The Next Step: Early Chapter Readers


Making the jump from early readers to chapter books can be daunting. Fortunately, authors and publishers are realizing the need for fun, simpler chapter books to help kids make that transition.

Below are a list of book series to start children off on their new reading challenge with some fun reading. Individual books in each series may be easier or harder. In the listing below you will find written the different reading system levels for the first book in each series to aid you in choosing a series you feel will encourage your child’s reading.

Please don’t’ hesitate to ask at the Children’s Desk for help to find these books and for additional suggestions.




Haggis and Tank Unleashed by Jessica Young     J Fic You

Reading Levels: Lexile 480 / Guided Reading  M / Accelerated Reader 3.1

A mix of chapters and comic book panels with full page color illustrations.


Judy Moody and Friends by Megan McDonald     J Fic McD

Reading Levels: Lexile 480 / Guided Reading J / Accelerated Reader 2.5

Judy Moody stories just right for new readers. Lots of illustrations in color.


Mercy Watson by Kate DiCamillo     J Fic Dic

Reading Levels: Lexile 450 / Guided Reading  K / Accelerated Reader 2.7

Kids will adore this lovable pig and her antics. Lots of color illustrations.


Monkey Me by Timothy Roland     J Fic Rol

Reading Levels: Lexile 510 / Guided Reading O / Accelerated Reader 2.4

Thanks to a wacky banana, energetic Clide turns into a monkey when he gets excited!


Nancy Clancy by Jane O’Connor     J Fic Oco

Reading Levels: Lexile 450 / Guided Reading O / Accelerated Reader 3.3

Fancy Nancy is growing up and now is interested in dectective work- but in a fancy way, of course! Illustration in black and white.


Notebook of Doom by Troy Cummings      J Fic Cum

Reading Levels: Lexile 490 / Guided Reading M / Accelerated Reader 3.3

For those young, brave readers who like creepy things such as balloon monsters out to get you. Cartoon type illustrations in black and white.


Owl Diaries by Rebecca Elliott     J Fic Ell

Reading Levels: Lexile 400 / Guided Reading M / Accelerated Reader 3.0

Fun books about friends written in diary form with some speech bubbles. Illustrations in color.


The Princess in Black by Shannon and Dean Hale      J Fic Hal

Reading Levels: Lexile 500 / Guided Reading N /Accelerated Reader 3.2

Funny and action packed—this is not your average princess. Illustrations in color.


Princess Posey by Stephanie Greene     J Fic Gre

Reading Levels: Lexile 380 / Guided Reading  K / Accelerated Reader 2.9

Simpler and calmer than Junie B Jones but just as lovable. Black and White Illustrations.


Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot by Dav Pilkey     J Fic Pil

Reading Levels: Lexile 520 / Guided Reading L / Accelerated Reader 2.9

Has comic book panels, superhero action, and Pilkey’s Flip-O-Rama. Illustrations in color.


Yo-Kai Watch by Kate Howard     J Fic Yok

Reading Levels: Lexile 430 / Guided Reading N / Accelerated Reader 3.4

Fun Yo-Kai characters in chapter book form for young readers. Illustrations in color.


The Cutest Monsters On the Block

Have you ever seen monsters as adorable as these?                                                                                                                 Meet The Worry Woos!

These monsters each have a story to tell- about loneliness, not quite fitting in, getting too frustrated when things don’t go your way, letting worry get the best of you, envy, indecision and more. Written in beautiful rhyme, these stories are powerful social-emotional skill-builders all kids can relate to and empathize with. Designed by artist and author Andi Green to help children understand and embrace their emotions, these books have received rave reviews and awards for bringing higher concepts right down to a kids level. I love watching understanding dawn on my littles’ faces as they learn the lesson right along with the WorryWoos!

We have the storybooks available for checkout, and we have kits of the monster and it’s accompanying book available in our puppet collection. We also have a parent-teacher guide for teaching social-emotional awareness in our parent-teacher collection.

We’ve gotten enthusiastic feedback from parents and teachers alike who have used these stories with great success, and we hope you and your littles will fall in love with the WorryWoos too!

And don’t forget to check our Parent-Teacher collection for these valuable companion guides by noted Dr. John Irving, a pioneer in the social-emotional learning field.

For more information on the WorryWoos, classroom and parent lesson plans and more, check out their website:

Miss Janna

Recent Reads

Welcome to Wonderland: Home Sweet Motel

By Chris Grabenstein (author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library)

The  Wonderland Motel is not so wonderful anymore. It’s first year in existence was great. That was before Walt Disney opened his theme park. Now the Wonderland Motel is in serious financial trouble. P.T. can’t imagine the motel being sold and no more free ice cream and room service. Fortunately it’s spring break and one of the guests, Gloria Ortiz, is a bored business whiz kid looking for a project. Together as they dream up some unusual tactics to save the motel they stumble on something from the past that adds trouble and danger to their plans.

A fun read. I personally would recommend anything written by Chris Grabenstein.

First of a series. Available in Book and CD.



My Weird School Fast Facts: Space, Humans and Farts

By Dan Gutman

This book is also by the same author as the Flashback Four series. He also writes My Weird School series and the Genius Files.

This series Fast Facts is a fun way to pick up about the world along with jokes and things to try.

This book covers all sorts of science topics such as the solar system, forces, animals and famous scientists. There is one  chapter called Fakes, Frauds and Fame which talks about how some people have posed as scientists in the past to promote something that wasn’t real, such as the Cardiff giant. The series also includes the books: “Geography”, “Sports”, and “Explorers, Presidents and Toilets”.




Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker

By Shelley Johannes

Beatrice is an upside down thinker, ready to take on the world.  To start the new school year she’s going to wear her ninja outfit and meet up with her best friend. Unfortunately, things with Operation Upside quickly go topsy-turvy as soon as she arrives. In the space of a day things just go from bad to worse but it doesn’t slow Beatrice down. She’s determined that Operation Upside continues.

Beatrice is a fun, spunky character,  who is always finding trouble.





Marty Pants: Do Not Open!

By Mark Parisi

Marty is an artist. He has the heart of an artist and can see things that others can’t see. He also has a very active imagination and a tendency to jump to conclusions without thinking things through.  So when he finds a note that says “An alien is observing you,” he just “knows” that it refers to his short-tempered teacher, Mr. McPhee. Thus begins Marty’s campaign to save the world.  I love the drawings. They are supposed to be Marty’s drawings. Since he can’t draw bikes, when he talks about riding his bike he draws a pogo stick instead. And I love how this story ends. It makes you think about your teachers and wonder who they are when they are not being a teacher!

First in a series.




Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

By Jessica Townsend

Morrigan Crow has more trials than the average kid. She was born cursed. She’s on the official cursed registry, in fact. When anything goes wrong in Jackelfax, she is the person they blame. The worst part of being a cursed child though, is that she will die at the stroke of midnight on her eleventh birthday. That was her fate until a strange man at the last minute with the Hunt of Smoke and Shadow on their heels, whisks her away  to the city of Nevermoore as a Wundrous Society candidate. She can only stay though, if she passes the trials – and one of them requires a special talent which is something she lacks. Has she only postponed the inevitable? Will her curse never end?

You will quickly get lost in this book. It is imaginative, action filled, and suspenseful.

I listened to the CD and looked for reasons to be in the car so I could hear more of the story. It’s currently my favorite book!

First in a series. Available in Book and CD.

Miss Marta

Fun Music for Kids

I love to incorporate music into my story time sessions, and I think it’s very popular with our attendees, too. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers often tell me their child “has been singing that song all week!”  We know music is fun, but are there other reasons to include music into play?

According to a 2014 article in School Library Journal,  the answer is yes!

The author of that article, Sarah Bayliss, reports that “A growing body of research is affirming the central role of music in early literacy. Librarians are listening—and designing programs with a deep mindfulness of how music supports PreK–learning. Music has been proven to do everything from boosting numeracy to developing empathy among children; from improving speech-language delays to augmenting comprehension. One study from the Music-Science Lab at the Ben-Gurion University of the Negev showed that young children who played hand-clapping games had better cognitive and social skills than those who didn’t.”

The article goes on to detail other reasons to include music in programming, complete with online music links, artists and CD’s kids love, and academic resources.  While I found the author’s suggestions to include some fantastic resources, many of which I use, I thought it might be fun to let you know what three of my favorite children’s musicians are! So, in no particular order, here they are, complete with links to our library catalog and YouTube videos as well!

Laurie Berkner

Whaddaya Think of That?

On this album is her famous “I Know a Chicken” song, AKA the Shaky Egg song from storytime!  Pick up any album by Laurie Berkner for a fun time. Or, connect with her via YouTube and sing along to “We Are the Dinosaurs”.  While you’re at it, she also has picture books that you can read and sing along with, such as Pillowland

Jim Gill

Jim Gill Makes It Noisy in Boise, Idaho

My favorite storytime song on this album is “List of Dances” – it’s a list that is sixteen dances long!  Kids have a great time following along with this one, and after going through all 16, Jim Gill sings that it would be fun to do them again, this time from the bottom to the top.    Click on this link to watch him in concert!  By the way, we are very excited to let you in on a secret ….. Jim Gill will be doing a concert here at the Moline Public Library this summer!  Details coming soon!

Greg and Steve

My all-time favorite song on this album is “The Freeze”.  Click here to listen! I think I like these guys because they’ve been entertaining kids since the late 70’s and early 80’s, but they are still going strong and still relevant!

I hope you check out some of  these kids artists, and if you ever need any other music ideas, just ask one of us in the Children’s Department for suggestions!

Miss Teresa

If You Loved Elephant & Piggie…

I Spy Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold

The Fly Flew In by David Catrow

Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea

Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo

You Can Do It! by Betsy Lewin

Crab Cab by Harriet Ziefert

My Friends Make Me Happy! by Jan Thomas

Henry and Mudge: The First Book of Their Adventures by Cynthia Rylant

That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems

Edwina the Dinosaur Who Didn’t Know She Was Extinct by Mo Willems

Miss Marta

Honorable Mention

Last week you got to read all about our top 10 books of 2017.  We have done a top 10 for  a few years now and it is by far one of my favorite posts to share.  It is also the one I agonize over the most all year.  I LOVE (yes, all caps is warranted) telling people about new books.  I made the tough cuts and took my list from 22 down to 10.  I still wanted to tell you about the other books though!  I couldn’t help myself!  Therefore, I created my own honorable mention category.  These books could have easily been swapped out for others that made my list.  They are that good!  Read on to see what you *almost* missed!





Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

Book two in the newest series and everything from the storyline to the illustrations is exciting!




The Legend of Rock Paper Scissors by Drew Daywalt

Amusing take on how a favorite past time came to be.





In the Middle of Fall by Kevin Henkes

Perfect book to read with the birth to four age set to introduce fall.  Large illustrations and limited text really shows off the wonders of this season and builds the vocabulary of little ones.




After The Fall: How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again by Dan Santat

Perfect social story to talk about overcoming fears and not letting a bad eggs-perience (Yep, I went there.  Sorry, not sorry!) keep you from having good ones!




Pig the Pug by Aaron Blabey

This hilarious tale of karma speaks loudly to the lesson that sharing is best!




Lockwood and Co, Book 5:  The Empty Grave by Jonathon Stroud

The final installment in a great fantasy series follows Lucy, Lockwood, George, Holly, and Kipps as they finally find the source of “the problem” that has caused ghosts to terrorize the countryside for decades.



Poor Louie by Tony Fucile

Louie’s life goes from easy breezy with his human parents to strange as two sets of things start showing up at his home and his human mom’s tummy keeps growing.  Will there still be a place in the house for Louie?


Miss Marta



#2 of 2017

Only 2 spots left in our countdown for the top 10 new titles in the children’s department!  Get caught up here if you have been missing out on our countdown.


Miss Christina


The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney

I love folk tales. I love Jerry Pinkney. This book does not disappoint. This version is simple enough for its target audience, has lots of sounds to incorporate, simple and beautifully rendered pictures and an ending that teaches a lesson. If you are not familiar with Jerry Pinkney’s books, I hope this one will encourage you to look for more. You will find this book in the folk tale/fairy tale non-fiction section, J 398.2 Bil.


Miss Sarah


You Don’t Want A Unicorn by Ame Dyckman

A lesson in being careful what you wish for.


Miss Teresa


The Bad Mood and the Stick by Lemony Snicket

The bad mood is portrayed by a multi-colored, frowning cloud that follows Curly, prompting her to pick up a stick and poke her little brother.  While this makes Curly happy, the nad mood transfers to her mother.  Snicket’s amusing tale continues as the bad mood and the stick travel throughout the town, ultimately setting things right.


Miss Marta


The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This Young Adult read is so timely and important, not to mention just darn good! Starr is the only witness to the shooting of her best friend, Khalil (who is unarmed), at the hands of a police officer.  She is getting pressure from opposing sides, both police and people from her neighborhood, as people take to the streets bringing national attention to an unjust killing.  Everyone is asking what happened and only Starr is left to answer the questions.  Inspired by the “Black Lives Matter” movement, the social and political messages that pour out of this book hit readers hard.  It made me personally think about white privilege in ways I hadn’t before. This book is awesome for starting some good converstions about what racial biases there are in our country and community and how we are handling them.  I don’t want to stand on the soapbox too long about the political and social elements of this book because the writing itself is so amazing and the main character Starr is so well developed.  The mixed emotions and raw truth of what she is dealing with is beautifully brought to light.  I have yet to meet a teen or adult who read this book and didn’t love it.



Miss Janna


History’s Mysteries: Curious Clues, Cold Cases and Puzzles From the Past by Kitson Jazynka

When this book came across my desk, I had to stop and read it from cover to cover in one sitting.  National Geographic has written some of my very favorite books for kids, and this was no exception.  Highlighting vanished cities, lost tribes, history’s most infamous heroes and villains, mystifying legends and other fascinating stories, this book is riveting!