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62 Exciting Action Books Your Kids Will Love!

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A good action book for kids will keep a child turning the pages until the book ends. As a child, I remember sitting in my bed late at night reading books like Nancy Drew because I just could. not. stop.

The action and suspense in the story drew me in and I couldn’t stop reading until I knew if Nancy and her friends solved the mystery.

Of course, they always solved the problem, but the ride getting there was always worth it.

My own love of action books for kids inspired this fantastic list of books.

Exciting Action Books for Kids that will keep them reading.

Finding Books That Make Reading Fun

If you have reluctant readers, or kids who feel like most books are pretty boring, this list is full of action-packed winners. There’s lots of suspense, cliffhangers and incentive to keep reading in the books listed here.

And this list is great for your kids whether you are homeschooling boys or girls. Most kids love a good action book that keeps them interested.

I’m a firm believer that we just have to help kids connect with the right book – maybe one of these exciting books will help your child become a book lover.

This list includes books for all ages, and many are part of series that will keep kids reading.

62 Exciting Action Books For Kids

Lion of Mars

Lion of Mars

Jennifer L. Holm

Bell is an 11-year-old kid who has spent most of his life on Mars. He enjoys his friends and community but wonders why they must remain so isolated from the other communities on Mars.

When a mysterious virus infects all of the adults in Bell’s community, he and the other kids must determine what to do. Will they turn to the other countries for help or follow the direct orders from Earth command?

>> Lion of Mars Complete Review and Homeschool Study <<


Hardy Boys Tower Treasure

The Tower Treasure
(Hardy Boys series)

Franklin W. Dixon

Like Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys have delighted kids for generations. Yes, they are old-school, but they’re a very similar format, with plenty of cliffhangers that make you want to read just one more chapter.


Percy Jackson and The Lighning Thief

The Lightning Thief
(Percy Jackson series)

Rick Riordan

I was so glad when Percy Jackson came along! I feel like this series introduced kids to a new kind of book – one that they couldn’t wait to finish, but also that left them craving more from the characters.

Rick Riordan has also written other action-packed books and series like:

The Heroes of Olympus
The Kane Chronicles
The Trials of Apollo


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

J. K. Rowling

It took everything in me not to put these books very first on the list. This series is full of action, but what I really love is it’s a series that grows with your reader. 

The first three books are fairly tame, but by book 4, you have some big events and a character’s death, so plan accordingly, especially if you have sensitive kiddos.


Tristan Strong punches a Hole in the Sky

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky

Kwame Mbalia

The first in a series, Tristan Strong is perfect for kids who loved Percy Jackson and need a new read.

Tristan is a middle schooler, pulled into a world populated by West African gods and folk heroes. He doesn’t have superpowers, but he does enjoy punching things. Will Tristan and his pals be able to fix a hole in the sky? And will Tristan make it home?

There is also a graphic novel version.

**Learn more and find discussion ideas for Tristan Strong.


Spy School

Spy School 

Stuart Gibbs

These books are so much fun. One of my kids loved them from age 11-14. 

In this first book in the series, Nerdy Ben wants to be a spy, and get the girl, but can he survive becoming an accidental agent?


Stormbreaker

Stormbreaker (Alex Rider series)

Anthony Horowitz

The first in a series of 13 books (so far), introduces Alex – an orphan who becomes a spy following the suspicious death of his uncle.


Hunger Games

The Hunger Games 

Suzanne Collins

I remember reading this series myself as an adult and being unable to put them down. Recently, one of my kids picked up the series and started it again.

With the release of the new movie, kids might like to head back to the beginning of this series with the first book.

Grab a Hunger Games Book Club guide and have fun celebrating this story!


Maze Runner

The Maze Runner

James Dashner

This is a big book, but warn your kids not to be intimidated. 

The first in a series, this book had a big comeback when the Maze Runner movie was released in 2018.

Older kids will be pulled in immediately by Thomas, who wakes up without memories, but soon learns he must make it out of a massive maze alive.


39 clues

The Maze of Bones (39 Clues series)

Rick Riordan

This series of books written by revolving authors is so much fun, and introduces kids to a lot of writers – maybe they’ll find a new favorite?

And the first book, The Maze of Bones, is written by Percy Jackson author Rick Riordan.


Sal and Gabi break the universe

 Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

Carlos Hernandez

This series of two books so far, are “presented” by Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson author. They feature Sal and Gabi, who travel through time and space. This book has been called “a sci-fi romp with Cuban influence.”


Magic Treehouse Dinosaurs Before Dark

Dinosaurs Before Dark
(the Magic Tree House series)

Mary Pope Osborne

Perfect beginning chapter books, The Magic Tree House series takes kids on adventures through time and helps them learn history.

These books don’t have to be read in order, so have your kiddo pick out one that speaks to them to get started.

Or you can always just start with the first book in the series.


Goldie Vance

Hope Larson

Goldie is a born investigator, and in this first in a series of graphic novels, Goldie teams up with a resort detective to try to crack her first case.

>> More Graphic Novels for Middle School <<


Rangers Apprentice

Ruins of Gorlan
(The Ranger’s Apprentice series)

John Flanagan

This is another hugely popular series. Will is 15, small for his age, and has been chosen to be an apprentice to one of the Rangers whose job it is to protect the kingdom.

Strong female characters shine in this series as well.


The Edge of Extinction

The Ark Plan (The Edge of Extinction series)

Laura Martin

Laura Martin is a treasure. A former teacher, she knew raising readers was all about introducing kids to the right book. 

In the first book in the series, think Jurassic Park – dinosaurs were cloned, but now they are apex predators and humans have been forced underground.

But these two friends need to leave the safety of their compound on a rescue mission.


Last Kids on Earth

The Last Kids on Earth

Max Brallier

Imagine being 13, living in your fortified treehouse, surviving on Oreos and Mountain Dew and fighting zombies.

This series features black and white illustrations and has recently been turned into a series on Apple TV.


Treasure Hunters

Treasure Hunters 

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

The Kidd siblings are familiar with shipwrecks, treasure, pirates, and booty, but when their parents disappear, they embark on the biggest treasure hunt of their lives.


I survived the Sinking of the Titanic

I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
(I Survived series)

Lauren Tarshis

This series is another one that teaches history and helps kids get some serious reading momentum. 

Let your child pick one of the books that appeals to them, and then make sure to have a few more waiting … or start with the first in the series.


Mighty Jack

Mighty Jack

Ben Hatke

This twist on the classic fairy tale, Jack and the Beanstalk, makes for a fantastic adventure. Jack, Maddie (his sister), and Lily form a delightful trio and their magical garden adventures are a ton of fun. The artwork is bright and imaginative and the author uses graphic novel panels creatively.

The Mighty Jack series is considered a Young Adult graphic novel, so parents should consider the content before allowing younger children to read this adventure (there is a brief kiss and some language).

>> Check Out the Mighty Jack Homeschool Study <<


The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant

Nizrana Farook

Chaya, a rebellious daughter of a nobleman can’t help her life as a “Robin Hood.” She is unable to stand aside while the people in her poor village suffer and the riches of the palace are within her thieving grasp.

Unfortunately, when she steals the queen’s jewels from the queen’s bedside table, she sets off a series of life-threatening events, including a messy prison break and a disastrous trek through the jungle with a stolen elephant.

Now it is up to her to clear her name and set things right in the Kingdom by joining the revolution. But will the people consider her a thief or a hero in the end?

>> Check out the Homeschool Study of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant <<


Amari and the Night Brothers

Amari and the Night Brothers

B. B. Alston

Everyone believes her brother is dead, but Amari Peters’ won’t accept this as a fact. Before long she is drawn into an adventure that she is certain involves her missing brother when she is accepted into the Bureau of Supernatural Affairs.

Now she has to compete for a spot against other kids to join the secret magical organization. She is certain that she can discover the true story about her missing brother.


On the Dog (Andrew Lost)

Andrew Lost Book 1: On the Dog

J. C. Greenburg

This silly science-y series is about Andrew and his pal, getting shrunk down to teeny size (think Ant-Man) and their adventures getting lost … on the neighbor’s dog.

This is part one in a series of 18 books, perfect for kids looking for a fun series.


Artemis Fowl book

Artemis Fowl

Eoin Colfer

A millionaire teenage mastermind criminal takes on fairies in the first in this series of eight books. But these are not cutesy Tinkerbell-type fairies, and Artemis might have just begun a battle between species.


Rescue on the Oregon Trial Book

Rescue on the Oregon Trail
(Ranger in Time series)

Kate Messner

Ranger is a search and rescue dog who travels through time. What more do we need than that?

Seriously, though – animal and history lovers alike will devour this series.


Redwall

Redwall

Brian Jacques

Redwall is quietly action-packed, full of anthropomorphic animals and set in medieval times. The audiobooks are winners here – especially if you are looking for a book series to listen to as a family.


the Hobbit Book

The Hobbit

J. R. R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins is comfortable with his Hobbit life, but is reluctantly pulled into a journey to raid a dragon’s treasure.

If want to read this aloud, this version has wonderful illustrations. And the Andy Serkis audio is wonderful as well.


Fellowship of the Ring

The Fellowship of the Ring
(The Lord of the Rings series)

J. R. R. Tolkien

Some people say that the Lord of the Rings series doesn’t count as action, but hey – they made Lord of the Rings LEGO, so I say this series holds up!

The Fellowship of the Ring is the first in a series of three books and introduces us to the factions of good and evil in Middle Earth. 


The Adventures of Tin Tin

The Adventures of Tintin

Hergé

First published in 1929, this series inspired modern-day graphic novels. Tintin is a reporter, and along with his dog Snowy, they help introduce kids to important historical and political events.


The Stone Keeper (Amulet #1)

The Stone Keeper (The Amulet series)

Kazu Kibuishi

Em and Navin are on a mission to save their mom, but to help her, they must travel to a world of giant robots and talking animals.

This book kicks off a series of graphic novels that only get better as they continue.


Zita the Spacegirl Book

Zita the Space Girl

Ben Hatke

Younger kids looking to jump into graphic novels will love this series about Intergalactic hero Zita.

>> Zita the Space Girl Book Review and Discussion Ideas <<


Avatar, The Last Air Bender

Avatar: The Last Airbender
The Promise, Part 1

Michael Dante DiMartino

The Avatar series is hugely popular, but it can be a little confusing where to start. 

This Wikipedia entry breaks it down, but The Promise is a great introduction to the books.


The Parker Inheritance

The Parker Inheritance

Varian Johnson

If your kids are looking for an unputdownable puzzle to solve, the Parker Inheritance is just the ticket.

Clues in an old letter could lead Candice and Brandon to fortune, but first, they’ll learn about their own families’ pasts and plenty of buried secrets.


The Serpents Secret

The Serpent’s Secret

Sayantani DasGupta

Kiranmala is celebrating her 12th birthday when a demon crashes into her house, and her parents disappear.

Could what her parents have been telling her be true – is Kiranmala an Indian princess from another world?


The Terrible Two

The Terrible Two

Mac Barnett and Jory John

Author Mac Barnett is so much fun. In this series of books, two pranksters go to war, and of course, trouble ensues, times two.


Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Book

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl wrote a lot of books for kids, but he was also a spy in World War II. He is an author who knows how to build action and suspense.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is probably his best-known book, but Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator may include even more action.


James and the Giant Peach book

James and the Giant Peach

Roald Dahl

Another fantastic adventure book by Roald Dahl. In this one, a boy and his newly aquiredinsect pals are trapped in a peach. Now this might not sound so perilous, but there is absolutely a reason this book is still a favorite.

This one makes a great read-aloud for mixed ages.


Mac Undercover

Mac Undercover: Mac B., Kid Spy

Mac Barnett

Mac B. (I wonder if this is a reference to the author, Mac Barnett? *wink) needs to help the queen and save the crown jewels.

This chapter book series is hilarious fun and adventure for new readers.


Goosebumps book series

The Goosebumps Series

R. L. Stine

Some kids really love scary books. And that’s OK – as long as they can get to sleep at night.

The Goosebumps series has been adored for a few generations now. If your kids don’t mind a bit of spooky, then this series is a perfect choice.

Definitely use your judgment on this series!


Jumbies book

The Jumbies

Tracey Baptiste

Corinne La Mer claims she isn’t afraid of anything, not even jumbies. She is convinced that jumbies are just made up by parents to frighten their children. Until one night she sees something that might be a jumbie.

Then Corinne runs into a stranger and she knows that strange things are about to happen. She soon learns that she must use ancient magic to save her home.


Lockwood and Co series

The Series: Lockwood and Co.

Jonathan Stroud

Join Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, as they investigate Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. They believe they are ready to handle the dangerous work!

Dive into the first book of this frightfully fun series, The Screaming Staircase, and join the ghost-hunting gang as they defend our world from the most fearsome phantoms!


A Time to Die

A Time to Die
(The Out of Time Series)

Nadine Brandes

Parvin Blackwater is only seventeen years old and she only has one year left to live. She decides to use that time to rescue Radicals from the government’s crooked justice system. 

Unfortunately she is caught and the officials cast her out beyond “The Wall,” but what she is about to learn might just contain the answers she needs.


The Secret of the Old Clock by Nancy Drew

The Secret of the Old Clock
(Nancy Drew Series)

My grandmother read Nancy Drew. My mom read Nancy Drew. I LOVED Nancy Drew, and I have a daughter who loves her too.

The great thing about this series is the mysteries are intense but never gory. Best of all, we know Nancy is going to crack the case every time.


the Mysterious Benedict Society

The Mysterious Benedict Society

Trenton Lee Stewart

This is another big book, but don’t let that fool you. This book is the first in a series that will hook your kids in right away.

Join four unique children on a secret mission as they go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. The only rule is that there are no rules, but it becomes clear that there is more than meets the eye going on at the institute.

This series makes a great read-aloud that even parents won’t want to put down.

>> Host a Mysterious Benedict Society Book Club <<


Timmy Failure book

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Stephan Pastis

This series is so quirky and funny. It contains dry humor that really resonates with some kids.

Here is the test – will your child think it’s funny that Timmy’s polar bear sidekick’s name is Total? That makes his full name, “Total Failure.”

If your kids would dig that kind of joke, definitely order the first few in the series.


The Brixon Brothers

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity
(The Brixton Brothers Series)

Mac Barnett

This series is absolutely charming. With nods to the Hardy Boys and plenty of puns, this series should get more attention.

Your tweens will adore it.

Steve borrows the wrong book from the library and finds himself involved in a treasonous plot that pits him against helicopter-rappelling librarians. Now he is trying to outwit a gaggle of police and stand off against the mysterious Mr. E.


Dragons in a Bag

Dragons in a Bag

Zetta Elliott

Jaxon discovers that his babysitter is a witch and she needs his help delivering baby dragons to a magical world. He has to keep them in the bag and he can not feed them anything sweet.

It doesn’t take long before Jaxon has broken the rules. Will he still be able to save the dragons or will they be stuck in Brooklyn forever?


Max Einstein

Max Einstein: The Genius Experiment

James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

Max Einstein is not your typical genius. She hacks computer systems, builds inventions, and even talks to Alber Einstein…oh wait. Maybe she imagined that last part.

Everything changes when Max is recruited by a mysterious organization!

Your kids will enjoy this first book in a series of Max Einstein adventures.


Nightbooks

Nightbooks

J. A. White

This is a modern spin on the class Scheherazade story as Alex’s must keep the witch Natacha happy with his tales. And while Alex has loved scary stories his whole life, he never wanted to be trapped in one.

He is determined to find a way out before his own tale has a twisted and horrible ending.


House of Robots

House of Robots

James Patterson

Sammy has never fit in and it won’t be easier when his genius mom makes him bring her newest invention to school. Now he has a walking, talking robot attending school with him, and this one thinks he is his brother.

Can Sammy find a way to prove that it is cool to be smart?


Middle School is the Worst

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

James Patterson

In book one of this hilarious series about life in middle school, Rafe Khatchadorian tries to earn points by breaking every oppressive rule in his school’s Code of Conduct.

He continues to earn points for all of his misdeeds, but it starts to catch up with him. He has to decide if winning is really all that matters or if there is more that he needs to face.


Treasure Island

Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson

Kids have always loved action books, even in 1883 when Treasure Island was published. This classic adventure on the high seas has been captivating readers for years.

It’s still bound to be a fun one for your kids!


Time Warp Trio: Kinghts of the Kitchen Table

Time Warp Trio: Knights of the Kitchen Table

Jon Scieszka

Join everyone’s favorite time-traveling trio in their exciting adventures. Filled with humor and adventure, your kids will love this one.


Swiss Family Robinson Book

The Swiss Family Robinson

Johann David Wyss

The Swiss Family Robinson is another classic, but don’t let that deter you. When a family gets shipwrecked on an island, they show creativity and bravery in order to survive.


Robinson Crusoe

Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Defoe

Robinson Crusoe lives a life full of adventure as he escapes many dangers on the high seas. Eventually he is shipwrecked and is the only survivor on the island.

Now he must survive by domesticating the animals and learning to live for a long time on his own.


Around the World in 80 Days

Around the World in 80 Days

Jules Verne

Phileas Fogg has made a wager that he can make it around the world in 80 days and now he is off!

This fantastic book includes adventure, entertainment, and suspense as Phileas Fogg circles the globe with his French valet.


Mouse and the Motorcycle

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Beverly Cleary

This timeless classic is still enjoyed by readers today. In fact, I read this one with my online book club for kids and the students loved it!

The curious mouse, Ralph, lives in a small motel. When he spies a toy motorcycle in Keith’s room, he can’t help but try to ride it. Now he is ready for some adventures but it might be more than he can handle.

>> Mouse and the Motorcycle Book Review and Discussion Ideas <<


Warriors Book One

Warriors: Into the Wild

Erin Hunter

If your kids are in their teens, they may have read this series of books. Erin Hunter knows how to write suspense and your child, especially cat-lovers, will be pulled right in.

Note: Some of the action is intense – beware if your child is sensitive. Maybe wait a little longer than the publisher recommends to introduce this series.


Wings of Fire

The Wings of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy

Tui T. Sutherland

For generations, the dragon tribes of Pyrrhia have been locked in a battle and an end isn’t in sight. The Talons of Peace hope to change that with the help of prophecy which foretold the end of the fight.

The Talons of Peace have gathered five dragonets to fulfill the destinies foretold in the prophecy but these five dragonets are tired of being held captive to a prophecy.

They escape their cave and launch into the world of Pyrrhia and begin to wonder if they can really fulfill this prophecy at all.

NOTE: There is quite a bit of violence in this book and the opening, in particular, is graphic. While the violence is between dragons, it might be too much for sensitive readers.

>> Wings of Fire Book Review and Discussion Ideas <<


Wild Born (Spirit Animals Series)

Brandon Mull

When four children discover they have a rare bond with spirit animals from legend. Now they will band together with one another and their animals to embark on a dangerous quest.


The Capture: Guardians of Ga'Hoole

The Capture:
The Guardians of Ga’Hoole Book 1

Kathryn Lasky

Join the Guardians of Ga’Hoole in this classic hero story as they battle between good and evil. This book is filled with adventure, suspense, and heart.

Evil threatens the tranquil kingdom where the Barn Owls live. Soren, one of the owls, has been captured and now he will need to do something he has never done before in order to escape — fly.


The Unwanteds

The Unwanteds

Lisa McMann

Every year in Quill the thirteen-year-olds are sorted into two categories. The strong and smart Wanteds go to University while the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their death.

Alex and Aaron are twins who are each sorted into different groups. Alex is declared an unwanted and is prepared to accept his deadly fate but he learns that death isn’t what waits for him.

Soon a battle for the safety of the unwanted is pending and the twins will soon face one another again.


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