4th grade is the year of reading for fun and getting lost in literary worlds. From the classics, to innovative and inspiring new releases, there are so many options to choose from! Does your reader like mystery, graphic novels, or something to make them laugh? Here are our top 55 favorite chapter book recommendations to show your kids the magic of books.
1. The Report Card
Andrew Clements touches on some important issues regarding expectations and judgment around grades and success with this novel about a young girl named Nora who is ashamed of her intelligence and doesn’t want her peers to know how smart she is. This and his many other 4th grader-friendly books are great options for your young readers to feel understood and empowered to accept and love what makes them special.
This novel is part of a trilogy by the talented and award-winning author Brian Selznick. Each book in the series is packed full of adventure stories, lessons about bravery and courage, and incredible original illustrations. This book follows two separate stories of a boy named Ben and a girl named Rose who wish to live different lives. 50 years apart in time, they both set out on a journey to find themselves, which inevitably brings their stories together.
3. There’s A Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom
This book by Louis Sachar is the perfect choice for any kid going through the challenges of middle school. Trying to fit in, while also working to find and accept who you are is almost impossible when you are 10 years old. Bradley Chalker is a misunderstood 5th grader who tells lies and is hated by most of the school, except his counselor Carla. With her help and guidance, Bradley learns to embrace who he is and grow into a better version of himself.
4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid
I am sure you have heard of this favorite book by the best-selling author Jeff Kinney. This 16 book series follows two late-blooming 6th grade boys as they try to survive middle school. Their challenges and relatable stories make this series a perfect addition to any classroom library.
5. Gaia Girls Enter the Earth
This relevant and inspiring two-book series by Lee Welles brings up some important issues regarding the world, big business, and courage to take a stand for what’s right. The fantasy stories follow a young girl named Elizabeth and her family’s farm when a new corporation comes to their town and things start to change. Elizabeth meets a mysterious creature named Gaia who ends up being the entity of the earth. She gains some magical powers and is called to take action and save the world! Can she do it?
6. Out of My Mind
This New York Times Bestselling book by Sharon Draper is a must-read for any and all middle schoolers. It tells the story of an 11-year-old girl named Melody who has cerebral palsy and also has a photographic memory. Because of her disability, she is unable to show people just how bright she really is, but she is determined to find a way to show everyone just how special she really is.
7. Catherine’s War
This emotionally charged narrative by Julia Billet was based on the true story of her mother in France in World War II. It follows a young determined girl, looking to find herself and pursue her passions amidst the chaos and fear of the German occupation. Her amazing adventure revolves around Catherine’s camera and how it helps her capture the moments when she has to go into hiding and change her identity to survive.
8. James and the Giant Peach
This favorite book by the one and only Roald Dahl is a classic story of James Henry Trotter, a young and unfortunate boy who gets sent to live with his mean aunts after his parents are eaten by rhinos. He ends up creating this magical world inside of a peach tree with new friends and fantastical plants that make this hilarious story one of magic and fantasy.
9. Sideways Stories from Wayside School
These funny books about the wacky sideways wayside school and the goofy characters within its crooked walls are the perfect series for any 4th grader. The humor stories at wayside school are relatable, and the biggest prank will have your kids rolling on the floor with laughter. This 4 book series is a great addition to any classroom library.
10. Escape from a Video Game: The Secret of Phantom Island
These innovative 4th grade level books are a combination of many adventure stories you can pick and choose to create your own favorite book. The unexpected twists and turns will keep your young readers engaged and on edge to see what happens next in this page-turner. There are 3 books in this series packed full of humor, fantasy, and action.
11. Who Was?
This is an inspirational and educational book series by Penguin Random House that picks a new artist, innovator, creator, activist, or another important figure as the subject of each book. One of our favorites is about the political activist Coretta Scott King, who is most famous for her participation in the Civil Rights Movement.
12. Brian’s Saga
Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson begins his Hatchet Adventure when he decides to go see his father in Canada. His plane crashes and Brian is the only person to survive. Left on his own, he must find his way through the Canadian wilderness with a few pieces of clothes and a hatchet. Will he make it out alive?
13. Timmy Failure
Stephan Pastis gives us the story of an unlikely pair running the most successful detective agency in the country. The first is a giant polar bear named Total, and the other is a young boy named Timmy Failure. Together they run Total Failure, Inc in a comical and ridiculous manner that will have your 4th grade readers laughing through all seven books in the series!
14. Endling Series
Ready for another action-packed 3-book fantasy story that will have your 4th graders on the edge of their seats? Katherine Applegate writes a compelling story about a brave dog-like creature named Byx who believes she is the last of her species. She sets off on a dangerous and exciting adventure to find more of her kind and meets new friends and enemies along the way.
Time for a heist, with this exciting escapade 8-book series by Gordon Korman. Griffin Bing gets swindled out of a valuable baseball card and is determined to steal it back! Can he get past the scary guard dog, the security system, and find his precious card with the help of his friends?
16. Moon Base Alpha
Here’s an out-of-this-world series perfect for 4th grade summer reading! Space Case is the first book in this 3-book series about a lunar base on the moon where a group of people called “Moonies” live. When an important scientist is found dead, the main character Dash believes he was murdered. Can he crack this space case?
17. Secret Agent 6th Grader
The adventure begins when Brody Valentine, a totally normal 6th grade kid, hears a secret about his school he shouldn’t have. Now he is part of a special agency at his school to protect the secret and himself! What kind of crazy escapades will he embark on, and who will come looking for him? Find out in this 3-book series written for 4th grade readers.
18. Track Series
Time for some inspiration with this 4-book series about different running athletes on a prestigious middle school track team. Each book focuses on 1 character, their background, personal stories, and the road to success despite physical, mental, and emotional challenges.
19. Big Nate
This 8-book series tells the classic story of a small kid who always ends up accidentally causing problems for himself and others. Nate knows things will go his way soon enough, the fortune cookie told him so! His problems and goofs make a funny book perfect for 4th graders to spend their summer reading.
20. Show Me a Sign
This historical fiction book covers some important topics and questions such as racism, colonialism, what it means to be “able”, and being deaf in the 19th century. There are 6 books in the Scholastic Gold series, covering a range of educational and relevant topics great for your 4th graders to learn from.
21. Front Desk
This is the first book in a 3-part series by the award-winning author Kelly Yang. It follows Mia Tang, a smart and motivated young Asian-American girl as she and her family run a motel and try to help immigrant families that need a safe place to stay. Will Mia be able to keep up her writing, help her family, and keep everyone out of trouble?
22. We’re Not From Here
Earth is as good as nuclear waste and it’s time to look for other options. Planet Choom looks like the best bet for now, so that’s where Lan and his family go. Moving to a new planet has many challenges, not totally unlike how it feels to move from one country to another. Follow along and see how humans can fare with the Zhuri people in this reflective novel for the adventurous reader.
23. The Crossover
A Scott King Award Winner, this 2-book series tackles some hard-hitting issues on and off the basketball court. Two brothers Josh and Jordan work hard to excel in sports, and Josh is exceptional at poetry and verse. Can they rise and stay above the challenges that face their family and community, or will one mistake ruin everything?
24. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
In this classic series by the bestselling author Judy Bloom, Peter and his little brother Fudge are always butting heads in some way. Typical story of an older brother who thinks his little brother gets away with murder. Will the adults ever see Fudge for what he truly is…a menace! Read all about their wacky adventures in this 5-book series.
25. When You Reach Me
Mysterious notes, predictions of death, and the insistence on secrecy make this novel a tantalizing page-turner! This critically acclaimed 3-book series tells the story of Miranda, a 6th grade girl who keeps receiving strange notes telling her to write a true story or something bad will happen. What will she write?
26. Shadow Children: Among the Hidden
In a futuristic world where the Population Police restrict each family to two kids, Luke is his family’s third child. This means he cannot be seen, he has to live a life of invisibility in the shadows. He has been able to do this until he turns 12 and sees another girl in his neighbor’s house where there are already 2 kids. Will they be able to come out of the shadows together?
27. The City of Ember
For fans of post-apocalyptic stories, here is a 4-part series about a city in darkness where the embers of lights are fading. Two young friends Lina and Doon find a secret message they think can save the lights in the city. Will they be able to solve the clues and bring the light back, or will everything fade to black forever?
28. Brown Girl Dreaming
A moving and inspirational piece of writing by Jacqueline Woodson from the perspective of a young African-American girl growing up in the 1960s. She writes in verses that explain her feelings toward the divide between the north and south, Civil Rights ideas, and her love for writing.
29. The Tiger Rising
A classic story of heartache, friendship, and setting things free. Two kids struggling with the loss of their parents meet and embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing together with the help of a mysterious tiger in a cage.
30. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
The perfect 2-book series for 4th graders who love nature and independent reading. Callie is a young girl who adores watching and learning about plants and animals. With help from her naturalist grandpa, she is able to uncover secrets of the world around her and escape from the expectations of being the only girl in a family of 6 boys.
31. The Toothpaste Millionaire
A story of initiative, passion, and drive, great for readers looking for inspiration and information about how to start their own business. Young entrepreneurs Rufus and Kate start their own toothpaste company, and it’s doing great! But running your own business has many challenges they must overcome to manage their money and continue to expand.
Little Reeves or “Junebug” is a 9-year-old boy living in the projects and desperately wants to escape. His dream is to be a ship captain and sail far far away. As his birthday approaches, he fears trouble is lurking just around the corner, so he comes up with a crazy wish that he hopes just might come true.
33. City Spies
This thrilling, action-packed 3-book series is about a hacker named Sara who has the ability to access information and power most adults can’t. Her attempt to out her evil foster parents lands her in a lot of trouble, until one day she is rescued by a secret agent that wants to recruit her for their spy team. Mission on!
34. Count Me In
A modern-day account of how small acts can affect big change in our world. Young Karina is an Indian-American girl who is assaulted along with her grandfather and a boy named Chris because of their skin color. While her grandpa heals, Karina and Chris make it their mission to ensure this racism won’t go unseen. They begin a social media campaign that goes viral and is part of an important movement for justice.
35. One Crazy Summer
Here is a book for your 4th grader to read and discover what it felt like to be a young African-American girl in the 1960s. 3 sisters are taking a trip to visit their mother who abandoned them 7 years ago in California. When they arrive they begin to learn all about the hidden trials and concerns their family and community face.
36. Island of the Blue Dolphins
This book for 4th grade readers tackles some hard issues regarding colonization and Native American history. A young girl Karina, is the only one to survive an invasion from the Europeans on her tribe’s island off the coast of California. She is left to fend for herself for 18 years, dealing with the aftermath of her people’s demise.
37. Kimchi and Calamari
A middle school assignment about ancestry brings up a lot of personal issues for young Joseph. He was adopted from Korea when he was a baby and doesn’t know anything about his family history. Read along as he goes on a journey of self-discovery and understanding what “family” means to him.
38. How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay
In this excellent book about family and culture, Miguel has to move to Vermont after his parents get divorced. When he arrives he also gets another surprise, his eccentric aunt Tia Lola has come to help out his mom with the new house. Her visit turns into an exciting and somewhat overwhelming dose of the culture he has missed out on for most of his life.
39. Gold Rush Girl
A thrilling novel of American historical fiction set in the 1800s, starring a young girl Tory, and her ship captain father, and little brother. Tory’s father is on a search for gold that leads their ship to San Francisco. Tory was not allowed to come along, but she sneaks aboard and makes the trip. Trouble ensues for the family when her brother gets kidnapped and she must rescue him.
40. Miles Morales: Shock Waves
Miles is not only a middle school student, he is also Spiderman! In this graphic novel series by Marvel, Miles must help save his mother’s hometown after a terrible earthquake. While organizing a fundraiser, a man goes missing, and it seems that a big corporation is behind it all. Will Miles/Superman be able to figure out how everything is connected and save the day?
This award-winning fantasy story features Max, a young boy with lots of questions he wants to be answered. He hears there is a mythical gatekeeper who can show you the futures of tomorrow, and he desperately wants to learn more about his estranged mother. With his compass, and legends to guide his way, will he be able to find what he is searching for?
42. Me and My Feelings: A Kids’ Guide to Understanding and Expressing Themselves
Your young reader’s guide to understanding their big emotions, and learning how to deal with them in healthy and constructive ways. It can be overwhelming being a kid and trying to process and control how we feel. This book explains strategies of breathing and communicating that can help kids feel more comfortable with how they feel.
43. Weird Little Robots
The perfect read for science-loving 4th graders and kids who like to tinker and build things! Young Penny-Rose loves making little robots, and for the most part, they are her only friends. Until she meets Lark and joins an awesome science club! Things start to get weird when she discovers her robots are alive. What will this mean for her new science social circle?
44. Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive!
This fun and informative nature facts book is inspired by the game where you say 3 things, 2 of them being true and 1 being false. This 3-book series is jam-packed with unbelievable tales of insane plants and animals with characteristics almost too absurd to believe. Can you and your 4th grade friends figure out which claims are true and which are made up?
45. Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field
An inspiring journal-style novel from the perspective of Peter Lee and his notes about dinosaurs, his sick grandmother, and his annoying know-it-all little sister. Will his dreams of becoming a paleontologist be put on hold to find out more information to save his granny Hammy?
The perfect novel for your 4th grade summer reading list. Maggie is a young girl with a preoccupied family getting ready for a new baby and taking care of her twin younger brothers. She really wants a puppy, but learns at the pet store that she is super allergic! Can she find a way to get a furry friend and not break out in terribly itchy rashes?
47. Rescue at Lake Wild
A book for animal lovers with caring and determined hearts. Madi is a young girl who loves rescuing animals in need, and she is good at it. It’s almost like she has a sixth sense for animals in danger. One day she finds two orphaned beaver kits in need of care, but there is more to their story, like who killed their mother and why is their habitat disappearing?
48. The Midnight Gang
This absurd and creative novel brings dreams to life in the children’s sick ward. A hit in the head sends Tom to the hospital where the nurses are mean and the food is bland. Little does he know what sorts of exciting mischiefs the other kids get into when the lights go out.
49. The Animal Rescue Agency: Case File: Little Claws
This bestselling 2-book series tells the story of a sly fox named Esquire who is good at completing dangerous top-secret missions. She’s used to going on chicken raids until she meets an old chicken named Mr. Pepper that changes her heart. They decide to form the Animal Rescue Agency and protect animals in danger. Who knew this would put them against the scariest animals of all, humans.
50. Me, Frida, and the Secret of the Peacock Ring
This inspiring and impactful novel tells the story of a young girl Paloma, who is going to Mexico for the first time to visit the hometown of her father who recently died. While she is there she sets out on a mission to find a lost ring that once belonged to Frida Kahlo, her father’s favorite artist.
A book in the companion series called Smile, by award-winning author Raina Telgemeier, tells her experiences growing up with a little sister. Siblings are never what you expect, especially when they don’t turn out how you were hoping. But when trouble enters their parent’s relationship, these sisters find more ways to relate and come together to save their family.
52. Trouble Town: Squirrel Do Bad
This 2-part graphic novel series stars little Wendy the Wanderer, who has an overprotective dad that never lets her out alone. One day he leaves and Wendy is left in the care of a very relaxed babysitter. It’s time for Wendy to explore, finally! She goes out into her quirky town to discover what there is to see and learn.
53. A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu, and You
A wacky facts book about all things gross, tiny, majestic, and colorful, perfect for readers who want to learn about the world. This fun encyclopedia for kids, has tons of cute pictures, blurbs, diagrams, and descriptions for things you may have heard of, but don’t really know all the goods about.
54. John Lincoln Clem: Civil War Drummer Boy
Based on a true account of little Johnny, a 9-year-old boy that sneaks on a train with a Union regiment heading to fight in the Civil War. The soldiers take him in and make him their drummer boy. Read and learn about how Johnny survived battles, illness, and capture from the Confederates.
55. Once Upon a Tim
Set in medieval times, this 2-book series tells the valiant story of Tim, a young peasant who dreams of becoming a knight. He will do whatever it takes to make his dream come true. So when the princess is taken by the evil Stinx, Tim sees his chance to join the royal legion of knights and change his fate.