Are you on the quest for captivating chapter books that will ignite your little adventurers' imaginations? I’m always on a hunt to find good books for my soon to be 3rd grader to read. After reading through the school's summer reading list and doing hours of research, I have compiled a list of good books for 8 year olds boys. Some of these books were already read by my 8 year old and some are not. But they are fantastic chapter books for 3rd graders, that will continue to develop their love of reading and spark imagination!
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more info.
Choosing the Right Chapter Books
This is the hard part. What reading level is my child? You might be able to gauge just by knowing what books your kid is comfortable reading…But there are other resources available that can help you determine the right books!
Thankfully, there are readily available and easy-to-use resources that many 3rd-grade teachers rely on to gauge students' reading abilities.
One such tool is the Lexile framework, a widely adopted measure that determines a book's complexity and matches it to a child's reading proficiency. Websites like Lexile.com or Scholastic's Book Wizard offer convenient search features, allowing you to enter your child's Lexile level or grade level to discover books that align with their abilities.
I’ve put what Lexile level each book is just so that you can gauge what reading level each book is appropriate for. So enjoy my compilation of best books for 8 year olds below!
|Product Name / Primary Rating
Classic Chapter Book
These classic chapter books are must read books that will surely capture your child’s interest. My 8 year old has gone through The Magic Tree House series and My Father’s Dragon when he was in 1st grade and slowly added a bit more challenging books like BFG and The Mouse and the motorcycle. They are all fantastic books for this age group!
"The Boxcar Children" by Gertrude Chandler Warner:
This series follows the adventures of four orphaned siblings who create a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar. It features engaging mysteries, relatable characters, and a sense of independence and resourcefulness that can inspire your kiddos.
"The Magic Tree House" series by Mary Pope Osborne:
This popular series combines history, adventure, and magic as siblings Jack and Annie travel through time using their magical treehouse. With short chapters, easy to read words, and educational content, it introduces children to various historical events and encourages their curiosity and love for learning.
"Encyclopedia Brown" series by Donald J. Sobol:
This mystery series follows the adventures of child detective Leroy Brown, known as Encyclopedia Brown, as he solves puzzling cases. Each book presents short mysteries that readers can solve along with the main character, fostering critical thinking skills and providing a sense of accomplishment.
"Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery" by Deborah Howe and James Howe:
This humorous story revolves around the Monroe family and their suspicious pet rabbit named Bunnicula. With its engaging plot, funny moments, and simple language, it introduces children to mystery and suspense while also celebrating the bond between pets and their owners.
"The BFG" by Roald Dahl:
This imaginative tale introduces readers to the Big Friendly Giant (BFG) and his friendship with a young girl named Sophie. With its creative language, delightful characters, and humorous scenes, it sparks the imagination and encourages empathy and compassion.
"My Father's Dragon" by Ruth Stiles Gannett:
In this adventure, a young boy named Elmer Elevator sets out to rescue a baby dragon. The book's short chapters, easy word choices, and imaginative storyline make it an ideal choice for kids who are starting to explore longer chapter books.
"The Mouse and the Motorcycle" by Beverly Cleary:
This story follows a mouse named Ralph who discovers a toy motorcycle and embarks on thrilling adventures at a hotel. The book's relatable characters, great storytelling, and easy language make it a great book to read for kids at this age.
"Mr. Popper's Penguins" by Richard and Florence Atwater:
This humorous tale tells the story of Mr. Popper, a house painter, who unexpectedly ends up with a group of penguins. With its interesting situations and relatively easy language, it offers a delightful reading experience for young readers.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl:
Many may have watched a movie before reading the book. But this well known whimsical story takes readers on a journey through Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. I like how the book highlights the importance of honesty, kindness, and the rewards of good behavior.
"Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White:
This heartwarming story about the friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte touches on themes of compassion, loyalty, and selflessness. It teaches children about the cycle of life, and the beauty of friendship, making it a must-read for kids at this age.
"Stuart Little" by E.B. White:
This cute tale follows the adventures of Stuart Little, a small mouse with a big heart, as he navigates the challenges of being different and searching for his place in the world. With its imaginative storyline and lovable & interesting characters, this book appeals to the imagination and sense of adventure in boys.
"James and the Giant Peach" by Roald Dahl:
This enchanting book takes readers on a wild journey with James and his extraordinary insect friends inside a magical giant peach. It combines the author, Dahl's signature wit, whimsy, and dark humor, providing a thrilling and imaginative experience. The story teaches children about the power of friendship, courage, and embracing the unexpected.
Contemporary Chapter Book
I love for my boys to read books that teach them life lessons and have a great story line. The books below are great books that do just that. By far, my boy’s favorite one is The One and Only Ivan. But other books are equally engaging and funny and touching that your 3rd grader will love.
"The One and Only Ivan" by Katherine Applegate:
Based on a true story, this poignant book narrates the journey of Ivan, a gorilla living in captivity, as he discovers his own strength and fights for his freedom. It explores themes of compassion, friendship, and the importance of standing up for what is right, while shedding light on the treatment of animals. Although the book seems fairly thick, the way it is structured makes it an easy read for 3rd graders.
"Holes" by Louis Sachar:
This captivating novel tells the interconnected stories of Stanley Yelnats as he endures his time at a juvenile detention center and the history of a cursed lake. It addresses themes of justice, friendship, and the power of fate, while also emphasizing the importance of perseverance and the consequences of one's actions.
"The Wild Robot" by Peter Brown:
In this heartwarming story, a robot named Roz finds herself stranded on a wild island and must learn to adapt to her surroundings and befriend the animals who inhabit it. The book touches on what it means to be alive, promoting empathy and an appreciation for the natural world.
"The Lemonade War" by Jacqueline Davies:
This book focuses on the sibling rivalry between Evan and his younger sister, Jessie, as they compete to run successful lemonade stands during their summer vacation. It introduces concepts of entrepreneurship, financial literacy, and problem-solving skills, while also addressing themes of sibling relationships and cooperation. This is a book that’s definitely on my list to read with my 8 year old this summer.
"The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane" by Kate DiCamillo:
This book follows the journey of a porcelain rabbit named Edward Tulane as he experiences love, loss, and redemption. It explores themes of empathy and kindness, teaching kids about love and the value of human connections.
"A Boy Called Bat" by Elana K. Arnold:
This book tells the story of Bixby Alexander Tam, also known as Bat, a young boy on the autism spectrum who forms a bond with a baby skunk. It promotes understanding, compassion, and inclusivity, offering readers a glimpse into the life of a child with unique challenges and strengths. A great book to teach kids about empathy and embracing people with differences.
"Out of My Mind" by Sharon M. Draper:
This thought-provoking book follows the journey of Melody, a young girl with cerebral palsy who has a brilliant mind but is unable to communicate effectively. I love how it teaches kids to challenge stereotypes, empathy, and encourages them to value and include the voices of those with disabilities. Another great book to teach kids to be kind to those who seem different from them.
"The Adventures of the Bailey School Kids" series by Debbie Dadey and Marcia Thornton Jones:
This mystery series features a group of friends who encounter strange and mythical creatures at their school. With its fast-paced storytelling, relatable characters, and shorter chapters, it offers an exciting and entertaining reading experience for young readers.
"The Magic Bone" series by Nancy Krulik:
This series follows the adventures of Sparky, a dog who discovers a magical bone that takes him on different time-traveling adventures. With its shorter chapters, playful illustrations, and relatable animal character, it offers an enjoyable reading experience for young boys.
"The Magic School Bus" chapter book series by various authors:
Based on the beloved TV show, this series combines science education with entertaining stories. Each book takes readers on a wild field trip with Ms. Frizzle and her students. With its educational content kids will enjoy a fun and educational reading experience.
"The Notebook of Doom: Rise of the Balloon Goons" by Troy Cummings:
This series follows Alexander Bopp as he encounters balloon-like monsters in his new town. With its humorous writing style, fun illustrations, and shorter chapters, your kids will enjoy reading this book series!
“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” by J.K. Rowling
- The first three books are great read aloud books for kids in 2nd to 3rd grade. Your kid will love reading about Harry’s adventures as the book takes them through whimsical settings and fascinating characters.
"Dragon Masters" series by Tracey West:
This fantasy series follows young dragon masters who are chosen to bond with dragons and save the kingdom. With its short chapters, easy word choices, and illustrations throughout, boys will love reading these books!
Other Popular Books (Some are comic book style) That 8 Year Boys Love To Read
My boy loves the dog man series (link) and the bad guys series (link). He won’t put the book down when he’s got a new book in any of the series here. Any of the books below will surely make your kid laugh out loud and giggle as he turns pages and falls in love with the characters.
"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" series by Jeff Kinney:
Honestly, this is not MY favorite book for my kiddos, but I thought I’d include it heresince it’s very popular for boys at this age. I am including this so that you know what this book is about. I bought one from Costco and wished I didn’t…I do think that there are some behavioral examples that I wish my kids didn’t read about. Such as bullying siblings or putting a friend down….While it is funny and very easy to read, I do think that there are other more educational books that will teach kids about what a good behavior is and not laugh at some of the misbehaviors the main characters go through.
"Dog Man" series by Dav Pilkey:
From the creator of "Captain Underpants," this graphic novel series features a crime-fighting canine protagonist named Dog Man. With its hilarious storytelling, action-packed illustrations, and positive themes of friendship and justice, your kid may have a hard time putting this book down!
"The Bad Guys" series by Aaron Blabey:
This humorous series turns the traditional concept of villains upside down. It follows a group of reformed "bad guys" who embark on missions to save the day. There are a lot of laugh out loud moments while there were some word choices I didn’t particularly like…it is a great book to get your kids to keep reading.
"I Survived" series by Lauren Tarshis:
This historical fiction series takes young readers on thrilling adventures through significant historical events. Each book focuses on a different disaster or historical period, such as the sinking of the Titanic or the attacks of September 11th. It’s a great book taking kids through historical moments, teaching them about major events that happened in the past.
"Captain Awesome" series by Stan Kirby:
This series follows the imaginative and courageous adventures of eight-year-old Eugene McGillicudy, also known as Captain Awesome. With its short chapters, lively illustrations, and relatable themes of friendship and imagination, it is another great book to engage your boy into reading.
"The Last Kids on Earth" series by Max Brallier:
This action-packed series combines humor, monsters, and survival in a post-apocalyptic world. With its mix of text and illustrations, it offers a great reading experience that keeps young boys hooked from book to book.
"The Terrible Two" series by Mac Barnett and Jory John:
This humorous series follows two pranksters, Miles and Niles, as they compete to be the best pranksters in their school. While it’s funny, may not be the best book if you don’t want to encourage mischievous behavior or any type of bullying examples.
"The Geronimo Stilton" series by Geronimo Stilton:
This adventure series follows the exciting escapades of Geronimo Stilton, a mouse journalist with a knack for getting into thrilling situations. The books feature lots of colorful illustrations and engaging fonts that captivate kids and keep them entertained.