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Fiction for Early Elementary Readers

Librarian-approved fun chapter books and series for early elementary readers. 

Cover of Too Small Tola
Onyinye Iwu

Tola is small in size, but big in talent and heart. Living with her grandmommy and her two siblings in Lagos, Nigeria. When grandmommy needs help at the market, Tola is there to carry the basket and count the change. And when her neighbor Mr. Abdul hurts his leg and needs help with his tailoring business, Tola’s great memory and careful measuring saves the day. This collection of short, illustrated stories from Nigerian author Atinuke are witty and fun, and if you love Tola, be sure to look for Atinuke’s other beloved character Anna Hibiscus! 

Cover of Fabled Stables: Willa the
Olga Demidova

Auggie lives on an island at the top of the world with the most amazing job - caring for one of a kind magical animals. In this first book of the Fabled Staples series Willa the Wisp needs his help and Auggie is more than up to the task! Young fantasy readers will love this new, full color illustrated series of Auggie and his magical friends.

Cover of Ghoulia and the Mysterious
Barbara Cantini

Have you not discovered Ghoulia yet? She’s a zombie, but don’t worry! She’s not very scary. Definitely not too scary for young readers who will love this series of humorous adventures of Ghoulia and her friends. In book two an unexpected visitor arrives at crumbling manor and Ghoulia’s friends receive mysterious party invitations to a dinner that no one seems to have prepared… Could it be Ghoulia’s Auntie Departed? Her albino greyhound Tragedy? Or maybe the overgrown carnivorous ivy plant that has taken over the greenhouse to lure in new victims? Hmmmm… you will have to read to find out!

Cover of Our Friend Hedgehog: The S

This beautifully illustrated chapter book is an origin story of friendship (almost like how DID the animals in Winnie the Pooh all meet to become friends?). Hedgehog lives alone with her stuffed dog Mutty on a little island in the middle of a forest. But when a storm carries Mutty away, she has to venture out to find him. Along the way, she meeting many animal friends who are also just a little bit lonely, but come together to not only find Mutty, but each other as well.

Cover of Franklin Endicott and the
Chris Van Dusen

Franklin Endicott is a worrier. He keeps a whole notebook of things he worries about, alphabetically, including his younger sister finding the notebook and becoming a worrier herself. Lucky for Franklin, he lives on Deckwoo Drive with Kate DiCamillo’s other wonderful characters like Mercy Watson, who can help him explore his worries, give him a mystery to ponder, and to realize that perhaps things like how fast alligators really can move are actually a wonder, rather than a worrier. This early chapter book is perfect for any young worrier, who perhaps needs a little encouragement to share their worries, rely on friends, and be encouraged to reframe anxiety with a logical and just a little bit whimsical perspective. 

Cover of J.D. and the Great Barber
Akeem Roberts

J.D. is this librarian’s new hero. The night before his first day of 3rd grade, his wonderful, well meaning mom gives him a terrible haircut. Facing ridicule and embarrassment at school J.D.  takes the clippers into his own hands, practicing on his little brother and then giving himself his own perfect fade. An artist and comic book lover, he is soon transforming the trims of his entire peewee football team, and drawing some unwanted attention from the local barber who is losing business. But J.D. won’t give up his budding business without a fight. Let the great Barber Battle begin! Young readers will love J.D.’s spirit and cast of great friends in this first book of the Trio of J.D. Kid Barber. 

Cover of Kondo & Kezumi Visit Giant
Andrea Tsurumi

Kondo is big, Kezumi is little, and together these two best friends are on an adventure. Their island is great, and they love their routines, but when they discover a bottle in the sand with a map of other islands to visit they take an adventure into the unknown. A beautifully illustrated chapter book (with more in the series if you like this one!) highlighting the importance of friendship when taking that first step away from the familiar.

Cover of Mindy Kim and the Yummy Se

Mindy Kim is a wonderful new character from Lyla Lee. Having just moved to Florida with her dad after her mom recently passed away, Mindy has a lot of new things to get used to. New school, new friends, and the new feeling of really sticking out as the only Asian American student. No one knows what to make of her Korean kimchi and seaweed snacks at lunch, but what initially was an embarrassment, Mindy turns into a new opportunity. Kids will love Mindy’s spirit and confidence as well as her very relatable desire for a new puppy and close relationship with her dad as they navigate this new space together. 

Cover of Jo Jo Makoons: The Used-To
Tara Audibert

JoJo Makoons moves through the world just a little bit differently than the other kids on her Ojibwe reservation - bringing the “arts” solidly back into language arts class and clearly explaining to her teacher that his math problem is all wrong. When five people want to eat a bunch of four bananas, how many people don’t get a banana… everyone gets some banana “we all share what we have. That’s what Native people do. See? I’m good at math.” Readers will find plenty of things to giggle with JoJo and her friends about in this wonderful new early chapter book full of humor as well as Ojibwe words and culture.

Cover of Ways to Make Sunshine

Ryan Hart is Renee Watson’s new version of Ramona Quimby for this generation. Strong and smart, Ryan is a leader, a loyal friend, and tries every day to be a good sister and daughter, but it isn’t always easy. With a shift for her family to a new (old) house, a change in job for her dad, and the pressures of friendship and school, Ryan has a lot to navigate. But Ryan always finds a way to move forward even if she has to make her own sunshine. Young fans of Ramona will love this new character and her world and have more books in the series to look forward to! 

Cover of Mia Mayhem Rides the Waves
Leeza Hernandez

Are you just now discovering Mia Mayhem like this librarian? Well you’re in luck, because if you like this spunky super hero who is learning to use her powers - like talking to animals - there are already 11 (11?!) books for you to enjoy. Debuting in 2018, Mia is a spunky little girl with a wonderfully supportive, and SUPER family. In this latest adventure, they take off for a vacation, but the work of a superhero is never done and the beach needs her help.