What are the best 3rd grade books in a series for 8 year olds? Here are good chapter book series that are just right for third graders and that they’ll LOVE to read.
As young readers gain more confidence and independence, they’ll be interested in books about real life (true stories), finding a good informational book about a topic of interest, reading book series like the ones on this list, binging favorite best selling books like Dog Man, and may start noticing books that are award winning books.
Often by 3rd grade, some students become reluctant readers for a variety of reasons — technology could be interfering, or a learning difference might need to be addressed. I urge you to do everything you can to find solutions and answers — because the longer a young reader goes without success or efficacy, the harder it is to reengage these 3rd grade readers with reading.
(For those of you not in the U.S., third grade is generally about 8 years old.)
3rd Grade Books in a Series (Kids Will Love to Read)
Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Stephanie Yue
ADVENTURE GRAPHIC NOVEL
Katie desperately wants to join her friends at their summer camp to earn money, she gets a job for her neighbor Madeline catsitting 217 super-smart cats with destructive behaviors and powerful abilities. Then she discovers that her neighbor might be the supervillain, Moustress. Then, when the Moustress gets captured, Katie decides she and the cats must save their friend.
Sparks by Ian Boothby, illustrated by Nina Matsumoto
After escaping the evil laboratory, cats August and Charlie help others in a “Super Dog” dog disguise. But their evil scientist nemesis, a diaper-wearing baby named Princess, will stop at nothing to recapture the escaped cats…and conquer the entire world. Filled with adventure, friendship, and humor!
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Geneva B
Jax is a young boy staying with an irascible old lady named Ma who helps magical animals travel between worlds. In this case, three dragons. She accidentally travels back in time instead of to the world of magic, and gets stuck there. Now it’s up to Jax to rescue Ma and deliver the dragons to where they belong. But one of the dragons is missing!
Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey
I adore this book about encouraging kids to write comics! Plus, it’s totally hilarious. Cat Kid teaches a class for the tadpoles about making their own comic books…which doesn’t go well until the tadpoles get excited about failure and get started writing and drawing. If you like a lot of silliness (including potty humor) with great messages about writing, creativity, and persistence, read this book next.
Dragon Kindom of Wrenly: The Coldfire Curse by Jordan Quinn
When Cinder’s father crashes, it’s clear that he’s sick from the dreaded “cold curse” so Cinder must ask the king for help. Cinder meets a red dragon named Ruskin, the pet of the human king. Cinder, Ruskin, and their friend Groth travel to the fairies in order to get the ingredients to cure the curse. It’s a fast-paced and excellent story with a hook that will keep you reading the series!
Pizazz by Sophy Henn
Not only is Pizazz embarrassed by her name, but she’s also embarrassed about her superpower. Pizazz grumbles that her superhero duties of saving the world are inconvenient. At school, she is assigned the job of eco-monitor, which she doesn’t like until a classmate helps her see that they might be able to save the park…without superhero powers. 100% fun, relatable, and entertaining.
Love Puppies: Best Friends Furever by JaNay Brown Wood
The magical Crystal Bone calls the pups to help a lonely girl named Meiko. The Love Puppies plan turns to disaster. How will the puppies accomplish their mission? Warmhearted and sweet, you’ll love these caring puppies and the kids they help. I know this book series will be a hit with 2nd and 3rd graders!
Bad Kitty Supercat by Nick Bruel
HUMOR GRAPHIC NOVEL
Bad Kitty’s owner tells Bad Kitty to get off screens and play with some other cats. But Bad Kitty isn’t happy about having playdates. Eventually, Playdate Candidate #4 (Strange Kitty) brings imagination and comic books and Strange Kitty helps Bad Kitty find his superhero persona –just in time to meet the supervillain! Playful, imaginative, and hilarious–this is my new favorite Bad Kitty book and his first graphic novel.
A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author by Ron Roy
The A to Z Mysteries books are the best! None of the books need to be read in any particular order, each has a self-contained mystery. (I think my kids read most of the books in this series more than once; they are that good.) In this story, the famous writer coming to the bookstore doesn’t show up. Dink and his friends Josh and Ruth Rose must find out what happened to the missing author. Box set here.
Tally Tuttle Turns into a Turtle (Class Critters #1) by Kathryn Holmes
Tally’s nervous about her new school and when the other students make fun of her name, she wants to hide in a shell. That’s when it happens--she turns into a turtle! As a turtle, Tally meets helpful and kind animals who help her see that if she can make friends with them, she can make friends with people, too. When she decides she’s ready to be a girl again, she transforms back into a kid.
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
In a word: hilarious. Kids think Bad Kitty is very naughty but, oh so funny. These books are addictive to read and fun to reread. Illustrated with minimal text on every page. Bad Kitty has an attitude. She makes life difficult for her owner, Uncle Murry, puppy, and so on and so forth. Boxed set here.
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL
The Zita books rock — they’re full of adventure, humor, and fantastic characters!! Zita is a young girl who is a courageous problem-solving heroine who accidentally gets stuck in space while trying to save her friend from kidnappers and save the universe.
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Hysterical! I couldn’t stop laughing! This is a fantastic chapter book series for 3rd grade kids about Danny Dragonbreath and the crazy adventures he has with his friends. Boxed Set HERE.
Ninja Kid: From Nerd to Ninja by Anh Do
Nelson is a nerdy and likable main character who wakes up on his 10th birthday with perfect vision and… ninja moves! (How cool is that?) His mum and grandma explain that, like his missing fisherman dad before him, Nelson is the LAST ninja in the world — and he’s destined to SAVE the world. Action-packed, funny, appealing illustrations, and likable characters, this book has it all. You won’t want to stop with book one either because there’s a bit of a cliffhanger…
Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody, illustrated by Yehudi Mercado
At night, this pet turns into Cat Ninja, Metro City’s protector! His nemesis is Leon’s sister’s evil hamster, Master Hamster. Learn the Cat Ninja’s origin story, then follow his perilous, exciting, and humorous adventures! This graphic novel will appeal to reluctant readers.
Into the Game (Minecraft Woodsword Chronicles) by Nick Eliopulos
First in one of the BEST Minecraft book series published, this adventure follows five players who are transported inside the game– and it’s real! They’ll have to use all their survival and problem-solving skills to stay alive. BOXED SET of Books 1 – 4 HERE.
Who Would Win? Whale vs. Giant Squid by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Rob Bolster
Teachers say that their 3rd grade students can’t get enough of the Who Would Win? books. This particular title pits two ocean carnivores against each other. First, you’ll learn facts about a sperm whale, then you’ll learn about the giant squid. Finally, read what happens when these two creatures face-off. Can you predict who will win? See all the addicting informational books in the Who Would Win series.
Unicorn Academy: Sophia and Rainbow by Julie Skyes, illustrated by Lucy Truman
Well-written and charming, this unicorn book series is sure to entrance many young readers. In this story, Sophia arrives at Unicorn Academy and is paired with the lovely Rainbow. But, she feels guilty for making a new friend and leaving her best pony, Clover, back at home. On top of that, the unicorns’ magic is wonky because the lake is being poisoned. When someone accuses Sophia, she and her new friends decide to investigate.
Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski
FANTASY / HUMOR
Once upon a time, a regular girl and her brother accidentally are transported into a fairy tale story. And mess it all up. (Whoops.) Now they have to fix the story before the ending gets changed. My kids and I love all the books in this series!
Dog Man by Dav Pinkey
GRAPHIC NOVEL / HUMOR
Weird. Quirky. Funny. I think all three describe this new graphic novel from the creator of Captain Underpants. In the first story, a police officer and a dog are joined together — the top from the dog, the bottom from the officer to make: Dog Man. Dog Man solves crimes and has adventures, the likes of which will entertain 8-year-old readers for hours.
Get to Work, Hercules! (Myth-O-Mania) by Kate McMullanHUMOR / MYTHOLOGY
Hades narrates the “TRUE” stories of the Greek Myths with panache and humor. Apparently, his younger brother Zeus is a big fat liar and edited all the myths to make himself look good. In this updated myth, Hades watches over his young, not-too-smart nephew, Hercules whom Hera has it out for. Your kids are going to LOVE these books! My library can’t keep them on the shelves.
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara
Hysterical and totally believable, right? Find out what happens if your goldfish dies and you bring him back to life. Only you messed it up and your goldfish becomes a zombie that can mesmerize you with his powerful eyes, making you do anything he wants. Aaaah!
I Survived by Lauren Tarshis
Your kids will zip through these short, fast-paced adventures. The stories always are about a young person trying to survive the historically important, life-changing event such as the Titanic, Hurricane Katrina, Pearl Harbor, Nazi Invasion, and the Hindenburg crash. You’ll probably want to get a box set so your kids can immerse themselves in this excellent series.
The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler
My 3rd-grade daughter and I loved this entertaining mystery series about a boy ghost, Kaz, who is blown away from his family and into a new haunt — a library. In this first story, he and his new friend, Claire, decide to be detectives. They want to discover the secret of the other ghost haunting the library plus find his missing family.
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon
Princess Harriet is the COOLEST heroine in this Sleeping Beauty 2.0. She’s thrilled to know she’ll fall into a deep sleep when she’s twelve because that means she can do anything crazy and dangerous without dying. In fact, she searches out danger and the results are hilariously entertaining. The other books in this fairy tale series with a twist series are just as remarkable. You’ll love the quirky humor.
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Get ready to laugh along with these charming young friends who won’t stop until they find the best way to solve their perplexing troubles, no matter how many ideas they must try. A fantastic series for third graders. Boxed Set HERE.
Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce
The funny plots are about Nate’s life at home and school are totally relatable to any kid, especially boys. Some, like this one, are written in a combo of text and comics while others are straight graphic novels like Big Nate Welcome to My World. Box set here.
Dolphin Rescue (Animal Planet Adventures #1) by Catherine Nichols
Siblings Maddie and Atticus can’t figure out who is dumping trash everywhere. And when they rescue a baby dolphin entangled in trash, they know they must get to the bottom of this mystery. Full-color photographs with information about dolphins, marine life, and more add in bonus nonfiction information for readers.
Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery
These books invite YOU the reader to help solve the mysteries with your own bravery, heroism, and imaginative drawing. Yes, drawing. For example, in this story, you’ll make sure (by drawing) that you’ve got a spacesuit, you’ve packed everything you need to bring, the rocket design is perfect plus has some silly (bandages!?) extras, and lots more as the adventure ensues. It may sound contrived but it’s a fun, engaging adventure that any kid, artist or not, will love. And there is MORE in the series! Also read: The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate! and The Rise of Rusty-Robo-Cat!.
Trapped in a Video Game by Dustin Brady, illustrated by Brady Jessee
Gamers and nongamers alike who love exciting and dangerous stories won’t want to miss this excellent series. Jesse’s friend gets an early release of a video game — and it sucks in both boys. They’re literally trapped. Inside the game, they meet a classmate who has been missing for weeks, now a grown-up man in the game. Because there’s no way out.
The Year of the Book by Andrea Chang
Growing up is challenging and in the first novel, The Year of the Book, Anna turns to books for company while she learns how to make friendships in real life. The subsequent books in the series are just as realistic and well-written. I highly recommend them & love the diversity of the main character.
Jada Jones Rock Star by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
REALISTIC / STEM
Jada starts the school year hoping to find new friends, hopefully, ones that love rocks like she does. She misses her best friend but feels excited when her class studies geology. Unfortunately, one bossy girl in Jada’s group project makes fun of Jada’s interest in rocks. This is a well-written STEM story that shows the challenges of getting along with others and staying true to yourself.
Little Guides to Great Lives Nelson Mandela by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Hannah Warren
This is another new biography series that I highly recommend for elementary-age readers. Written like a narrative story, these little books are fast-paced and informative. This particular title is about one of the world’s most admired activists and leaders, Nelson Mandela. Little Guides to Great Lives series contain perfect text to picture ratio, captivating illustrations, informative content, and just-right pacing. Plus, they’re very well-written.
Franny K. Stein by Jim Benton
HUMOR / SCI-FI
Franny is not a normal kid but a mad scientist. We love these stories that are wacky and laugh-out-loud funny sharing the many unfortunate antics of Franny.
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of a Dare by Herobrine Books
Short sentences with witty observations on life from the perspective of a Minecraft zombie will crack you up. These diaries are entertaining, funny reads. Nothing scary and perfect for any Minecraft enthusiasts.
Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
SCI-FI / HUMOR
Engaging from the first page, this is a relatable (and funny) graphic novel adventure story about a young boy, Roan, who dreams of becoming a pilot . . . but gets into Jedi school instead. He’s the oldest new student because the other kids started long before he did. Roan has ups and downs, as one does at a new school, but finds his place at the school with new friends.
Ada Lace is On the Case by Emily Calandrelli with Tamson Weston, illustrated by Renee Kurilla
MYSTERY / STEM
Ada moves to a new neighborhood where she observes everything that happens out her window. She and a new friend notice a distraught neighbor whose dog is missing and they determine to solve the mystery. Along with another neighbor boy, they use science and technology to solve the mystery of the missing dog.
The Bad Guys #1 by Aaron Blabey
Bad Guys is a hysterical book and a favorite series for many boys especially. Mr. Wolf invites other bad guys to a meeting in hopes they will join him in being good. Lots of drawings and minimal text make this a sure bet for beginning readers who like irony and humor. (Note: If you don’t like potty humor, this is not the book for you. I will admit, after a few books, I was DONE with it.)
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Old school humor at its best! These goofy books describe a wacky school with crazy teachers and even crazier events. Be ready to laugh.
Mrs. Frogbottom’s Field Trips I Want My Mummy by Nancy Krulik
Welcome to 4th grade with a teacher who isn’t like any other teachers…mostly because of her magic map that transports the entire class all over the world. In this story, Mrs. Frogbottom takes the class to Egypt — and our narrator, Tony, does not like it one bit, not the black cat following them, not that his friend Sofia disappears and not that Aiden wanders into a tomb where the friends get trapped! Camels, too much sand, pyramids, tombs, and an actual mummy make this terrified student very glad to go back home. This educational adventure series is off to a great start. Next stop, Scotland.
Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Eliazbet Vukovic
Jasmine is so jealous that the older kids in her family have important jobs on the mochi making day — she wants to do what the older boys and men are doing, pound the mochi rice. Her understanding father figures out a way for Jasmine to join in. And even though it didn’t work out how she wanted, her family is proud of her and decide it’s okay to break some rules like who gets to pound the rice. Not only is the story’s message sweet, Jasmine’s Japanese-American culture and warm family community shine through.
The Story of Olympic Swimmer Duke Kahanamoku by Ellie Crowe, illustrated by Richard Waldep (The Story Of series)
Well-written like all of the books in this series and totally fascinating! Kids will love learning about cool but lesser-known people like Duke, a famous Hawaiian who is known for his dominance of the sport of surfing as well as being an Olympic swimmer. Helpful informational insets give readers background on topics covered in the biography such as how surfboards are made. Love it.
Amelia Bedelia Unleashed by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne AvrilREALISTIC
I’ve been enjoying these updated Amelia chapter books by the original author’s son. In this story, Amelia searches for the perfect puppy in her charming, Amelia Bedelia way.
Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss GlasserMYSTERY
Another enjoyable book in the Nancy Clancy series. In this book, Nancy and her best friend, Bree, decide to play matchmaker for Nancy’s babysitter, Annie, and her guitar teacher, Andy. Funny and fun! BOX SET
Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe’s Wiener Getaway by Max Brallier, illustrated by Rachel Maguire and Nichole Kelley
SCI-FI / HUMOR
If you like non-stop action, potty humor, space adventures, zombie aliens, mutant worm wrestling, a misunderstood evil princess, good friends, video games, and a diabolical, hunting-them-down evil queen, then this series is for you. Plus, it has loads of cartoon illustrations throughout and hilarious writing with a kazillion exclamation marks!!!! (If you like this, you’ll want to read book 2, The Weiner Strikes Back.)
Dying to Meet You (43 Old Cemetery Road) by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
Written in letters, drawings, newspaper articles, and other unique texts, accompanied by illustrations, you’ll find this is a mesmerizing series about an old man named Ignatius B. Grumply and the ghosts that live in his home. Surprisingly not scary and quite punny, this was a favorite series for my 3rd grader.
Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere by Elise Gravel
If you like kooky books, this book fits the bill. Olga finds an unusual, unknown creature whom she names “MEH” after the sound that it makes. She uses her deductive reasoning to figure out what it is (something new!) and what it likes to eat (olives)! But what will she do when Meh disappears? Here’s what I love about this book… One, the illustrations rock! Two, the narrator’s voice is believable and funny. Three, the plot includes mean girls who aren’t so mean after all.
Kristy’s Great Idea Babysitter’s Club #1 by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
REALISTIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL
We’re loving these updated Babysitter’s Club graphic novels by the uber-talented Raina Telegemeier who wrote the highly-acclaimed Smile and Sister. I recommend starting with book one since the stories are told in a specific order with details from previous stories. These are funny and fun to read, maybe even more than once. BOX SET HERE.
Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab by Bob Pflugfleder and Steve Hockensmith
Siblings Nick and Tesla are shipped off to live with their mad-scientist Uncle Newt for the summer while their parents are . . . doing something with soybeans in Uzbekistan. When left to fend for themselves, they discover something very suspicious happening at the old mansion down the street, more than just losing their rocket in that yard. If you like science, technology, and adventure, this is the series for you. (Also read: STEAM and STEM Chapter Books for Kids)
Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
A warm-hearted, sweet story about a Latinx girl who’s an entrepreneur and devoted daughter and granddaughter. When her grandpa (tata) tells Sarai Gonzalez that his rental house is being sold, she determines to help by selling more cupcakes than ever. Even her sisters join in to help and so do her cousins. A darling start to a new series inspired by Sarai’s own life!
Here’s Hank: Bookmarks Are People Too! #1 by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver
Hank’s brain freezes up when he talks to people — and also when he tries out for his class play. That’s why he gets the bookmark role. But, when the lead actor flubs his lines, Hank jumps in to save the play from disaster. I love Hank’s relatable character to whom learning doesn’t come easily
Stick Dog by Tom Watson
Stick Dog is hilarious. Why is he called Stick Dog? Because our author/narrator can’t draw. And also, because he likes sticks. The funny cartoonish illustrations make this story of stray dogs easy to read and very entertaining series for kids.
Beatrice Zinker Upside-Down Thinker by Shelly Johannes
3rd grader Beatrice is a divergent problem solver. So when her best friend Lenny comes back from camp a changed girl and seems to have a new best friend that is NOT Beatrice, Beatrice decides to get her friend back. Kids will be cheering Beatrice on as she tried to figure out how to reconnect with her former best friend. Cute!
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
If you like mythical creatures, independent thinkers, and mysteries, you’ll love this first book in the Pip Bartlett series as much as me. Pip’s world is just like ours except for one significant difference — magical creatures exist and often are pets!
Judy Moody Was in a Mood by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Want to get your kids reading a great series? Try Judy Moody. She’s a relatable third grader with a big personality, an annoying little brother, and humorous antics.
Secrets of the Manor: Claire’s Story, 1910 by Adele Whitby
This is a captivating story about an orphan girl who moves to France to live with friends of her family. She befriends a servant girl and the duo realizes there are mysteries that must be answered — like what happened to the daughter of the manor and why did her parents send her to this family. An excellent first book in a new series for 3rd graders.
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