Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade

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When you’re choosing a book club book for your 3rd graders, give students or kids help with selection but ultimately, let them choose the book to read.

Ownership is essential.

However, you can help children by giving them choices of books, doing book talks, watching book trailers, and reading book reviews.

The suggested books on this list are in no way all-encompassing. They’ll be a place to start.

And, certainly, if you’re running a multi-age book club, you’ll want to consider readability. In other words, is the book comprehensible for all the members of the book club?

I’ve chosen books for this list of book club book ideas that will make kids think, question, wonder, imagine, and enjoy.


Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade

Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
Dragons in a Bag
by Zetta Elliott, illustrated by Geneva B
GENRE: Fantasy
THEMES / TOPICS: problem-solving, family, respectful elder-child relationship
When Jax’s mom drops him off with an irascible old lady named Ma, he learns that she helps magical animals travel between worlds. In this case, three dragons. But, he and Ma accidentally travel back in time instead of to the world of magic, and Ma gets stuck there. It’s up to Jax to rescue Ma and deliver the dragons to where they belong. The only problem? Besides finding the transporter, one of the dragons is missing– stolen by his best friend’s little sister!

Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
Jada Jones Rock Star
by Kelly Starling Lyons, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
GENRE: Realistic
THEMES: TOPICS: STEM, friendship, identity
Jada starts the school year hoping to find new friends, hopefully, ones that love rocks, too. 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 is a big science nerd!


Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
Hamster Princess Harriet the Invincible
 by Ursula Vernon
GENRE: Fantasy/Funny
THEMES / TOPICS: bravery, helping others,  problem-solving, identity
This is a HILARIOUS remix of Sleeping Beauty. In this (much better) retelling, the hamster princess realizes that since she can’t die until she’s 18, she must be INVINCIBLE–and acts accordingly with death-defying feats!!


Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
Mac Undercover (Kid Spy #1)
by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Mike Lowery
GENRE: Mystery/Adventure
THEMES/ TOPICS: problem-solving, deductive reasoning, independence, history, vocabulary
This is a funny read aloud adventure about a kid who the queen of England uses to solve an important mystery…You’ll need to withhold disbelief, or at least I did, but it’s super cute and popular with many readers. The story includes lots of illustrations, fabulous vocabulary (regicide, for example), and a problem solver main character.


Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
Trapped in a Video Game
by Dustin Brady, illustrated by Brady Jessee
THEMES: problem-solving, friendship, teamwork
Gamers and nongamer 3rd graders will love this exciting series. Jesse’s friend gets an early release of a video game — and while playing it, they are sucked into the game world. Inside the game, they meet a classmate who has been missing for weeks and is now a grown-up man in the game. How will they get out before they’re old men?
book club books 8 year old readers
Strongheart: Wonder Dog of the Silver Screen
by Candace Fleming, illustrated by Eric Rohmann
GENRE: Historical Fiction *some violence, not for sensitive readers
THEMES: animal cruelty, dogs, kindness, friendship, animals in movies
From his beginnings as a maltreated German police dog 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. 3rd-grade 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.


Bookmarks are People Too!
Here’s Hank: Bookmarks Are People Too! #1
 by Henry Winkler & Lin Oliver
GENRE: realistic
THEMES: ADHD, school, identity, learning
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.


Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
The Curious Cat Spy Club by Linda Joy Singleton
GENRE: Mystery
THEMES: Problem-solving, animal rescue, friendship
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.


good books for 3rd grade book clubs
The Great Shelby Holmes
by Elizabeth Eulberg
GENRE: Mystery
THEMES / TOPICS: deductive reasoning, friendship, honesty, persistence, military family, divorce
A fantastic Sherlock-inspired book series that is well-written and tells a great story. John Watson and his mom move to Harlem where 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.


Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
One-Third Nerd
 by Gennifer Choldenko, illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans
GENRE: Realistic
THEMES / TOPICS: neurodiversity, rescue dog, divorce, money, STEM, family
Choldenko crafts a beautiful, multi-layered, warm-hearted story that celebrates family, unique personalities as well the richness in having a dog. Liam is a responsible, kind big brother in fifth grade whose mom and dad have recently divorced. Dakota is a science-obsessed, independent sister. Izzy is the youngest sister with Down Syndrome and is the friendliest sibling. Their grumpy landlord has given them an ultimatum — they’ll have to get rid of their German Sheperd dog, Cupcake, unless her peeing problem gets solved in a week. But, they don’t have the money for the expensive vet bill. Fortunately, these three siblings have a secret weapon- they have each other.


Lily and the Great Quake: A San Francisco Earthquake Survival Story
by Veeda Bybee
GENRE: Historical fiction
THEMES/TOPICS: history, racism, earthquakes, family, immigration
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. There’s a lot to discuss in this read aloud book for 3rd grade.

Mindy Kim and the Yummy Seaweed Business
by Lyla Lee, illustrated by Dung Ho
GENRE: Realistic
TOPIC/THEMES: parent death, entrepreneurship, Korean culture, friendship, rules
Mindy and her dad recently moved to Florida after her mom’s death. When the other kids at school make fun of her seaweed snacks at lunch, Mindy and her new friend Sally start a snack business to save money for a puppy.  This doesn’t go as planned yet it’s a big learning experience showing Mindy to be herself and be proud of her Korean-American culture.

Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
GENRE: Magical realism/mystery
THEMES/TOPICS: friendship, home, identity, belonging, storytelling
In the sweetest story of friendship, 10-year-old Livy meets Bob, a green zombie-looking monster wearing a chicken costume living in the closet at her grandma’s house. He’s been waiting for her to return for the last 5 years. Only Livy can’t remember him at all. Even when she leaves the house for an errand, she forgets. But, she’s determined to help Bob find his way back home. Wherever that may be.

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome
by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
GENRE: Realistic
THEMES/TOPICS: entrepreneurship, family, money, cooking, collaboration
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!

Stella Diaz has Something to Say
by Angela Dominguez
GENRE: Realistic
THEMES/TOPICS: bilingualism, immigration, identity, animals, friendship, shyness
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 for school helps Stella find her voice and overcome her fears.


Ada Lace is On the Case
 by Emily Calandrelli with Tamson Weston, illustrated by Renee Kurilla
GENRE: Mystery
TOPICS/THEMES: STEM, problem-solving, deductive reasoning, friendship, neighborhoods
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. 


Book Club Book Ideas for 3rd Grade
I Survived
 by Lauren Tarshis
GENRE: Historical fiction
TOPICS/THEMES: history, survival, growth mindset, problem-solving
Your kids will zip through these short, fast-paced adventures. The stories always are about a young person trying to survive a historically important, life-changing event such as the Titanic, Hurricane Katrina, Pearl Harbor, Nazi Invasion, and the Hindenburg crash.


The Story of Olympic Swimmer Duke Kahanamoku
by Ellie Crowe, illustrated by Richard Waldep (The Story Of series)
GENRE: Biography
TOPICS/THEMES: surfing, sports, Hawaii, racism, growth mindset, grit
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.


The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
GENRE: Funny
THEMES: enemies to friends, cooperation, research, problem-solving, rule-breaking
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.


Good Books for 3rd Grade Book Clubs

Also Read:


Summer Reading List for 3rd Graders
3rd grade summer reading book list with printable

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