Most kids in 3rd grade probably read books that fall into the 8 – 12 category. I find it challenging to decide which books from this category are appropriate for her now and which ones she’d enjoy (or understand) more in two years. The titles that you will find in this category are probably a safe bet because she has already read them so it is unlikely that they are more suitable for a ten-year-old. I think that most of these books are a great read for both girls and boys.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone When my daughter was somewhere in the middle of 2nd grade, she gave the first Harry Potter book a try but couldn’t get past the first 50 pages. She did not understand it at all. Then we watched the first movie a few months later. Shortly after she turned 8 (two months before finishing 2nd grade), she checked it out from our library again. It turns out she does like Harry Potter after all. She said the movie helped her understand it better. Since then, she’s been reading the Harry Potter books. She just started the last one. She takes breaks from it and reads other books in between. Update: She read only half of the last Harry Potter book and stopped. She did not enjoy it as much as the previous ones.
Flora and Ulysses I’ve seen reviews by parents praising this book as a read-aloud for younger kids (age 7 and up).
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe I am glad they are reading this book in their reading class in school. It’s always hard to persuade my daughter to read a book if she has seen the movie. For a list of books in the Chronicles of Narnia series click here.
The Twits A very easy read. Good for a second grader too.
Jake Drake, Class Clown She read this book for her Book Club in school. A very easy read, good for a second grader too.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret She was not too excited about it. I later found out that this book is recommended for ages 9 and up so that may have been the reason why she did not enjoy it as much as she could have.
Little House Books (not all but a few)
Tuesdays at the Castle For a list of books in this series click here. She read all three but did not enjoy the last one toward the end and did not finish it–she had only about 30 pages left but she said it was boring at the end.
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler One of the best books listed everywhere, she loved it.
El Deafo As this is a graphic novel, it really took her just an hour or so to read it. I brought it home from the library because it was on many “best books of 2014” lists. She mentioned it was a bit sad but she liked it. It is a ture story and I am glad she read it. We definitely recommend it.
8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel ö 1 Dog = Chaos (funny and short)
Who Was Louis Braille? She loves the Who Was/Is…? series. So far she read Who Was Helen Keller?, Who Was Annie Oakley?, Who Was Anne Frank? , Who is J.K. Rowling?, Who Was Amelia Earhart? Who Was Walt Disney? Who was Harry Houdini? Who was Nelson Mandela? Who Is Michelle Obama?
The Phantom Tollbooth This books has been on many Best Books lists. She loved it.
She read again a few books from her favorite Boy/Girl Battle series she loved in 2nd grade.
Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust (a graphic novel probably suitable for younger kids in elementary school if you think they are ready for this particular time in the history)
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Loved it!
Wishes, Kisses and Pigs Although I did not find the book recommended anywhere and it does not have a lot of great reviews, I picked it up at the library under summer reading and my daughter enjoyed it.
The School Story My daughter started reading Andrew Clements’s books in 2nd grade and has loved them all.
Gooney Bird Greene She reread it for her book club in school (she first read it in 2nd grade).
Finally The recommended age for this and the following book is 9 and up but my daughter really enjoyed 11 Birthdays when she was only 8 so I’ll leave it up to you). She read this one two months before she turned 9. They are all part of Willow Falls series.
13 Gifts I’ve seen a comment that although you don’t have to read the previous book to enjoy this one, you will get more out of the jokes if you read Finally first. Since my daughter loved the previous books she devoured this one as well. She also read The Last Present and Graceful.
The Chronicles of Chrestomanci For a list of books in this series click here. She loved the first one but said she wanted to take a break while reading the second book. She did not want to return it to the library yet so we will see if she decides to come back to it.
Number the Stars She read it in school in her reading class. I have it on the list for a bit older kids for independent reading. It is hard for me to tell how she would have enjoyed the book if she had read it on her own.
Leon and the Spitting Image (funny)
Books we read together or listened to (almost all of them are suitable for independent reading for this age group; if not I made a note):
The BFG This book by Roald Dahl is pretty thick so I chose to read it aloud to my kids when they were in kindergarten and 2nd grade. They loved it. I put it on this list because the length of this novel could be a bit daunting.
The Adventures of a South Pole Pig (recommended as a read-aloud and that’s what we did)
The Giggler Treatment My daughter did not read it on her own–I read it to both my kids and they liked it. It is an easy and short read–we read it in one night. I am sure it is a fun book to read independently but I think this one is a great read-aloud. Funny.
The Great Brain She did not read this book independently but because I knew she would never pick this one herself I chose it to read to both my kids. It is not the modern type of literature so I don’t know how many kids would really enjoy reading it on their own but both my kids loved it when I read it to them. I think it would depend on what kind of books your child likes. This one would be better for a boy for independent reading I think. Definitely more enticing for boys because the book is about boys.
The Hoboken Chicken Emergency (we listened to the audiobook, funny)
Homer Price We listened to the audiobook. I’d say it would be good for a 10-year-old for independent reading.
Tales from the Odyssey I doubt my daughter would choose this book on her own but we recently listened to the audio version during our long car trip. I am glad we did because everybody should know these well known stories that inspired many great writers.
Cheaper by the Dozen We listened to the audio version of this book. It is probably a higher reading level than 3rd grade but perfect as a read-aloud. My kids (almost 7 and 8) loved listening to it because it is funny but it would not be a good choice for independent reading for them. The vocabulary is more difficult and we sometimes had to explain the words to them to help them understand.
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson (slow beginning, I am not sure if she would have kept reading if we were not listening to the audiobook in the car–my son, 2 years younger, loved it)
The Cricket in Times Square We listened to the audiobook when our kids were 5 and 7 and they liked it. I think age 8 or 9 would be good for independent reading.
Rules For independent reading more likely closer to 9 but my daughter listened to it at the age of 8 and liked it.
The Best School Year Ever (hilarious)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Although my son (recently turned 7) thought it was a bit slow at the beginning (my daughter and I didn’t agree with him on that), we all loved this book. We read it in three days and enjoyed every minute of it.
The Thief Lord My kids listened to the audio version of this book right after we visited Venice.
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