During my adolescent years, I adoredThe Catcher in the Rye, and there’s a quote from Salinger that stays with me. In it, Holden Caulfield discusses the unique melancholy experienced when completing a book, wishing the author could be a “great friend of yours whom you could call whenever you felt like it.”
When I initially encountered that line in high school, it deeply resonated with me. A compelling novel can have a lasting impact long after the narrative concludes. Its characters and the worlds they inhabit leave an impression and mould the way we perceive the world around us.
With this in consideration, I can’t envision a more meaningful present for my offspring than these treasured fictional companions. Daring, gracious, devoted, and genuinely unforgettable, these characters are exactly the type of companions I would desire for my children during their impressionable years. Keep reading for 13 incredible children’s chapter novels to enjoy with your kids.
1. Mercy Watson Is Missing!: Tales from De
When Mercy Watson, a beloved pig, goes missing in the chaotic neighborhood of Deckawoo Drive, the Watsons are heartbroken, and local authorities prove unhelpful. But when a clever idea to hire a bumbling private investigator, Percival Smidgely, and his pigeon Polly, emerges, the neighborhood comes together to solve the mystery. As they follow hoofprints and an enticing scent, the community sleuths embark on a heartwarming and funny adventure. This is the newest addition to Kate DiCamillo’s beloved Tales from Deckawoo Drive series and is sure to be a hit for littles getting into chapter books.
2. Frankie and Friends: Breaking News
Young Frankie’s mom leaves to cover a breaking news story, and while she’s proud of her mom, she also misses her greatly. To fill the void, Frankie decides to create her own news show with the help of her friends, including her doll, toy robot, and cat. In a heartwarming and imaginative adventure, Frankie discovers her first story at home, demonstrating humor and empathy, and ultimately understanding that even big sisters can miss their mom. This heartwarming story fosters compassion and is a great way to introduce young reporters to new journalism and news terms.
3. Welcome Home, Anna Hibiscus
Anna Hibiscus returns home to Nigeria from her visit to Canada, and she’s surprised by the changes she finds in her family and her house: Her baby brothers are growing, her grandfather seems older, and Anna worries that her family may not love her as much as before. Meanwhile, she becomes the caretaker of a mischievous chick, Snow White, and struggles to keep it out of trouble. However, a surprise visitor ends up arriving to provide a distraction from her concerns and creates new adventures in this sweet story.
4. The Girl Who Drank the Moon
A 2017 Newberry Medal Winner, Barnhill’s The Girl Who Drank the Moon is a sweeping fantasy novel full of mystery, adventure, and dark prophecy. While the plot follows a young girl raised by a strange trio—a 500-year-old witch, a poetry-loving swamp monster, and a pocket-sized dragon—it ultimately teaches you an unforgettable lesson on the power of love in its varied forms.
5. The Jumbies
At the intersections of mystery, horror, and fantasy, The Jumbies makes use of Caribbean folklore to enthralling and unforgettable effect. Baptiste pits Corrinne, a fearless young heroine, against an encroaching band of devilish creatures, forcing her to summon an ancient form of magic she never knew she had access to. Brilliant, fun, and breathtaking, The Jumbies is one of those stay-up-way-past-bedtime reads.
6. Dealing With Dragons
The initial installment in Wrede’s cult classic The Enchanted Forest Chronicles, Dealing With Dragons, is a whip-smart play on classic fairytale tropes. Full of brazen wizards, hulking dragons, and the most lovable literary princess and witch you’ll ever meet, this book (and the entire series) is a must-read for any burgeoning fantasy-lover.
7. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Winning a Newberry Honor award in 2010, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon follows a young girl and a dragon on their quest to find the old man in the moon, a mystical character who is said to have all the answers to life’s mysteries. Gripping and beautifully told, Lin’s novel introduces the magic of Chinese folklore in a way that is full of heart, friendship, and longing.
8. The Conch Bearer
I found The Conch Bearer to be a great epic fantasy adventure set in a small town in India. It’s the first book in TheThe Fellowship of the Conch series revolves around the young protagonist Anand as he embarks on a enigmatic mission to restore a magical shell to its proper abode across the nation. This book is packed with age-appropriate peril and mystery, evoking thoughts of Harry Potter.
In every volume of this bestselling series as per the New York Times, Abby and her younger sibling Jonah find themselves transported to enchanted realms like The Little Mermaid and Jack & the Beanstalk. They disrupt one fairy tale after another to guarantee everyone’s happy endings and return home before their parents awaken.
A young orphan named Sophie bands together with a Kindly Enormous Giant to rescue the world from man-eating monsters in this classic brimming with playfulness.
When a juvenile boy is sent to his grandmother’s for care, he unearths her witchcraft and becomes entangled in transporting a small dragon, leading to an exciting and unreal escapade.
This gripping narrative trails the bold lone wolf, Wander, on an extraordinary expedition following a calamity that befalls his pack, making it perfect for nature-loving kids and adults alike.
This poignant life tale narrated from the equine’s viewpoint draws attention to the widespread mistreatment of horses and encapsulates a wealth of life insights, rendering it an ageless masterpiece.