Top 100 Books for Gradeschoolers: ParentDish Picks

Filed under: Books for Kids, Gear Guides: Big Kids

Top 100 Books for Gradeschoolers picture

Anne Frank's story is one that every child should read. Credit: Amazon


Books open up a universe to explore for grade school children, and they can still get away with reading books with pictures. Although there are 100 books listed below, there are always many quality books that didn't fit on the list. This is a great age to explore books together with your child, who will find dozens to read ... and re-read.

  1. 1."The Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life" by Sid Fleischman (1996): An autobiography of a writer who started life as a magician.

  2. 2."The Adventures of Pinocchio" by Carlo Collodi (1925): The original story of the wooden boy who wishes to become real. Note that this parable is less sweet and kind than the the Disney version.

  3. 3."Abel's Island" by William Steig (1976): An artist mouse is swept away by rains, which strand him on an island.

  4. 4."Aesop & Company: Scenes from His Legendary Life" by Barbara Bader, illustrated by Arthur Geisert (1991): This book of 19 fables set against the backdrop of morals and Geisert's unadorned animals, also describes the history of Aesop's fables.

  5. 5."Afternoon of the Elves" by Janet Taylor Lisle (1989): The story of a the budding friendship between Sara-Kate and Hilary.

  6. 6."Alan and Naomi" by Myron Levoy (1977): Set in World War II, Naomi is a refugee from Paris who moves to New York and her friendship with Alan.

  7. 7."Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll (1865): Alice was bored when she followed a rabbit down into a hole with amazing adventures that followed.

  8. 8."All-of-a-Kind Family" by Sidney Taylor, illustrated by Helen John (1951): This story features a family of immigrants -- five daughters and a son -- living in New York in the early part of the last century.

  9. 9."Amber Brown Is Not a Crayon" by Paula Danziger, illustrated by Tony Ross (1994): Amber's best friend Justin is moving away.

  10. 10."Anastasia Krupnik" by Lois Lowry (1984): The first Anastasia book in the series that tells of the daily life of a 10-year-old.

  11. 11."And Then What Happened, Paul Revere?" By Jean Fritz, illustrated by Margot Tomes (1973): The ins-and-outs of Paul Revere's famous ride, including details of things he forgot to do.

  12. 12."Animal Fare: Zoological Nonsense Poems" by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Janet Street (1994): Colorful imaginary animals and a clever use of words make this a fun read-aloud book.

  13. 13."Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl" by Anne Frank (1958): Written by a young girl whose family hid in an attic during Nazi occupation, this is an amazing document of life during World War II

  14. 14."Author: A True Story" by Helen Lester (1977): A light-hearted treatment about Lester's path to writing children's books.

  15. 15."A Bear Called Paddington" by Michael Bond, illustrated by Peggy Fortnum (1960): This book sets in motion the hilarious adventures of a bear from darkest Peru who was found in Paddington Station by the Browns.

  16. 16."Because of Winn-Dixie" by Kate DiCamillo (2000): A dog changes the lives of Opal and her preacher father.

  17. 17."The Black Stallion" by Walter Farley, illustrated By Keith Ward (1941): Shipwrecked, Alec and the horse learn to co-exist in this first of 19 in the popular series.

  18. 18."Bridge to Terabithia"by Katherine Paterson, illustrated by Donna Diamond (1977): This Newbery Medal winner tells of Jess and Leslie's friendship, which end when Leslie is accidentally killed.

  19. 19."Bud, Not Buddy" by Christopher Paul Curtis (1999): A foster child runs away, making his way to where he believes his father is.

  20. 20."A Child's Calendar" by John Updike, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman (1999): Celebrating each month with a verse, this Caldecott Honor book is set in New England.

  21. 21."Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" by Judith Barrett, illustrated by Ron Barrett (1978): Meals arrive from the sky in the enchanted land of Chewandswallow, according to Grandpa, but what will happen if the weather changes?

  22. 22."Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake (1963): Charlie Bucket wins a chance to visit Willy Wonka's factory. "Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator" is the sequel to this classic.

  23. 23."The Complete Fairy Tales" by Charles Perrault (1797): First published in 1797, these 11 French fairy tales, including Little Red Riding Hood and Sleeping Beauty, are decidedly different from the modern-day adaptations. However, the morals are well worth a read.

  24. 24."The Conch Bearer" by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni (2005): Anand, an Indian boy, leaves behind some terrible life challenges as he journeys to return a magical conch shell.

  25. 25."The Curious Garden" by Peter Brown (2009): Liam, a little boy, starts tending an unloved garden, which greens the gray world around him.

  26. 26."D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths" by Ingri and Parin D'Aulaire (1962): For children, this is the standard book about Zeus and other Greek deities. "D'Aulaire's Norse Gods and Giants" is a definite companion work to seek out.

  27. 27."Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney (2007): This comic "journal" of Greg Heffley's life has led Kinney to create a popular, funny series.

  28. 28."Diego" by Jonah Winter, illustrated Jeanette Winter, Spanish text by Amy Prince (1991): A vivid, accessible bilingual book about the life of the artist Diego Rivera.

  29. 29."A Drop of Water" by Walter Wick (1997): Wick, well-known as the photographer of the I Spy series, trains his lens on science experiments that will have children looking at water in a new way.

  30. 30."The Fairy Tales of Hans Christian Andersen" by Hans Christian Andersen (1835): In 1835, Andersen started publishing these beloved tales, such as "The Little Mermaid" and "The Ugly Duckling."

  31. 31."Fairy Tales" by Wilhelm Grimm and Jakob Grimm (1812): Readers started enjoying the Grimm brothers' tales in the early 1800s and they have remained well-known with "Rapunzel" and "The Twelve Dancing Princesses."

  32. 32."The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau" by Dan Yaccarino (2009): Colorfully illustrated and educational, this book about the life undersea and its famous explorer is sure to please any adventurer.

  33. 33. "Five Children and It" by E. Nesbit (1902): Five children discover It, which grants wishes. Two other books follow this one: "The Phoenix and the Carpet" and "The Story of the Amulet."

  34. 34. "A Girl Named Disaster" by Nancy Farmer (1998): The journeys of Nhamo, an 11-year-old Shona girl, who flees Mozambique for Zimbabwe.

  35. 35."The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein (1964): The meaning of this story about a boy and a tree grows deeper with each reading.

  36. 36."Granny Torrelli Makes Soup" by Sharon Creech (2003): A wise grandmother imparts her knowledge to her granddaughter while cooking soup.

  37. 37."Half Magic" by Edward Eager, illustrated by N. M. Bodecker (1954): After four children wished on an ancient coin, their summer vacation just became a lot more interesting.

  38. 38."Harriet the Spy" by Louise Fitzhugh (1964): An endearing book about Harriet, who wants to grow up to be a writer. Successive books follow, such as "The Long Secret."

  39. 39."Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Mary Grandpre (1998): Boarding-school happenings of a boy-wizard. The first of a wildly popular series.

  40. 40."Hatchet" by Gary Paulsen (1987): A plane crashes, leaving a 13-year-old boy to survive in the wild. This is the Newbery Honor winner that sets the stage for the books Paulsen writes later about the same boy.

  41. 41."The Hatmaker's Sign: A Story of Benjamin Franklin" by Candace Fleming (1998): A retelling of a parable Benjamin Franklin told to Thomas Jefferson as the Declaration of Independence was being criticized.

  42. 42."Hawk, I'm Your Brother" by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Peter Parnall (1976): A Caldecott Honor winner about Rudy, who captures a hawk, but later learns what it means to be free.

  43. 43."Henry Huggins" by Beverly Cleary (1950): Henry adopts Ribsy in this first of a series, "Henry and Ribsy" and "Henry and the Clubhouse."

  44. 44."A History of US" by Joy Hakim (2007): Any one of this 11-volume series is a solid addition to history-lover bookshelves.

  45. 45."The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien (1938): The story of Bilbo Baggins and the Hobbits, which serves as a launching off point for the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy.

  46. 46."Home Run: The Story of Babe Ruth" by Robert Burleigh and Mike Wimmer (1998): An enjoyable treatment of the legendary baseball player.

  47. 47."The Hospital Book" by James Howe, illustrated by Mal Warshaw (1981): In a no-nonsense way, this book and its later edition, introduce children to the hospital and various procedures.

  48. 48."The House with a Clock on Its Walls" by John Bellairs, illustrated by Edward Gorey (1973): The beginning mystery in a series of a dozen about an orphaned boy living with his uncle, who is a wizard.

  49. 49."How Many Days to America?: A Thanksgiving Story" by Eve Bunting, illustrated by Beth Peck (1988): A nice re-telling of the Pilgrims' arrival to America, with a reminder of the meaning of Thanksgiving.

  50. 50."How Many Spots Does a Leopard Have? And Other Tales" by Julius Lester and David Shannon (1989): A collection of a dozen folktales from African and Jewish traditions, re-told by an author of Jewish and African heritage.

  51. 51."The Hundred Dresses" by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin (1944): A Newbery Honor Book about Wanda Petronski, in a faded dress, claims to the classmates who taunt her when she said she had 100 dresses at home.

  52. 52."The Indian in the Cupboard" by Lynne Reid Banks, illustrated by Brock Cole (1981): When Omri, a little boy, puts a toy Indian in a magic cupboard, it comes alive and all sorts of adventures ensue.

  53. 53."The Ink Drinker" by Eric Sanvoisin, illustrated by Martin Matje (2002): A boy enlisted to watch his father's bookstore sees a customer drink a book, leaving its pages blank.

  54. 54."The Iron Giant" by Ted Hughes and Andrew Davidson (1968): A giant takes on a monster in this allegory written by the British poet laureate.

  55. 55."Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell (1960): This novel is based on the real life of a girl who spent 18 years on an island off the California coast.

  56. 56."It's Disgusting - and We Ate It! True Food Facts from Around the World - and Throughout History!" By James Soleheim, illustrated by Eric Brace (1998): A wacky yet informative book about past, present and ... what's that growing in your refrigerator?

  57. 57."It's Like This, Cat" by Emily Cheney Neville (1963): Dave, a 14-year-old who lives in New York City, gets a cat. The electric family relationships ring true, which is probably one reason this book won the Newbery Medal.

  58. 58."Jelly Belly" by Robert Kimmel Smith, illustrated by Bob Jones (1981): An overweight boy who is sent to a diet camp ends up learning much about life.

  59. 59."Johnny Tremain" by Esther Forbes, illustrated by Lynd Ward (1943): Set in Revolutionary America, a silversmith apprentice is pulled into the fray of the political situation.

  60. 60."Journey to America" by Sonia Levitin, illustrated by Charles Robinson (1970):Fleeing Nazi Germany, the Platts made their way to the United States. This fictional immigrant family reappears in "Silver Days" and in "Annie's Promise."

  61. 61."Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices" by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Eric Beddows (1992): Insects invade this award-winning collection of poetry about bugs.

  62. 62."The Jungle Book" by Rudyard Kipling (1894): Mowgli joins a wolf pack and learns to live in the jungle in this exotic telling of the boy's journeys among the wild animals.

  63. 63."Kids on Strike!" by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (1999): Children and their involvement in several of the American labor strikes.

  64. 64."Leonardo da Vinci" by Diane Stanley (1996): A well-told biography of a fascinating artist.

  65. 65."A Light in the Attic" by Shel Silverstein (1981): An award-winning collection of rhymes from the master of fun rhymes. Kids will have trouble putting this one down and will probably enjoy reading them aloud.

  66. 66."Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, illustrated by Garth Williams (1953): This autobiographical tale is the starting point for Wilder's continuing series of adventures and survival on the frontier.

  67. 67."The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (1943): A French tale about a prince who arrives from outerspace.

  68. 68."A Little Princess" by Frances Hodgson Burnett (1963): By the author of "The Secret Garden," this is a classic tale of Sara Crewe adjusting to shifting fortunes.

  69. 69."Little Women" by Louisa May Alcott (1868): The story of the March sisters growing up during the Civil War.

  70. 70."A Long Way From Chicago" by Richard Peck (1998): Annual visits to grandmother's, where amazing things seem to keep happening.

  71. 71."The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body" by Joanna Cole, illustrated by Bruce Degen (1989): Another trip on the magic bus with Mrs. Frizzle, who takes her students along for the exploration of the body.

  72. 72."Mary and the Mouse, the Mouse and Mary" by Beverly Donofrio, illustrated by Barbara McClintock (2007): A gentle, simple story of Mary and the Mouse living alongside each other.

  73. 73."Mary Poppins" by P.L. Travers (1934): The lovable British nanny with magical qualities. The successful first novel hatched the succeeding sequels.

  74. 74."The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood" by Howard Pyle (1883): Episodes in and characters from the life of the British legend known for his stealing from the rich and giving to the poor.

  75. 75."Misty of Chincoteague" by Marguerite Henry, illustrated By Wesley Dennis (1947): The wild horses of Chincoteague Island, along with the Beebe children, inhabit this novel about the horse Misty.

  76. 76."The Moffats" by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin (1941): Daily activities of the four Moffat children and their widowed mother.

  77. 77."Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH" by Robert C. O'Brien, illustrated by Zena Bernstein (1971): This novel about rats of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and a mouse won a Newbery Medal.

  78. 78."Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" by Betty MacDonald, illustrated by Hilary Knight (1957): A good book for those learning to read, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle is the kindly woman who seems to delight and handle many a child's mischief. MacDonald wrote several sequels.

  79. 79."Peter Pan" by J.M. Barrie (1911): Various illustrators have depicted Peter Pan and the rest of the Lost Boys, along with the Darling family, in this adventurous tale.

  80. 80."Pippi Longstocking" by Astrid Lindgren (1944): This is the story of a lovable, wacky Swedish girl who has a generous heart and a fun outlook on life.

  81. 81."The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald (1871): Goblins threaten the home of a young princess.

  82. 82."Princess Hyacinth: The Surprising Tale of a Girl who Floated" by Florence Parry Heide, illustrated by Lane Smith (2009): What do you do with a princess who floats? Try to keep her grounded.

  83. 83."The Quicksand Book" by Tomie dePaola (1977): Jungle Boy sets about to rescue Jungle Girl from quicksand, from the author of "Strega Nona."

  84. 84."Rabbit Hill" by Robert Lawson (1944): This award-winning book about Rabbit Hill and the creatures -- big and small -- that inhabit it.

  85. 85."Robinson Crusoe" by Daniel Defoe (1719): A fictional account of a man stranded on an island for nearly three decades. It's considered to be the first English novel.

  86. 86."Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes" by Eleanor Coerr and Ronald Himler (1979): Coerr recounts the true story of a victim of the Hiroshima atomic bomb, who is told about healing the sick by folding a thousand paper cranes.

  87. 87."The Secret Garden" by Frances H. Burnett (1912): Mary, an orphan sent to live in the Yorkshire countryside, discovers a secret garden.

  88. 88."The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales" by John Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (1992): Fairy tales set on their, well, tails. For instance, the ugly duckling doesn't become a beautiful swan.

  89. 89."Stuart Little" by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams (1945): The Littles love their son, even if he does look a lot like a mouse. Stuart has impressive adventures, sure to capture your child's imagination.

  90. 90."The Sun" by Seymour Simon (1986): One in a series of books with breathtaking photos of the natural world, which Seymour deftly explains without dumbing down the subject for kids.

  91. 91."The Twenty-One Balloons" by William Pene Du Bois (1947): Professor Sherman lands on Krakatoa, learning about all sorts of balloon inventions.

  92. 92."The Trumpet of the Swan" by E. B. White, illustrated by Edward Frascino (1970): A swan born without the ability to trumpet, befriends Sam who takes him to school.

  93. 93."A Wave in Her Pocket: Stories from Trinidad" by Lynn Joseph (1991): Rich in West Indies lore, this is a collection of stories.

  94. 94."The Wind in the Willows" by Kenneth Grahame (1908): Captivating adventures among Rat, Mole, Toad and Badger -- friends who live along a riverbank. Many editions are available with delightful illustrations.

  95. 95."Winnie-the-Pooh" by A. A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard (1926): Winnie-the-Pooh, the bear belonging to Christopher Robin, has lots of adventures with his friends, including Piglet and Tigger.

  96. 96."The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" by L. Frank Baum (1900): Select an illustrator for this classic read and don't forget to pick up one of the 13 sequels to the Oz story, including "Ozma of Oz" and "The Patchwork Girl of Oz."

  97. 97."A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle (1962): "It was a dark and stormy night" when a visitor comes calling to the Wallaces.

  98. 98."The Yearling" by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, illustrated by N. C. Wyeth (1938):The winner of a Pulitzer Prize, this novel tells of Jody, a boy in Florida, who wants to save the animals he loves.

  99. 99."You Read to Me and I'll Read to You: 20th Century Stories to Share" by Janet Schulman (2001): A compilation of many well-loved stories and books is perfect for the bookshelves of those learning to read while still loving the possibilities of being read to.

  100. 100."Zlateh the Goat and Other Stories" by Isaac Bashevis Singer, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (1966): A read-aloud collection of traditional folk stories.

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