31 great books for students, chosen by students

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During the school year, most of the books that students read have been assigned to them by their teachers and parents. We wanted to know: what are the books kids love to dig into on their own? We asked several fourth and fifth grade TED-Ed Club Members to share the books that they’ve recently read and want to recommend to other kids their age.

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi.
Although this is a graphic novel, it is worth reading as a series for your own time.
-Andre Wooning, Grade 4, Coolidge School

Beast Quest: Sepron, The Sea Serpent by Adam Blade
Do you love adventure and a book that makes you wonder? Then this is the book for you!
-Adam Tippett, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

Best of the Best by Tim Green
This book about baseball demonstrates true determination.  In it, friends help friends. Good people can make bad people better.
-George Stavrou, Grade 4, Coolidge School

BFG by Roald Dahl
This is a funny book which shows how two unlike things or species can become friends by being kind.
-George Stavrou, Grade 4, Coolidge School

Book: The Book with No Pictures by B. J. Novak
It makes my teacher says things she will never say to us. It makes strict people let loose!
-Dominicus Kavanagh, Grade 5 Forest Hill Public School

Do you want to make your teacher act funny and crazy in front of the WHOLE class? Then get them to read this. (Hint: Don’t let the adult peek inside first, they need to see it for the first time as they read it to you).
-Lauren Wolfe, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

Bunnicula by Deborah and James Howe
This was such a funny book, after I had read many serious books. I love my pets, and so I could imagine my pets talking just like the animal characters in the book. The dog and cat have such different personalities, and their interaction with each other is fun. I usually don’t like vampire books, but this one is different than any others!
-Reagan Brake, Grade 5, Elyria Christian School

The Cay by Theodore Taylor
I was surprised by how much I liked this book. It took a while for me to get into this book, but soon, I didn’t want it to end. It is the most emotional book I have ever read, and I haven’t stopped thinking about it. I want to go to the island that Timothy and Phillip were on.
-Reagan Brake, Grade 5, Elyria Christian School

City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
This book challenged my imagination. I watched the trailer for the movie, and decided not to watch it because it did not match with the way I imagined the world in the book. I thought my version was better and I didn’t want to ruin it.
-Reagan Brake, Grade 5, Elyria Christian School

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
This is a really funny series and almost all of his books are New York Times Best Sellers.
-Adam Tippett, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

Dork Diaries by Rachel Renee Russell
I like it because she writes as though she is a girl in Middle School. I hope you like this book as much as I do. Thank you.
-Kadija Guled, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabstein
This is a great book because it has so many puzzles and it grows your brain to try to solve them.  It also shows how teamwork can solve problems.
-George Stavrou, Grade 4, Coolidge School

The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman by Meg Wolitzer
This book is an amazing book because it shows that everyone can be friends. The book is about a boy named Duncan Dorfman who can read with his fingertips. It has an ongoing theme on the game of Scrabble, but even if you don’t like Scrabble or know nothing about it, it’s still an amazing read. I am positive this book will be an absolute thriller!
-Matthew Suescun, Grade 4, Coolidge School 

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
This book is worth reading because it leaves you wanting more.This book also holds valuable lessons. It is also funny.
-Erin Moses, Grade 5, Coolidge School

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine
It’s old-fashioned scary! If you like being kind of scared but not too scared at the same time, then read this.
-Emily Mason, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
I’m recommending this because this series is amazing, There is so much mystery and each book has an amazing plot.
-Emily Goodrich, Grade 5, Coolidge School 

The Humphrey Series by Betty G. Burney
-Torie Price, Grade 4, Elyria Christian School

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
This was a book about survival when all hope seemed lost. I was amazed by everything the main character did to live and survive all by herself on an island in Alaska.
-Reagan Brake, Grade 5, Elyria Christian School

Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson
I think that it is a good book for kids who love Disney World and Mysteries. I recommend this to grade 4 and 5.
-Stephen Stagg, Grade 4, Coolidge School

The Maze Runner by James Dashner
This book must be read because it is the perfect book for you if you like Hunger Games and Divergent. It has lots of action and will keep you reading more. Hope you enjoy!
-Colin Yu, Grade 5, Coolidge School

I think The Maze Runner series is worth reading because the books are action packed and very interesting.
-Jayden Mamola, Grade 5, Coolidge School

A Million Ways Home by Dianna Dorisi Winget
This is my favorite book for many reasons. The main character Poppy faces many challenges that are scary and sad. It’s also a great book because of its genre which is realistic fiction. Poppy is a great role model for girls. That’s why you should read it!
-Renee DeBellis, Grade 4, Coolidge School

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
This book is worth reading because it shows how a girl named Melody manages to live through her tough life. She has photographic memory; nothing slips out of her mind. People don’t realize that she is the smartest kid in her school because she can’t talk, walk, or write. I think people would love to read this book. It teaches that you should always remember not to complain because there is someone who always has less than you.
-Lauren Pellegrini, Grade 5, Coolidge School 

Pokemon Adventures by Hidenori Kusaka
I think people should read this ‘cause it is an awesome book and the show is really popular. If you want a book with adventures and action, well there, you’ve got it.
-Bryan Chang, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

Pokemon Adventures is exciting and fun to read. It feels like a real adventure.
-Aidan Evans, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

Pokemon Black and White by Hidenori Kusaka
I think these books are worth reading because:
These books will make you start loving Pokemon.
These books are super amazing.
I absolutely love Pokemon.
-Darius Harris-Jackson, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

Racing in the Rain: My Life as a Dog by Garth Stein
This riveting book is very sad. There are surprises everywhere. It tells you about the sadness and love in life and also tells you about the circumstances that may happen.
-Jack Remo Grade 5, Coolidge School

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary
-Torie Price, Grade 4, Elyria Christian School

Seconds by Sylvia Taekema
-Logan Miller, Grade 5, Forest Hill Public School

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I’m in the middle of The Secret Garden, and I love it. I can’t wait every night to see what happens next. I was one of my mom’s favorite books, so we like to talk about what I just read.
-Reagan Brake, Grade 5, Elyria Christian School

The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick
I read this book with my 4th grade class, and we all loved the adventure and the mystery. We could not wait until the next day to read what happened next. It is good for 4th graders, because it is exciting, but not too scary.
-Reagan Brake, Grade 5, Elyria Christian School

Warriors by Erin Hunter
I love this book because it’s unique. The story focuses on cats who live in clans in a forest.  They support the members of their group. They hunt for each other, they care for each other, and they teach youngsters to become warriors. There are four clans which show a great deal of hostility towards the other groups. The first series is from the point of view of Fireheart, a cat who runs away from his former owners and is not forest-born. The book shows how he adapts to the clan, fights, makes friends, grieves, and becomes a clan leader. This series is action packed, sad, and suspenseful.
-Tara Crismond, Grade 5, Coolidge School 

Wings Of Fire: The Dragonet Prophecy by Tui T. Sutherland
This fantasy book is worth reading because it about dragons, and that doesn’t mean the book is for boys because there are a lot of girl dragons too. If you finish the first book, there is a whole series to read. Another reason you should read this book is because it has a lot of adventure and action.
-Catherine Cilingiryan, Grade 4, Coolidge School

Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Wonder is really interesting.  It is a story about a boy named August who has a disfigured face. It describes his experiences in a new school.
-James Wong, Grade 4, Coolidge School

What books would you add to this list? >>



  1. Shannon Brake

    Thank you for a great summer reading list!

  2. Varun Khushalani

    I think the Puzzling world of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin is also a great book for this list. It is a riveting story and will interest the minds of young readers everywhere.

  3. Loyda G.

    Thank you for this great list of books, my kids are very happy to have something to read this summer.

  4. caren falconer

    These are good but there are some great books you left off…

    Hunger Games Series – Suzzanne Collins
    The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

  5. Nata Laki

    I would add The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. It’s a book about a young boy reading a book about another young boy, until he finds himself inside the book. Great story, lots of adventures and a unique imagination challenge. You Never want the Story to End!

  6. erin

    Walk Two Moons but Sharon Creech, maybe more 6th/7th grade. I still re-read it at 31 and love it. HA

  7. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate is an unfortunate omission from this list, especially for animal lovers of any age. It’s an unforgettable book and based on a true story.

  8. Beeline

    “The Missing” series by Margaret Haddix. It’s a mix of history and time travel.

  9. Kelly

    i also agree, The One and Only Ivan was a big oversight. The Miraculous journey of Edward Tulane is also a must!

    • satish

      I would recommends for young readers, ‘The Yearling ‘ by Marjorie kinan Rowling…it describes the friendship of a boy with an animal

      It also described America in earlier day. Was also made into a movie with Grgory Peck.

  10. Kelly

    My kids and I loved Because of Mr. Terupt. Great read!!

  11. satish

    I recommend The Yearling…by Marjorie Kinnen also made into movie with Gregory Peck.

  12. Nice to see some of the titles kids pick for themselves! Here’s to a summer of great reads no matter what your age.

  13. VJain

    Thanks for the list. Any suggestions for younger and elder kids from 2nd grade and 7th grade?

    • S

      For a 2nd grader try “Secrets of Droon” series or “Akiko” series. 7th grader how about Sherlock Holmes? Or Ray Beadbury’s books? Also Ursula Le Guin’s books.

  14. Ann Maclean

    The Island of the Blue Dolphins takes place on an island off of California; not Alaska.

  15. Angie

    DEFINITELY Holes by Louis Sachar, A Long Way From Chicago or a Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck, and harris and Me by Gary Paulsen.

  16. Kimberley Weldon

    I would recommend “The Abandoned,” by Paul Gallico. It is a deeply moving story of a little boy who is having a hard time coping with his parents’arguments and talk of divorce. The boy loves cats, and when he has an accident and goes into a coma, he lives the life of a cat, with new friends and much to learn. Later, he is faced with a difficult decision that will significantly impact the lives of all who love him.

  17. Kimberley Weldon

    I would recommend “The Abandoned,” by Paul Gallico. It is a deeply moving story of a little boy who is having a hard time since his parents are rarely home. The boy loves cats, and when he has an accident, he awakes in the form of a cat. He makes new friends and has much to learn. Later, he is faced with a difficult decision that will significantly impact the lives of all who love him.

  18. Jacqueline Parke

    Would love to see a similar list recommended by high school students.

    • Cindy

      YES! YES! YES! I totally agree! I’ve read a lot of books, but would love a list of new ones others recommend.

  19. Bob

    Another great book is the Great Chocolate Cake Bake-Off by Phillipa Werry ( I think that is how you spell her name)

  20. Traci

    Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

  21. Maria

    Love a list for teens – esp bits!

    • Sue Kimmet

      Much needed! Too many books that are barely worth reading, hard to find things for a teacher to use that can draw attention as well.

  22. For the past twenty years, I’ve added Never Cry Wolf by Farley Mowet to my summer reading ist. Not many students opt for it, but those who do love it.

  23. Cathy

    ‘The Ranger’s Apprentice’ series by John A. Flanagan is excellent; adventure and quality characters for Grade 4/5 to old age!
    ‘Margaret and the Moth Tree’ by Kari Trogen was a good read (Grade 3 up).
    As well as ‘Privateer’s Apprentice’ by Susan Verrico (Grade 4 up).

  24. The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede, the first book being “Dealing With Dragons.” The Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer, which are funnier than the Harry Potter books, and more exciting. The Crestomanci Chronicles by Diana Wynne Jones.

  25. I love the seiries of N.E.R.D.S. I think the first book of it,National espionage,rescue,and defense society was a slam dunk! The new one, M is for Mama’s Boy, I haven’t read it yet. But it’s probably gonna be funny! Anyway,enough about my advice about N.E.R.D.S. Have fun reading!⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ Out of 5

  26. Gail Timmer

    I loved The One and Only Ivan, Because of Win Dixie and the 39 Clues series. My 11 year old grandson also loves the 39 Clues!

  27. Edz Camila

    Some books i read from your list and its awesome!!! I like reading the books by Louis Sachar, The Sideways Stories and the Marbin Redpost series.
    Roala Dahl’s Holes is superb!

  28. Rowena

    Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIHM

  29. Abodi

    Thank you so much for the recommendation of books. I think Big Nate would be an amazing book for grade 4.

  30. Rachel

    Frindle by Clements. Witty, funny: a quick but memorable read; one you are likely to revisit.

  31. DRB

    I highly recommend “The Genius Files” series by Dan Gutman and The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.

  32. Lisa

    My daughter loves City of Ember also and likes to imagine it and did not want to see the movie because the trailer gave a different story line than the book.

  33. A

    One spelling correction, please: The author of the Humphrey series is Betty Birney.

  34. Rita

    Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery

  35. Vicki

    Can we get a list like this for teens?

  36. Rosalind Lucas

    His dark materials by Philip Pullman.

    Philip Pullman has a great idea of what a soul looks like. His stories are really adventurous and extremely good.

  37. Belen

    I would add the book “All the Lights we cannot see” to these list.

  38. Enti

    “The General of the Dead Army”
    Novel by Ismail Kadare

  39. Daisy

    There’s a Boy in the Girls Bathroom by Louis Sachar.

  40. Kendra Augusts

    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander and Took by Mary Downing Hahn are both the most loved books by my fourth graders two years in a row!

  41. TWH

    The Night Gardener by Auxier is so spooky and suspenseful and it makes you think of what your deepest wish is. I read all of Auxier’s books to my kids and they are all great, but The Night Gardener was our favorite. Also, all of the Lemony Snicket Series of Unfortunate Events are fantastic. They are so cleverly written. We enjoyed the vocabulary lesson for each and still use all of the words and reference sayings from this series, often.

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