Whole Parenting Family

Books for 1-3rd graders that we love

My sister and I were talking about books her daughter (2nd grade) and my son (3rd) are really loving and then I thought, I should just do a blog post about them because then I’ll remember them myself! So please tune in at the bottom and tell me what you guys are loving reading in your household at these ages.

I’m using my amazon links so that means if you click through and buy anything I get a sliver. Just so you know.


Mercy Watson. This pig is a family favorite and her adventures are ha-larious.

Anything by Kevin Henkes. Especially the Lilly books. Especially this one.

Great Pie Robbery and other mysteries. A HUGE family favorite.

Millie-Molly-Mandy. Girl adventure power tales from the 1920’s.



Pony Scouts. This early reader (level 2) is kinda a chapter series but it’s also just a really fun one for any horse lovers out there. I can’t find a boxed set so I just am contented to buy them one-off used via ‘zon.

Magic Treehouse, of course.

Freddy the Pig. It’s hilarious and my son wolfed it down. There are tons of them so also grabbing them used.

Narnia. Got a used box set and it’s so sweet.

The Penderwicks. Adventure, kids, all good stuff.

American Adventures. He got the whole set as a gift from my family and every single one was riveting and he loved these. He’s a historical fiction guy.

The Borrowers. These little people are fabulous.

Boxcar Children. We keep getting more and more from our local used bookstore. They’re a fast read and not too scary for the little kids to hear aloud, too. Sweet sibling love and mystery and morals to the story.

Doctor DoLittle. FUNNNYYY like my kid keeps giggling aloud.

Encyclopedia Brown series. HE LOVES THESE.

Redwall/Mossflower Series. Mice, battle, epic.

Tales from Deckawoo Drive. A higher reading level with the Mercy Watson characters–just so so great!!


F A I R Y // F O L K  T A L E S

Six Swans. It’s gorgeous and heartbreaking and redemptive all at once.

The Woodcutter’s Coat. Hilarious and fast moving with a great story and illustrations.


Okay I ran outta steam. Your turn!



  1. Alicia on November 4, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Ooooh! I love a good book list. I asked my girls for favorites.

    Poppy series by Avi
    everything by Beverly Cleary
    The Happy Hollisters series by Jerry West (A family of 5 kids that solves mysteries? Yes, please!)

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 8, 2018 at 5:10 pm


  2. Amy A. on November 4, 2018 at 8:51 pm

    I don’t have kids in this age range but I do have a niece that is the same age as your oldest boy and I love to buy for her. Recent gifts have been Caddie Woodlawn and Sideways Stories from Wayside School. Also, have you read Swallows and Amazons? It’s an older series from the 1930s and is similar to The Penderwicks and Boxcar Children – sibling adventures centered around sailing and camping. Might be a little hard to find but would highly recommend. Happy reading!

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 8, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      LOVE those!!

  3. Melisa on November 5, 2018 at 11:59 am

    Here are some more suggestions that I didn’t see on your list, but we’ve enjoyed for that age level.

    Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (Read Farmer Boy with a full stomach because they talk about food a lot in this book – big farm meals that Almanzo’s mother prepares.)

    Mrs. Piggle Wiggle (the original with illustrations by Hillary Knight) It’s my understanding that they’ve updated this series to include a family that has 2 mothers – just a caveat for those of us not wishing to expose our children to such radical ideas. That’s the only controversial topic I’m aware of in the updated version – though I’d gather there’s probably more. Safest to stick with the original.

    The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

    Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

    Stuart Little by E.B. White

    Homer Price by Robert McCloskey

    The Mouse and the Motorcycle Series by Beverly Cleary (My 8 yr. old son especially enjoyed these.)

    Ben and Me by Robert Lawson (This one is fun; it’s about Benjamin Franklin as told from the perspective of his alleged pet mouse.)

    The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds

    Pippy Longstocking and others by Astrid Lindgren

    some titles by Hilda von Stockum

    Also, don’t discount picture books for this age level. The Ingri and Edgar d’Aulaire books are very ‘meaty’ and enjoyable ways for your children to learn history. Titles include: Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Leif the Lucky, Greek Myths, Buffalo Bill – and others.

    A book that has great book lists (suggestions and recommendations broken down by age level) at the end is A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind by Michael D. O’Brien. I’ve relied heavily on this resource homeschooling our children over the last 15 years.

    Also, if you have children that like comics, try Tin Tin by Herge. My 8 and 13 year olds especially like these.

    Hope that’s helpful!

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 8, 2018 at 5:14 pm


  4. Aileen on November 6, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Thank you for these! Some of them will be good for my two middle grandchildren, girls 8 and 9.

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 8, 2018 at 5:14 pm

      So so glad!

  5. Ashley on November 8, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    This is just what I needed! My first and second grade boys haven’t found much at the library the last couple weeks so we need some inspiration. We also live Kate DiCamillo. Mercy Watson and Decawoo Drive are just the best! Most of what we love has been listed above.

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 8, 2018 at 5:14 pm


  6. Karen Hasler on November 23, 2018 at 3:21 pm

    My daughter loved the Chime Travelers books by Lisa Hendey.

    • Natural Mama Nell on November 27, 2018 at 6:14 pm

      oooh thank you!