Chapter Books for Advanced Elementary Readers

Hi, friends! We often have elementary school students who can read chapter books way above their grade level, but we want to make sure that the content is appropriate. I’ve spent hours researching to put together a book list of 20 great chapter books for advanced elementary readers.

I’ve included Amazon affiliate links for these books, which means that if you make a purchase, I earn a small commission, at no extra cost to you.

text banner chapter books for advanced elementary readers

The novels on this list were selected for third through fifth grade students who are advanced in their reading abilities and who seek a recreational reading challenge. These age-appropriate novels were chosen for their appeal to students, length, plot complexity, extensive vocabulary, literary techniques, and unusual perspectives.

The Adventurers Guild

The Adventurers Guild chapter book cover

The Adventurers Guild by Zack Loran Clark (start of series)

Reading Level: 5.7; 306 pages

Florida Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award Nominee 2019-2020: Grades 6-8

Best friends Zed and Brock are initiated into the dangerous Adventurers Guild in the city of Freestone and find that it’s a lively mix of humans, elves, and dwarves. The apprentices go on a quest to find a crystal to protect their city from monsters. Their tale is told in chapters alternating perspectives between Zed and Brock.

Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl chapter book series

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (series)

Reading Levels 5.0-6.4; 277-391 pages

Artemis Fowl is a 12-year old millionaire criminal mastermind, planning to steal a book from the fairies so that he can rob the elves of their gold. He needs the gold to fund the search for his missing father. Magic and technology work together, for the forces of both good and evil, creating a magical sci-fi thriller, to be released as a movie in 2020.

The Blackthorn Key

Blackthorn Key chapter book

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands (series) 

Reading level: 4.6-5.7; 371-532 pages

Grand Canyon Reader Award Nominees 2019: Tween

Christopher is an orphan in 17th-century London, apprenticed to an apothecary, learning to solve puzzles and concoct potions. When his master is killed, Christopher must decode messages to find the doomsday weapon and prove his innocence. Readers will cheer for this loyal, curious hero as they follow his action-packed story.

The Boundless

The Boundless chapter book by Kenneth Oppel

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel

Reading Level 5.0; 332 pages

Lone Star Reading List 2015

The Boundless is a mammoth train, headed west carrying treasure, villains waiting for their chance to grab the treasure, and circus performers. Will’s father is the engineer driving the miles-long train through a fantastic Canadian wilderness, where Sasquatches roam freely. Will must decide who to trust as he travels from one shenanigan to the next in this epic journey, told in vivid present tense.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate chapter book

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Reading Level 5.3; 340 pages

Newbery Honor book 2010

Callie is a 12-year old girl with six brothers, growing up in Texas in 1899. She tells the story of her love for nature that she shares with her gruff grandfather, her scientific observations and discoveries, and her struggles with her family’s expectations for a young woman. This charming and humorous novel has a sequel, The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate.

Greenglass House

Greenglass House chapter book

Greenglass House by Kate Milford (series) 

Reading Levels 5.4-6.7; 262-456 pages

Edgar Award for Best Juvenile Mystery

The innkeeper’s son and the cook’s daughter overhear strange stories told by the guests at the cozy smugglers’ inn called Greenglass House. When the power goes out and items go missing, Milo and Meddy work together as detectives, using folklore, ghost stories, legends and a role-playing game to solve the mystery.


Impyrium chapter book

Impyrium by Henry Neff (start of series)

Reading Level 6.9; 583 pages

Lone Star Reading List 2018

In an alternative future world where technology is banned, 12-year old albino princess Hazel is tutored by Hob, an undercover spy. The two unexpectedly become friends and must navigate their magical world where many are vying for political power. Together, they must save the kingdom and find the truth about its history.


Podkin One-Ear chapter book in Longburrow series

Longburrow by Kieran Larwood (series) 

Reading Level: 5.5; 244-262 pages

2018 Children’s Books of the Year Bank Street College: Ages 9 to 12

A bard tells the tale of the young rabbit Podkin, a lazy son of a chieftain forced to flee from the terrifying, mutant rabbit known as the Gorm. With his sister, brother and a magical weapon, Podkin goes on a journey seeking refuge, but he finds himself becoming the hero that his clan needs.

Nadya Skylung

Nadya Skylung chapter book

Nadya Skylung by Jeff Seymour (series) 

Reading Level 5.6-5.9;  303-316 pages

In a fantastical universe where cloudships sail on both land and sea, Nadya’s cloudship Orion is attacked by pirates who kidnap the adults. The orphans left behind must find a way to work together to rescue the crew from the cruel pirates. Nadya learns to navigate this dangerous steampunk world and to work with her diverse team of brave friends.


Nevermoor The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend (series) 

Reading Level 6.5; 465 pages

Lone Star Reading List 2019

Morrigan is a cursed 11-year old girl destined to die on her birthday. Instead, she is whisked away by Jupiter North, to compete for a place in the Wundrous Society. This fast-paced fantasy adventure is filled with breath-taking magical details and creatures, as well as Morrigan’s search for friends and a place to belong.

The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks chapter book series

The Penderwicks by Jeannie Birdsall (series) 

Reading levels 4.6-5.6; 262-339 pages

National Book Award winner

These charming family stories center on the Penderwick family of four sisters, their father and a dog. They become friends with a neighbor, sneak in and out of gardens, write stories, and encounter an angry bull in the first book of this gentle, heart-warming series of adventures.

Pennyroyal Academy

Pennyroyal Academy chapter book series

Pennyroyal Academy by M. A. Larson (series)

Reading Levels 5.3-6.0; 314-359 pages

Lone Star Reading List 2016

At Pennyroyal Academy, princesses are trained to fight battles and save kingdoms. New recruit Evie knows nothing about her past, but she rescues a prince from a witch’s cage and battles courageously to achieve her destiny of defeating evil. Classic fairy tale characters live in Evie’s world, but the princesses are warrior mentors rather than dancing beauties.


Randoms by David Liss (series)

Reading Levels 6.0-6.6; 340-485 pages

Lone Star Reading List 2017

Zeke is the geek hero, randomly selected to compete so that Earth can join the peaceful Confederation of United Planets. The kid geniuses on board the shuttle shun him, until aliens attack and Zeke saves the day. Sci-fi references, video game-like competitions, unique alien species, and non-stop adventures make this chapter book series complex and action-packed.

A Series of Unfortunate Events

A Series of Unfortunate Events chapter book

A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket (series)

Reading Level 6.4-7.4; 162-353 pages

The adventures of the three Baudelaire orphans are darkly humorous, rich in vocabulary and idioms, and filled with quirky characters. The evil villain Count Olaf pursues the plucky siblings in various disguises, through 13 books and gloomy settings. The Netflix adaptation of this series will increase student interest.

The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club

The Polar Bear Explorers Club by Alex Bell (start of series)

Reading Level: 6.7; 300 pages

In this magical adventure, Stella wants to be a Polar Bear Explorer like her adoptive father, but only boys are allowed membership. She joins an expedition to prove herself on a journey through the Icelands, meeting ice fairies, yetis, and unicorns along the way. When the Junior Explorers are separated from the adults by a bridge collapse, they must work together to survive in the frozen wilderness.

Race to the Bottom of the Sea

Race to the Bottom of the Sea chapter book

Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar

Reading Level 6.8; 423 pages

ILA & CBC 2018 Children’s Choices Reading List

Kidnapped by a monstrous pirate, Fidelia must use her inventive know-how to retrieve his treasure from the ocean floor, with the navy in close pursuit. Humorous details like a candy stash on a pirate ship combine with a curious, clever heroine to make this an entertaining high-seas chapter book adventure.

Septimus Heap

Septimus Heap (series) by Angie Sage

Reading Level: 5.5-6.5; 532-702 pages

A baby princess is swapped into a large and magical household, while their seventh son of a seventh son disappears shortly after his birth. The Heap family and an assortment of magical beings protect the princess as a corrupt wizard pursues her. Quirky details like carnivorous trees and bumbling villains make this world both magical and entertaining.

The Storm Keeper’s Island

The Storm Keeper's Island chapter book

The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle (start of series)

Reading Level: 6.0; 308 pages

Fionn and his sister Tara visit their grandfather on an island off the coast of Ireland. Their grandfather is a Storm Keeper who can use the power of the sea to grant wishes. The two siblings stumble into an epic battle between good and evil as they discover the magical secrets of the island and their family.

Where The Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Starry River of the Sky, When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin

Reading levels 5.3-5.5; 278-370 pages

Newbery Honor 2010, National Book Award finalist

This fantasy series inspired by Chinese folklore features poor Minli who seeks the Old Man of The Moon so that she can change her family’s fortune. Along the way, this resourceful heroine meets intriguing characters like a flightless dragon, a talking goldfish, and laughing twins.


York chapter book series

York by Laura Ruby (series)

Reading Level 5.4-5.5; 446-476 pages

Lone Star Reading List 2018

Twins Tess and Theo live in an alternate New York City apartment building and must solve a citywide puzzle to earn treasure and save their building from a developer. The twins and their neighbor Jaime follow dangerous clues through a city of mechanical marvels, still rich with history and diversity. This cross between mystery and science fiction is a captivating start to the series.


Do you have books to add to this list? Let us know with a comment!

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    1. Great list! Add Christine Taylor-Butler’s Lost Tribes Series! We had excellent success with a reluctant 4th grade reader this year.

    2. This is a great list, thank you! Can you please tell me what the ‘reading level’ is? Which system has been used to create this reading level?


      1. Anna, I used the reading levels provided by Follett Titlewave. They are meant as guidelines and they correspond to grades in US Schools–a level 5.5 would be appropriate for an average 5th grader halfway through the school year. Again, just a guideline, not something to limit what students choose to read.
        Thanks for your question!

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