What are the best 3rd grade books for summer reading? Here are my chapter book and nonfiction book recommendations for 3rd graders, ages 8 and 9 (third grade), to read during summer vacation– or anytime.
You’ll find the best of funny books, fantasy books, friendship stories, adventure stories, and books about animals. These are excellent books that will get your 3rd grade readers hooked on books all summer long!
I’m a former teacher, parent of two, avid reader, and book reviewer (15 years.) You can trust that I’ve read and reviewed all of these books and that these choices will be interesting to children and appropriate for third-grade readers.
You may be wondering: how old are 3rd graders? The third grade age is usually age 8, turning age 9 sometime during the school year.
These books for 3rd graders in the upper range of chapter books and the lower range of middle grade books. These 3rd grade books are short, illustrated, and about topics 3rd graders can relate to. Those topics and themes include friendship, family, real life, and hard things –like saving the world or solving a mystery!
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This list of 3rd grade books only shows the titles. If you want to read my detailed reviews, visit the best books for 3rd graders. There, you’ll read the book title, the author, the illustrator, the genre, and my review, elaborating on the plot, theme, and why kids will like it.
Make sure the book is at the “just right” reading level with the 5 Finger Test.
For book reviews, visit Best Books for 8-Year Olds Book Reviews.
More summer reading book lists:
3rd Grade Books for Summer Reading (Age 8)
3rd Grade Books: Graphic Novels
Young readers love graphic novels — and they count 100% as real reading with compelling stories and interesting characters and plots. Reluctant readers and all readers use essential reading comprehension skills like inference when reading graphic novels. So if your 3rd graders like graphic novels, pick one of these fantastic 3rd grade books.
- Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody (book series)
- Mr. Wolf’s Class: Mystery Club by Aron Nels Steinke (book series)
- P.I. Butterfly Gone Guppy Case #1 by Karen Kilpatrick (book series)
- First Cat in Space by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Shawn Harris (book series)
- Dragon Kindom of Wrenly: The Coldfire Curse by Jordan Quinn (book series)
- Simon and Chester: Super Detectives by Cale Atkinson (book series)
- Hound Heroes: Beware the Claw by Todd H. Doodler (book series)
- King of the Birds by Elise Gravel (book series)
3rd Grade Books: Funny Books
If your 3rd grade reader likes funny books, they’ll love these hilarious chapter books.
- Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery (book series)
- The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths (book series)
- Bad Kitty Supercat by Nick Bruel (book series)
- Two-Headed Chicken by Tom Angleberger (book series)
- Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey (book series)
- Hamster Princess Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon (book series)
- Real Pigeons Fight Crime by Ben Wood (book series)
- Monday into the Cave of Thieves (Total Mayhem #1) by Ralph Lazar (book series)
3rd Grade Realistic Books
If your early readers in 3rd grade like realistic stories, they’ll love one of these great books:
- Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome (series) by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
- Stella Diaz has Something to Say (series) by Angela Dominguez
- Ellie, Engineer (series) by Jackson Pearce
- Planet Omar (series) by Zanib Mian
- Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business (series) by Lyla Lee
- Stink and the Shark Sleepover (series) by Megan McDonald
- I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863 by Lauren Tarshis
3rd Grade Adventure & Mystery Books
- I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake (series) by Lauren Tarshis
- Trapped in a Video Game (series) by Dustin Brady
- P.I. Butterfly Gone Guppy Case #1 (series) by Karen Kilpatrick
- Mac Undercover (Kid Spy #1) (series) by Mac Barnett
- Secret Agent Jack Stalwart (series) by Elizabeth Singer Hunt
- The Great Shelby Holmes (series) by Elizabeth Eulberg
- Word Travelers and the Taj Mahal Mystery (series) by Raj Haldar
3rd Grade Fantasy and Science Fiction Books
- Dragons in a Bag (series) by Zetta Elliott
- Whatever After (series) by Sarah Mlynowski
- Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures (series) by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
- Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
- Star Wars Jedi Academy (series) by Jeffrey Brown
- A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying (series) by Kelley Armstrong
- Pizazz (series) by Sophy Henn
- Dragons of Ember City: Happy Spark Day (series)by Shane Richardson and Sarah Marino
3rd Grade Books: Animal Books
If your third grader loves animal books, pick from one of these good books:
- Jenny and the Cat Club (series) by Esther Averill
- The Critter Club (series) by Callie Barkley and Marsha Riti
- Love Puppies: Best Friends Furever by JaNay Brown Wood
- Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere by Elise Gravel
- Dolphin Rescue (Animal Planet Adventures #1) (series) by Catherine Nichols
- Who Would Win? Whale vs. Giant Squid by Jerry Pallotta
- What Makes a Monster? Discovering the World’s Scariest Creatures by Jess Keating
- Who Would Win: Ultimate Jungle Rumble by Jerry Pallotta
- Unicorn Academy: Sophia and Rainbow by Julie Skyes
3rd Grade Books: Nonfiction
If your 8-year-old in third grade likes nonfiction books, try these good nonfiction choices for 3rd graders:
- Escape This Book Tombs of Egypt by Bill Doyle
- The Inventors of LEGO Toys by Erin Hagar
- The Toad: The Disgusting Critters Series by Elise Gravel
- Strange But True! Our Weird, Wild, Wonderful World DK
- Rocket to the Moon: Big Ideas That Changed the World by Don Brown
- What If You Had an Animal Nose!? by Sandra Markle
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