(For those of you not in the U.S., third grade is generally 8-year olds.)
24 Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel HUMOR
In a word: Hilarious. We all think Bad Kitty is very naughty. But, oh so funny. These books are addictive to read and fun to reread.
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.)
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon FANTASY
Hysterical! I couldn’t stop laughing! This is fantastic series for 3rd graders about Danny Dragonbreath and the crazy adventures he has with his friends.
Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski FANTASY / HUMOR
Once upon a time, a regular girl and her brother accidentally went into a fairy tale. And messed it all up. (Whoops.) Now they have to fix the story before the ending gets changed. We love all the books in this series!
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara HUMOR
Hysterical and totally believable, right? This is what happens if your goldfish dies and you bring him back to life. But your goldfish becomes a zombie that can mesmerize you with his powerful eyes, making you do anything he wants. Aaaah! Check out The SeqQuel here.
I Survived by Lauren Tarshis HISTORICAL FICTION
The I Survived series are excellent, fast-paced adventures set during significant historical events. Your kids will zip through these short, can’t-put-it-down books. 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 boxed set so your kids can immerse themselves in this series.
Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce HUMOR
We LOVE this series — each book will keep your kids laughing. The funny plots are about Nate’s life at home and school, which 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.
Get to Work, Hercules! (Myth-O-Mania) by Kate McMullan HUMOR MYTH
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. 3rd graders Your kids are going to LOVE these books! My library can’t keep them on the shelves.
Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery INTERACTIVE SCI-FI
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!.
The Year of the Book by Andrea Chang REALISTIC
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.
The Curious Cat Spy Club by Linda Joy Singleton MYSTERY
What a fantastic new book series — my daughter and I devoured this first book. (She’s currently enjoying the 2nd.) Three kids from seemingly different social circles band together to rescue kittens they found in a dumpster — and solve the mystery of who would try to kill the kittens.
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, everyone else started long before him. Roan has ups and downs, as one does at a new school, but finds his place at the school and new friends.
A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author by Ron Roy MYSTERY
The A to Z Mysteries series rocks! 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 that is coming to the bookstore doesn’t show up. Dink and his friends, Josh and Ruth Rose, must find out what happened and where the author is.
Here’s Hank: Bookmarks Are People Too! #1 by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver REALISTIC
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar HUMOR
Old school humor at it’s best! These goofy books describe a wacky school with crazy teachers and even crazier events. Be ready to laugh.
Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan FANTASY
When a traveling minstrel foretells that he is to become a hero, Wiglaf sets out to fulfill his destiny: he signs up at the Dragon Slayers’ Academy. But how can he ever hope to be a dragon slayer when he can’t even stand the sight of blood? Very funny.
Dying to Meet You (43 Old Cemetery Road) by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise MYSTERY
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.
Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab by Science Bob Pflugfleder and Steve Hockensmith MYSTERY
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 soy beans 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.
Ranger in Time #1: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner, illustrated by Kelley McMorris HISTORICAL FICTION
Ranger, a golden retriever trained for search-and-rescue, travels back to the Oregon Trail to help a family in need. It’s a good fictional introduction to the ups and downs of traveling on the Oregon Trail. The Ranger books are all set in different historical event.
The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler MYSTERY
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.
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell REALISTIC / HUMOR
My daughter read this first and begged me to read it immediately. It’s SO funny! And, you can learn some valuable cow trivia. But, it’s mostly the hilarious adventure of two pranksters who eventually work together to pull off the biggest prank of all time — a prank that will ensure they get April Fool’s Day off from school.
Secrets of the Manor: Claire’s Story, 1910 by Adele Whitby HISTORICAL MYSTERY
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 realize 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.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo HUMOR
Mercy lives with Mr. and Mrs. Watson. They feed her buttered toast and take her for drives in their convertible. One night, Mercy gets scared and decides to sleep with Mr. and Mrs. Watson. Can you imagine what happens next? Hilarious and quirky, this is a fun series filled with many amazing adventures.
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon FAIRY TALE
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 tales with a twist series are just as remarkable. You’ll love the quirky humor.
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall HUMOR
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.
See all book recommendations for 8-year olds here.