40 Chapter Books for Boys {ages 8 – 12}

by Tina @ Life Without Pink on May 29, 2014

My older son has come a long way with reading, but at times I still have to give him a little push to sit down and open a book. I have found that he really likes stories that make him laugh so I try to stick with humor books for him.

The key in keeping your child engaged is finding the right book for them whether it’s adventure, humor, mystery or fantasy. This may take a few tries but it can really set them up to love reading.

I suggest skimming through the book to make sure that it’s age appropriate for your child. You don’t want them getting frustrated because the book is a bit too hard for them to read.

Not sure how to choose a book that’s age/level appropriate? Take the Five Fingers Test by having your child:

  1. Open the book to the middle
  2. Open up their hand
  3. Read a page of the book
  4. Put down a finger every time they find a “tricky” word
  5. Is their thumb still up? This could be a good book for them.

If you need to give your kids a little push and reason to bury their noses in books this summer, check out How She Does? Summer Reading Star Game.


School will be out in a few weeks and I started to round up a list of books that my son can choose from for his summer reading.

Below is a list of books that are perfect for elementary school-aged kids aimed at 8 – 12 years old. Girls may love them too, but they generally appeal to boys. My son has read Diary of the Wimpy Kid series, Captain Underpants series, and is currently reading The Lemonade War series (which he is really enjoying).

40 Chapter Books for Boys

For more ideas, check out:

What are your son(s) favorite books?

Meet Tina @ Life Without Pink

I'm Tina, a wife and mother of two very active little boys. I'm the Co-founder of Girls' Lunch Out {GLO}, a marketing company that hosts networking events for women in social media. I'm also part of the BabyCenter social media team and the 2013 Family Expert for P&G's Have You Tried This Yet? Trend Trio.

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{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 VandyJ May 29, 2014 at 10:19 am

My 11 year old is really into the Bone Books by Jeff Smith. Most are graphic novels and are fantasy. The newest set are chapter books and my reading resistant child has read one whole book and half of the second one. We are also working on Harry Potter together. Tandem reading helps him with the more difficult words or concepts.
VandyJ´s last blog post ..Spin Cycle–Patriot


2 Tina @ Life Without Pink May 29, 2014 at 1:55 pm

Oh that’s great! My oldest isn’t ready for Harry Potter yet but we are working our way up to it.


3 Stephanie July 25, 2014 at 10:24 am

If your son likes graphic novels then have him take a look at the Amulet series. My son loves them.


4 Liz Taylor May 29, 2014 at 10:31 am

Great list, Tina! I’ve been looking for some new books for my 9-year-old son. He’s a fan of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, but I knew there had to more choices out there. I banned Captain Underpants from my house – couldn’t stand those books! :)


5 Tina @ Life Without Pink May 29, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Haha I hear you on the Captain Underpants. My son really enjoyed the Wimpy Kid books…I think he may have 1 to go to finish the series.


6 Jennifer L.W. Fink (@jlwf) May 29, 2014 at 1:46 pm

Love this! Will be sharing on BuildingBoys soon.

I just counted — we have 17 of those books at home. :) I’m a big believer in buying and keeping & reading books that may appeal to my boys. Will all of them read all of them? Absolutely not. But the fact that they’re constantly surrounded by a rich variety of reading material increases the chances of them reading and developing a lover of reading.


7 Tina @ Life Without Pink May 29, 2014 at 1:57 pm

Wow that’s great and I agree. We are building up our reading collection too. Thanks so much for sharing my article, appreciate it!


8 kim @ DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS May 29, 2014 at 3:16 pm

What a fun list! My daughter would love these too!
kim @ DESIGN + LIFE + KIDS´s last blog post ..protect our youth + support their school with bing


9 Kir May 30, 2014 at 7:55 am

thank you!!
I love a good list of what to read for me and for the boys! Wishing you and your little guys a great summer :)
Kir´s last blog post ..I’m Listening {Happy Mother’s Day to my Incredible Mom}


10 Angel May 30, 2014 at 10:06 am

What a great list! I’ll need to take it to the library this summer as my boys pick out books. They’ve already read some of the books on the list. I’m thinking about starting the Harry Potter books with my 9 year old as a tandem read.


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12 Cody July 20, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Awesome, thanks for this list! My son is an advanced reader and LOVES chapter books but we have a hard time finding a series that he likes!


13 Tina @ Life Without Pink July 27, 2014 at 9:02 am

Thank you!


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