Especially in these times of remote learning, your kids may not be getting the reading they need. On top of academic readings, fiction and children’s novels are an important part of your child’s development and curiosity! I have looked through my own library as well as consulted some teachers to find the best extracurricular readings for a variety of grade levels.

All of these books are available on websites like Thriftbooks and Barnes & Noble. I highly recommend supporting nearby bookstores and finding these books at your local public library.

So whether your child is not interested in reading at all or has already exhausted your library, here are 8 books that your kids will love to read.

  1. The Tale of Despereaux — Grades 3-5

The Tale of Despereaux, by Kate DiCamillo, was at one time taught in schools, but it has recently fallen out of curriculum and become summer reading. This is the great story of a mouse who defies expectations and saves a human princess from evil-doers. It has routinely ended up on Top 50 lists for Teacher’s choice from the National Education Association and the School Library Journal.

This book still stands up, even when read by older kids. I myself have read along as younger cousins read it aloud or via audiobook, and still enjoy the writing. Despite its intended age, it’s a joy to follow along with.

  1. The Spiderwick Chronicles — Grades 3-8

When I first read The Spiderwick Chronicles, I was already well into highschool. I loved the illustrations and detail of The Field Guide and the way authors Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black create an immersive world of Faeries, Brownies, Goblins, and Trolls. It’s a rich world of magic, spells, hideous and beautiful creatures. Something between Grimm Fairy Tales and Coraline, young boys and girls will soon be looking through gardens and parks for invisible creatures!

  1. Gregor the Overlander — Grades 4-7

Before she wrote the acclaimed series The Hunger Games, author Suzanne Collins created a series of books centered around eleven-year-old Gregor as he journeys to The Underland, a subterranean world of humanoids, sentient bats, and monstrous beasts. 

Filled with wonderful worlds and great characters, The Underland Chronicles has great characters that take the reader on a valuable journey that strengthens imagination, friendship, and family.

  1. Igraine the Brave — Grades 4-7

Is your child inspired by people like Joan of Arc? Igraine the Brave by Cornelia Funke tells the story of a young girl knight who must save her family when they get turned into pigs! A fun and engaging story for young kids, Igraine is a great role model that proves how girls can be anything they want to be. 

If your kid likes this book, they can check out the Inkheart Series, also written by Funke and sharing a fantastic magical world!

  1. The Bartimaeus Sequence — Grades 6-8

The Bartimaeus Sequence by Jonathon Stroud is like nothing I have ever seen in children’s fiction before. It is wholly unique in its fantasy world and the lessons it teaches about responsibility and authority. 

Despite its reading level, it delves into a magical world of demons, spirits, magicians, and a dominating magical government not unlike the Harry Potter books. If your child loves the wizarding world of Rowling, they’ll love the gritty and mystical world of The Bartimaeus Sequence. 

  1. Ender’s Game — Grades 6-12

Children’s science fiction is hard to come by, as the genre tends to focus on very heavy themes. Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card tackles these heavy themes while remaining within the scope of the child. The book follows “Ender” Wiggin, a boy who shows promise as a military strategist and tactical genius. 

Dealing with subject matter like war, genocide, and military education, the book presents complex moral questions about government, militarization, and free thinking. Despite the author’s questionable views on politics, the Jewish community, and homosexuality, his books remain poignant messages against otherization, xenophobia, and totalitarianism. 

  1. The Golden Compass (The Northern Lights)— Grades 7-12

The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman has received enough praise for its incredible world and relatable characters. The series as a whole tackles many important themes and questions the relationships between religion and government.

The series is a great example of how impactful children can be on the world, but also how they are used by the societies they are a part of. Its lessons are just as important for adults to read as kids. 

  1. The Hunger Games — Grades 7-12

The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins is perhaps the most critically acclaimed book on this list, but nearly all of it is warranted. From its protagonist, to the world, to the government that is brought down, the series portrays the effects of revolution and justice against oppression and injustice. 

The Hunger Games defined an entire generation of young adults and remains as poignant as the day it was published. This is a great book to introduce to your middle schooler or 6th grader. 

For more great books for kids of all ages, check out NPR’s 100 Best Children Books and Goodread’s Preteen Book List.

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