Short sentences, generally simple words—these books are great for emerging readers. There are pictures on every page that support the text, so even when words are difficult, beginning readers can still usually figure out what’s happening from the illustrations. The print is usually larger and easy to read. Some of the books even have chapters, so readers feel like they are reading a “big-kid” book. These books are a great step between learn-to-read books (such as Level One books or the BOB books) and chapter books (where there is more text per page and fewer illustrations). My six-year-old is eating these books up right now and was so proud of himself when he read a Mighty Robot book all by himself. You may notice that these books are almost all series books. When kids are still learning to read, multiple books with the same characters help them feel more comfortable because they’re reading about characters they already know and love.
Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey
Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey is a great Good Guys vs. Bad Guys series for beginner readers! It’s about a mouse named Ricky Ricotta who rescues a robot from a Mad Scientist. Together, this unlikely duo team up to conquer anything from “Mutant Mosquitoes from Mercury” to “Voodoo Vultures from Venus.” There are over ten books in this series, each one filled with colorful illustrations, tons of action and adventure, and each page includes only a few sentences at most!
Owly by Andy Runton
At first glance, this seems like a decent-sized chapter book, but beginner readers will be pleasantly surprised to find out that Owly is actually a graphic novel, full of black-and white illustrations and minimal text. The text consists of mostly sound words, like “dink” or “knock” or “shake,” but children will enjoy the illustrations as they follow along with this “enchanting owl who's always on the lookout for new friends and adventure.” Plus, there are over ten books in the series! Owly is a great way to engage beginner readers and introduce them to the graphic-novel genre.
Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems
Elephant and Piggie books follow the hilarious adventures of two best friends, a very serious and literal elephant named Gerald and his whimsical and charming friend, Piggie. What a pair! With over 25 books in this series, your beginning readers will have plenty of books to choose from!
Narwhal and Jelly Books by Ben Clanton
Narwhal and Jelly are a series of books about a narwhal and jellyfish and their adventures under the sea. Written with a mix of comic-book format and large, uppercase print with easy-to-read words, these stories are full of hilarious and kid-friendly tales. And who can resist a waffle-loving narwhal and an adorable jellyfish? With more adventures coming soon, your little ones will delight in each new book, too!
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad are a series of stories originally published in the 1970’s which still hold value for today’s young readers. Each story features Frog, his best friend Toad, and the many adventures they have together. This compilation includes lots of funny tales, adorable illustrations, dialogue, and easy-to-read words. As the inside book jacket proclaims, “From the first enchanting story to the last, these….adventures of two best friends are packed with excitement, gaiety, and tender affection.”
Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold
Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold is a fun beginning series that features a pet fly named “Fly Guy” and his owner, Buzz. Together, there’s never a shortage of fun, whether it be through parties, fairy tales, playing football or hide-and-seek, and plenty more adventures! Each book is filled with big, colorful illustrations on every page, funny stories, and easy-to-read words, making these books a great start for beginning readers! And with over fifteen books currently in the series, there are plenty of stories to share and enjoy!
The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale
The Princess in Black is written by a husband-and-wife team, who explain: “Sometimes our daughters wear princess dresses and play tea party, and sometimes they don capes and fight monsters. We wanted to write a character who does both, too!” The Princess in Black series captures this essence perfectly, as each story in the series has a nice mix of Princess activities and Monster-fighting! Chapters with bright and colorful illustrations add to the overall charm and delight of these books!
Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo
Mercy Watson is the tale of a buttered-toast-loving pig who lives in a house with Mr. and Mrs. Watson, who believe Mercy to be a “porcine wonder.” With short chapters, bright illustrations, and as the illustrator, Chris Van Dusen, says, “wonderfully silly adventure with lots of action,” the Mercy Watson series will be sure to be enjoyed by your early readers!
Dr. Seuss is a classic writer with over 60 beloved children’s books to his name. So many of his stories are silly, full of crazy characters, tongue twisters, repetitive text, positive messages and more! There is sure to be a Dr. Seuss book that your beginning readers will find and adore!
Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat & Mitchell Sharmat
Nate the Great is a detective with a penchant for having fun by looking for clues, wearing disguises, and going on lots of adventures! Each book is organized into simple chapters and includes lots of dialogue, illustrations, interesting characters, and a fun mystery to solve! Plus, readers will love trying to solve the mystery right along with Nate the Great! With over 25 books in the series, there will be no shortage of fun!