The Best Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read

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What are the best book series for 3rd graders? Here are good chapter book series that not only are just right for third graders but that they’ll LOVE to read.

(For those of you not in the U.S., third grade is generally 8-year olds.)

–> ALL book recommendations for 8-year-olds (3rd grade) here.

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24 Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author
by Ron Roy
MYSTERY
The A to Z Mysteries books are the best! 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 who is coming to the bookstore doesn’t show up. Dink and his friends Josh and Ruth Rose must find out what happened to the missing author. Box set here.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel
HUMOR
In a word: hilarious. Kids think Bad Kitty is very naughty but, oh so funny. These books are addictive to read and fun to reread. Illustrated with minimal text on every page. Bad Kitty has an attitude. She makes life difficult for her owner, Uncle Murry, puppy, and so on and so forth. Boxed set here.


Zita the Spacegirl
 by Ben Hatke
HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL
The Zita books rock — they’re full of adventure, humor, and fantastic characters!! Zita is an awesome, courageous problem-solving heroine who accidentally gets stuck in space while trying to save her friend from kidnappers and save the universe.

Best Books for 8-Year Olds
Dragonbreath
 by Ursula Vernon
FANTASY
Hysterical! I couldn’t stop laughing! This is a fantastic series for 3rd graders about Danny Dragonbreath and the crazy adventures he has with his friends. Boxed Set HERE.


Who Would Win? Whale vs. Giant Squid
by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Rob Bolster
Teachers say that their students can’t get enough of the Who Would Win? books. This book pits two ocean carnivores against each other. First, you’ll learn facts about a sperm whale, then you’ll learn about the giant squid. Finally, read what happens when these two creatures face-off.  Can you predict who will win? See all the addicting informational books in the Who Would Win series.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski
FANTASY / HUMOR
Once upon a time, a regular girl and her brother accidentally are transported into a fairy tale story. And mess it all up. (Whoops.) Now they have to fix the story before the ending gets changed. My kids and I love all the books in this series!

book series for 4th grade
Dog Man by Dav Pinkey
GRAPHIC NOVEL / HUMOR
Weird. Quirky. Funny. I think all three describe this new graphic novel from the creator of Captain Underpants. In the first story, a police officer and a dog are joined together — the top from the dog, the bottom from the officer to make: Dog Man. Dog Man solves crimes and has adventures, the likes of which will entertain 8-year-old readers for hours.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
Get to Work, Hercules! (Myth-O-Mania) 
by Kate McMullan
HUMOR/MYTHOLOGY
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.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara
HUMOR
Hysterical and totally believable, right? Find out what happens if your goldfish dies and you bring him back to life. Only you messed it up and your goldfish becomes a zombie that can mesmerize you with his powerful eyes, making you do anything he wants. Aaaah!

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
I Survived
 by Lauren Tarshis
HISTORICAL FICTION
Your kids will zip through these short, fast-paced adventures. 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 box set so your kids can immerse themselves in this excellent series.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read third grade book series
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.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read third grade book series
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 tale series with a twist series are just as remarkable. You’ll love the quirky humor.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read third grade book series
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. Boxed Set HERE.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
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 to 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. Box set here.

Siblings Maddie and Atticus can’t figure out who is dumping trash everywhere. And when they rescue a baby dolphin entangled in trash, they know they must get to the bottom of this mystery. Full-color photographs with information about dolphins, marine life, and more add in bonus nonfiction information for readers.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
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!.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
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.

good book series for 3rd graders
Jada Jones Rock Star
by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
REALISTIC / STEM
Jada’s starts the school year hoping to find new friends, hopefully, ones that love rocks like she does. She misses her best friend but feels excited when her class studies geology. Unfortunately, one bossy girl in Jada’s group project makes fun of Jada’s interest in rocks. This is a well-written STEM story that shows the challenges of getting along with others and staying true to yourself. Plus, you’ll like that the main character (of color) is a big science nerd!
Nonfiction Books for 9 Year Olds (4th Grade)
Little Guides to Great Lives Nelson Mandela
by Isabel Thomas, illustrated by Hannah Warren
BIOGRAPHY
This is another new biography series that I highly recommend for elementary-age readers. Written like a narrative story, these little books are fast-paced and informative. This particular title is about one of the world’s most admired activists and leaders, Nelson Mandela. Little Guides to Great Lives series contain perfect text to picture ratio, captivating illustrations, informative content, and just-right pacing. Plus, they’re very well-written.

book series for 3rd graders
Franny K. Stein
 
by Jim Benton
HUMOR / SCI-FI
Franny is not a normal kid but a mad scientist. We love these stories that are wacky and laugh-out-loud funny sharing the many unfortunate antics of Franny.

funny hilarious chapter books for children
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of a Dare
 by Herobrine Books
SCI-FI
Short sentences with witty observations on life from the perspective of a Minecraft zombie will crack you up. These diaries are entertaining, funny reads. Nothing scary and perfect for any Minecraft enthusiasts. 

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
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 because the other kids started long before he did. Roan has ups and downs, as one does at a new school, but finds his place at the school with new friends.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
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.

Best Book Series for 3rd graders
Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute 
by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
HUMOR
If you haven’t read these addictive and hilarious graphic novels, they are a must for anyone who has eaten lunch at school. BOX SET

best books for 8 year olds 3rd grade
Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Eliazbet Vukovic
REALISTIC
Jasmine is so jealous that the older kids in her family have important jobs on the mochi making day — she wants to do what the older boys and men are doing, pound the mochi rice. Her understanding father figures out a way for Jasmine to join in. And even though it didn’t work out how she wanted, her family is proud of her and decide it’s okay to break some rules like who gets to pound the rice. Not only is the story’s message sweet, Jasmine’s Japanese-American culture and warm family community shine through.

The Story of Olympic Swimmer Duke Kahanamoku
by Ellie Crowe, illustrated by Richard Waldep (The Story Of series)
BIOGRAPHY
Well-written like all of the books in this series and totally fascinating! Kids will love learning about cool but lesser-known people like Duke, a famous Hawaiian who is known for his dominance of the sport of surfing as well as being an Olympic swimmer. Helpful informational insets give readers background on topics covered in the biography such as how surfboards are made. Love it.

best book series for 8-year olds (third graders)
Amelia Bedelia Unleashed 
by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril
REALISTIC
I’ve been enjoying these updated Amelia chapter books by the original author’s son. In this story, Amelia searches for the perfect puppy in her charming, Amelia Bedelia way.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read
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.)

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read third grade book series
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.

If you like kooky books, this book fits the bill. Olga finds an unusual, unknown creature whom she names “MEH” after the sound that it makes. She uses her deductive reasoning to figure out what it is (something new!) and what it likes to eat (olives)! But what will she do when Meh disappears? Here’s what I love about this book… One, the illustrations rock! Two, the narrator’s voice is believable and funny. Three, the plot includes mean girls who aren’t so mean after all.

books for 8 year olds
Kristy’s Great Idea Babysitter’s Club #1
 by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
REALISTIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Lexile IG350, DRA 34 Guided Reading O
We’re loving these updated Babysitter’s Club graphic novels by the uber-talented Raina Telegemeier who wrote the highly-acclaimed Smile and Sister. I recommend starting with book one since the stories are told in a specific order with details from previous stories. These are funny and fun to read, maybe even more than once. BOX SET HERE.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read third grade book series
Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab
 by Bob Pflugfleder and Steve Hockensmith
MYSTERY/STEM
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 soybeans 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. (Also read: STEAM and STEM Chapter Books for Kids)


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 a different historical event.

Book Series 3rd Graders Love to Read third grade book series
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.

Stick dog
Stick Dog
by Tom Watson
HUMOR
700L, DRA 38, Guided Reading P
Stick Dog is hilarious. Why is he called Stick Dog? Because our author/narrator can’t draw. And also, because he likes sticks. The funny cartoonish illustrations make this story of stray dogs easy to read and very entertaining series for kids.

good books in series for 3rd grade
Beatrice Zinker Upside-Down Thinker
 by Shelly Johannes
REALISTIC
3rd grader Beatrice is a divergent problem solver. So when her best friend Lenny comes back from camp a changed girl and seems to have a new best friend that is NOT Beatrice, Beatrice decides to get her friend back. Kids will be cheering Beatrice on as she tried to figure out how to reconnect with her former best friend. Cute!
Notable Chapter Books for Summer Reading
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures
 by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
FANTASY
690L
If you like mythical creatures, independent thinkers, and mysteries, you’ll love this first book in the Pip Bartlett series as much as me. Pip’s world is just like ours except for one significant difference — magical creatures exist and often are pets!

book series for 3rd grade
Judy Moody Was in a Mood
by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
REALISTIC
Want to get your kids reading a great series? Try Judy Moody. She’s a relatable third grader with a big personality, an annoying little brother, and a humorous antics.



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 realizes 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.

good book series for 3rd graders

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7 Responses

  1. My daughter loves to read and is in third grade! In school, they are tested by AR level and have a goal they have to meet. She is also very competitive and wants to get the highest score each time. Problem is she doesn’t like Harry Potter or science fiction type books. The girls that won last time read Harry Potter books which are worth 29 points or more and they are also on a 6th grade level or higher. No one is really suppose to read higher than their AR level and hers is 5.5 (5th grade 5th month) and she is the top reader in her grade. Anyways, i was just wondering if you knew any books that might be good for her to read that would be worth a lot of points, but not too mature for her.

    1. I’m dislike AR for a variety of reasons so I am not familiar with the # of points for books. That being said, you might check these titles as they would be around 5th grade level and still appropriate.
      Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs
      The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
      Escape from Mr. Lemonchello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
      The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
      Nooks and Crannies by Jessica LawsonJackie Ha-Ha by James Patterson
      All Four Stars by Tara Dairman

    2. I too am not a fan of AR because it seems to push competition and not a love for books. That being said, a lot of the classics have more points since they use harder words. Little Women if I remember correctly had like 50 points. I started reading it to my daughter when she was in 2nd grade and she ended up finishing it herself and passing the AR test.

  2. Thank you for all these great titles! Enticing selections for girls or boys. And since they are series, it’s like you recommended dozens of books in this post. I’m maxing out the holds on our library cards. 🙂

  3. Thanks SO much for or including CURIOUS CAT SPY CLUB on this wonderful list! I admire so many of the other series included. I feel very honored!

    A 5th book, DOG-GONE DANGER, comes out in March. And a box set of the first 3 books comes out Oct. 1st. Anyone who contacts me (via website link) will get a free spy kid activity packet. Again, thanks!!!!

    Linda Joy Singleton

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    Hi! I’m Melissa Taylor, mom, writer, & former elementary teacher & literacy trainer. I love sharing good books & fun learning resources.

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