19 Best Books For 4th & 5th Grade Kids In 2024

✔ Research-backed

The best fourth- and fifth-grade books must be relatable and fun to read for children. As students in these grades can read and understand stories, you should aim at providing them with books that can help fire their imagination and transport them to magical worlds.

To help you select the best books for fourth- and fifth-grade children, here is a list of well-recommended books covering a diverse range of genres. These can foster a healthy reading habit and improve their literary proficiency of the little ones. Pick some best-selling ones based on your child’s interest, personality, and reading level, and have fun reading sessions with them.

In This Article

19 Best Books For Kids In The Fourth And Fifth Grades In 2024

1. Best Native:Island of the Blue Dolphins

Author: Scott O’Dell

Karana is a native American girl who is left behind on an island while the rest of her tribe migrates. Island of the Blue Dolphins tells of the story of that young girl’s survival. Through the course of her adventures on the isolated island, Karana encounters wild animals and learns to live against all the odds. The time-tested historical fiction is simple yet inspiring.

2. Best Fascinating:The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Author: C.S. Lewis

Published in 1950, this best-selling book is considered a children’s classic. This classic story is set in a magical land called Narnia, which is ruled by the evil White Witch. Four siblings team up with a talking lion called Aslan and set on a battle to defeat the witch and free Narnia from the clutches of evil. All-in-all, it is a fascinating story of how good eventually triumphs over evil.

protip_icon Trivia
“The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is based on the ideas of betrayal and forgiveness and was inspired by the three girls that resided in the same house as C.S. Lewis during World War II.

3. Best Desperate Journey:The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Author: L. Frank Baum

Dorothy and her dog Toto are trapped in a tornado and transported to a world of mystical characters of flying monkeys and witches. Dorothy is desperate to find the way back home and becomes friends with a tin man, a scarecrow, and a cowardly lion along the way. The best-selling book Wonderful Wizard of Oz came out more than 100 years ago but is considered to be one of the best books for children even today.

protip_icon Quick fact
Reading is very important for children as it improves their language skills, cognitive abilities, concentration, discipline, imagination, and creativity (1).

4. Best Self-Discovery:The Wild Robot

Author: Peter Brown

A robot named Roz finds itself discarded on an island with no human beings. The robot is unable to remember its pasts and its purpose of being on the island. So it decides to befriend animals, the only living beings on the island. The Wild Robot is a warm tale of self-discovery from the perspective of an inanimate object such as the robot.

5. Best Adventure:Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

Author: Lynne Jonell

The protagonist of this story, Emmy, is a good girl who does everything right: eats her meals on time, does her homework, does not argue with elders, and so on. One day, she discovers a talking rat who is just the opposite of all that she stands for. The rat is unruly and argumentative, but Emmy is constantly fascinated by the little rodent who turns out to be more than what meets the eye.

6. Best Quest:Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

Author: Grace Lin

Inspired by a Chinese folk tale, this historical fiction is about a young girl named Minli who sets out on a quest to find two folk characters—an old man living on the moon and the Jade Dragon. The girl encounters several fascinating characters during her journey and even meets some fantasy characters. The book is easy-to-read and has several attractive illustrations scattered across the pages.

7. Best Heartwarming:Little House in the Big Woods

Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder

In this book, the author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, narrates her true-life experience of growing up in a wood cabin, at the edge of a forest in rural America. The book elaborates on four-year-old Laura’s experiences in the wood cabin, which she shares with her two sisters and parents. The book is like a heartwarming memoir of a little girl.

protip_icon Did You Know?
The surgery to become taller is called the limb-lengthening procedure. This procedure is quite risky and may cause serious complications. Therefore, it is only recommended if a person has one limb that is significantly shorter than the other.

8. Best Ancient:The City of Ember

Author: Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember is built as the last refuge for humankind after an apocalypse. While the place saves humans, it is on the verge of collapse due to depleting food resources and looming risk of complete darkness due to the lights turning off, one by one.

Two children, Lina and Doon, race against time to save the city using an ancient message they discovered in the City of Ember. The story is gripping and has elements of fantasy to keep the child engrossed.

9. Best Entertainment:Ella Enchanted

Author: Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted is a slightly modified version of the fairy tale, Cinderella. Ella is born with a gift of ‘obedience’ from a fairy. It means that Ella has to obey all orders given to her. But somehow, Ella turns out to be a rebel, and ultimately sets out on a journey to find the fairy and ‘return her gift.’ Ideal for reluctant readers, this best-selling book is filled with intriguing fairy tale characters and keeps the reader entertained until the end.

10. Best Nostalgic:The Cricket in Times Square

Author: George Selden

Chester is a Cricket (insect) and accidentally arrives in New York, hidden in a picnic basket. In New York, he makes friends with a mouse called Tucker and a cat named Harry. The cat and mouse duo become city guides for Chester, showing him around the vast city. Chester eventually befriends a boy named Mario, who adopts him.

But despite the glitter of the new city, Chester yearns to return to his life in the countryside. The Cricket in Times Square was published back in 1960 and is still one of the best books you could introduce to 4th and 5th graders.

11. Best Migrant:Esperanza Rising

Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza is a young girl who lives at a ranch in Mexico. The girl’s family is affluent and has all the comforts in the world. However, a chain of events forces the family to flee to California, where they live in a labor camp. The living conditions at the camp are the exact opposite of their comfortable life back in Mexico. The motivating tale tells how Esperanza rises above her difficulties and becomes a strong, dependable person.

Item Weight: 7.2 ounces

12. Best Classic:Where the Red Fern Grows

Author: Wilson Rawls

It is a story of a young boy named Billy who adopts two dogs. He calls them Old Dan and Little Ann. The three of them become good friends and roam the valley as a team of hunters. But as time goes by, Billy realizes that the three cannot always stay together. ‘Where The Red Fern Grows’ is a heart-touching, time-tested tale of friendship, love, and adventure.

13. Best Imaginative:The Wishing Spell

Author: Chris Colfer

Alex and Conner are twins who use a magical book of stories to enter a fairyland where they encounter fairy tale creatures such as goblins, trolls, and witches. The initial excitement of the twins tapers off when they realize that leaving the fairy world is not as simple as entering it. The story is ingenious and will make an exciting book to read for fans of fantasy stories.

14. Best Portrayal:Wonder

Author: R. J. Palacio

Wonder is one of the most critically acclaimed children’s realistic fiction novels. It tells the story of a boy named August Pullman who is born with severe facial anomalies. August does not attend a conventional school until it is time to start the fifth grade. The young boy is nervous about going to school because he looks different. But friends, family, and his will power prove that despite the differences, he is like any other child of his age.

15. Best Exploration:Bridge to Terabithia

Author: Katherine Paterson

Jess and Leslie are school friends who spend their free time together. They invent an imaginary enchanted land called Terabithia, which in reality is nothing but a portion of the forest behind Leslie’s house. The friendship of the duo takes a tragic twist, and Jess now has to find the strength to deal with his grief. This best-selling book can help your child navigate the complicated feelings of grief and how to cope with it.

16. Best Mystery:Chasing Vermeer

Author: Blue Balliett

Two friends Petra and Calder love mysteries and solving them. The two are delighted when they realize that they are in the middle of a lost-painting mystery and embark on a quest to solve it. And while they are at it, they encounter some strange and suspicious characters. Chasing Vermeer is a simple whodunit story for 4th and 5th graders.

17. Best Dual:Wonderstruck

Author: Brian Selznick

This picture book tells the story of Ben and Rose, who lived 50 years apart. Each of them has their aspirations and desire to fulfill their quest. But the journey to their destination is not easy. The book is unique due to its presentation style, where Ben’s story is written in words, while Rose’s story is told in pictures, making it one of the favorite books among elementary school students.

18. Best Humorous:Frindle

Author: Andrew Clements

This fun book narrates the story of a school-going child called Nick, who is a bit of a troublemaker. One day, Nick decides to play around with words and renames the pen as ‘Frindle.’ Nick does it for fun, but the word ‘Frindle’ gets so popular that it becomes the new name for a pen, both inside and outside the school. The young boy eventually realizes that the word ‘Frindle’ no longer belongs to him. The book is hilariously written and a good read for elementary and middle school students on the weekend.

19. Best Empathy:Number the Stars

*The prices provided in this article are based on the latest available information. However, they may vary due to changes in pricing by the seller and/or promotional offers.

Author: Lois Lowry

The story is set in 1943 Copenhagen, Denmark. It is the middle of World War II, and ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen’s family takes her best friend Ellen Rosen into their home to protect her from Nazi persecution. Annemarie is puzzled by the chaos unleashed by the war while the story tells how a group of Danish resistance helps thousands of Jews escape from the country. Ideal for classroom reading sessions, the book is a touching tale of war, oppression, empathy, hope, and friendship narrated in a way that is suitable for a fourth and fifth grader’s understanding.

How To Choose The Right Books For Kids In The Fourth And Fifth Grades?

Consider the following points when selecting the right book for 4th and 5th graders.

  1. Genre and interest: Identify your child’s interest to find the right book. From fantasy and science fiction to biographies, choosing a book based on your child’s interest will keep them engaged and motivate them to finish the book, developing a healthy reading habit.
  2. Readability: Consider the book’s readability, content, and flow to ensure your child can read and understands it. Taylor Beal, a reading specialist, school administrator, and English teacher, says, “The book should still include challenging words to help improve your child’s vocabulary and reading skills.”
  3. Length: Young children tend to get distracted easily; hence lengthy books or content might deviate their attention. Choose a book with short and crisp chapters that will encourage your child to continue reading books. Taylor Beal, says, “If possible, read with your child and help them look forward to uncovering the next chapter.”
  4. Reviews: Check the book’s reviews by fellow readers and parents to determine if the book is suitable for your child. Parent-recommended and teacher-approved books usually contain age-appropriate themes, content, and language to make it easy for them to comprehend.

The Bottom Line

The books listed here are some of the best for 4th and 5th graders, curated after an in-depth examination of the plots, reader reviews, and testimonials. Children in the fourth and fifth grades are typically aged eight to ten, so when shopping for books for these children, keep their advanced preferences and age in mind. Continue to add books to your child’s library whenever you come across an interesting book like The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with moral lessons, the fantasy-based Where the Red Fern Grows, or the adventure-themed Island of the Blue Dolphins and make sure your child has access to the books they enjoy reading. Also, while choosing from the list, keep in mind your child’s interests.

Infographic: How To Make Book Reading Engaging For Children?

Most children eagerly dive into the world of books, unlocking their imagination and expanding their knowledge with every page turn. Check out the following infographic to make their book-reading process more interesting, meaningful, and fruitful. It highlights tips you can incorporate to enhance the child’s book-reading habit.

Tips To Make Book Reading Interesting For Children(infographic)

Illustration: Momjunction Design Team


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Taylor Beal has spent more than ten years working as a reading specialist, school administrator, and English teacher in education. She also has experience with students of all ages, from elementary to high school. In addition to masters in Education in School Leadership from Wilmington University, Taylor holds a certification in special education, English language arts, and social sciences.

Read full bio of Taylor Beal