Books for grade 3 – this list of grade 3 books has been carefully compiled by teachers and librarians to appeal to elementary school children aged 8-9. There is a range of easier short stories and more challenging chapter books that are ideal to share aloud or read independently for the first time. This list of 3rd grade reading recommendations includes titles by Dick King-Smith, Roald Dahl, Judy Blume, Joyce Sidman, Beverly Cleary, Lenore Look Cornelia Funke and more.
Books for Grade 3 – our recommendations
Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman
An evocative collection of poems that describe dusk to darkness to moonlight to dawn – and everything that happens beyond our eyes while we are asleep. A great book to read with a class, and useful to spark imaginative ideas for children’s creative writing.
Babe by Dick King-Smith
The classic heart-warming story of a pig who learns how to herd sheep, which was turned into the blockbuster film ‘Babe’. An ideal reading book for the start of third grade.
The Adventures of Paddington by Michael Bond
Paddington Bear arrives from far away Peru and takes over the lives of the Brown family when they meet at Paddington station. Classic, timeless and great fun.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwick children embark on exciting adventures in this classic children’s series set in Massachusetts. Ideal for imaginative third-grade children to get hooked on.
The World According to Humphrey by Betty Birney
Humphrey is an inquisitive and clever homeroom hamster who listens to everything. Soon he understanding reading and writing and joins in class. But can he outwit the evil teacher, Mrs Brisbane?
Bad to the Bone by Lucy Nolan
‘Here Kitty Kitty’ is a scheming cat that lives next door and ‘Down Girl’ is the family dog and hero of the story. Great fun and ideal for reluctant 9 year old readers.
Family | Animal story
The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas
Set in a fantasy world of spells and wizards, Conn finds himself thrown into adventures and solving mysteries. Exciting and fast-paced.
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Crenshaw is more than Jackson’s imaginary cat friend – he might be able to save the day and show Jackson how to solve all his problems. Touching and thoughtful, this book is ideal as a third grade class reader.
Friendship | Animal story
The Man Who Walked Between The Towers by Mordicai Gerstein
The captivating picture book story of Frenchman Phillippe Petit who walked a tightrope between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York in 1974. A jaw-dropping story and equally inspiring illustrations.
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
An emotional and thought-provoking book about the effects of bullying told through free verse and touching artwork. A really good choice to use with grade three classes.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
A must-have book for any third and fourth grade library. Highly entertaining with fun comic-style illustrations and excellent for motivating 3rd grade children who don’t like to read.
Big Nate by Lincoln Pierce
Fun comic style adventure stories about Nate – and his life at home and at school. Perfect for children who liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and ideal for less enthusiastic readers.
Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Wayside School is a place where things go horribly wrong, often with hysterically funny consequences – especially on the thirteenth floor. Very funny and ideal for 8 and 9 year olds.
Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
A thrilling fantasy series in which Jared, Simon and Mallory set off on adventures and solve mysteries in a gripping world of fairies and long-forgotten secrets. A more challenging 3rd grade read.
The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein
Alwyn the cat has magic powers in this book set in a world of witches and wizards. But will he be powerful enough to save his friends when they are captured by an evil queen?
The Twits by Roald Dahl
Mr and Mrs Twit are a revolting couple. They smell, they’re vile and they play nasty jokes on each other. But the Muggle-Wumps, the house pets, finally decide to put a stop to the Twits’ tricks in this extremely funny grade 3 book with short chapters.
Alvin Ho by Lenore Look
If your child is a fan of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, they are bound to enjoy this story about Alvin who is scared of everything, hates school, hates girls and longs to be a superhero.
Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine
Henry doesn’t know how old he is or when his birthday is. Born into slavery he longs for freedom, and one day, he seizes his chance.
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
An African folktale about two very different sisters who both dream of marrying the king. Will the king pick the scheming selfish sister or the kind-hearted sister?
Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Everyone thinks Fudge is the perfect child, except his older brother Peter, who knows what he’s really like and what he gets away with. How can Peter make his parents notice him more? Very funny and a great easy read for third and fourth grade children.
The Legend of Spud Murphy by Eoin Colfer
When Will’s mother decides to send him to the library he’s terrified of the librarian – Spud Murphy – rumored to have a huge spud powered gun to shoot children who misbehave. But slowly Will discovers the library is a great place. Great for reluctant readers.
Little Wolf’s Book of Badness by Ian Whybrow
A very funny story about Little Wolf, his uncle Bigbad and a school where he has to learn the 9 rules of badness. A great book to read aloud.
Canned by Alex Shearer
Fergal collects grocery cans with no labels. When his mother decides he has too many, she tells him he must open one before he adds any more to his collection. But there are some nasty surprises inside the cans he opens and Fergal is determined to find out who is responsible.
Poppy by Avi
In this stunningly well-illustrated fable, Poppy, a tiny mouse, faces the bullying owl Mr Ocax in a perilous quest in search of a better home and more food for her family. A great book to read with your 3rd grade child.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler by E L Konigsburg
When Claudia decides to run away, she doesn’t want to go just anywhere, so she picks the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Along with her younger brother, she is drawn into a mystery when a beautiful statue is perhaps not all that is seems.
Ghost Hunters by Cornelia Funke
Nine-year-old Tom’s grandma’s best friend is the world’s best ghost hunter, and with her help, Tom tracks down some seriously revolting ghosts. Very funny and ideal for reluctant readers in the third grade.
Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Nasty farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean have joined forces to try and catch clever Mr. Fox and his family. But Mr. Fox has a cunning plan to escape them. Will it work? Very funny and ideal to read aloud in grade 3.
Humor | Animal story
Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary
Maggie refuses to practise cursive handwriting. Why should she? What’s the point? But that soon changes when she wants to spy on her teacher’s handwriting…
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Alden children make a home in an old boxcar, and in doing so find a grandfather and begin a series of adventures solving mysteries. A classic set of stories which will appeal to eight and nine-year-olds.
The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Catling
John discovers he has a magic gift. Everything he touches turns to chocolate. At first, this is great, but soon he begins to regret his new power. Ideal for 3rd grade reluctant readers, particularly those who prefer shorter chapters.
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parrish & Fritz Seibel
Amelia Bedelia is a very good girl does who does exactly what she’s told. Except, because she takes everything absolutely literally, this often has hilarious results. Great to read aloud in groups.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
Three unlikely friends, Despereaux the mouse, Roscuro the rat, Pea the princess and Miggery Sow a slave girl set off on an epic quest to find their destinies despite many dangers. A classic short chapter book perfect for emerging readers.
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
James is sent to live with his two evil aunts after his parents are unexpectedly eaten by a wild Rhino. Just when he thinks things can’t get any worse, a chance encounter with magic, and a peach that grows and grows, finds him escaping in a hugely imaginative and funny adventure that will appeal to younger readers in the third grade.
Fantasy | Humor
If you would like to order all or most of the 3rd grade reading books in this list; or if you want to order classroom sets or multiple copies of books; or if you are ordering from outside the US, have a look at our ‘bulk orders’ page which makes this process easy.Bulk orders
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