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The Best 4th-Grade Books for Your Child's Library

Lisa Iannucci
July 24, 2015

From classics to new releases, here are some 4th-grade books worth buying.

So you have a 4th-grader! With so many 4th-grade books out there, from classics to new releases, it's hard to know which books are worth investing in.

Here, some experts have narrowed down the choices and offer some must-read suggestions for your child:

  1. "Harriet the Spy" by Louise Fitzhugh
    "This classic endures very well into the 21st century," says Tirzah Price, who blogs at The Compulsive Reader, about one of her favorites. "When Harriet's private journal, full of her true opinions about her friends and classmates, gets lost, Harriet must confront the consequences of truth-telling and lying. It's a wonderfully written and genuine story about being the odd one out."
  2. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J. K. Rowling
    In this brilliant modern classic, orphaned Harry Potter is whisked away from his uncle's home into the magical world of Hogwarts where he trains to be a wizard, but the evil Lord Voldemort is after him.
  3. "When You Reach Me" by Rebecca Stead
    Suzanna Hermans, a co-owner of Oblong Books & Music in Rhinebeck, New York, calls this Newbery Medal winner one of her all-time favorites. "It's inspired in part by Madeline L'Engle's 'A Wrinkle in Time,' and Stead uses a bit of magic and mystery to spin this quiet, beautiful tale of friendship," Hermans says.
  4. "The Grand Plan to Fix Everything" by Uma Krishnaswami
    "Dini and her family move to India and, although Dini is sad to leave behind her best friend, she's excited about the possibility of meeting her favorite Bollywood star," explains Price. "Dini is plucky and clever, and Krishnaswami's story is charming and full of rich details."
  5. "The Strange Case of Origami Yoda" by Tom Angleberger
    In this favorite among young readers, Dwight makes origami, but one day, his puppet of the Star Wars character Yoda comes to life. He can predict the future, and his advice is awesome. But how does Origami Yoda work?
  6. "Hope Is a Ferris Wheel" by Robin Herrera
    Among the other 4th-grade books Price recommends is this newer novel, a story about Star Mackey, who doesn't understand why everyone at her new school is horrified to learn that she lives in a trailer park. "She sets out to educate her classmates about what it really means," says Price. "Star is bright and kind, and as she navigates a turbulent school year she learns about poetry and hope. Herrera's writing is skillful and witty, and this story has a lot of heart."
  7. "Countdown" by Deborah Wiles
    If your child loves reading about history, Hermans calls this debut novel by Wiles a "fantastic historical novel." Franny, age 11, is growing up in the early 1960s while the Cuban Missile Crisis is going on. The book is unique because Wiles includes pages of actual images from the era between each chapter.
  8. "Smile" by Raina Telgemeier
    "There's a reason Telgemeier's books have dominated the bestseller lists for the last few years. They're fantastic," says Hermans. "In 'Smile,' she tells the true story of knocking out her front teeth as a kid and all the drama that came with it. Her books are graphic memoirs and are perfect for reluctant readers and bookworms alike."
  9. "The Mighty Miss Malone" by Christopher Paul Curtis
    Another book that belongs on a 4th-grade reading list, Hermans says, "'The Mighty Miss Malone' is set during the Great Depression and focuses on themes of family, survival and hope. Curtis's books are taught widely in schools, but critically acclaimed 'Miss Malone' is one of his more under-the-radar titles."
  10. "George" by Alex Gino
    And finally, if your young reader has already read through the other classics and modern favorites on this list, you'll want to pick up "George" by Alex Gino, which comes out this August from Scholastic. George is a fourth-grader who wants to play Charlotte in her school's production of "Charlotte's Web" -- but since the school thinks George is a boy, she is refused the role. This new novel is receiving great reviews so far and is sure to be a must-read.

Lisa Iannucci is a freelance writer who has written for many regional and national parenting publications.

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