40 Chapter Books for Boys {ages 8 – 12}

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

2013 Family Expert for P&G's Have You Tried This Yet? Trend Trio, Tina is a mom of two active boys and the founder of Life Without Pink, a mom's guide for raising boys. You’ll find everything from cool gadgets, trend reports, daily adventures, travel ideas to personal stories, and tips for parenting boys.


  1. says

    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. Liz Taylor says

    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! :)

  3. says

    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.

  4. Angel says

    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.

  5. says

    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!


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