If you’ve been following along on my social media accounts, you know that Lila is an avid reader. Everyone is always messaging me on IG to ask for Lila’s book recommendations, and we finally sat down to put a list together for you! We get most of our books from the library, but the ones we actually buy are her very favorites and the ones that I know she’ll read over and over again. Lila’s a pretty advanced reader, so instead of organizing these by age I’ll put them in the order in which she read them. Here are her top 10 book series for elementary-aged [and older!] readers:
The Princess in Black books were the very first chapter books Lila ever read! The font is large and there are illustrations alongside the text, so it’s not too intimidating for new readers. She has read these over and over again and *still* goes back for more even though her reading level is far beyond this now.
Our library has the full collection of Magic Tree House books, so I originally got some for her to try simply because I knew there would be a lot more available if she liked them — and she did! Lila’s read all of them by now and the girls act out the stories (and make up their own) when they play outside together. This is a fantasy series that includes puzzles that must be solved, and they’re also pretty educational!
Each Magic Tree House book also has a corresponding non-fiction Fact Tracker or Research Guide (depending on the publication date) that dives deeper into the facts mentioned in the novel on that topic. Lila loves these Research Guides and has used several for her various research projects.
The Boxcar Children books are ones I remember from my own childhood, so I was excited when Lila loved them as well! These each contain a mystery that the boxcar children solve, and there are over a hundred in the full series.
Another of my childhood favorites — books of poems by Shel Silverstein! We have several of these and Lila thinks they’re all hilarious. They are perfect for kids who like a bit of silliness to make reading fun, and the poems create natural stopping points that aren’t too long for reluctant readers. Our favorites: Where the Sidewalk Ends, A Light in the Attic, and Every Thing On It.
Grace Lin writes a lot of picture books that I was first drawn to because they have Asian main characters and are written by an Asian author, and I was delighted to find these longer chapter books featuring Chinese folklore. Lila’s read each of them more than once: Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry River of the Sky, and When the Sea Turned to Silver.
The Wild Robot was a book recommended by a Montessori elementary teacher, so I thought we’d give it a try. Lila loved it so much that she could barely wait for the second book to come out — The Wild Robot Escapes.
The Unicorn Rescue Society series is one we randomly discovered through the library. Lila kept telling me she wanted more “Unicorn Rescue So Shitty” books! [English is weird…] We only own one of the books, but there are several more available. The Professor and two children help mythical creatures in this adventure series.
The Serafina series is pretty dark and I wouldn’t recommend it if you have a child who scares easily or has nightmares. After hearing Lila talking about it, I read the first one and was shocked by how scary it was! She didn’t seem to mind though, and has read them all several times: Serafina and the Black Cloak, Serafina and the Twisted Staff, Serafina and the Splintered Heart. [As I’m writing this, I see that there’s a 4th book: Serafina and the Seven Stars. Adding to cart now!]
And of course, Lila’s very favorite: the Harry Potter series. She has read these so many times by now, there’s a good chance she could recite them backwards. Again, I recommend waiting if your child scares easily — but Lila has not had any problems with these.
We didn’t start here! To learn more about books for beginning readers, check this post: