Early Chapter Books
Early chapter books are written for newly independent readers transitioning from easy readers to middle grade novels. They often have short chapters, simple vocabulary, short sentences, and plenty of engaging illustrations. They also have larger font with more spacing compared to longer chapter books.
Early chapter books are sometimes referred to as first chapter books or beginner chapter books. Most, but not all, early chapter books come as a series to motivate people to continue reading about their favourite characters on different adventures.
Listed below are some of the early chapter books we have available at the Education Library.
The Questioneers: Ada Twist and the Perilous Pants (#2) by Andrea Beaty
When Rosie Revere’s Uncle Ned gets a little carried away wearing his famous helium pants, it’s up to Ada and friends to chase him down. Author Beaty and illustrator Roberts blends science notes with text and illustrations to bring you a bestselling series on STEM topics. Picture book editions are also available.
Calvin Coconut: The Zippy Fix (#2) by Graham Salisbury
After Stella, the babysitter, calls Calvin names like ‘Stumpy’, he takes advantage of her allergy to cats. But when the sweet revenge turns sour, Calvin finds a way to make it up to her. Set near Kailua, Hawaii, this series features different cultures, some Hawaiian patois, and a realistic and likeable fourth grader growing up in Oahu.
Magic Tree House Merlin Missions: Eve of the Emperor Penguin (#40) by Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie arrive on the one continent they haven’t visited before: Antarctica! What can they hope to learn about happiness in such a barren place? Only the penguins know for sure…Jack and Annie are about to find out! This book is a part of the Merlin Missions of the historical fantasy and adventure series and is longer and more advanced for growing readers. The original Magic Tree House books (shorter and simpler) and Fact Trackers nonfiction companion series are also available at the UBC Education Library.
Galaxy Zack: A Galactic Easter! (#7) by Ray O’Ryan
Zack and Drake venture to Gluco, the candy planet, for some Easter fun but while competing in such activities as an egg toss and a three-legged race, Zack is so determined to come in first that he considers cheating to win. This series has large and spacious text with plenty of goofy illustrations on each page.
The Mysterious Cheese Thief (#31) by Geronimo Stilton
I, Geronimo Stilton, am not a big fan of spooky things. But when the Stilton cheese began disappearing all around me, I had to do something! Could I find the mysterious cheese thief, or was I in for a big scare? Geronimo Stilton is back with another fast-paced and lively adventure with colourful pictures and playful fonts that visually describe the key words.
Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen (#1) by Debbi Michiko Florence
The Jasmine Toguchi series features a lively, hopeful, and determined 8-year-old Japanese American growing up in LA. Eager to do something her big sister has not done first, she decides to pound mochi for New Year’s. The series covers themes on friendships, evolving sibling dynamics, trying something new, and making right the wrongs, and the back matter includes crafts and recipes for hands-on fun.
Justine McKeen: Pooper Scooper (#3) by Sigmund Brouwer
Justine leads a group of kids in cleaning up a park located across from the school board’s offices as part of a plan to get her school librarian back on the job. With smaller text similar to middle grade novels, the Justine McKeen series has short chapters and pictures to introduce environmental issues with educator notes in the back matter.
Megabat (#1) by Anna Humphrey
Daniel Misumi had just moved from Toronto when he discovers a talking fruit bat in his new house! Can he help Megabat find his way back to Borneo before they are exposed? This funny and charming book is slightly longer than most early chapter books, but has large font and simple text with themes on loneliness, friendship, and overcoming challenges.
Mia Mayhem is a Superhero! (#1) by Kara West
When 8-year-old Mia receives a mysterious letter from the headmistress of the Program for In Training Superheroes (PITS), she learns that her mayhem is caused by her superpowers! The series is suitable for children who likes excitement, building new strengths, and solving chaotic problems with a twist of superhero action!
Ms. Frogbottom’s Field Trips: I Want My Mummy! (#1) by Nancy Krulik
Ms. Frogbottom’s magic map takes her students all over the world to battle with mythical monsters no one believes are real. When she whisks the class away to Egypt, they come face to face with a mummy! With real-life facts, each book introduces you to the history, culture, food, and mystical creatures of another country from a different student’s point of view.
Nikki & Deja (#1) by Karen English
When an arrogant new girl comes to school, third-graders and best friends Nikki and Deja decide to form a club that would exclude her but find the results are not what they expect. This series is heartwarming and easy-to-read with themes of friendship, joys, and challenges in everyday school life.
Sofia Martinez: My Vida Loca by Jacqueline Jules
7-year-old Sofia Martinez is on another adventure with her family with these three stories about the Singing Superstar, the Secret Recipe, and the Marigold Mess. The series features Spanish words in pink, a glossary in the back, large and sparse text, and colourful charming illustrations for some multicultural fun!
West Meadows Detectives: The Case of the Snack Snatcher (#1) by Liam O’Donnell
When the school kitchen is burgled, third grader Myron gets his chance to crack the case with his classmates from Resource Room 15. Myron’s unique perspective from the autism spectrum makes him a top-notch sleuth. Similarly, the other kids in his resource room demonstrate creative problem solving and unique talents that come in handy for the case.
Wolfie & Fly (#1) by Cary Fagan
Wolfie, a lone wolf who does not like using her imagination, reluctantly befriends Fly, a slightly weird and wordy boy, and soon they find themselves navigating through deep water in a submarine made from a cardboard box. With large text and pictures on every few pages, this series shares themes of imagination, friendship, and adventure.
Combining different approaches to storytelling, hybrid books offer an engaging experience and are helpful for contextual learning, especially for undiscovered readers or English language learners. Although there are different types of hybrid books, the titles below combine pictures and text with elements often associated with graphic novels, such as speech bubbles and illustration panels, for a lively reading experience.
The Bad Guys (#1) by Aaron Blabey
They sound like bad guys, they look like bad guys … and they even smell like bad guys. But Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are tired of being the villains. Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? This hilarious series is full of goofy illustrations and dramatic and sparse text while talking directly to the reader.
Fox + Chick: The Party and Other Stories (#1) by Sergio Ruzzier
Fox and Chick don’t always agree, but they are always friends. With sly humour and companionable warmth, Ruzzier deftly captures the adventures of these two seemingly opposite friends. The luminous watercolour images showcased in comic-book panel form will entice emerging readers, while the spare text and airiness of the images make this early chapter book accessible to a picture book audience.
Haggis and Tank Unleashed: All Paws on Deck (#1) by Jessica Young
Tank is a clumsy, outgoing Great Dane, and Haggis is a bored, curmudgeonly Scottie, so one afternoon Tank suggests they turn the wagon in the backyard into a ship and play pirate. The series features sparse text with speech bubbles, colourful illustrations, and a fast-paced plot for an adventurous read.
Kung Pow Chicken: Let’s Get Cracking! (#1) by Cyndi Marko
Second grader Gordon Blue and his brother Benny seemed like ordinary chickens until… they became Kung Pow Chicken and Egg Drop! Can they save Fowladelphia from Granny Goosebumps and the cookies that cause innocent chickens’ feathers to fall off? With vibrant illustrations, speech bubbles, and sparse text, this series is a funny, pun-filled, and fast-paced kick butt adventure.
Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea (#1) by Ben Clanton
A happy-go-lucky, waffle-loving narwhal and a cynical, no-nonsense jellyfish forge an unlikely friendship and share adventures while exploring the ocean together. A wonderfully silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories. Ben Clanton showcases the joys of friendship, the benefits of working together, and the power of imagination.
Finding More Resources
To find more resources in this area, try the following:
- Search using the General tab on the UBC Library website to look for material in all UBC Library branches.
- Search using “Search Education Resources” box in the left hand bar on the Education Library website to limit your results to physical materials in the Education Library.
- To find more books of a series, browse or search the series title in quotations. E.g. “Mia Mayhem” or “A Merlin Mission”.
- There is no specific way to search for early chapter books on Summons, but searching for “Orca Echoes” or “A Stepping Stone Book” yields some results.
For more help with searching, please visit the Library Service Desk or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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