Tuesday, January 3, 2012

BOOKS! Part 2 -- A Reading List for 4th grade and Older

      As promised, here is a book list for 4th grade through middle school.  As we find good books, I will update the list so check back every once in a while! 

  • Author - Chris Van Allsburg RL 3.7-4.9 The Polar Express, Jumanji, Zathura: A Space Adventure, etc.  (His beautifully illustrated picture books tend to get made into movies!)
  • Wayside School books by Louis Sachar RL 3.3-4.3  Sideways Stories from Wayside School, Wayside School Is Falling Down, Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, Sideways Arithmetic from Wayside School  I have never read these.  However, both of my boys have read them multiple times.  I believe the way I would describe them is ridiculously funny.  My youngest, age 12, just reread them all again.  
  • Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol RL 4
  • Dragonbreath Series by Ursula Vernon RL 3.7-4.3, short reads, lots of pictures Dragonbreath, Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs, Dragonbreath: Curse of the Were-Weiner ,  Dragonbreath: Lair of the Bat Monster, Dragonbreath: No Such Thing as Ghosts , Dragonbreath: Revenge of the Horned Bunnies, Dragonbreath: When Fairies Go Bad, Dragonbreath: Nightmare of the Iguana, Dragonbreath: The Case of the Toxic Mutants, Dragonbreath: Knight-napped! 
  • Hank the Cowdog Series  by John R. Erickson RL 3.5-5.4, almost 60 titles, Listen to some of his books on CD first and get the voices in your head -- Erickson, a former cowboy and ranch manager, and his west Texas drawl are hilarious!
  • 39 Clues by various authors, RL3.0-5.0  (mystery/adventure stories, first is written by Rick Riordan, author of the Percy Jackson series.  My son says that the 2nd series of these books are too violent and not very good.  He did, however, like the first series.)
  • McGrowl series by Bob Balaban RL 4.0
  • Origami Yoda Series by Tom Angleberger RL 4.0 to 5.0  The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, Darth Paper Strikes Back, The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, Art2-D2's Guide to Folding and Doodling, The Surprise Attack of Jabba the Puppett, Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue!, Emperor Pickletine Rides the Bus  (My 6th grader is reading these -- and so is his 10th grade brother!)
  • Author Beverly Cleary RL 3.5-5.6   Henry Huggins (1950), Henry and Beezus (1952), Henry and Ribsy (1954), Beezus and Ramona (1955), Henry and the Paper Route (1957), Henry and the Clubhouse (1962), Ribsy (1964), Ramona the Pest (1968), Ramona the Brave (1975), Ramona and Her Father (1977), Ramona and Her Mother (1979), Ramona Quimby age 8 (1981), Ramona Forever (1984), Ramona's World (1999), The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Runaway Ralph, Ralph S. Mouse   (Some of her books are for older children:  Dear Mr. Henshaw (deals with divorce), Jean and Johnny, etc.)
  • Author E.B. White – Stuart Little 3.9, Charlotte’s Web 4.9, The Trumpet of the Swan 5.1
  • Little House on the Prairie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder RL 4-5
  • Illustrated Classics – Adaptations of classical works, a great way to introduce your child to the classics – RL 4.0 and up
  • Holes by Louis Sachar RL 4.6, recommended for ages 5th grade and up
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo RL 4.8, not a series
  • Bloodhounds Inc. series by Bill Myers for ages 8-13, Christian author, hilarious
  • TJ and the Time Stumblers series by Bill Myers for ages 8 and up, Christian author
  • The Cooper Kids Adventure Series by Frank E. Peretti, Christian author, RL 5-6
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black, RL 4.0
  • Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black (RL 4.0)
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, RL 5.1  (Half novel, half illustrations, mysterious with a happy ending.  A dead body is mentioned.  Movie Hugo based on this book.)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madelein L’Engle RL 5.8 (Also, A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, and Many Waters (My oldest said to skip Many Waters – it was not as good as the others).
  • The Chronicles of Prydain  by Lloyd Alexander RL 5.5, The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron (Newbery Honor), The Castle of Llyr, Taran Wanderer, The High King (Newbery Medal), The Foundling and Other Tales from Prydain
  • Cricket in Times Square by George Selden RL 5.9, not a series
  • Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon RL 5-6
  • The Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill RL 5.9, not a series (both of my boys loved this book)
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien RL 5.8, not a series
  • Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis RL 5.5-6.1
  • Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks RL 6, Also, The Return of the Indian, The Secret of the Indian, The Mystery of the Cupboard, The Key to the Indian  (a few "bad words" in this series)
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls RL 6.4, not a series, one of our favorites
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George RL 6.7, Also, On the Far Side of the Mountain, Frightful’s Mountain, Frightful’s Daughter, Frightful’s Daughter Meets the Baron Weasel  (We have not read the last 2 of these.)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl RL 5.9, not a series
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin RL 6.1, The only mystery to win a Newbery, not a series
  • The Berinfell Prophecies by Wayne Thomas Batson and Christopher Hopper, Christian authors, The Curse of the Spider King, Venom and Song
  • The DragonKeeper Chronicles:  DragonSpell, DragonKnight, DragonQuest, DragonFire, DragonLight by Donita K. Paul, Christian author  (Grades 4 and up)
  • Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson, Christian author and singer/songwriter, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, North or Be Eaten, The Monster in the Hollows, The Warden and the Wolf King   “The evil was a nameless evil, an evil whose name was Gnag the Nameless.” – from the introduction, GREAT, quirky, fun, adventure books!  
  • Island Series by Gordon Korman, Shipwreck, Survival, Escape  (a story of kids stranded at sea and then on an island -- death in the stories) (RL 4.0)
  • Redwall Series by Brian Jacques (RL 6-8)  23 books so far in this series, for ages 6th grade and up
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, RL 6.3  This book is one of the most recommended by librarians, etc.  However, know your child because there are some more mature themes.  SPOILER ALERT:  At the beginning of the book, the pilot dies of a heart attack which strands the hero, a thirteen-year-old boy, in the wilderness.  Also, he recalls throughout the book seeing his mother with another man while married to his dad and struggles with whether or not to tell his father post-divorce. This book is mostly a great story of survival, but I waited until my son was older because of the above themes.
  • Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen, RL 4.3.  This book is hilarious and seems like it should be written by Louis Sachar, not Gary Paulsen!  It's a short read, and I would require it to be read by anyone studying economics!
  • The Adventures of Tintin Series by Herge' (RL is 3rd grade.  However, books include lots of whiskey drinking!  Comic books written from 1929 to 1976).
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan RL 3-4  (Reading level is easier, but content is more middle school.  Contains heavy god/goddess worship, misdeeds, etc.  Towards the end of the series, Percy is older, and the book crosses into boy/girl relationship saga but not too heavily.  My oldest read the entire series in 7th grade in little over a week.  However, Greek myths were never a threat to his faith while I still haven’t studied such myths with my youngest.) 
  • The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan  (These books introduce new characters and brings back Percy and many of his friends.  However, the kids are not 16 and 17 years old, and there is kissing and 'I-love-yous', and other teenage romance drama.  In addition, you find out that a character is gay -- and that he had a crush on Percy Jackson.)
  • Seven Wonders series by Peter Lerangis -- The Colossus Rises, Lost in Babylon, The Tomb of Shadows, The Curse of the King, The Legend of the Rift  for ages 6th grade and up.  Teens caught up in modern adventure and ancient series -- reminds me a bit of the Percy Jackson series.
  • The Chaos Code by Justin Richards (Mystery, adventure, action story.  Note:  parents divorced, uses the *b---h* word once)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain   RL 5.9 (Tom Sawyer is a wonderful read aloud.  Both books contain plenty of uses of the word n*****r -- especially Huck Finn.  However, it is clear that Mark Twain, unlike Harriet Beecher Stowe, is using humor and inference to show that he believes slavery to be wrong.  I personally would recommend reading Huck Finn in high school.  Also, if not done as a read aloud, discuss with your student that the n-word should never be used!)
  • Anything written by N.D. Wilson,   100 Cupboards Trilogy: 100 Cupboards 3.7, Dandelion Fire 3.7,  The Chestnut King 3.5, Leepike Ridge 3.7, Ashtown Burial Series:  The Dragon's Tooth (The 100 Cupboards Trilogy is great!  However, the content is older.  In Leepike Ridge, the boy's father is murdered, and he encounters a dead body.)  Boys of Blur is his newest stand-alone book (lead character's father is abusive, but not descriptive) -- a great read.
  • N.D. Wilson, Ashtown Burials series:  The Dragon's Tooth, The Drowned Vault, Empire of Bones  (can't wait until the next one comes out!)
  • N.D. Wilson, The Door Before -- This book is a prequel to both the 100 Cupboards and ties in Ashtown Burials.  It's amazing!  I read it in 2 days!
  • John Flanagan, Ranger's Apprentice series, 12 books,  all awesome!  The Ruins of Gorlan 6.6, The Burning Bridge, The Icebound Land, The Battle for Skandia, The Sorcerer of the North, The Siege of Macindaw, Erak's Ransom, Teh Kings of Clonmel, Halt's Peril, The Emperor of Nihon-Ja, The Lost Stories, The Royal Ranger  Prequels: The Tournament at Gorlan and The Battle of Hackman Heath 
  • John Flanagan, Brotherband series:  (spin-off from the Ranger's Apprentice series, different country, some of the same characters)  The Outcasts 4.7, The Invaders, The Hunters, Slaves of Socorro (in this one, the Herons work with a famous Ranger from his first series), Scorpian Mountain, The Ghostfaces
  • The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer A. Nielsen  If you like the Ranger's Apprentice series, you'll like this one, too!  Mystery, suspense, adventure, etc. The False Prince, The Runaway King, and The Shadow Throne   RL 4.4-5.0
  • Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien RL 8- and The Hobbit
****NOTE:  Rick Riordan's new series Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard has a "transfluid" character.  In his new series The Trials of Apollo, Apollo gives long monologues discussing why he doesn't care if his kids are gay.  I do not recommend these series.**********


  1. Thanks for the list. This is great!! Holly

  2. Thanks for the list! I found it on pinterest. I will be using it with my boys.

  3. Try Little Britches by Ralph Moody. Great for boys.