Do we have a booklist for you! All the books on this list feature girls who, when they put their minds to it, can do anything! Solve mysteries, care for animals, even do magic! If you like Ivy and Bean, you sure to love these titles too.
(You’ll find these titles in the Beginning Chapter Books section unless noted).
Atinuke. Anna Hibiscus
Anna Hibiscus lives in Africa. Amazing Africa. She lives with her whole family in a wonderful house. There is always somebody to laugh and play with. Anna Hibiscus loves to splash in the sea with her cousins and have parties with her aunties. But more than anything else in the world, Anna Hibiscus would love to see snow. Featuring warm, loving multi-generational family relationships, this Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor winner showcases daily life in modern, urban Africa.
Barkley, Callie. The Critter Club
Introducing the Critter Club! Amy and her friends solve a canine caper in this start to a pet-friendly illustrated chapter book series. It’s Spring Break in Santa Vista, and everyone has big plans… everyone except for Amy, that is! As her best friends head out of town on exciting adventures, Amy resigns herself to helping out at her mom’s vet clinic. At least she’ll be around cute animals! But when Santa Vista’s cold and elusive millionaire, Marge Sullivan, brings her puppy Rufus for a check-up, Amy encounters an unexpected mystery. After her friends return home, the girls get to the bottom of what happened to Rufus—and discover a way to help other lost and lonely animals in their town.
Benton, Jim. Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist
Franny K. Stein is not your average girl — she’s a mad scientist. She prefers poison ivy to daisies, and when Franny jumps rope, she uses her pet snake. The kids in Franny’s class think she’s weird, wacky, and just plain creepy. Tired of being stared at, Franny decides to attempt her most dangerous experiment yet — she’s going to fit in. But when a giant Monstrous Fiend attacks the class, everyone knows it’s up to a mad scientist to save the day. But has Franny lost her creepy, crawly ways?
Blume, Judy. The Pain and the Great One
When an eight-year-old girl and her six-year-old brother take turns describing each other, it’s no surprise that “The Pain” and “The Great One” are the nicknames that emerge. As this duo debates whom Mom and Dad love most, their competition becomes increasingly humorous—because when it comes to family affection, there’s no such thing as win or lose.
Branford, Anna. Violet Mackerel
Violet is a seven-year-old with a knack for appreciating the smallest things in life: her “Theory of Finding Small Things” states that the moment of finding a tiny treasure usually coincides with the moment of having a genius idea. This creative little girl always strives to think outside the box, so when she spots a small china bird that she desperately wants, she forms an imaginative plan for getting it—and her methods are anything but ordinary!
Coven, Wanda. Heidi Heckelbeck
Heidi Heckelbeck seems like any other eight-year-old, but she has a secret: She’s a witch in disguise. Careful to keep her powers hidden (but excited to use them all the same), Heidi’s learning to live like any other kid — who just happens to be a witch. Heidi and her brother Henry have always been homeschooled — until now. But Heidi is not happy about attending Brewster Elementary, especially not when meanie Melanie Maplethorpe turns Heidi’s first day of school into a nightmare by announcing that Heidi is smelly and ruining her art project. Heidi feels horrible and never wants to go back to school-but while sulking in her room at home, she remembers her special medallion and Book of Spells. With a little bit of carefully concealed magic, Heidi might be able to give Melanie a taste of her own medicine….
Friedman, Laurie. Mallory McDonald *located in Fiction
When eight-and-a-half-year-old Mallory McDonald’s parents tell her that they are moving, she’s mad–really mad! It’s not fair! How can they make her move away from Mary Ann, her best friend in the whole wide world? Who will she paint her toenails with, tell secrets to, and make scrapbooks with? When Mallory arrives at her new house on Wish Pond Road, things are terrible. Her room is too small and the girl next door is mean. But Joey lives next door, too. Even though he doesn’t paint his toes, he tells jokes, helps teach her cat to do tricks, and shows her how to skateboard. Mallory’s having so much fun she forgets the pact she made with Mary Ann never to make friends with a boy next door. But when Mary Ann comes to visit, what will Mallory do? Will she have to choose between her best friend and her new friend?
Greene, Stephanie. Princess Posey
Posey is really nervous about starting first grade. Instead of getting walked to her classroom, her mom has to drop her off at the Kiss-and-Go Lane. Then she’ll have to walk into school and face the Monster of the Blue Hall all by herself. Worst of all, she has to do it without the one thing that always makes her feel brave and special: the tutu that turns her into the Pink Princess. But when Posey inspires her new teacher to throw a first-day parade in which all the kids are invited to wear whatever makes them feel the most comfortable, first grade starts to look a lot more promising.
Hale, Shannon and Dean. The Princess in Black
Princess Magnolia is having hot chocolate and scones with Duchess Wigtower when… Brring! Brring! The monster alarm! A big blue monster is threatening the goats! Stopping monsters is no job for dainty Princess Magnolia. But luckily Princess Magnolia has a secret —she’s also the Princess in Black, and stopping monsters is the perfect job for her! Can the princess sneak away, transform into her alter ego, and defeat the monster before the nosy duchess discovers her secret? From award-winning writing team of Shannon and Dean Hale and illustrator LeUyen Pham, here is the first in a humorous and action-packed chapter book series for young readers who like their princesses not only prim and perfect, but also dressed in black.
Hanlon, Abby. Dory Fantasmagory
As the youngest in her family, Dory really wants attention, and more than anything, she wants her brother and sister to play with her. But she’s too much of a baby for them, so she’s left to her own devices—including her wild imagination and untiring energy. Her siblings may roll their eyes at her childish games, but Dory has lots of things to do: outsmarting the monsters all over the house, escaping from prison (aka time-out), and exacting revenge on her sister’s favorite doll. And when they really need her, daring Dory will prove her bravery, and finally get exactly what she has been looking for.
Harper, Charise Mericle. Just Grace *located in Fiction
Grace loves cats. She also loves taking pictures of cats and drawing Not-So-Super comics. She doesn’t like Sammy Stringer, a boy in her class. She’s got lots and lots of ideas, and when her neighbor’s cat goes missing, Grace does her best to make Mrs. Luther feel less lonely. But as the mystery of the missing cat continues, Grace’s well-intentioned plan backfires, and she finds herself in a bit of trouble. Maybe, just maybe, Sammy Stringer will help her through.
Look, Lenore. Ruby Lu
Most days the best thing about being Ruby is everything. Like when she’s the star of her own backyard magic show. Or when she gives a talk at the school safety assembly on the benefits of reflective tape. Or when she rides the No. 3 bus all the way to Chinatown to visit GungGung and PohPoh. And then there are the days when it’s very hard to be Ruby. Like when her mom suggests Chinese school on Saturdays. Or when her little brother, Oscar, spills all of Ruby’s best magician secrets. Or when her parents don’t think she’s old enough to drive!
Lowry, Lois. Gooney Bird Greene
From the moment Gooney Bird Greene arrives at Watertower Elementary School, her fellow second-graders are intrigued by her unique sense of style and her unusual lunches. So when story time arrives, the choice is unanimous: they want to hear about Gooney Bird Greene. And that suits her just fine, because, as it turns out, Gooney Bird has quite a few interesting and “absolutely true” stories to tell.
McDonald, Megan. Judy Moody *located in Fiction
“Judy Moody was in a mood. Not a good mood. A bad mood. A mad-faced mood.” To start, Judy Moody doesn’t have high hopes for third grade. Her new desk won’t have an armadillo sticker with her name on it. Her new classroom will not have a porcupine named Roger. And with her luck, she’ll get stuck sitting in the first row, where Mr. Todd will notice every time she tries to pass a note to her best friend, Rocky. An aspiring doctor, Judy does have a little brother who comes in handy for practicing medicine, a cool new pet, and a huge Band-Aid collection. Judy also has an abundance of individuality and attitude, and when Mr. Todd assigns a very special class project, she really gets a chance to express herself!
McDonald, Megan. Stink
Shrink, shrank, shrunk! Every morning, Judy Moody measures Stink and it’s always the same: three feet, eight inches tall. Stink feels like even the class newt is growing faster than he is. Then, one day, the ruler reads — can it be? — three feet, seven and three quarters inches! Is Stink shrinking? He tries everything to look like he’s growing, but wearing up-and-down stripes and spiking his hair aren’t fooling anyone into thinking he’s taller. If only he could ask James Madison — Stink’s hero, and the shortest person ever to serve as President of the United States. In Stink’s first solo adventure, his special style comes through loud and strong — enhanced by a series of comic strips, drawn by Stink himself, which are sprinkled throughout the book.
McKay, Hilary. Lulu
When Lulu finds a duck egg that has rolled out of its nest, she takes it to class to keep it safe. Lulu isn’t allowed to bring pets to school. But she’s not really breaking the rules because it’s just an egg. Surely nothing bad will happen…will it?
In this series, Lulu loves all animals, and since her classmates know that, they come to her for advice, and sometimes to re-home a problem pet. What’s a girl to do?
O’Connor, Jane. Nancy Clancy
Kids who grew up with Jane O’Connor’s Fancy Nancy picture books can spend some quality time with their BFF because Nancy Clancy is now starring in her own chapter books! Sassy Fancy Nancy is now a detective. When one of Nancy’s classmate’s most special possessions disappears from school, it’s up to her to save the day. With the help of her friend Bree, she follows the clues to an unexpected source. Fans of Nancy Drew’s Clue Crew will be happy to see a new Nancy join the ranks of super sleuths.
Parish, Herman. Amelia Bedelia Chapter Books
Young Amelia Bedelia will do almost anything for a shiny new bicycle. Amelia Bedelia’s parents say they’ll split the cost of a new bike with her, and that means Amelia Bedelia needs to put the pedal to the metal and earn some dough! With Amelia Bedelia anything can happen, and it usually does. Short, fast-paced chapters, tons of friends, silly situations, and funny wordplay and misunderstandings make the Amelia Bedelia chapter books an ideal choice for readers of the Ivy and Bean, Magic Tree House, and Judy Moody books. Look out! Here comes Amelia Bedelia, and she means business!
Park, Barbara. Junie B. Jones *located in Series Section
Meet the World’s Funniest Kindergartner—Junie B. Jones! Remember when it was scary to go to school? In the first Junie B. Jones book, it’s Junie B.’s first day and she doesn’t know anything. She’s so scared of the school bus and the meanies on it that when it’s time to go home, she doesn’t.
Follow all of Junie B.’s (that B. is Very Important to Junie!) adventures as she moves from kindergarten to first grade!
Pennypacker, Sara. Clementine *located in Fiction
Clementine is having not so good of a week. On Monday she’s sent to the principal’s office for cutting off Margaret’s hair. Tuesday, Margaret’s mother is mad at her. Wednesday, she’s sent to the principal again. Thursday, Margaret stops speaking to her. Friday starts with yucky eggs and gets worse. And by Saturday, even her mother is mad at her. Okay, fine. Clementine is having a DISASTROUS week.
Peschke, Marci. Kylie Jean
In her first book, it’s time for the Blueberry Festival, and everyone in town is busy getting ready. Kylie Jean Carter’s momma is baking pies, her pa is picking berries, and Kylie is thinking about becoming the Blueberry Queen.
Kylie Jean lives in Jacksonville, Texas. She has two brothers, T.J. and Ugly Brother (who is really a dog, but they don’t tell him that), she is surrounded by her whole family in Jacksonville, and she is the queen of everything! (Well, everything that’s important, anyway.)
Rylant, Cynthia. Cobble Street Cousins
Welcome to Cobble Street! Meet Lily, Rosie, and Tess. Lily wants to be a poet. Tess wants to act on Broadway. And Rosie wants a little cottage with flowers by the door. But for right now, the three cousins are happy staying with their Aunt Lucy on Cobble Street. It’s summer, school’s out, and the cousins have a project — a cookie company! They deliver fresh-baked cookies and meet a customer who has a crush on Aunt Lucy. But he’s too shy to tell her. How will these two ever get together? It’s up to the cousins to make romance bloom on Cobble Street!
Stern, A.J. Frankly Frannie
Frannie Miller cannot wait to grow up and work in an office with a swivel chair and her own assistant. She’s already got her resume, business cards, and mustard packets (which are so much more grown up than ketchup) ready. So why is it taking eleventeen hundred years? Frannie’s class is visiting the local radio station and the radio host is nowhere to be found. Should Frannie cover for him–after all, this could be her big break! But what happens when listeners call in with questions, and Frannie doesn’t know the answers?
Sternberg, Julie. Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie (Eleanor series)
When Eleanor’s beloved babysitter, Bibi, has to move away to take care of her ailing father, Eleanor must try to bear the summer without Bibi and prepare for the upcoming school year. Her new, less-than-perfect babysitter just isn’t up to snuff, and she doesn’t take care of things like Bibi used to. But as the school year looms, it’s time for new beginnings. Eleanor soon realizes that she will always have Bibi, no matter how far away she is.
Viorst, Judith. Lulu
It’s Lulu’s birthday and she’s decided she’d like a pet brontosaurus as a present. When Lulu’s parents tell her that’s not possible, Lulu gets very upset. She does not like it when things don’t go her way. So she takes matters into her own hands and storms off into the forest to find herself a new pet, where she encounters a number of animals; a snake, a tiger, a bear, all of whom don’t particularly impress her. And then she finds him…a beautiful, long-necked, gentle, graceful brontosaurus. And he completely agrees with Lulu that having a pet would be a wonderful thing, indeed! Lulu thinks she’s gotten her birthday wish at last. Until she realizes that Mr. Brontosaurus thinks that she would make an ideal pet for him!
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Do you have any other favorite books on this level? Beginning Chapter Books are a fun place to meet new characters and see how they deal with situations. If you’ve read all of these, just ask one of our librarians to help you find something else. We love to help readers find the right book.
Coming soon…If You Like Horrible Harry–Beginning Chapter Books with main characters that are boys!
Booklist prepared by Casey!