10 New K - 3 Chapter Book Series to Add to Your Classroom Library

We know how important reading is, but if kids don't WANT to read, it's going to become a bigger problem in the face of how this pandemic is changing education. With the learning that has happened remotely, we NEED kids to want to pick up a book for fun, especially in K - 3. Younger readers need lots of experience with reading if they are going to continue to grow as readers, but books at their reading level are hard to find and not always interesting. Often books that are written for younger readers to decode themselves are contrived to have particular sight words and patterns that support emergent readers. I'm not saying that isn't important – it is. It's one of the foundations for learning to read, and it is a necessary step in the reading process. But it's hard to convince kids to get excited about reading a book that does not have an interesting plot. We need them to find pleasure in curling up in a quiet place to enjoy a story whether in the corner of our classroom or in a corner of their home. That means we need to help them find books that are engaging and relevant to them. We, as teachers, can use those decodable sight word readers in guided reading groups and direct instruction as a focus for our teaching point, but we also need to get kids reading for pleasure on their own. People, especially kids, DO judge books by their cover no matter how the saying goes. So it’s time to start updating our classroom libraries! It's time to get rid of outdated books and replace them with stories that resonate with our students today. While there are beautiful, timeless books out there that we need to hang onto, not all books are created equal. As we think about the books we are putting in the hands of kids, we need to be asking:
- is it relevant and appealing to our students?
- is it representative of all people and their family dynamics?
- does it have underlying bias we need to be aware of?
- will our students want to read it? 
Here are some new early chapter book series that will have your K - 3 students excited to pick up a book and read! Getting them hooked on a series will give them a go-to place for their next favorite read. And EVERY kid can't wait to read chapter books! These books will help your younger readers identify as readers who can't wait to pick up their next book. 
The following links are affiliate links, which means that if you use the link to purchase a book, I do receive a small stipend at no cost you.

Elephant and Piggie

by Mo Willems

The truth is, this is not a new series. And even though there is a "new" book being published, it's not really new. It's just a bunch of old Piggie and Gerald stories put together into one big book. But I HAD to include this series because it is the best! Both boys and girls LOVE Piggie and Gerald. I mean, they L–O–V–E these books! If you have kids reading early chapter books, you absolutely have to have Piggie and Gerald in your collection. It's a no-brainer. And there are A LOT of Piggie and Gerald books to choose from, which keeps them reading! I choose a few to include below, but there are MANY more!

Newest book in the series: An Elephant and Piggie Biggie! Volume 3 published Sept. 22, 2020
Grade level: K - 2
Reading level:  DRA - 12 - 16
                          Fountas & Pinnell - G - I
                          IRLA - 1B -2B
                          Lexile - 180 - 310


Unicorn and Yeti

by Heather Ayris Burnell

Unicorn and Yeti has been a newer addition to my classroom library, and it has been most appealing to girls. It is a graphic novel chapter book, which is really popular right now. The storyline is a little too simplistic to make it a favorite, but the readability and the pictures make it a great transition for lower level readers. It is not easy to find books at this level that are appealing for those readers just trying to master fluency by reading more text, so this is a series worth having for that transition. 

Newest book in the series #6 Together to be published Feb. 1, 2022
Grade level: K - 2
Reading level:  DRA - 16 - 18
                          Fountas & Pinnell - J
                          IRLA - 2B - 1R
                          Lexile - 300 - 380


King and Kayla 

by Dori Hillestad Butler

King and Kayla is a great early-emergent chapter book written in the voice of King, the dog. While written for younger readers, it still has humor and an interesting twist when kids have to infer what King is thinking from his point of view as a dog. It also involves mysteries he has to solve, so it keeps things interesting. This is a series with a lot of sight word reading like Frog and Toad (some of those timeless classics), and Kayla is a person of color, which is always a nice addition to keep libraries diverse. It has been appealing to both boys and girls in my class because they love hearing King's voice in the story.

Newest book in the seriesKing & Kayla and the Case of the Lost Library Book (King & Kayla, 8) to be published Feb. 1, 2022
Grade level: 1 - 2
Reading level: DRA - 16 - 24
                          Fountas & Pinnell - L
                          IRLA - 1R
                          Lexile - 440L



by Saadia Faruqi

Yasmin books have been very popular with the girls in my class this year. Yasmin is a realistic fiction series with a Pakistani American girl who has adventures that are typical of most 1st and 2nd graders, which make her stories sweet and relatable. One of my favorite things about this series is that Yasmin is a typical second grade girl who is Muslim. Her religion does not play a role in the stories themselves; you just see it in the dynamic of her family. There are very few books in which our Muslim students get to see themselves, so I loved adding this diversity to my classroom library.

Newest book in the series: Yasmin the scientist published Jan. 1, 2021
Grade level: K - 3
Reading level:  DRA - 14 - 16
                          Fountas & Pinnell - H - I
                          IRLA - 2B
                          Lexile - 500


Narwhal and Jelly 

by Ben Clanton

If you have not yet discovered the joy of Narwhal and Jelly, it's time to check them out! These two ocean friends (a narwhal and a jellyfish) have very different personalities, but their silly adventures had my students–girls and boys alike– grabbing for these graphic novels. My students actually made a list of who got to read them next because they were in such high demand. Graphic novels are taking off like wildfire and getting kids reading for fun again. Check out this brochure from Harper Collins about why graphic novels are so powerful for our students. 

Newest book in the series: Book #5 - Happy Narwhalidays, published September 8, 2020
Grade level: 1st - 4th
Reading level:  DRA - 24
                          Fountas & Pinnell - L
                          IRLA - 2R
                          Lexile - 520


The Notebook of Doom and The Binder of Doom

by Troy Cummings

The Notebook of Doom series, which eventually becomes the Binder of Doom series, has become a recent favorite in my classroom. These mysteries are a little bit scary (but not really--very safe reads for 2nd graders) which makes them fun and silly mysteries for kids. Strange monsters are in this town, and the kids are the heroes as they take notes on the different monster mysteries they solve. This has been a favorite for both boys and girls. There are 13 books in the Notebook of Doom series and 4 in the Binder of Doom Series. I added a few here, but there are more.

Newest book in the series: #4 Binder of Doom Hydrant-Hydra published July 7, 2020
Grade level: 1 - 3
Reading level:  DRA - 28 - 38
                          Fountas & Pinnell - M - P
                          IRLA - 2R - WH
                          Lexile - 460 - 510


Zoey and Sassafras 

by Asia Citro

Zoey and Sassafras might be my favorite new series! Zoey, her mom (who is a scientist), and her cat, Sassafras, can see magical creatures. The animals come to them for help when they are sick or hurt. Written by a former science teacher, I LOVE how Zoey uses science, hypotheses, and experiments to solve problems. Because the creatures that need her help are magical, she has to be a creative problem solver. Whether doing research on different kinds of animals or conducting experiments to find the best solution, Zoey, with the help of her mom, cure these magical creatures. It's written in a kid-friendly way with science concepts that kids can try themselves. I love the STEM connections in this series, and I love that Zoey, the main character, is black. We need more books like this so kids of color see themselves in the stories they read.

Newest book in the series: #9 Wishypoofs and Hiccups to be published Oct. 26, 2021
Grade level: 1 - 4th
Reading level:  DRA - 34
                          Fountas & Pinnell - O
                          IRLA - WH
                          Lexile - 600


The Bad Guys 

by Aaron Blabey

The Bad Guys is another series of graphic novel favorites, especially for boys. Characters that usually play the bad guy in fairy tales such as the wolf, snake, shark, and piranha want to change their image and become good guys. They try to do good deeds, but not everyone is ready to see these bad guys as good! With a lot of silliness and 2nd/3rd grade boy humor, these bad guys set out on adventures to do good deeds. This series is also becoming a Dream Works animated movie, so it's a great opportunity to get them hooked! 

Newest book in the series: #14 The Bad Guys in They're Bee-hind You! to be published Nov. 2, 2021
Grade level: 2 - 5
Reading level:  DRA - 34 - 38
                          Fountas & Pinnell - P - Q
                          IRLA - WH
                          Lexile - 390 - 540



By Dav Pilkey

Dogman. Is it silly? Yeah. A bit ridiculous? Uh huh. Does it make teachers kind of roll their eyes? Yup. Is it an absolute favorite action–adventure graphic novel, especially for boys? Definitely. The boys in my class could not get enough of Dogman this year. It does not have as much "potty humor" as Capitan Underpants (written by the same author), and if it makes kids excited to read, I'm okay with that! I want to instill a love of reading, and like it or not, this does the trick for a lot of our boys who are reluctant readers. It is dead-on boy humor. 

Newest book in the series: #10 Mothering Heights published March 23, 2021
Grade level: 1 - 4th
Reading level:  DRA - 38 - 40
                          Fountas & Pinnell - P - Q
                          IRLA - WH - BK
                          Lexile - 480


Who Would Win?

by Jerry Pallotta

We always need to keep a balance of nonfiction books in our classroom libraries, and the Who Would Win? series is a huge hit! The idea of different animals battling each other is a big draw for students, especially boys. While most of the battles in these books are between animals that would never actually encounter each other in real life because they live in different parts of the world (which is explained in the text), it doesn't matter. It lays out stats on these animal like in video games and compares their strengths and weaknesses. I think that is the big draw for kids. And they get to read a lot of nonfiction text features and facts, so it is a win-win series to invest in! There are 25 books in this series, so I added just a few below. 

Newest book in the series: #25 Walrus vs. Elephant Seal published Dec. 29, 2020
Grade level: 1 - 4th
Reading level:  DRA - 34 - 40
                          Fountas & Pinnell - O - Q
                          IRLA - WH - BK
                          Lexile - 570 - 700


So as you are setting up your classroom for students to come back in person, try hooking them on a favorite series! We need to keep kids reading!

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