Sarah, Plain and Tall book depository amazon
by Patricia MacLachlan
First published 1985

Winnie-the-Pooh 2. Winnie-the-Pooh book depository amazon
by A. A. Milne
illustrated by Ernest Shepard
First published 1926

Stone Fox 3. Stone Fox book depository amazon
by John Reynolds Gardiner
illustrated by Marcia Sewall
First published 1980

The Velveteen Rabbit 4. The Velveteen Rabbit book depository amazon
by Margery Williams
First published 1926

The Whipping Boy 5. The Whipping Boy book depository amazon
by Sid Fleischman
illustrated by Peter Sis
First published 1986

A Visit to William Blake's Inn 6. A Visit to William Blake's Inn book depository amazon
by Nancy Willard
illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen
First published 1981

Amelia Bedelia 7. Amelia Bedelia book depository amazon
by Peggy Parish
illustrated by Fritz Siebel
First published 1963

Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum 8. Beat the Story-Drum, Pum-Pum book depository amazon
by Ashley Bryan
First published 1980

George's Marvellous Medicine 9. George's Marvellous Medicine book depository amazon
by Roald Dahl
First published 1981

Missing May 10. Missing May book depository amazon
by Cynthia Rylant
First published 1992

Mr Majeika 11. Mr Majeika book depository amazon
by Humphrey Carpenter
First published 1984

My Father's Dragon 12. My Father's Dragon book depository amazon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett

First published 1948

Snow White and the Seven Aliens 13. Snow White and the Seven Aliens book depository
by Laurence Anholt
illustrated by Arthur Robins
First published 1998

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever 14. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever book depository amazon
by Barbara Robinson
First published 1972

The Enormous Crocodile 15. The Enormous Crocodile book depository amazon
by Roald Dahl
First published 1978

The Firework-Maker's Daughter 16. The Firework-Maker's Daughter book depository amazon
by Philip Pullman
illustrated by Nick Harris
First published 1995

The Little Prince 17. The Little Prince book depository amazon
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
First published 1943

The Worst Witch Collection 18. The Worst Witch Collection book depository
by Jill Murphy
First published 1974

Your child may also be interested in reading, or being read, these picture books for older readers. They contain more sophisticated vocabulary and a more involved story than many picture books, making them ideal for children aged five and above.

If your favorite children's chapter book is not on the list, then please do share it with us. We'd love to hear about it. Just click here to share your favorite children's chapter books and follow the instructions.

For more ideas of classic children's books, check out these lists of top children's books or winners of these children's book awards.

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