I’ll admit it:
(insert Jaws music here… )
I’m totally, deathly afraid of the DECLINE BY NINE.
I can see that ominous shark fin now as I think about that awful statistic, those horrific, laser sharp teeth rising out of the water. My fists ball up, my shoulders tense…. and I just want to cry as I see my third, fourth and fifth graders shrugging their shoulders as they walk out of the library.
“No thanks,” says one.
“Not today, Ms. B.,” says another. And then they’re off, slinking right through the double doors with empty hands, NO NEW BOOK IN SIGHT.
No joke — its a librarian’s worst nightmare.
Start Reading these Best Books for 7 Year Olds to Prevent the Decline by Nine!
Ugh… the dreaded decline by nine. What exactly is this, you ask? The Decline by Nine is a term coined by Scholastic describing the manner in which reading tapers off around nine years old. Many young readers simply lose interest in books and stop considering themselves frequent readers by the time they hit that eight to nine year old mark.
Call me crazy. My boys are nowhere near nine yet, and Pickle JUST started to read — I’ve definitely got time to work on them.
But so many of my students who are obsessed with books in kindergarten and first grade slowly start to slip away in second grade, and by third and fourth, I fear I lose them forever.
How on earth do we prevent this, and how do we hook our kids when they are still young to help them discover the magic in stories and make reading a permanent and cherished part of their daily lives?
There are a couple of tricks up my sleeve.
First, give your kids choices! When particular students come in, I always preselect books that are age appropriate in terms of content but have a wide variety of themes and subject matters I think may appeal to them. Choice is hugely important for young readers, as it helps kids feel empowered by making reading less of a chore and more of a gift. This is critically important for setting children up to be successful as lifelong readers!
Second, stop worrying about reading levels! I can’t stress this enough. Yes - while you certainly should make sure content is age appropriate, it is more important that a child sees books as avenues of adventure rather than as a leveling system to measure their skills. If your child picks up a book and wants to try it because he loves basketball and there’s a basketball player on the cover, by all means, let him try it even if the font is smaller than he is used to, the vocabulary may be a bit too difficult, and its a level U but he is really only at a Level N. Do me a favor. Take a deep breath and repeat after me: It’s OK! The same goes for the opposite scenario. If your child picks up a book and you think it’s too easy, that’s OK too! There is nothing like a keen interest in a particular topic to get a child excited to pick up a story. If the book is too challenging, he will likely put it down on his own - but let your child give himself a reasonable challenge. And if it’s too easy, good! Let him build confidence, reinforce vocabulary, and enhance his proficiency. All of these skills will benefit your child, I promise.
Third, and perhaps most important: remember that series are your BEST FRIEND. If you can get your child interested in a book that is part of a series, guess what happens if he loves the first story? He will be eager to pick up the second. And if he likes that one? Yep — you guessed it. He will want the third. If you can connect a child to a series that taps into your child’s hobbies, is engaging and high interest, you’ve made it. There’s nothing like a great series to hook readers at this important age, and luckily, every choice on this list is part of a series!
Fourth, continue reading aloud with your child! Even if they are old enough to read to themselves, sharing chapter book read alouds with your children is just as magical as reading picture books to your kids. Don’t stop reading with your kids! Continue to make it a part of your nightly routine.
If our goal is to develop reading habits in our kids and foster a life-long love of reading, we’ve got to make it fun, and we’ve got to hook them with great books right from the start. We have to empower them, give them freedom to choose from captivating options, and continue to create a culture of reading in our own homes.
So, what are you waiting for? These are some of the best books for 7 year olds — and yes, they are okay for 6 and 8 year olds too! And all of the books on the list below are part of a series. I have no doubt that there is something for everyone on this list, and if you have any questions, please feel free to reach out!
LIKE WHAT YOU’RE READING? Sign up for our newsletter for more amazing content!
Best Books for 7 Year Olds - Fun Fiction
King and Kayla, written by Dori Hillestad Butler and illustrated by Nancy Meyers: This adorable series, features one witty little girl and the dog who helps her solve some intriguing mysteries. We adore so much about this series. It is a great bridge between beginning books for new readers and easy chapter books, it is told from the pup’s perspective (making it fun and super original), but mostly, it is incredible for modeling problem solving to children. Two trunks up!
JIm Nasium, by Marty McKnight and illustrated by Chris Jones: If you have a sports fanatic at home, give him one of the Jim Nasium books and he will be delighted. My students love these books and they are always on rotation in our library. This series is about ten-year old Jim Nasium, who, unfortunately, can’t live up to his name! Poor Jim is totally uncoordinated and always one of the last kids to get picked for a team. Will Jim ever become an all-star athlete?
Jasmine Toguchi, by Debbi Michiko Florence and illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic: Jasmine Toguchi is one of my favorite new characters in kid lit, for her spunk, her pluck, and most importantly, her strong will to succeed at any new task she undertakes. I adore her diverse family and the wholesome plots and characters, and I simply can’t rave about the four books in this series enough! The newest book in the series, Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl, was this years CYBILS winner for easy chapter books!
Absolutely Alfie, by Sally Warner and illustrated by Shearry Malone: If your kids were a fan of the EllRay Jakes series, his little sister Alfie now has her own series to delight young readers! In the first book, Alfie gets a new best friend — and she wants a new kitten, too. But Alfie’s parents have a strict “no pet” rule in their house because they think Alfie has allergies. Will Alfie be able to sneak the kitty into their home and keep it a secret? A charming series!
Ballpark Mysteries, by David A. Kelly and illustrated by Mark Meyers: Baseball super-fans Mark and Kate team up to solve some of baseball’s greatest mysteries in beloved stadiums around the United States! From stolen gloves to haunting ghosts, these cousins are always there to solve the cases with a home run. Baseball lovers will absolutely love these!
Clementine, by Sara Pennypacker and illustrated by Marla Frazee: If you loved Ramona Quimby when you were growing up, you will adore Clementine — and so will your kids. Get ready for the escapades of this hilarious third grader, with her spunk, energy and unique take on school and friends. Your children will find themselves wishing Clementine was their real best friend, and they will be laughing out loud as they read these books, so much so that you will want to read them, too!
Ivy and Bean, by Annie Burrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall: One of the hardest things about being a kid is that your parents try to hand pick your friends. And what happens when they pick someone you were not supposed to like? This is what happens in the delightful Ivy and Bean series about two girls — quiet, imaginative Ivy who dreams of becoming a witch, and wild and goofy Bean, who loves being involved in everyone’s business. The plots are wholesome, the characters have such spunk, and these stories hook little readers from the very first page. A beloved set in our library, I can’t recommend them enough!
Team Jake Maddox, by Jake Maddox: These sports books FLY off the shelves in our library as quickly as they come in. My student athletes, both girls and boys, cheer wildly for these books, and I have gotten many a reluctant reader hooked on these stories. From football to softball to basketball to soccer to gymnastics, this fun series offers something for everyone, and your little sports fanatics will be delighted with so many options to choose from! One of my favorite parts of this series is that it features many female protagonists playing competitive sports. The best!
Girls Who Code, by Stacia Deutsch and illustrated by Reshma Saujani: Girls in STEM? Yes please! We love this chapter book series! Published in partnership with Girls Who Code, this fabulous series is perfect for any child interested in coding, computer science, and technology. The books are centered around the school coding club and embrace themes of friendship and ingenuity as much as they focus on sequencing and loops. Hailed as The Baby-Sitters Club for this generation, you definitely do not want to miss this series!
Best Books for 7 Year Olds - Animals
Super Happy Party Bears, by Marcie Colleen: The Super Happy Party Bears are always happy. Think donuts, dancing and nonstop cheer. Yet, their neighbors in Grumpy Woods are always grumpy, and they never want to join in the Super Happy Party Bears fun! Will the bears be able to turn frowns upside down with their joyful celebrations? Your kids will be delighted the second they pick up a book in this charming series!
Narwhal and Jelly, by Ben Clanton: A graphic novel for new readers? Sign us up! My students go crazy for this series about a happy-go-lucky Narwhal and one jellyfish who doesn’t mess around. Despite their differences, they do have many similarities, such as their love for waffles and their thirst for adventure. These two have a lot of ocean to explore, and it sure is fun when they do that exploring together!
Kung Pow Chicken, by Cyndi Marko: If your kids love superheros, they sure will love this newest crime fighter! Gordon Blue transforms into, you guessed it, Kung Pow Chicken, an avian superhero who protects the great city of “Fowladelphia.” Need I say more? Fun, funny and lively, these books will crack your kiddos up!
Bad Kitty, by Nick Bruel: Bad Kitty is, well, exactly that… a kitty that’s not so good. In fact, this kitty is just downright bad! She doesn’t always mean to be bad, but trouble seems to have a way of finding her wherever she goes. The Bad Kitty are such fun, and this is another cherished series in our school library. If you love reading with your little ones about good intentions gone haywire, you will love these books!
Tales of Sasha, by Alexa Pearl and illustrated by Paco Sordo: If you have a little unicorn lover in your home, she won’t be able to keep her hands off this one! A young horse named Sasha knows she’s different from her family and friends - but she doesn’t know why. Suddenly, she finds that the white patch on her back is sparkling.. and she can fly! This series is adorable and beloved by horse enthusiasts who also love a hefty dose of magic!
Best Books for 7 Year Olds: Fantasy and Make Believe
Heidi Heckelbeck , by Wanda Coven and illustrated by Priscilla Burris: Heidi Heckelbeck looks like an ordinary girl, but the truth is that she has one extraordinary secret. She’s really a witch! With more than twenty books in this delightful series, young readers will be captivated by Heidi and her escapades. These fly off the shelves of my library, and my students simply adore them!
Rabbit & Robot, by Cece Bell: We love books about mismatched friends, and who could possibly be more mismatched than a Rabbit and a Robot? When Rabbit learns Robot is coming for a sleepover, he leaves nothing up to chance and makes a list to plan the entire night. But what happens if Rabbit loses control? The silly and zany antics of these two will love the adventures of a controlling bunny and his obliging robot! Disclaimer - there are only two books in this series so far, but they are so much fun that we couldn’t not share!
Eerie Elementary, by Jack Chabert and illustrated by Sam Ricks: Sam Graves makes a remarkable discovery on the first day of school as a new hall monitor: the school is alive! And now, Sam has a challenge - he must keep his fellow students safe! Will he be able to defend his classmates against the scary building before the school play? If your kids love mysteries and monsters, this is the series for them!
Big Foot and Little Foot, by Ellen Potter and illustrated by Felicia Sala: If you have a little one who loves adventure and the world of the Sasquatch, he will love this new series about Big Foot and Little Foot! Hugo is a young Sasquatch with a longing for fun, and Boone is a kid who is longing to see a real life Sasquatch. When their worlds collide one eventful day, they become an unlikely — but unbelievable! — pair of friends. After all, who says a Sasquatch must stay hidden from humans?
The Data Set, by Ada Hopper and illustrated by Sam Ricks: Danger! Action! Trouble! Adventure! Meet the four DATA kids of Newtonburg Elementary, who always come face to face with crazy mishaps when they encounter their reclusive neighbor. From toys coming to life to dinosaurs hungry for children to aliens visiting the earth, the DATA set is chock full of adventure for newly independent readers!
Bad Guys, by Aaron Blabey: Oh my goodness. Can we say serious obsession?! My students live for these books and find them so highly entertaining, I have to make sure no one checks out more than one book from this series at a time because they are in such demand! These bad guys are scary. And they are BAD. But they really want to be heroes, and they are ready to be called to action in every circumstance! When bad guys can’t help but do good around town, you know your kids will be laughing — and clamoring for a copy of the next book! Hilarious and action packed, this is another series that has hooked many of my readers that hadn’t yet been matched with the perfect story!
Press Start!, by Thomas Flintham: Does your child love video games? If so, this is the perfect series to hook your 7 year old on books! Super Rabbit Boy is super fast and super brave. But he is just a character, living inside a video game! Will Super Rabbit Boy be able to defeat Meanie King Viking and save the day, or will he and his friends disappear forever if the little boy playing the game keeps losing every level? Action packed and so much fun, your kids will love this lively, illustrated series!
The Unicorn Rescue Society series), by Adam Gidwitz and illustrated by Hatem Aly: Are you ready to protect the mythical unicorn? If so, the society needs you. Quickly! Elliot and his new friend, Uchenna, are about to embark on a journey with a secret group of adventurers, The Unicorn Rescue Society. Their goal? Protect and defend the world’s mythical creatures. If your kids like unicorns, fantasy, AND adventure, this series is a must!
If you loved this post, there’s so much more to discover on Happily Ever Elephants! Sign up for our newsletter, here!
Did you like this list of the Best Books for 7 Year Olds? We are so glad! Check out these awesome lists and reviews for more books we think you will love!
LOVE IT? PIN IT!