I love sharing Ella’s picks each month, but I ESPECIALLY love how much Ella loves coming up five of the best books for third graders to recommend.
She keeps a little list in a notebook in her room and when I tell her I’m ready for the next set of best books for third graders, she promptly brings me the list and explains to me in detail what books didn’t quite make the cut and why she picked the ones she did.
It’s basically the cutest thing in the world.
If you’re looking for some good titles for your own readers, somewhere between second and sixth grade, I hope this list will help!
Best Books for Third Graders
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, illustrated by Adam McCauley
My girls are LONG TIME fans of the Wayside School series – the stories all take place at Wayside School where the school was accidentally built 30 stories tall with one classroom per floor instead of one story with 30 side-by-side classrooms. And the wackiness only grows from there, especially on the thirtieth floor. I have to admit that, even as a child, I found the stories a little oddball for my taste, but my girls all love them and my sisters loved them when they were children too.
What Ella has to say: This book is really funny and there is a chapter for each student. One of my favorite chapters is about Allison. At Wayside School there is no 19th story and Mrs. Zarves, the teacher for that classroom, doesn’t exist. One day Allison goes to school and nobody can see her and everyone just looks right through her, but when she walks through the halls yelling, Mrs. Zarves invites her into the 19th story. This book is good for all ages – my sisters have loved it (Star has listened to the audiobook probably twenty times).
Missy Piggle-Wiggle and the Whatever Cure by Ann M. Martin and Annie Parnell, illustrated by Ben Hatke
I loved Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle when I was growing up and Ella has listened to the original series many many times since she was about three, so we were both thrilled to discover this spin-off series about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle’s niece who takes over the business of curing children when Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle leaves unexpectedly. The first one came in Ella’s Bookroo box and Ella devoured it. You’ll recognize the author as the creator of the crazy popular Babysitters Club series as well as The Doll People.
What Ella has to say: You should probably read the original Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books first. Missy Piggle-Wiggle finds out how to cure parents, not just kids and she cures unbearable problems for both of them (sometimes at the same time!). It’s a funny book and it’s fun to see children changing, getting rid of bad habits, and trying to understand what’s happening when they get trapped in a bubble for being mean nineteen times.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart, illustrated by Carson Ellis
I read this book back when I was a school librarian and have been a fan ever since. This spring, we listened to the whole 13+ hour audiobook in the car and my two older girls both LOVED it. As soon as we finished, Ella checked out the rest of the series and listened to them in a week (oh, to have that much listening time. . . ). The book begins with a strange ad in the newspaper asking super smart children to apply and when four children pass the test put before them. Now their job is to go on a secret mission at a mysterious school called the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, and puzzles, tests, and riddles will be everywhere they turn.
What Ella has to say: The Mysterious Benedict Society is quite long but it’s very entertaining and there are a lot of twists and turns in the plot. There are three books in the series and I love them all. You probably should read them in order. The problems are always solved in surprising ways and things turn out the way they should but in the weirdest way possible.
Geronimo Stilton by Geronimo Stilton
Aside from her beloved Boxcar Children books, I’m not sure there is any series that Ella has read more of than Geronimo Stilton. Every time we visit a new library, her first stop is checking out which Geronimo Stilton books they have in their collection that she might not have read yet. These books are pretty easy reading but she never gets tired of these mystery stories about the editor of the New Mouse City newspaper, The Rodent’s Gazette. Who, of course, in his spare time is always off on some harrowing adventure barely living to tell (and write) the tail. Er, tale.
What Ella has to say: Geronimo Stilton has five billion books in the series. Every book is different with a scaredy cat mouse going on wild adventures to who-knows-where. He has a prankster cousin, a daredevil sister, and a grandfather nicknamed Cheap Mouse Willie. I like these books because they’re hilarious and they’re also adventurous, and I love adventure stories.
Red: The (Fairly) True Tale of Red Riding Hood by Liesl Shurtliff
I read Liesl Shurtliff’s first book, Rump, back in 2014 and loved it. She now has a whole bunch of fractured fairy tale novels and Ella has read them all (except for Rump – the hold line is painfully long for it). Picking one was difficult, but she decided that Red, a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, was her favorite. We actually listened to this one together in the car last year and my girls were all VERY into this story about Red’s quest to save her ailing grandmother even if it means confronting her worst fear: magic!
What Ella has to say: There are four books in the series and you don’t need to read them in order. Every book is about adventurous children who get themselves into loads of trouble. I love fractured fairy tales and this is one of my favorite series (I have many favorite series). This book is funny and fairly long, but very exciting.
And if you’d like a printable copy of this list that you can take to your library or screenshot on your phone for easy access, just pop in your email address below and it’ll come right to your inbox!
Have you or your children read any of these? I’d love to hear what you think!