Are you looking for the best chapter books for 3rd graders, 8-year-old boys and girls? I can help you find good books that are at their maturity and reading level and your children will love. This list shares my top recommended books with reviews so you can read more about them. Plus, you can download the most popular books on this list.
I’ve read all the books on this list and update the list every month. Using my background as a teacher, parent, and book reviewer with a Masters in Education, I only recommend excellent books that are on grade level and age-appropriate. Books that kids will love!
Top 11 Books for 3rd Grade Boys and Girls
- Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey (graphic novel)
- A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author by Ron Roy
- Dog Man by Dav Pinkey
- Dragon Kindom of Wrenly by Jordan Quinn (graphic novel)
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Jada Jones Rock Star by Kelly Starling Lyons
- The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey
- Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke (graphic novel)
- Love Puppies: Best Friends Furever by JaNay Brown Wood
- Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody (graphic novel)
- Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst
Kids still need to be read to and hear as much story and vocabulary as possible. This is a great way to spend time together and to read more difficult books. If a book is too tricky, and your child REALLY wants to read, use it for a read aloud at bedtime.
What are the best read aloud books for 3rd graders?
Of course, any book from this list that you read to a child is positive! Here is a list of my favorite read aloud book titles for 3rd grade.
Here are some tips for making the most of your read aloud time with your children or students. Yes, these tips apply to parents, grandparents, librarians, and teachers!
Want a free pdf download of the most popular books for 3rd graders? Sign up below.
Are you specifically looking for wholesome books? Try these lists:
Best Chapter Books for 3rd Graders (8 year olds)
Cat Kid Comic Club by Dav Pilkey
GRAPHIC NOVEL / HUMOR
A hilarious book about encouraging kids to write their own comics! Cat Kid teaches a class for the tadpoles about writing comic books…which doesn’t go well until the tadpoles get excited about failure sparking lots of writing and drawing. If you like a lot of silliness (including potty humor) with great messages about writing, creativity, and persistence, read this book next.
Two-Headed Chicken by Tom Angleberger
Hilarious!! If you like wacky, bizarre humor then this is your next favorite read. This is a story about the multiverse in which you are a two-headed chicken being chased by a moose…and it’s laugh-out-loud funny. Follow the two-headed chicken through the multiverse, take funny quizzes, meet a fish with deep feelings as well as a lawyer, and learn about so much more!
A to Z Mysteries: The Absent Author by Ron Roy
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 and several more than once. In this story, the famous writer coming to the bookstore doesn’t show up. Dink and his friends, Josh and Ruth Rose, must find out what happened. BOXED SET
P.I. Butterfly Gone Guppy Case #1 by Karen Kilpatrick, illustrated by German Blanco
MYSTERY GRAPHIC NOVEL
Fabulous, funny, and entertaining! P.I Butterfly is a girl who loves butterflies and mysteries. When she discovers that the family guppy is missing from the fish bowl, she’s determined to discover what happened. But who did it? Was it her sister? Her mother? Her cat? She searches for clues and interviews suspects. She puts together the evidence, follows the trail of clues, and tries to get a confession–and with hard work and persistence, solves the case! Not only is this a delightful story, but it’s also filled with problem-solving, critical thinking, and deductive reasoning.
Dragons in a Bag by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Geneva B
When Jax’s mom drops him off with an irascible old lady named Ma, he learns that she helps magical animals travel between worlds like three baby dragons. After a mishap, Jax must rescue Ma from the past and deliver the dragons to a magical world. Besides finding the transporter, he needs to find the missing dragon that was stolen by his best friend’s little sister. (Cliffhanger warning for book 1 and book 3– which I didn’t like.)
Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
SCI- FI (series!)
Calling all Star Wars fans! Engaging from the first page, this is a relatable 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 he finds his place at the school and new friends. Highly recommended!
Who Would Win? Whale vs. Giant Squid by Jerry Pallotta, illustrated by Rob Bolster
3rd grade teachers tell me that their students can’t get enough of the Who Would Win? books. (Which just proves that reading comprehension happens in a little harder books if students are motivated!) In this book pitting two ocean carnivores against each other, you’ll learn facts about the sperm whale and the giant squid then read an imagined story where these two creatures face off. Can you predict who will win? See all the informational books in the Who Would Win series.
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
FANTASY / GRAPHIC NOVEL
This popular graphic novel series is about two siblings trying to save their mom, who was taken to an underground world of elves, demons, robots, and talking animals. Beautiful artwork with compelling characters and an adventurous plot make this a very popular hit with young readers.
Dog Man by Dav Pinkey
GRAPHIC NOVEL / FUNNY
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.
ALSO READ: Books Like Dog Man
Kristy’s Great Idea Babysitter’s Club #1 by Ann M. Martin, illustrated by Raina Telgemeier
REALISTIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL
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.
I Survived by Lauren Tarshis
HISTORICAL FICTION / ADVENTURE
Wow — these are excellent, fast-paced adventures set during significant historical events. Your kids will zip through the adventures while learning about history. The books are always about a young person trying to survive the book’s historically important, life-changing events such as Pompeii, the Titanic, Pearl Harbor, or the Battle of Gettysburg.
Planet Omar by Zanib Mian
One of the best things about Omar is his HUGE imagination! In fact, he faces his new experiences in life with a rich, creative mind filled with dragons, Ferraris, and zombie aliens. He uses his imagination to deal with moving, starting a new school, making friends, and dealing with racism. I love the playful writing, whimsical illustrations, and rich Pakistani-American culture in this beginning chapter book.
Dragon Kindom of Wrenly: The Coldfire Curse by Jordan Quinn
Book one launches the series with a bang! When Cinder’s father crashes, it’s clear that he’s sick from the dreaded “cold curse” so Cinder must ask the king for help. Cinder flies to the castle of the human king and meets a red dragon named Ruskin, the pet of the human king. Cinder, Ruskin, and Groth travel to the fairies in order to get the ingredients to cure the curse. But the witch-dragon is NOT pleased with their success. A fast-paced and excellent story with a hook that will keep you reading the series!
Squirlish: The Girl in the Tree by Ellen Potter, illustrations by Sara Cristofori
FAMILY / FRIENDSHIP
When a squirrel named Shakespeare finds baby Cordelia, he raises her in his Central Park tree. Now at age 8, Cordelia leaves the safety of their park home to chase a nut-thieving squirrel…and gets lost! Sweet Cordelia’s attempts to make friends go drastically wrong when she behaves like a squirrel–chasing and chittering. Soon Cordelia knows it’s time to go home. But can the city squirrels show her how to get there? And could she ever make a friend with another human?
Stick Dog by Tom Watson
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.
Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon
Talk about a HILARIOUS remix of Sleeping Beauty! In this (much better) retelling, the princess realizes she can’t die until she’s 18 so she concludes that she must be INVINCIBLE and acts accordingly. My daughter loved these stories for many years of elementary school.
Olga and the Smelly Thing From Nowhere by Elise Gravel
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?
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Opal’s preacher father is always too busy, and her mother has been gone since Opal was three, something Opal has always wondered about. But Opal finds someone to care for, a stray dog that she names Winn-Dixie, and that dog brings hope and meaning into 10-year-old Opal’s life. Brilliant, heart-warming storytelling.
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Hysterical! I couldn’t stop laughing! It’s a fantastic read for 8-year-olds. Danny Dragonbreath is a dragon without dragon fire and good friends who make his life more…complicated but interesting.
Jada Jones Rock Star by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
REALISTIC / STEM
Jada starts the school year hoping to find new friends, hopefully, ones that love rocks as 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. (Perfect for 3rd grade.)
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo
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 silly series filled with the many amazing adventures of a pampered pig named Mercy.
The Bad Guys #1 by Aaron Blabey
Bad Guys is a hysterical book and a favorite series for many boys especially. Mr. Wolf invites other bad guys to a meeting with hopes they will join him in being good. Lots of drawings and minimal text make this a sure bet for beginning readers who like irony and humor. (Note: If you don’t like potty humor, this is not the book series for you.)
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
FANTASY / 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.
Zoey and Sassafras Dragons and Marshmallows #1 by Asia Citro, illustrated by Marion Lindsay
SCIENCE & FANTASY
This is an entertaining story with the coolest mix of science and magic, a diverse main character, and fantastic illustrations that will get kids reading and learning. Zoey, like her mom, can see magical creatures and is tasked to care for any injured creatures that might need help. In this story, she uses her science skills (including research and the scientific method) to figure out how to care for a sick baby dragon.
Ninja Kid: From Nerd to Ninja by Anh Do
Nelson is a nerdy and likable main character who wakes up on his 10th birthday with perfect vision and… ninja moves! His mum and grandma explain that like his missing fisherman dad before him, Nelson is the last ninja in the world — and he’s destined to save the world. He immediately gets to use his powers for good on a field trip when ginormous evil spiders attack the group of kids.
Ada Lace is On the Case by Emily Calandrelli with Tamson Weston, illustrated by Renee Kurilla
MYSTERY / STEM
Ada moves to a new neighborhood where she observes everything that happens out her window. She and a new friend notice a distraught neighbor whose dog is missing, and they determine to solve the mystery. Along with another neighbor boy, they use science and technology to solve the mystery of the missing dog. ADDED TO: STEAM and STEM Science Books for Kids
Mythics: Marina and the Kraken written by Lauren Magaziner, illustrated by Mirelle Ortega
What an exciting start to what is sure to be a smash-hit series of adventure, girl power, and mythical creatures! When Marina doesn’t get matched with a familiar like the other kids, she and four other 10-year-old girls discover their familiars aren’t everyday animals but mythical creatures, and together, they’re destined to save Terrafamiliar. As they evade their pursuer, Marina discovers that her familiar is a kraken– a kraken who accidentally capsizes their ship. Now, she and her kraken must save her friends from drowning and escape the sinister lady.
Word Travelers and the Taj Mahal Mystery by Raj Haldar, illustrated by Nehra Rawat
MYSTERY / ADVENTURE
Best friends Eddie and MJ open a book about words, and they’re magically transported to India. There, they help a boy solve the clues to find his family’s missing fortune before a bad guy gets it. As they solve the clues, they learn more words with Indian roots — many are from Hindi, like bangle and bungalow, and others are from Sanskrit, like the words jackal and jungle.
Trapped in a Video Game by Dustin Brady, illustrated by Brady Jessee
Gamers and non-gamers alike who love exciting and dangerous stories won’t want to miss this excellent action-packed series. Jesse’s friend gets an early release of a video game — and it sucks both boys into the game. Inside the game, they meet a classmate who has been missing for weeks and is now a grown-up man in the game. They’re all trapped with no escape possible.
Ivy Lost and Found by Cynthia Lord, illustrated by Stephanie Graegin
In this heartwarming story about the life of an old doll who gets a new life as a book buddy, Ivy is donated to the Book Buddy’s shelf at the library. A lonely girl named Fern borrows Ivy. Fern needs a friend like Ivy because she feels so many different feelings about her dad’s new family. Then, when Ivy gets left outside in the rain, she has a surprise adventure of her own and makes friends with two other Book Buddies. Eventually, Fern feels better about her new blended family and returns her to the library.
Jop and Blip Wanna Know #1 by Jim Benton
STEM / FUNNY
If you like kooky stories, playful characters, and random facts, this beginning graphic novel for ages 6 to 10 is a hilarious and informative reading experience. Jop and Blip ponder topics like farts, words that begin with silent letters, perspective, dragons, and more — and as they discuss, you’ll learn a thing or ten.
Love Puppies: Best Friends Furever by JaNay Brown Wood
The magical Crystal Bone calls the pups to help a lonely girl named Meiko. Unfortunately, the Love Puppies plan turns to disaster. How will the puppies accomplish their mission? Warmhearted and sweet, you’ll love these caring puppies and the kids they help. I know this book series will be a hit 3rd graders!
Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers by John Dougherty
Hilarious — and weird and kooky and very creative! Stinkbomb and his sister, Ketchup-Face think that the badgers (“BAD” is in their name!) stole Stinkbomb’s $20. They embark on the craziest of adventures to get back the $20, including meeting King Toothbrush Weasel who they’ll help to rid the island of the badgers. If you like silly stories, this book is for you!
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
One of the most popular book series ever, The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, shares the hilarious story of Greg in his own words and drawings. Life in middle school is not easy. And Greg is here to prove it! One thing you’ll notice about these books is that kids will read them more than once, which is great if you have them all. (hint, hint)
Unicorn Academy: Sophia and Rainbow by Julie Skyes, illustrated by Lucy Truman
Well-written and charming, this unicorn book series is sure to entice many young readers. In this story, Sophia arrives at Unicorn Academy and is paired with the lovely Rainbow. But she feels guilty for making a new friend and leaving her best pony, Clover, back at home. On top of that, the unicorns’ magic is wonky because the lake is being poisoned. When someone accuses Sophia, she and her new friends decide to investigate.
Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski
FANTASY BOOK / HUMOR
Once upon a time, a regular girl and her brother accidentally go into a fairy tale. And mess it all up. (Whoops.) We love all the books in this series — they’re very clever and entertaining! BOX SET
Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe’s Wiener Getaway by Max Brallier, illustrated by Rachel Maguire and Nichole Kelley
Non-stop action and danger, 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. Not to mention, loads of cartoon illustrations and hilarious writing with a gazillion exclamation marks!!!!
More Good Books for 3rd Graders
The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne
HISTORICAL FICTION MYSTERY
A MUST-READ series for all kids! These stories combine mystery, history, magic, and adventure as siblings Jack and Annie adventure through time. If you love The Magic Tree House series, you’ll also like these books.
The Magical Reality of Nadia by Bassem Youssef and Catherine R. Daly, illustrated by Douglas Holgate
Funny, entertaining, and filled with important themes of friendship, growing up, and racism, this is one of my new favorite books! Nadia unexpectedly discovers an ancient Egyptian teacher (Titi) trapped in her hippo amulet. He comes out onto a paper and TALKS! Tita helps Nadia with problems she faces at school, including the new kid who is prejudiced about her Egyptian culture and friendship troubles.
Amelia Bedelia Means Business by Herman Parish, illustrated by Lynne Avril
I’ve been enjoying these updated Amelia chapter books by the original author’s son. In this silly story, Amelia looks for ways to earn money for a new bicycle. BOX SET
Dragon Girls: Azmina the Gold Glitter Dragon by Maddy Mara
Three girls learn that they’re Glitter Dragon Girls and with magic, teamwork, and turning into dragons, they must protect the forest from the Shadow Sprites. Together, they embark on a quest like no other — in their dragon forms. They must problem solve and figure out how to work together. A solid start in a new series.
Cat Ninja by Matthew Cody, illustrated by Yehudi Mercado
GRAPHIC NOVEL / SUPERHERO
By day Claude is Leon’s pet but by night, he’s Cat Ninja, Metro City’s protector! His nemesis is Leon’s sister’s evil hamster, Master Hamster. Learn the Cat Ninja’s origin story then follow his perilous, exciting, and humorous adventures!
Monday into the Cave of Thieves (Total Mayhem #1) by Ralph Lazar
ADVENTURE / ILLUSTRATED
Wild and quirky, this un-put-downable adventure filled with illustrations is perfect for you if you like good vs. evil adventures where kid power saves the day! Dash Candoo’s Monday is one crazy adventure after another with Devil Cat attacks, a quadcycle pursuit, a math class secret tunnel, stolen perfume, and so much more. I’m a big fan of this exciting, readable new chapter book and look forward to more books in the entertaining new series. (P.S. And it’s funny with zero potty humor!)
BUGS! Animal Planet Amazing Animal Facts Chapter Books by James Buckley, Jr.
SCIENCE / STEM
Highly interesting books in full color with photographs, illustrations, and kid-friendly design! I’m impressed with the way this book series delivers factual information without dumbing it down or making it too difficult to read. Amazing Animal Facts Chapter Books give 8-year-olds a science chapter book series they’ll love. ADDED TO: STEM Science Books for Kids
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Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
REALISTIC / HISTORICAL FICTION / BOOKS ABOUT DOGS
From his beginnings as a maltreated German police dog (sensitive reader alert!) to subsequent adoption and new life as a beloved movie star, this suspenseful story is filled with both love and hope along with false accusations and jail time. Readers will zip through this heart-warming story and dog lovers will be extra impressed with this German Shepard’s incredible true story. Fantastic black-and-white illustrations throughout.
Dolphin Girl Trouble in Pizza Paradise by Zach Smith
This hilarious story is about the weird and ridiculous antics of an unusual superhero, bizarre villains, and the Pizza Paradise restaurant. Dolphin girl uses her echolocation to learn Sea Cow’s evil plot. She recruits her friend Keith who becomes Otter Boy to help her thwart Sea Cow’s nefarious plan to turn Pizza Paradise customers into zombies and take over the restaurant. Gasp! So evil. What a silly adventure!
Stink and the Shark Sleepover by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Kids love the Stink stories because they’re so relatable. In this story, Stink gets to sleepover at the aquarium. While he’s there, he learns more about sharks, gets to solve a mystery, learns a ghost story, and has tons of fun.
Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall
ADVENTURE / HUMOR
Get ready to laugh along with these charming young friends who are always involved in funny situations and problems. It’s a fantastic series about two girls with unique personalities.
Princess Evie by Sarah Kilbridge
Before Princess Evie starts a new class at school, she and her magical pony, Willow, and cat, Sparkles, help the fairies on their first day of school. She partners with a new friend to rescue a baby hedgehog. Kids will love the combination of horses, magic, and friendship in a wonderful adventure story.
Notebook of Doom by Troy Cummings
A kid-favorite series that you’ll also love! Alexander discovers his new town is FILLED WITH MONSTERS! And, he’s right in the middle of everything, especially after he finds an old notebook of drawings and facts about monsters. Fun with an edge of scary.
Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun by Hena Khan
A new girl named Naomi moves across the street from Zara but Zara doesn’t like that Naomi’s ideas for fun seem to be more popular than hers. Then, when Zara starts her Guinness Book record-breaking hula-hooping, Naomi copies her by doing her own baking record-breaking! Luckily, Zara realizes they both can have good ideas and they become good friends.
Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Sam Ricks
Sam isn’t thrilled about becoming a hall monitor. Especially when he discovers that the school is ALIVE and trying to harm the students. Sam has quite a wild adventure trying to save the students from the school. I think kids who like sort of scary things (it’s not too bad) will enjoy this book.
Fancy Nancy: Nancy Clancy, Secret Admirer by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser
Another enjoyable book in the Nancy Clancy series. In this book, Nancy and her best friend, Bree, decide to play matchmaker for Nancy’s babysitter, Annie, and her guitar teacher, Andy. Funny and fun! BOX SET
Lily and the Great Quake: A San Francisco Earthquake Survival Story by Veeda Bybee
In the early 1900s in San Francisco, California if you were of Chinese descent, it was illegal to live anywhere else except for Chinatown. When a huge earthquake hits California, its destruction caused fires to burn Chinatown to the ground. The earthquake’s destruction forces young Lily and her family to leave Chinatown for Oakland amidst the chaos. Throughout her story of life in Chinatown and evacuating during the fires, we see the prejudice she faces due to her looks and culture.
Tâpwê lives on the Cree reserve with his Kohkom who gives him a magical hat made of bluebirds and snakes who come to life. He takes it to his cousins’ house for a visit. They welcome him with kindness and advice to watch out for trickster Wapos (rabbit). Tâpwê plays with Wapos who he wants to emulate and loses himself and his hat’s magic. Once he realizes his mistake, Tâpwê feels regretful. This regret brings him back to himself and the hat’s magic returns.
Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell
I really loved this verse story told in first-person from Eleanor’s point of view. It’s about the friendship challenges when Eleanor gets jealous of a new girl she thinks her best friend Pearl might like better than her.
Here’s Hank: Bookmarks Are People Too! #1 by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver
Hank’s brain freezes up when he talks to people — and also when he tries out for his class play. That’s why he gets the bookmark role. But, when the lead actor flubs his lines, Hank jumps in to save the play from disaster. I love Hank’s relatable character to whom learning doesn’t come easily.
Pip Bartlett’s Guide to Magical Creatures by Jackson Pearce and Maggie Stiefvater
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!
Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
SCI-FI / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Hilo can’t remember what happened to him before D.J. finds him crashed on Earth. Hilo does remember an evil monster robot that has followed him to Earth. This ends on a cliffhanger but is worth it — it’s a great page-turning adventure!
White Fur Flying by Patricia MacLachlan
Zoe’s family rescues dogs in need. A new family has moved in across the street and Phillip, the boy, has stopped speaking. He doesn’t even want to try. But Zoe’s new rescue dog might just help the boy heal and speak.
The Story of Environmentalist Wangari Maathai by Jen Johnson, illustrated by Wellington Sadler
Absolutely inspiring with beautiful African-inspired illustrations, this exceptional narrative biography story is about a woman named Wangari who studied biology in her native Kenya and later in the United States. When she returned to Kenya, she realized that the deforestation was ruining farmer’s ability to grow crops so she started a tree-planting movement. Facing lots of opposition, Wangari was arrested and jailed. Once released, she continued her work of planting trees and eventually won the Nobel Peace Prize. Helpful informational insets detail facts about deforestation, school in Kenya, and more.
Catnapped! Puppy Pirates by Erin Soderbergh
Calling all dog lovers! Read about the most awesome pirate puppies who, due to an unfortunate prank, are now prisoners on the pirate kitten’s ship –with no escape. This is a charming and funny rollicking adventure and #3 in the new Puppy Pirate series. See also: Puppy Pirates #1 Stowaway and Puppy Pirates #2 x Marks the Spot.
Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay
I loved this story of how Lulu and her cousin help their neighbor Arthur learn to love and care for his rabbit. She does this by writing George the rabbit notes and giving him gifts — not from her but from her pet rabbit named Thumper.
Geronimo Stilton #1 Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
Geronimo Stilton is a newspaper writer/adventurist. These books share his adventures written in interesting fonts and colorful illustrations. I personally find the design of the books distracting as did my kids but for many kids, the style adds to the engagement and entertainment factor of the reading experience.
The Bailey School Kids Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots by Pear Low based on the novel by Marcia Thronton Jones and Debbie Dadey
A quick and easy-to-read story with great pacing, and suspense but isn’t scary! After the misbehaving kids ran off the last teacher, the new teacher sees worrisome– because the kids are sure she’s a zombie. Why do they think this? She dresses and the coffin in her basement. Eddie is scared but continues to behave badly until Mrs. Jeepers pulls him out of class and puts a stop to his bad behavior once and for all.
Mango and Bambang The Not-a-Pig by Clara Vulliamy
Mango rescues Bambang, an Asian tapir, from a busy street and the two become best friends. Together they find adventures, learn more about each other, and teach people that Bambang Is. Not. A. Pig. Four sweet stories of friendship and fun.
You’re Amazing, Anna Hibiscus! by Atinuke
REALISTIC / AFRICAN CULTURE
Reading this book transports one into the lively, family-filled world of amazing Anna who lives in Africa. Written in a series of vignettes, we read how Anna keeps getting into trouble for her twin little brother’s mischief, about her beloved grandfather’s passing, and how Anna helps everyone remember her grandfather. It’s a lovely book filled with charm, personality, and a strong sense of place.
Beatrice Zinker Upside-Down Thinker by Shelly Johannes
Beatrice is a divergent problem solver. When her best friend Lenny comes back from camp a changed girl, she seems to have a new best friend that is NOT Beatrice. Kids will be cheering Beatrice on as she tried to figure out how to reconnect with her best friend. Cute!
Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Lane Smith
Lulu is a demanding daughter, and she WANTS a pet dinosaur. Will she learn her valuable lesson about. not being snotty in this hysterical story? You’ll laugh through this one, I promise!
Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
In the sweetest story of friendship, 10-year-old Livy meets Bob, a green zombie-looking monster wearing a chicken costume who is living in the closet at her grandma’s house. He’s actually been waiting for Lizy to return for the last 5 years. The weird thing? Livy can’t remember him at all. Even when she leaves the house for an errand, she forgets about Bob. But she’s determined to help Bob find his way back home. Wherever that may be.
If the Magic Fits (100 Dresses) by Susan Maupin Schmid
Darling Dimple is thrilled to be moved from a kitchen scrubber to an upstairs dress presser for the princess. One day, she discovers a special closet of enchanted dresses. When Darling suspects a plot against the princess she uses dress magic to help her investigate. Who is trying to free the dragons? Who wants to take over the kingdom? This lovable heroine and the charming magical plot will enchant readers.
Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce
We LOVE this hilarious series about Nate’s life at home, school, and sports. Some, like this one, are written in a combo of text and comics while others are graphic novels such as Big Nate Welcome to My World. BOX SET
Danger on the Reef by Jake Maddox
What an exciting adventure with great pacing. Jasmine and Arjun are siblings with scientist parents who are helping explore and clean up a coral reef. Arjun misbehaves while diving, putting himself and his sister in danger from a shark. It’s up to Jasmine to save his life and help him do better. In addition to a great adventure, you’ll also learn about ocean pollution and coral reefs.
Who Was Jackie Robinson? by John O’Brien, illustrated by Gail Herman
BIOGRAPHY / NONFICTION
Jackie Robinson broke many barriers as the first African American on the Brooklyn Dodgers baseball team with his exceptional baseball skills. Read about his challenges, his grit, and his extraordinary strength of character. Kids LOVE these books! Find more books in the Who Was? series.
Shelter Pet Squad: Jelly Bean by Cynthia Lord
Suzannah joins the Shelter Pet Squad because her apartment building doesn’t allow pets. She meets a sad girl who has to leave her guinea pig, Jelly Bean, at the shelter due to moving. Suzannah promises the girl she’ll find Jelly Bean a good home. Only it’s not as easy as she first thought. The Shelter Pet Squad works together to find the perfect home for Jelly Bean — a kindergarten classroom.
Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
A warm-hearted, sweet story about a Latinx girl who’s an entrepreneur and devoted daughter and granddaughter. When her grandpa (tata) tells Sarai Gonzalez that his rental house is being sold, she determines to help by selling more cupcakes than ever. Even her sisters join in to help and so do her cousins. A darling start to a new series inspired by Sarai’s own life!
Shredderman: Secret Identity by Wendelin Van Draanen
Illustrated with comics, hilarious and relatable, this book has it all. Awesome for 8 year olds who like humor and superheroes.
Stella Diaz has Something to Say by Angela Dominguez
Loosely based on the author’s own childhood, 3rd grader Stella is very, very quiet in both Spanish and English. She feels separate, just like the word alien that describes her green card status being born in Mexico and moving to Chicago as a baby. A fish research project helps Stella find her voice and overcome her fears.
The Vanishing Coin (Magic Shop Series) by Kate Egan and Mike Lane, illustrated by Eric Wight
Kids like fourth-grader Mike who can’t sit still will relate to Mike’s struggles with getting work done, avoiding the school bully, and staying out of trouble. It’s such a great story because Mike discovers something that he IS good at something– magic.
Magical Land of Birthdays by Amirah Kassem
Amirah has Arabic heritage and in Mexico. She loves cooking and baking and when she bakes a cake in her neighbor’s cookbook, The Power of Sprinkles, she’s transported to the Magical Land of Birthdays where she meets other kids with the exact same birthdate as her who are from different areas of the world. Together they have an exciting, magical adventure that includes finding a missing B-Bud girl, parties, unicorns, and of course, cake.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn: A Heavenly Nostrils Chronicle by Dana Simpson
HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL / UNICORN
Sarcastic and hilarious, this is a laugh-out-loud story about a precocious young girl and her reluctant unicorn “best friend”. BOXED SET
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
REALISTIC / FUNNY
My 8-year-old daughter read this first and begged me to read it immediately. It’s SO funny! 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.
Ranger in Time #1: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Kate Messner, illustrated by Kelley McMorris
Ranger, a golden retriever trained for search and rescue, travels back to the Oregon Trail to help a family in need. It’s an easy chapter book that begins the book series, introducing the ups and downs of traveling on the Oregon Trail. (Also on: Wholesome Easy Chapter Books for Boys)
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams
This story is a beautiful tribute to the power of friendship, touching on love and death as well. It’s a classic for a reason and one of the best-written children’s books in existence.
Wondrous Rex by Patricia MacLachlan
WHOLESOME / WRITING
Maxwell the Magicial brings Grace and her writer aunt Lily his dog Rex to be aunt’s assistant when Aunt Lily and Grace both have writer’s block. Rex is a kind and magical dog who reads, writes, and gives wonderful wisdom about life and writing. His guidance helps both Lily and Grace grow in confidence, inspiration, and love. Absolutely charming!
The BFG by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake
The Big Friendly Giant snatches Sophie and takes her to the Land of Nod with other not-friendly, people-eating giants. Sophie and the BFG plot to stop the mean giants and save the world. The text is filled with lots of creative, made-up words which while fun, can be tricky for some readers.
Doodle Adventures: The Search for Slimy Space Slugs! by Mike Lowery
This book not only hooks the reader with its space-adventure plot, but the hilarious narrator Carl also invites YOU to find the missing priceless artifact requiring bravery, heroism, and drawing. Yes, drawing. Along the journey to retrieve the artifact from Captain Sleezoog (he’s a slug,) you must do your part. So 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 it 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!
Dory and the Real True Friend by Abby Hanlon
Dory is one of my favorite book characters because her imagination is THE BEST! She has three imaginary friends: one monster friend, one fairy godmother that’s actually not a lady, and one bad lady nemesis. I love this story because she meets a real-life friend who understands all about imaginary friends and together, they’re the perfect match.
The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg
I loved this Sherlock Holmes-inspired book because it’s very well written and tells a great story. John Watson and his mom move to Harlem. There, he meets a unique girl named Shelby Holmes who reluctantly allows him to tag along with her as she solves her latest crime — the mystery of who took a posh, show-dog from a classmate’s secure house.
Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable, illustrated by Stephanie Yue
If you like mystery, adventure, and CATS, you won’t want to miss this entertaining graphic novel! Katie desperately wants to join her friends at their summer camp so to earn money, she gets a job for her neighbor Madeline catsitting 217 cats. But, something is VERY weird because these are super-smart cats with destructive behaviors and powerful abilities, not to mention that Katie finds evidence that her neighbor might be the supervillain, Moustress. Then, when the Moustress gets captured, Katie decides she and the cats must take action and save their friend.
STAT: Standing Tall and Talented: Home Court by Amar’e Stoudemir, illustrated by Tim Jessell SPORTS
Based on the real story of Amar’e Stoudemire, this is the story of when he was 11, a skateboarder, a basketball player, and a worker with his dad’s landscape company. When other kids start trash-talking his friends, he uses his intelligence and basketball skills to find a solution.
The Year of the Book by Andrea Chang
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 this series!
The Kicks by Alex Morgan
Finally, a fantastic book (series) for soccer girls! If you have a soccer player in your house, you’ll want to get your soccer lover this book –actually, buy her the entire series. Written by Olympic Gold Medalist and U.S. Soccer team member (among other things), Alex Morgan, these are realistic stories of life, friendship, and playing soccer.
Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Eliazbet Vukovic
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 decides 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.
Zoo Camp Puzzle by Gail Herman
Ava and Rosie are not excited to move to the zoo for the summer where they notice missing pronghorns and suspicious trucks. With the help of their brother Ethan, the siblings must figure out what’s happening and how to keep the animals safe. Throughout the book, you’ll find pages with activities like puzzles and mazes as well as information about the animals at the zoo. You’ll love both the mystery story and the factual sections of information. It’s really well done! Also in the series: Puppy Rescue Riddle.
The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
Class pet, Humphrey, is a hamster who travels to a student’s home on the weekends and has lots of adventures.
Get to Work, Hercules! (Myth-O-Mania) by Kate McMullan
HUMOR / MYTHOLOGY
We adore the Myth-O-Mania series. It’s hilarious! Hades narrates the TRUE stories of the Greek Myths with panache. (Apparently, his younger brother Zeus is a big fat liar and edited all the myths to make himself look good.) In this story, Hades watches over his young, not-too-smart nephew, Hercules whom Hera has it out for. LOVE it!
Lucy & Andy Neanderthal by Jeffrey Brown
HISTORY / HUMOR / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Short funny stories about the life of a Neanderthal family are intermixed with factual information about the actual history of this time period — hunting practices, size of large cats, that sort of thing — in a graphic novel from the author of the Jedi Academy series perfect for 8-year-olds.
The Perilous Princess Plot (Buckle and Squash) by Sarah Courtauld
Very sarcastic and funny humor will keep you entertained throughout this book about a silly sister obsessed with princes who gets kidnapped and her more reasonable sister who comes to the rescue.
Dying to Meet You 43 Cemetery Road by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise
The 43 Old Cemetery Road early reader series is a funny and punny adventure with a kid, a cat, a grumpy ghost, and a really cool writing style in letters, emails, newspaper clippings, jokes, and more. These books are addictive!
The Curious Cat Spy Club by Linda Joy Singleton
What a fantastic new book series — my daughter and I devoured it. Three kids from seemingly different social circles band together to rescue kittens they find in a dumpster — then solve the mystery of who would try to kill the kittens.
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of a Dare by Herobrine Books
Short sentences with witty observations on life from the perspective of a Minecraft zombie will crack you up. I was surprised that this was such an entertaining, funny read. Nothing scary. Just fun. Especially for Minecraft enthusiasts. (These are FREE for Kindle Unlimited subscribers!)
Wedgie & Gizmo by Suzanne Selfors
REALISTIC / FUNNY
Dog owners will nod along with the ADHD stream of conscious narration of Wedgie, the barkie dog who LOVES everything. Contrast this with the diabolical plotting narration of the evil genius guinea pig Gizmo who is horrified to be living in a Barbie house instead of his own “habitat.” Selfors skillfully addresses a family in transition through the humorous lens of its two pets.
Into the Game (Minecraft Woodsword Chronicles) by Nick Eliopulos
First in one of the BEST Minecraft book series, this adventure follows five players who are transported inside the game– and it’s real and they’ll have to use all their survival and problem-solving skills to stay alive. BOXED SET of Books 1 – 4 HERE.
Bad Kitty Supercat by Nick Bruel
FUNNY GRAPHIC NOVEL
Bad Kitty’s owner tells Bad Kitty to get off screens and play with some other cats. But Bad Kitty isn’t happy about having playdates. Eventually, Playdate Candidate #4 (Strange Kitty) brings imagination and comic books and Strange Kitty helps Bad Kitty find his superhero persona –just in time to meet the supervillain! Playful, imaginative, and hilarious–this is my new favorite Bad Kitty book and his first graphic novel.
Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters by Ailsa Wild, illustrated by Ben Wood
Squishy discovers a boy hiding from the police in the basement of her apartment building. She wants to keep it a secret from her step-sisters but one thing leads to another, and the twins find out. Together, the three help feed the boy until they discover who he really is. Squishy begins to think of her sisters as bonuses, not step-sisters, which makes her feel a lot better about living with them. I really enjoyed this big-hearted mystery
Dolphin Rescue (Animal Planet Adventures #1) by Catherine Nichols
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.
Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce
REALISTIC / STEM
Ellie, Engineer is a well-written STEM adventure that makes engineering seem enticing and creative! After a disastrous “french braid machine” tangles her best friend’s hair, Ellie, who already considers herself as an engineer, plans to make her BFF a new birthday present — a dog house. She gets help from a neighbor boy and a group of girls from school who are bitter rivals until Ellie helps them work together. It’s a perfect, pro-STEM story for girls.
The Case of the Claymore Diamond Math Inspectors by Daniel Kenney and Emily Boever
Viva math! These friends love math and are proud of it — in fact, they’re sure they can use their math skills to solve crimes. This first mystery is about a jewelry store robbery. And they do solve it by finding clues that the police miss, freeing an innocent man. This is a delightful easy chapter book series.
Rosie Revere and the Raucous Riveters by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
Andrea Beaty successfully writes her famous main characters of Rosie Revere, Iggy Peck, and Ada Twist into a fun-filled, STEM adventure chapter book. Rosie’s Aunt Rose and her WWII friends, the Raucous Riveters, need Rosie’s help. Their friend June broke both her arms and she needs an invention so she can paint in the upcoming art contest. Can Rosie and friends invent something to help June paint with her casts? After one disaster after another, including at the art contest, Rosie continues to persevere and problem-solve to find a solution that will work.
Secret Agent, Jack Stalwart by Elizabeth Singer Hunt
In this action-packed new series, nine-year-old secret agent Jack Stalwart travels the globe in search of his missing older brother Max while solving international crimes for the Global Protection Force.
Nanny Piggins and the Runaway Lion by R. A. Spratt, illustrated by Dan Santat
This quirky adventure is about a dad who detests his children and tries to get rid of them (to Nicaragua in this case) but their amazing nanny (who is a pig) always figures out how to outsmart the dad. I love Nanny Piggins!
The Philly Fake Ballpark Mysteries by David A. Kelly, illustrated by Mark Meyers
MYSTERY / SPORTS
Not only is this a well-written mystery book for 3rd graders, but I also loved how the author included so much history within the story about two young baseball fans who hope to show fans that the Phillie Phanatic isn’t to blame for their team’s losing streak.
Katerina Ballerina by Tiler Peck and Kyle Harris, illustrated by Sumiti Collina
An earnest young girl loves ballet, but since her dad can’t afford lessons, she watches YouTube videos and practices in her room. After a disastrous talent shows Katerina’s dad her bravery, Katrina’s dad stretches the budget for lessons. It’s not a great start though– she shows up in red swimming suit and homemade tutu! But she makes a friend who helps her learn ballet terms and adjust to formal classes. As Katrina becomes more serious in her dancing, a competition reminds Katrina that she needs to balance both working hard and enjoying dancing.
Key Hunters and the Mysterious Moonstone(Key Hunters #1) by Eric Luper
In this first book for 3rd graders, two friends discover a letter from their favorite librarian saying she’s trapped in a book. They decide to go into a book to rescue her. They arrive in 19th century England to help a detective find a stolen gem.