Blogger Katie Salo

Characters to Grow With!

This summer has been a great journey in reader’s advisory. I’ve seen kids that I first met when they were in kindergarten start reading Harry Potter for the first time. Seventh graders check out their first titles from the YA section. Storytime regulars from just last year snatching up Magic Tree House and Junie B. Jones. You all know what I’m talking about — the kids are growing up and so are their reading tastes.

But how do we make that transition easier for kids who aren’t ready to leave their picture book friends behind? Why, with this list of character books that stretch from picture books up to chapter books, of course!

Picture Books to Readers

  • Pete the Cat by Eric Litwin and James Dean

Picture Books to Chapter Books

  • Arthur by Marc Brown
  • Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

Picture Books to Readers to Chapter Books

  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish and Herman Parish
  • Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor

And let’s not forget our media tie-ins: Diego, Disney, Dora, Scooby Doo, Spongebob, Star Wars.

I know I must be missing lots of titles to add to the list. Why don’t you add them in the comments?

– Katie Salo
Youth Services Manager
Melrose Park Library


  1. Renee

    Picture Books to Readers:
    – Trucktown series by Jon Scieszka
    – Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann
    – Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor (we can’t keep those beginning reader books on our shelves!)
    -Many books by Eric Carle

    I really like how Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr, illustrated by Eric Carle is tranformed into a beginning reader book. Simply by sliding the text so that “I see a red bird looking at me. Red bird Red bird, what do you see?” are all under the picture of the red bird, the young reader is more able to use picture clues to help while reading the text. In the original picture book version of the book, the text “I see a red bird looking at me.” is on the page with the brown bear while the red bird’s page states; “Red bird, red bird what do you see? I see a yellow duck looking at me.” The original format is a classic that is shelved as a picture book but sometimes gets over looked as a great book for kids just starting to read. Now that our library has the beginning reader version that is shelved with the beginning reader books, I think it gets the attention it deserves at all levels.

  2. Ellie

    Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh has a chapter book series, and there are Cam Jansen (Adler) Readers AND chapter books! There are also Rainbow Magic (Daisy Meadows) readers, which I think came after the chapter book series’.

  3. Kelli Phelan

    Picture Books to Chapter Books

    Berenstain Bears by Stan and Jan Berenstain

  4. KathyK

    Here are a couple of our most popular:

    Dr. Seuss – board books, picture books, easy readers, chapter books
    Star Wars – board books, picture books, easy readers, chapter books

    Thanks for this post. It raised my awareness of multi-level, multi-format series.

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