Alvin Ho, chapter book series, books for boys, Lenore Look, Asian chapter books, chapter book, PragmaticMom

Top 10: Best Books by My Son in 1st Grade

Best Books for 1st Grade

I have read my share of mind numbing Rainbow Fairy easy chapter book series. Those chapter books were beloved by my two older daughters but the plot was so predictable and the vocabulary was repetitive that it put me a little over the edge after I was forced to read more than two dozen of them out loud. Still, I was happy to buy them for my girls to encourage them to read.

To examine more closely or purchase at Amazon, please click on image of ANY book.

I was fully prepared to go through a boy version of this with my youngest. When he spent his Christmas money at Barnes and Nobles on the Ninjago easy chapter book series, I expected a mind numbing experience. I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, most of these series were new to me, brought home via school library by my son. Once he was in tears because he wanted either the Dragonbreath book or a Frankie Pickle one but since both were sought after by his classmates, they had to draw numbers and HIS NUMBER WAS ALWAYS THE LOWEST IT’S NOT FAIR MOMMY!!

In extracting this list from my son, I fully expected him to just pick the last 10 books that he’s read. I was surprised by the Marla Frazee Caldecott picture book which we haven’t read in a while. Also by The Lorax which we read as an iPad ebook (still counts in my book!).

But what is the most surprising is how these books make us both laugh and laugh. They are really funny! Ok, maybe not the Ninjago series … that’s more action/adventure, but Dragonbreath, Alvin Ho, Frankie Pickle and Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever are snuggle up and crack up together.

What are your favorite boy books? Please share!


Dragonbreath series by Ursula Vernon

We’ve read three of these hybrid easy chapter book/graphic novels so far and I was surprised to find out how much I enjoy this series. Danny Dragonbreath is funny and the adventures slip some science into the plot which I always enjoy. Danny’s more nerdy, cautious sidekick Wendell is the perfect foil to the more adventurous Danny. There is also a bullying sub-plot that runs throughout each illustrated chapter book.


Frankie Pickle by Eric Wight

Luckily Pickle is not Frankie’s real last name! Phew! This hybrid graphic novel/easy chapter book series is a rosy glass filtered view of the early elementary school year. There’s drama, but nothing traumatic. Judging by the wait list at the library reservations desk, this is one very popular series. We enjoyed the first one about car racing and are still trying to get our hands on the rest.


Ninjago series

Never in a million years would I have guessed that a book series based on rudimentary Lego pieces would be so entertaining. Similar to the Power Rangers in plot and mythical abilities, this series’ characters also have interesting personal mysteries to solve that drive the plots. When my son bought these books, he immediately started reading them IN THE STORE and all the way home in the car! That works for me!


Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look

Because my son is Asian (1/4 Chinese, 1/4 Japanese and 1/2 Korean), I especially like this Asian version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid that my Mom Friend Nathalie introduced me to. Her sons are 1/2 Vietnamese and 1/2 Caucasian which is probably why she zoned in on it. We find these books to be seriously funny, although Alvin Ho’s personality ticks read a tad Asian Nerdy.


Ripley’s Believe it or Not

I forgot how entertaining Ripley’s is … the person with the really, really long nails is still in it too and it still creeps me out!


Guiness Book of World Records 2011 by Craig Glenday

My daughters also loved reading this book. You don’t really need to get the updated version every year either!


Pokemon Black and White Handbook

My son now tells me that all the other, older Pokemon handbooks (we have them all) are not cool at all. This is the only one he likes. The Pokemon in Black and White are all new, but the format is exactly the same.


The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

It was interesting to me that out of all the Dr. Seuss books we have, and we have all the popular ones, this is the one he picked. Thank god! The fate of our planet rests in his generation!


Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Marla Frazee

I have a feeling that Marla Frazee’s son had exactly this week one summer and that she managed to capture the magic of staying at the grandparents on the beach with a best friend in a very comedic way. She should be in stand up! And her sarcasm, which usually flies over the heads of children, is picked up perfectly by young readers to their vast amusement!

To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Follow PragmaticMom’s board Best Graphic Novels on Pinterest.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. I am SO EXCITED that you wrote this post!!! I feel like we are drowning in girls books over here (yes we’ve read the fairy series, Junie B Jones). We’ve read some Magic Tree House as well, but I needed some 100% BOY material. I have a 7 year daughter who reads voraciously, and a 7 year old son who could be convinced to read if the material is good. I can’t wait to get these titles out of our library- this post couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you, thank you, thank you- I am so excited!!
    Becky recently posted…Rainforest ResourcesMy Profile

    • To Becky,
      I am so glad that you liked this list! I will try to post more on boy books because I feel the same way. I’m swimming in girl books since my son has two older sisters and the books the girls like don’t necessarily translate to boys, especially as we head into chapter books.

  2. Ann

    Another great list today!!!

    Very excited about the Ninjago series for my son – loves Lego! Alvin Ho sounds interesting. I’m a little embarrassed that we never read the Lorax so need to get asap.

    A Couple Boys… I actually was so excited when it came out because one of the boys has my son’s name but after skimming I didn’t even read to him because he was too young for – so need to get that out again or maybe click on your link and buy as a keepsake! Thanks for the reminder!

    • To Ann,
      We have the Lorax as an iPad/iPhone ebook app and we use it when I am lazy at night. The Alvin Ho books are great; I need to get a few more of those myself. You will emjoy A Couple of Boys … it’s one of those picture books with sly humor for parents that kids love too!

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge