Ella officially finished third grade last month, which I suppose technically makes her a fourth grader now.
How is this even possible?
She’s been reading up a storm since school got out, disappearing to her room in the afternoons to listen to audiobooks and plow through her stack of library books and staying up late doing the same thing.
Basically, she is 100% my child.
And I’m more than a little jealous of all the time she has to dedicate to reading.
Here are her five picks this month for chapter books for 4th graders she absolutely loved – I hope your readers will love them too!
5 Chapter Books for 4th graders
The False Princess by Eilis O’Neal
If you’re a fan of The Goose Girl, which I most definitely am, this book has a similar feel to it. It’s aimed at a little bit older of an audience than Ella’s age (more of a pre-teen or early teen), but it’s absolutely charming and full of the things Ella loves (namely, fantasy, mystery and royalty). The book follows Nalia who has grown up in court as heir to throne until just before she turns 16 and she’s told she’s NOT actually the princess, but mearly a stand-in for the real princess who has been hidden all these years to keep her safe. Thanks for holding her spot and now back to your life as a nobody. Until she discovers that she has magical powers and, of course, a part still to play with life at the palace. (I wrote a full review of this book when I read it back in 2011!)
What Ella has to say:I loved The False Princess because there were so many plot twists and I never knew what would happen next. Another reason I liked it so much is that it has people that are willing to sacrifice themselves for other people.
Choose Your Own Adventure by R. A. Montgomery
In May, Ella and I went on a little date one evening to the library and it was so delightful to have no other children to keep track of so we could browse the shelves together. I noticed a big collection of Choose Your Own Adventure books and picked one out for Ella and she was immediately hooked. I still remember my OWN original Choose Your Own Adventure book that my mom bought me at a secondhand bookstore when I was 8 or 9. These books, which have a plot that let you choose different options all along the way have multiple different endings and it’s a totally different reading experience that’s REALLY fun.
What Ella has to say: I really liked the first one I read because I expected to be able to solve the mystery easily, but instead the first ending killed me with a huge block of granite. After that I was waiting for an end that said “You did it, Good job!” Instead I died again and again until I wasn’t sure there were any good endings. Finally I found one where I solved the mystery and didn’t die. I loved these books and the next time I went to the library I got two more.
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
The Great Brain books were some of my all-time favorite books growing up and I read all 8 books multiple times. Set at the end of the 1800s and told by the younger brother, these stories follow Tom, known around town as “The Great Brain” because he’s so smart and can figure out any puzzle or problem. He also mainly uses his great brain to swindle his brothers, the neighborhood kids, and occasionally adults out of their money or belongings, but he also sometimes really helps them out. I read the first book aloud to the girls a year or so ago, and now Ella is really into them too. A content note that in the first book, one of the neighborhood boys loses his leg to infection and is so depressed about no longer being able to play with the other kids or being able to do his chores that he contemplates suicide until Tom teaches him how to do all the things he used to be able to do with a peg-leg.
What Ella has to say: I loved these books because I like seeing all the ways he swindles everyone out of there possessions but also helping people with their problems. In the third book, “The Great Brain” leaves for boarding school and the younger brother, John tries to take over swindling people. He quickly figures out that swindling is definitely not his talent.
Harry Potter Series by J. K. Rowling
As a massive Harry Potter nerd, it just thrills me that Ella is such a fan too. We’ve been reading one a year during October for the past four years and it’s been such a delight to share this insanely popular series with her. I wrote a whole post about reading Harry Potter with your children (or letting them read it on their own) here.
What Ella has to say: I’ve read the first four books and so far found that each one is better than the last. I love these books because they are a mixture of my favorite things: Humor, fantasy, magic, mystery, and adventure. I can’t wait to read the next three books and find out more about Harry’s adventures at Hogwarts.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I grew up on these books (I lived in Wisconsin until I was almost 7 and we went to the rebuilt Little House in the Big Woods which I still remember very clearly) and waited my whole life to have children of my own to read them to. When Ella was in kindergarten, we read the first four books together and in the past few months, she’s been listening to the audio versions of the whole series on her own. Pretty sure it’s time to go read them to Ani now, especially Farmer Boy which is my personal favorite.
What Ella has to say: I loved these books and have the fifth one on hold and have been checking everyday for the last two weeks to see if I have it yet. I love these books and think that sometimes it would be fun to be Mary or Laura. I love to hear all about their adventures and misfortunes.
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!
P.S. If you’re looking for other chapter books for 4th graders, you can see all of Ella’s previous book review here!
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