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Older Elementary Suggested Reading

Page history last edited by Katherine Mulholland 11 years, 4 months ago


This list is compiled 2012 by Kathy Mulholland, Children's Librarian at Freehold Public Library. 

In or entering third grade through in or entering fifth grade.  (Call numbers in red mean the book is on order)


Call Number (Freehold Public Library) Genre
Link to Amazon
Additional Notes
The Tale of Despereaux
Kate DiCamillo, Illustrated by Timothy Basil Ering
This fairy-tale story with requisite castle and princess is really about a mouse who beats the odds to not only survive, but to be a hero.
There is romance and adventure in this popular novel, and while it is fantasy, readers will recognize the real-life kinds of challenges and conflicts the characters endure and (not always) overcome.
Roald Dahl, Illustrated by Quentin Blake
Matilda is special, but most people in her life don't seem to recognize that.  Books become her friend and ally until Matilda finds a special place for herself.
The absurd language and behavior of some characters (mostly adults!) will shock and delight readers unfamiliar with the story.  An entertaining novel about developing a good character in spite of a difficult environment.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Judy Blume
Peter has a difficult time of things thanks to his holy-terror little brother Fudge. 

Children who find themselves in the shallow-end of the parental attention pool will know just what Peter's going through.  This novel, popular since 1792, spurring a number of sequels.


Island of the Blue Dolphins
Scott O'Dell
Karana is only twelve years old when she ends up alone and abandoned on the island that used to be her family's home.  She has to learn how to survive, and live, alone.

Based on a true story, this is a classic children's novel of survival, with a smart, strong female protagonist who learns from trial-and-error how to manage a tough situation: surviving alone.

Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats (read his last name backwards) leads something of a cursed life.  Sent to a boot-camp style juvenile detention facility run by ruthless malcontents with their own agenda, Stanley manages to pull a win out of a losing situation.
The unjust situation and unbelievable bad-luck of Stanley eventually take a back-seat to his wit and good nature.  Students who feel like they can't catch a break will identify with Stanley, and cheer him along.
The Good Dog
McKinley is a good, contented Colorado dog.  At least until he's tempted to embrace his wild-side and join a pack of wolves.
Avi tells McKinley's story through dog's eyes, taking the reader though adventures dealing with sacrifice, loyalty and freedom.  Readers will go on a sometimes frightening, ultimately satisfying journey of discovery.
The Giving Tree
Shel Silverstein
j 811 SIL

Picture Book,


The little boy loves the tree, and the tree loves the boy.  But time changes everything.  Or almost everything.  
This looks like a young child's picture book, but the message is poignant and moving for older children and adults as well.  A classic not to be missed.
Dear Mr. Henshaw
Beverly Cleary
Leigh is a picked-on and bullied boy at school, made worse by moving to a new city.  Help comes from a surprising source.

Written in letters and diary entries, readers who think "diary" books are new will enjoy this story which shows Leigh's situation (including parents' recent divorce and loss of beloved dog) and how he copes over time.


Year of the Dog
Grace Lin
A Taiwanese American fourth-grader tries to "find herself" and her place in this story about fitting in, yet staying true to your heritage and self.
http://www.amazon.com/Year-Dog-Grace-Lin/dp/B003NHR93S/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1322970162&sr=1-1 This elegant little novel is an easy-read, but will resonate with students because of the familiar experiences, importance of family, and adjustments to new settings.
The Lemonade War
Jacqueline Davis
j DAV Fiction

Evan gets along with his younger sister pretty well, even though she is incredibly intelligent.  Then she's moved-up grades in school and they're in the same class.  Sibling rivalry suddenly takes a new turn.


Each chapter opens with some business advice, but the story is really more about the complex relationship between Evan and his sister, and how the two of them measure victory.  An engaging read.
Tonight on the Titanic
Mary Pope Osborne
j OSB (Series Collection, #17)
Will Jack and Annie be able to escape the sinking Titanic in time?  We know they must, but still...there are nail-biting moments as the pair complete their mission.
One of the many popular Magic Treehouse series, this title is particularly suspenseful.  Readers who think they know all about the Titanic disaster may yet learn a thing or two.
The Girl Who Owned a City
O. T. Nelson



After a plague has killed all the adults, how are the children to survive?  Twelve year-old Lisa has a plan, but it requires persistence, skill and ruthless determination to bring about her group's survival.
http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Owned-Young-Adult-Fiction/dp/0822596709/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323050721&sr=8-1  This is a good "entry level" dystopian science-fiction type of read for students.  Many of the current fiction works geared to readers in the middle-school and YA levels will be of this genre.
Howl's Moving Castle
Diana Wynne Jones 

Fantasy Fiction

After a run-in with an unpleasant witch, Sophie (who has been cursed to look like a very old woman), seeks to join forces with a traveling wizard who occupies a curious moving mechanical castle. 
This cross between a historical fiction and science fiction/fantasy novel is of a subgenre called Steampunk.  Introducing alternative pasts with a "Jules Verne" look and feel, Howl's Moving Castle is a good entry into this engaging type of fiction.
Eddie: the Lost Youth of Edgar Allen Poe
Scott Gustafson j GUS Historical Fiction
Falsely accused of a crime, Eddie (with his pet raven Nevermore) tries to solve the mystery on his own, along the way meeting a dark magician.  Graphic novel.
Dark, humorous and touching in turns, sprinkled with Gothic ink illustrations, this fanciful story about Poe's youth will capture the interest of young readers.  They'll be asking for Poe's works soon.
A Boy Called Slow
Joseph Bruchac
Biography, Picture Book
Slow earned his name as a Lakota Sioux youth by being methodical and careful.  As his time to take his place in the tribe as a man nears, can he earn a name of honor?
Children who are, or think they may be late-bloomers, will enjoy this finely-illustrated story about the famous warrior Sitting Bull. 
My Life in Dog Years
Gary Paulsen, Illustrations by Ruth Wright Paulsen
j 636.7 PAU Memoir
Paulsen is famous for his adventure stories, and dogs are a big part of those.  Get to know some of his special friends in this short book about some of his favorites.
This fast collection of stories by master-dog handler and writer Paulsen will win fans who like animals and enjoy true stories, but also appreciate short chapters.
Classic Starts: Greek Myths
Diane Namm, Illustrated by Eric Freeberg
j 3982. NAM Non-Fiction

Fascination about ancient Greek mythology never grows old!  Hear about 15 myths that you'll see mentioned over-and-over again in other books, movies and even in conversation.


The Percy Jackson series is just one place where being familiar with Greek myths will help readers.  Besides this title, check out other traditional literature re-told for young readers in the Classic Starts series.
The Frog Scientist
Pamela S. Turner, Photographs by Andy Comins
j 597.8 Non-Fiction
This book isn't just about frogs, but about the young scientist, Tyrone Hayes, as he tries to figure out what's going on with all those weird frog mutations.

The award-winning Scientists in the Fields series brings readers into the scientists' lives, showing what it takes to be a working scientist today.  Enjoy this and other titles in the series.


Weird? (Me Too!) Let's Be Friends
Sara E. Holbrook
j 811 HOL Poetry
Funny poems about awkward moments and strange friendships.  Nothing too heavy, but funny and fun to read.
Includes not only poems and illustrations, but hints and tips about poetry and writing, too.  All in a light-and-friendly manner.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

  J. K. Rowling

A series that needs no introduction among children today; an entire generation has grown-up with Harry, Hermoine and Ron!  Step into the magical world of Hogwarts with this first title in the seven-book series. 
The Harry Potter series proved many experts didn't give children enough credit by proving they will read "hard" books; they just needed to want to!  Many young students will have already read this and perhaps all of the Harry Potter series. 




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