By Guest Blogger Carolyn Flaherty, author of Wicked Sexy Smart

The long standing bedtime routine in our house includes about fifteen minutes of reading and a little snuggle time. I have been known to literally fall asleep reading to a child. However, once in a while, you find a story that you love as much, if not more, than your child does. When we get into a great book, I edge out my husband from the reader slot, so  I don’t miss a chapter. Of course I pretend to do him a favor, “No babe, I got this. You go help with homework….”

The following is a list of ten of my favorite chapter books. I thought these would be great gift ideas this holiday season. The recommended ages vary and truly depend on your sensibilities. My children had listened to each of these countless times by the time they entered 7th grade. I’ve arranged the list so that we start with books that I would consider “G” rated for our youngest listeners progressing downward to the more “maturish” content. To learn more about the book, read a description or see reviews; simply click on the picture or title.

1. Charlotte’s Web

2. My Father’s Dragon: The Classic Story for Children
My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett is the first in a three part series introduced to me by my mother-in-law and enjoyed repeatedly by all my children. The others in the series include: Elmer and the Dragon (My Father’s Dragon)
and The Dragons of Blueland (My Father’s Dragon Series). Amazon also offers the whole series in a bundle for a great price: My Father’s Dragon Value Pack: My Father’s Dragon / Elmer and the Dragon / The Dragons of Blueland.

3. Bunnicula: A Rabbit Tale of Mystery (Bunnicula and Friends Book 1)

James Howe offers another wonderful series with this allegedly vampire bunny, Bunnicula. The stories are laugh out loud family adventures written from a dog’s perspective. Some of our favorites in the series are offered in a box set here.

4. How to Train Your Dragon

5. Because of Winn-Dixie

You’ll note that Kate DiCamillo, the author, is on this list once more below. We’ve actually read several more of her books that my oldest daughter in particular adored, (The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane being her favorite). When you find an author who touches your heart or makes you laugh, do a search for their other books because chances are, you’ve found a little piece of gold. Kate DiCamillo is a gem!

6. Wonder

Have a tissue box ready with this one. But it is a MUST read. Especially in this age of school bullying issues. You can also read Rachel’s review of the book here.

7. The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo

8. Space Station Seventh Grade

Jerry Spinelli, author of Space Station Seventh Grade, has several other really great youth books: Crash, and Who Put That Hair in My Toothbrush?, and Maniac Magee (Newbery Medal Book) to name a few.


10. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

I stumbled upon this book while substitute teaching in a sixth grade class. During break periods I literally devoured this book wondering the whole time how I hadn’t found it as a child. I brought it home to my middle school son, who doesn’t particularly like to read, and he ate it up too. So we went on a search for S.E. Hinton books. For a whole year he read and re-read Rumble Fish and Tex and others. We even bought the classic old movies and he shared the books and movies with friends. I was in Heaven. Motivating boys to read can be a nightmare!

BONUS: My 11 year old Dyslexic daughter is obsessed with the Gregor the Overlander Collection: Books 1-5 (Underland Chronicles, The). She comes through the door from school and proceeds immediately to her kindle where she reads along with highlighted text to her audio book. She read the entire series in two months and then put it on repeat. So… although I have yet to actually read the series myself, I feel it deserves a huge shout out!

If you have more chapter book recommendations to add, please comment below!

Archived Gift Giving Posts from TMoM

*Gift idea blogs for the 2014 season will run over the next two weeks. You can see them by clicking the Daily Blog page here.

2013 Ideas
Gift Ideas for Toddlers
Gift Ideas for Ages 3 – 8
Gift Ideas for Ages 8-12
The Gift that Keeps Giving
Gift Ideas for Women
Sustainable Toys for Babies and Toddlers
Gift Ideas for Men
10 Favorite Finds
Most Popular Toys of 2013

2012 Ideas
Babies and Toddlers
Gifts for Men
Hostess Gifts
Gifts for Tweens and Teens
Teacher Gifts
Hottest Toys for 2012

Click to Visit our Gift Giving Category