Reading List For 4th Graders
Updated: Oct 5, 2022
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1. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Matilda is an extraordinarily gifted young girl with a magical mind, who at age five-and-a-half can do math problems and read a lot of books. However, her self-centered parents constantly ignore her and refuse to acknowledge her talents. Then there is the cruel Miss Trunchbull, the school principal, who hurls kids out of the classroom. Luckily, there is Miss Honey, Matilda's teacher, who is very kind to her and has formed a strong bond with her. As Miss Trunchbull terrorizes the students, what will Matilda do to stand up against the principal? Will her parents ever love her? Children will enjoy reading this all-time favorite classic.
2. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Sixth-grader Miranda starts receiving mysterious messages from somebody who knows all about her, and whoever is leaving the notes can also seem to predict the future. She is instructed to write a letter and not to share her mission with anyone. But what will Miranda do when the notes tell her that someone is going to die and it might be too late to stop it? With a twist that catches readers by surprise, readers will enjoy this engaging and fascinating mystery book.
3. Island Of The Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
Island Of The Blue Dolphins is the story of Karana, a 12-year-old girl who lives alone on a deserted island in the Pacific. Isolated on the island for many years, she has learned to forage for food, make her own weapons and clothes and live with wild dogs. Based on a true story, this Newbery Medal winner is a story of survival, resilience, and hope.
4. The Quest Begins (Seekers # 1) by Erin Hunter
It is a thrilling animal fantasy story that follows three young bears from three different species: black, polar, and grizzly. They are separated from their families when they were young cubs, and soon, the three will meet to fulfill a destiny that none of them ever believed possible. Their journey is filled with great dangers, tragedies, and new landscapes, testing their will to survive. The Quest Begins (Seekers #1) is a perfect read for anyone who enjoys nature and animals.
5. James and The Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
James And The Giant Peach is about a young orphan boy who lived with his two wicked aunts, Aunt Spiker and Aunt Sponge. James meets a mysterious man who gives him a bag of magic crystals, telling him to use the crystals for a potion and great things will happen to him. But James accidentally spilled the magic crystals near the peach tree, and strange things started happening. James soon makes friends with strange insects and discovers new places he has never seen before. Throughout the generations, young readers have been captivated by the wonder of this children's classic.
6. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Meet Kyle Keeley, a class clown and a fan of board games and video games. Luigi Lemoncello, Kyle's hero and the maker of Kyle's favorite board games, built their new town library. Kyle is one lucky kid who wins an overnight stay in the new library with lots of food and fun games! In the morning, when the doors stay locked, Kyle and his friends have to figure out the puzzles to uncover the hidden escape route. Young readers will enjoy this fun-filled and creative story as they discover the "coolest library in the world!"
7. Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin
A young girl named Minli lives with her parents in the valley of Fruitless Mountain. During the day, she works hard in the fields, and at night, she listens to her father's tales of adventures and old folktales involving the Jade Dragon and the Old Man of the Moon. Having learned the directions to the Never-Ending Mountain, where the wise Old Man of the Moon lives, Minli sets off on a quest to ask him how to bring good fortune to her family and village. In her quest to reach the mountain, she befriends a dragon who accompanies her, and along the way, they meet various characters and magical creatures. A charming and engaging book based on Chinese myth and folklore, this book is perfect for families to enjoy together.
8. Dragons In A Bag by Zetta Elliot
This magical, urban fantasy chapter book tells the story of a young boy named Jaxon, who is forced to spend the day with a cantankerous old lady his mother calls Ma. Jaxon later discovered that Ma is a witch and that the mysterious package in her kitchen is baby dragons! Ma needs his help to deliver the baby dragons to a magical realm where they will be safe. They then traveled back in time, to the dinosaur era, to deliver them. Are they going to be able to deliver all the baby dragons safely? Young readers are sure to enjoy joining Jaxon on his magical adventures!
9. The Last Last-Day-Of-Summer by Lamar Giles
Otto and Sheed are two adventurous cousins and local sleuths in their town. On the last day of summer vacation, they encountered a mysterious man named Mr. Flux, who freezes time! With the help of some strange characters, the cousins' investigating skills are put to the test as they figure out how to restore time and defeat Mr. Flux before it gets too late! An adventure-filled, engaging book perfect for children who love science fiction and time travel stories.
10. Fenway and Hattie by Victoria J. Coe
Fenway is an energetic, excitable Jack Russell terrier. He lives in the city with Food Lady, Fetch Man, and his favorite short human and best friend, Hattie. Fenway has to cope with a lot of changes when his family moves to the suburbs. Although he loves the huge Dog Park and playing fetch, Fenway isn't thrilled about the Evil Squirrels that taunt him in the trees. Hattie starts changing as well--instead of playing with Fenway, she appears more interested in playing with her short human friend and plays ball without him. What could be happening? This heartwarming "tail" about two best friends, told from Fenway's perspective, will surely bring smiles to kids and dog lovers of all ages.
11. Because Of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni and her father, a preacher, move to Naomi, Florida. Opal feels lonely and sad as she adjusts to living in a new place and misses her mother, who left the family a few years ago. One summer day, Opal went to the Winn-Dixie supermarket and came home with a large, scruffy dog. She named him Winn-Dixie. Over the summer, with the help of Winn-Dixie, she eventually met a few friends around the new town. And because of Winn-Dixie, she was able to finally have the courage to ask her father about her mother. As Opal learned, everyone experiences sadness and difficulty in their own way. This heartwarming story is about friendship, forgiveness, love, and loss and is suitable for elementary-aged readers and readers of all ages.
12. Wish by Barbara O’Connor
Since fourth grade, feisty fifth-grader Charlie Reese has made a secret wish every day. She even lists all the ways she can make wishes, including cutting off the pointy end of a slice of pie and making a wish as she takes the last bite. But when her parents can't properly care for her, she was sent to the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina to live with her Aunt Bertha and Uncle Gus, who she barely knows. It seems unlikely that she will ever get her wish, that is until she meets Wishbone, a stray dog, and her neighbor Howard, who showed her what family really means.
13. Summer Of The Woods by Steven K. Smith
Brothers Derek and Sam move with their family to Virginia. While exploring the woods near their house, Sam discovers an old coin in the river. After learning about the history of the rare, vintage coins stolen many years ago from a museum, the brothers decide to solve the case. In this action-packed mystery, Derek and Sam run from danger while searching for the missing coins and trying to solve the decades-old mystery. An exciting start to The Virginia Mysteries series, this novel is suitable for all ages, including reluctant readers.
14. Houdini And Me by Dan Gutman
A young boy named Harry Mancini has always admired the famous escape artist Houdini, who died in 1926. Harry happens to also live in Houdini's former home in New York City. Harry knows a lot about the famous escape artist, however, when someone starts texting him claiming to be Houdini and texts him the secrets about Houdini's escape tricks, does Harry ignore what must be a prankster? or is Houdini really trying to contact young Harry from beyond the grave?
15. The Lion Of Mars by Jennifer L. Holm
Meet Bell, a kid who is raised on Mars. But Bell is still like a regular eleven-year-old kid--curious, funny, loves cakes and animals (especially cats!) He also has many questions about Earth and wonders why they can't communicate with other colonies. When a mysterious illness strikes the adults, Bell and the children are forced to take charge and discover why they have been isolated from the other colonies, to save their families and their future. Kids who love science fiction will enjoy this heartwarming story, and it will make a perfect addition to the elementary school science fiction collection.
16. Forever Glimmer Creek by Stacy Hackney
Twelve-year-old Rosie Flynn is a filmmaker. Rosie knows there is something magical about Glimmer Creek's miracles and she's determined to uncover the secret behind it through a documentary that she is filming. Through her film, she is also hoping to reunite with her absentee father. However, when someone goes missing, she may come to discover that Glimmer Creek's true miracle is quite different than what she's always believed. Forever Glimmer Creek is a heartwarming and uplifting tale about friendship and miracles that young readers can read alone or with their families.
17. Anne Of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
An orphan named Anne Shirley was mistakenly sent to the Cuthberts, middle-aged siblings named Matthew and Marilla. The siblings originally intended to adopt a boy to help with chores on their farm in Prince Edward Island. This much-loved classic recounts Anne's adventures and how she makes her way with the Cuthberts and within her town. Anne of Green Gables is a delightful and optimistic story that is suitable for all ages.
18. There’s An Owl In The Shower by Jean Craighead George
Borden's father is a logger in California's old-growth forests. When his father lost his job and is no longer allowed to cut down trees to protect endangered birds, Borden is angry and confused--"Why are owls being put first over the citizens?" But everything changed when Borden comes home with a starving owlet that needs his care—much to the displeasure of his father. Soon, the family grows to love the tiny owl while discovering the importance of protecting nature and caring for other species. Young readers will enjoy reading this heartwarming story as it introduces them to important topics such as endangered species and conservation while learning interesting facts about Spotted Owls.
19. Riding Freedom by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Charlotte Parkhurst was raised in a boys' orphanage, which suits her just fine. Playing with dolls doesn't interest her, and she enjoys working in the stables. Charlotte has a deep respect and affinity for horses and hopes to spend her life training and riding them. However, as a girl in the mid-1800s, she was banned from riding horses. Soon, she runs away and figures out a clever way to follow and live out her dreams. Charlotte and her journey is the focus of this fast-paced and inspiring book based on a true story. Readers will enjoy learning about Charlotte and her adventures.
20. Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn
Cat and Chicken have always shared a special bond. Cat is one of the few people who can keep her brother, Chicken, happy and calm whenever he has a "meltdown". Caring for her younger brother on the autism spectrum, the recent death of her father, and her mother constantly busy, Cat is left with a lot of responsibility. When a summer trip doesn’t go as planned, Cat and Chicken wind up on a small island in North Carolina to live with grandparents they have never met. Over the summer, Cat learns to love her grandparents and for the first time in years, Cat has the chance to be a kid again. She also learns to let go of her feelings of always having to be there for her brother by letting others help her. Caterpillar Summer is a sweet, little summer story about family, love, and forgiveness, a perfect book for middle-grade readers (and parents too).
21. Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
Truly Lovejoy and her family move to the small town of Pumpkin Falls, New Hampshire, after Truly's father, a soldier, is injured and is having trouble finding work. Now the family takes over Lovejoy's Books, a struggling, old bookstore that has been owned by the family for many, many years. Helping out at the bookstore one day, Truly discovers a mysterious letter tucked inside an autographed first edition of Charlotte's Web. To unravel this mystery, Truly and her new friends will have to follow the clues to uncover the truth. With memorable characters, a mystery, and a good dose of humor, this is sure to be a good read for the whole family.
22. Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Sixth-grader Leigh Botts moves to a new town with his mother after his parents separate. Struggling with being the new kid in school, dealing with a lunch thief, and being angry towards his absent father, Leigh spends most of his time writing to his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw, whose books he has enjoyed. Mr. Henshaw responds, and an unexpected friendship begins between them that will change Leigh's life forever. Dear Mr. Henshaw is a quick but meaningful read which explores difficult topics like divorce, insecurity, and bullying and how to navigate and heal from life's challenges.
23. Who’s Afraid Of Fourth Grade? (Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo) by Nancy E. Krulik
Katie Kazoo and her friends can't wait to start fourth grade! However, Katie is now not so excited because she will not be in the same class as her two best friends. Now Katie is stuck with a new teacher and tons of homework, and to make matters worse, the magic wind strikes and she is transformed into Emma Weber, her new friend! With the pressure of school work, new teachers, and friends plus being trapped in her friend's body, what will Katie do? Who’s Afraid Of Fourth Grade? (Katie Kazoo, Switcheroo) is a fun and creative read that any fourth grader will enjoy.
24. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
An uplifting historical fiction mixed with fantasy and fairytale, Echo begins with a young boy named Otto. He is lost and alone in a forbidden forest and is rescued by three cursed sisters. Here begins the journey that will involve three children from three different timelines (pre World War II Germany, The Great Depression, a year after the bombing of Pearl Harbor) who will be bound together by a magical harmonica as they lean on music to get through life's tough challenges. Echo is an unforgettable story of hope, courage, and perseverance that will appeal to audiences of all ages.
25. Summer Of The Monkeys by Wilson Rawls
The story takes place in the late 1800s when fourteen-year-old Jay Berry lives in the Ozark Mountains. His life is turned upside down when he discovers a tree full of monkeys near a river's edge. His Grandpa explains that the monkeys are from a traveling circus and have escaped from a train wreck. Hearing about a big reward for catching them, Jay Berry sets off on an adventure in search of these monkeys! With its inspiring messages, humor, and adventure, this book will become an instant favorite among middle schoolers.
26. Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
After five years, Livy and her family are back in Australia to visit her grandmother. Livy feels like she has forgotten something really important in her grandmother's house. And she was right. Meet Bob, a short, greenish creature dressed in a chicken suit Livy made for him years ago. He has been waiting for Livy to come back and has been hiding in Gran's closet. Five years ago, Livy promised Bob that she would help him find his way back home. And now Livy's back, it is time to fulfill that promise. A magical and endearing book about the power of friendship, Bob will surely capture the hearts of readers, young and old.
27. Just Like Jackie by Lindsey Stoddard
Robinson Hart AKA Robbie is not your typical eleven-year-old girl. She's the school's best baseball player, an auto mechanic, and makes maple syrup with her maternal grandfather. For as long as Robbie can remember, it's just been her and her grandfather. While she wishes Grandpa would tell her more about the rest of her family, she's learned over time that he often avoids talking about the past. And now, Grandpa's memory is starting to deteriorate. To make matters worse, she gets into trouble at school when she fights a school bully. As her grandfather's memories fade, Robbie has to stay out of trouble to help her Grandpa and keep her family together. A beautiful and inspiring story that gently explores Alzheimer's disease and mental health, as well as about family, love, and acceptance.
28. The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu
Iris and Lark Maguire are identical twins. Even though they are alike, they are not the same. Iris is smart, grounded, and rational while Lark is artistic, dreamy, and inventive. Iris and Lark do everything together and never left each other's side. When fifth grade begins, they are in separate classes for the first time, and they must learn to navigate this new experience without relying on each other. As they struggle to navigate the world without the other, something strange is also happening in their city. Things big and small seem to be missing without a trace. Now, it is up to Iris to find a way to keep her twin sister safe. This book offers young readers a page-turning tale of fantasy and mystery that keeps them intrigued and interested.
29. Fish In A Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Ally has fooled teachers year after year hiding her inability to read and write by creating disruptions and being a troublemaker. She is afraid to ask for help as she feels dumb and hopeless. Until her teacher, Mr. Daniels sees a brilliant and creative kid underneath the troublemaker and discovers that Ally struggles with dyslexia. He helps Ally gain back her confidence and also helps her realize that there is nothing shameful about dyslexia. In this touching and heartwarming story with a powerful message, Ally's experiences will resonate with a lot of children, teachers, and parents.
30. The Unteachables by Gordon Korman
The Unteachables are a notorious class of misfits, delinquents, and difficult students. Their class is the class that everyone avoids and isolated in Room 117. Mr. Kermit is a burned-out teacher and has lost his spark for teaching. When Mr. Kermit is assigned to teach the kids in Room 117, The Unteachables never expected to meet a teacher with a worse attitude than they did and Mr. Kermit never imagined he would care about teaching again. The Unteachables is a funny, heartwarming redemption story that will surely appeal to many young readers.