Top 25 favorite chapter books

24 September 2014

The next set I’m picking favorites for are chapter books. These would be just right for the age in between picture books and books for teens – roughly ages 9-14. Fair warning: I was OB-SESSED with horses when I fell into this age group, something that will become readily apparent when you peruse the list below…


In alphabetical order, my top 25 favorite chapter books or series:

The Anne of Green Gables series
The Boxcar Children series
Catherine, Called Birdy
Charlotte’s Web

The Chronicles of Narnia
Ella Enchanted
Fantastic Mr. Fox
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
The Harry Potter series

The Little Ballerina and Her Dancing Horse
The Little House series
A Little Princess
The Littles

Misty of Chincoteague
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
My Side of the Mountain
Number the Stars

The Oz series
The Saddle Club series
The Song of the Lionness series
The Thoroughbred series
The View from Saturday

Oh my word, I must have read some of these books a hundred times… so many completely beloved books on here!! What are your favorites that fall into this group? Any favorites from the ones I listed? (For reference, here is NPR’s list of their top 100! They included To Kill a Mockingbird, but even though it’s my favorite book of all time I kept it off mine because I think it transcends age groups!)

P.S. Top 25 favorite picture books

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September 24, 2014 6:45 am

I LOVED Bloomability! My poor copy is so ragged and falling apart, I stopped being able to re-read it years ago.. Sharon Creech also wrote Chasing Redbird that I adore.

September 24, 2014 8:19 am

My Side of the Mountain is one of my favorite books. I read it in elementary school and a few times in middle school. I may or may not have had two pets called Frightful and Morning-Hair when I was a kid…I did.

I love these posts, Emily! :)

September 24, 2014 9:24 am

SO many of my all-time favorites are on your list – Anne of Green Gables series, Harry Potter, Boxcar Children, Chronicles of Narnia, A Little Princess.. I’ve read and re-read all of these countless times, even as an adult – they’re too good not to! To Kill a Mockingbird definitely made it to my top twelve books ever list, for sure.

September 24, 2014 9:28 am

Pretty sure I could write an entire blog post in response to this – reading through your list (and the NPR list) makes me realize that I read A TON when I was a child – especially in this sweet spot of early childhood chapter books. I love your choices. I think I have read the ‘Little House’ series 100 times and ‘From the Mixed-Up Files” stands out as a lifetime favorite – living in a museum? I am all in. If I were making my own list I would swap out your heavy love of horses with The Secret Garden, Tuck Everlasting, Bride to Terabithia, A Wrinkle in Time, wayyy more Judy Blume and the Ramona series. Where the Red Fern Grows induced serious UGLY CRYING in the back of the car as I read it on the way to visit my grandparents for Christmas. I don’t know if my heart can include it on my list but it is definitely a classic. Gah. I can’t wait to read the next list. This is so fun!

September 24, 2014 10:15 am

I love so many of the ones that you listed! I think I would also have to add The Bronze Bow, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, all of Louisa May Alcott’s books, and probably the Babysitter’s Club books. I was looking through some old pictures from when I was in elementary and middle school and in almost every single one I have a book in my hand. I was definitely a book worm.

September 24, 2014 11:32 am

I love this little series! I may have to do something similar in the future, even if just to record titles for the future! :) I’m so impressed that you remember all of your favorites!

September 24, 2014 12:05 pm

Oh my goodness, so many memories are flooding back!! I reread the Harry Potter series twice a year, I actually have to restrain myself from constantly rereading the, by setting dates that I can pick it back up again. My dad read ALL of The Boxcar Children books aloud to me and I cherish those memories. I had completely forgotten about Ella Enchanted, such a good one! I could go on and on, chapter books are just the best!

September 24, 2014 12:17 pm

@Kristin I loved Bridge to Terabithia, too, but it always made me cry! I know Judy Blume and Ramona are so beloved by many, but for some reason I just never got into them.

@Laura I also read MANY Babysitter’s Club books, but despite that I wouldn’t say they were my favorites… I think I could tell they were a little formulaic even then :)

@Victoria The NPR list helped remind me of some favorites!

Erin Turner
September 24, 2014 12:30 pm

OH MY GOODNESS!! Emily, I was also OBSESSED with horses as a young girl (actually, still am), but the Thoroughbred series was the best book series ever! Wonder, Star, and all the other horses…sigh. Good memories. :)

September 28, 2014 10:07 pm

For me: Rats of NIMH and Harry Potter.

October 9, 2014 3:40 pm

I find it hilarious that you loved horses at a certain age–I loved horses and dolphins too–maybe it’s a young girl thing? My favorite chapter book from this time period included Island of the Blue Dolphins, My Side of the Mountain, Where the Red Fern Grows and Free Willy. Oh! And The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle.

I’ve read most on your list and really enjoyed them! I remember Mrs. Frisby & the Rats of Nimh especially because we got an audiobook from the library with the best voices for each character :)