5 of the Best New Chapter Books

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Karina Glaser

Contributing Editor

Karina Yan Glaser is a full-time writer and illustrator with a varied career teaching and implementing literacy programs in family homeless shelters and recruiting healthcare professionals to volunteer in under-resourced areas around the world. Karina is the New York Times bestselling author of the middle grade books, The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street and The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden. She lives in Harlem with her husband, two daughters, and an assortment of rescued animals. One of her proudest achievements is raising two kids who can't go anywhere without a book. Website:; Twitter: @KarinaYanGlaser; Instagram: @KarinaIsReadingAndWriting

This list of new chapter books was originally published in our kid lit newsletter, The Kids Are All Right. Sign up for it here to get kid lit news, reviews, deals, and more!

There are a handful of great new chapter books (and one going out in October that I just had to put on your radar) that I want to share with you today! Chapter books are great for newly independent readers who need books that aren’t too intimidating. These books also include illustrations, which I LOVE! (And can we admire the fact the Newbery Medal winner Erin Entrada Kelly also illustrated her new chapter book?)

The Dragon Thief

The Dragon Thief by Zetta Elliott and Geneva B

This is the follow-up story to the hugely popular Dragons in a Bag book! Fans of fantasy will love this one! Jaxon has to return three baby dragons to the realm of magic but when he gets there, only two dragons were left in the bag. Kavita, Jaxon’s best friend, has stolen the third dragon, thinking she was doing what was best for the baby dragon, but now every time she feeds it, the dragon grows and grows! Kavita is definitely in over her head, and Jaxon needs all the help he can get to find Kavita, outsmart a trickster named Blue, and return the baby dragon to its true home.

Ivy and Bean Get to Work

Ivy and Bean Get to Work! by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall

Fans of Ivy and Bean, rejoice! It’s the 12th book in this charming series, and this time it’s Career Day at Emerson Elementary School. All the students have to choose what they want to be when they grow up, and best friends Ivy and Bean already have that all figured out. At least, they thought so, until they met Herman the Treasure Hunter. Now everyone in the second grade is looking for treasure — and finding it. Everyone except Ivy and Bean, that is. They need to get out their shovels and turn up some treasure on the double!

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine

Aven Green Sleuthing Machine by Dusti Bowling

I was first introduced to Aven Green through the middle grade book, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus. In this new series for younger readers, 3rd grader Aven Green, who was born without arms, finds herself confronted with not one, but two mysteries to solve! When her teacher’s lunch bag disappears and then Aven’s great-grandmother’s dog goes missing, Aven needs to summon all of her sleuthing powers to solve the mysteries.

Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey by Erin Entrada Kelly (May 21, HarperCollins)

I love Marisol Rainey! This wonderfully spunky character is sure to capture your heart. Marisol’s family is different from any of the other families she knows in her small Louisiana town. Her mother was born in the Philippines and her father works and lives part-time on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. But Marisol is ready for the summer, even though she has to figure out how to get annoying Evie Smythe to leave her alone and how to gain to courage to climb the big tree in her backyard.

One Smart Sheep

One Smart Sheep by Gary D. Schmidt & Elizabeth Stickney and Jane Manning (October 26, 2021, HMH Books for Young Readers)

This adorable book is filled with full color illustrations. Wilson was Abigail Atwood’s friendliest, woolliest, and smartest sheep. He was also a very a curious sheep, which gets him into trouble when he climbs into the back of a piano movers’ truck and ends up alone in the big city. Can Wilson find his way home?