Best Books for 3rd Graders: Teacher Recommended

By Editorial Staff •  Updated: 11/24/23 •  Classroom Resources

We’ve done the work and have compiled a list of teacher-recommended books perfect for this 3rd grade. This list covers a wide range of classics for young learners and are both age appropriate yet challenging. From the magical world of Harry Potter to the heartwarming tale of Wonder, we have something for every type of reader.

These books offer adventure, mystery, and fun-filled escapades to keep your child engaged and entertained. So, grab a cozy blanket and a cup of hot cocoa and prepare for quality reading time with your little one!

Exploring the World of Contemporary Books for 3rd Graders

Reading is of course important for your students as it expands language skills, imagination, and cognitive abilities. The following books cover diverse themes and characters that engage young readers. Let’s get started:

Harry Potter series – Discover magic and character development

Harry Potter, an enchanting tale of a young wizard’s battle against evil, captivates children and adults. With relatable characters, compelling plotlines, and themes of courage, friendship, and perseverance, it sparks imagination and creativity in young readers. Teachers highly recommend it as a must-read for 3rd graders seeking adventure. Join Harry and his friends on their magical journey, where the magic of reading comes alive.

The Secret Keepers – Mystery adventure

‘The Secret Keepers’ is an enthralling mystery adventure book by Trenton Lee Stewart. It tells the story of Reuben, an 11-year-old who stumbles upon a watch capable of turning back time. The book captivates young readers with its complex characters, intricate plot, and fast-paced narrative.

Beyond entertainment, it imparts valuable lessons on trust, friendship, and courage, making it a prized addition to any classroom or home library. Teachers highly recommend ‘The Secret Keepers’ for its ability to cultivate critical thinking and foster creativity in 3rd graders.

Geronimo Stilton – Adventure storytelling

The ‘Geronimo Stilton series by Elisabetta Dami offers young readers fun and engaging adventures. Filled with problem-solving and teamwork, these books entertain and impart valuable life skills. The series is educational and entertaining, with elements like humor, vocabulary words, and historical facts.

Its popularity has led to spin-off series and merchandise, making it a hit among 3rd graders who enjoy animal tales, mysteries, and imaginative storytelling.

Wonder – Dealing with difficult personal issues

The bestselling book ‘Wonder’ tells the story of a boy with facial differences and his journey through school. Its message of kindness and empathy resonates with both 3rd graders and adults. ‘Wonder’ has been adapted into a successful film and graphic novel, encouraging readers to embrace differences and practice empathy daily. It is a great starting point for exploring bullying, friendship, and self-acceptance with 3rd graders.

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen – Problem solving book that promotes teamwork

‘The Puzzling World of Winston Breen’ presents an engaging mystery that challenges third graders to solve puzzles alongside the characters. Author Eric Berlin skillfully combines humor and suspense, making the story enjoyable for young readers.

This chapter book encourages critical thinking and problem-solving skills and promotes teamwork and cooperation among the characters. With its intriguing storyline and interactive elements, ‘The Puzzling World of Winston Breen’ is a must-read for any 3rd grader who enjoys mysteries and puzzles.

Inside Out and Back Again – A captivating story

‘Inside Out and Back Again’ takes readers on a captivating journey as they follow a young girl’s voyage from Vietnam to Alabama. This thought-provoking book explores themes of identity, culture, and resilience in adversity.

Written in verse, it offers third graders a unique and engaging reading experience. With its multiple awards and accolades, including the National Book Award and the Newbery Honor, ‘Inside Out and Back Again’ is a must-read for young readers seeking an inspiring and captivating story that will stay with them long after the last page.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Relatable for children

‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’ brings to life a middle schooler’s hilarious and relatable experiences. With engaging illustrations and a unique narrative style, this chapter book keeps young readers entertained from start to finish. It explores important themes like friendship, bullying, and family dynamics in an accessible way. With numerous sequels, this book series is a must-read for 3rd graders looking for delightful chaos and relatable characters.

The Unadoptables – Ridiculous escapades

‘The Unadoptables’ takes readers on an adventurous journey alongside five orphans as they escape from their cruel caretaker. Set in Amsterdam, the book immerses young readers in vivid descriptions of the city’s landmarks and culture. Through the story, children learn about the importance of friendship and perseverance. With its elements of mystery and adventure, ‘The Unadoptables’ is a captivating choice for young readers who love chapter books. Its relatable characters and uplifting theme make it a must-read for 3rd graders.

The Wild Robot – Technology meets adventure

In ‘The Wild Robot’ by Peter Brown, readers are taken on a captivating journey alongside a robot who finds herself stranded on an island. Through the adventures of this charming protagonist, the book explores themes of humanity, nature, and friendship. With beautiful storytelling and meaningful messages, Brown’s illustrations bring the story to life, making it accessible to young readers. This heartwarming tale has received numerous awards and is recommended for children who enjoy adventure, technology, and engaging stories.

Esperanza Rising – An inspiring story

In the captivating story of ‘Esperanza Rising,’ readers are taken on an inspiring journey alongside a young girl as she moves from Mexico to the United States. This thought-provoking novel explores essential themes such as immigration, family, and overcoming adversity. Author Pam Muñoz Ryan skillfully engages young readers with her accessible writing style. Additionally, ‘Esperanza Rising’ allows teachers to discuss cultural differences and empathy with their students. It is a must-read for any 3rd grader seeking inspiration and a thought-provoking story.

How to Eat Fried Worms – A story of perseverance

Published in 1973, ‘How to Eat Fried Worms continues to captivate young readers with its humorous and adventurous storyline. Following Billy’s bet to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days, the book explores themes of bravery, perseverance, and standing up for oneself. Kids can relate to the character’s struggles and triumphs as they navigate friendships and challenges. With over 14 million copies sold, this timeless classic is a must-read for third graders.

Freckle Juice by Judy Blume

In Judy Blume’s ‘Freckle Juice, readers are taken on a humorous journey that explores the universal desire to be someone else. The story follows Andrew as he becomes obsessed with getting freckles, leading to disastrous and hilarious consequences. With an engaging and relatable writing style, Blume teaches important lessons about self-acceptance and being content with who you are. ‘Freckle Juice’ is a must-read chapter book for 3rd graders, offering laughs and valuable insights.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Classic children’s literature

‘Sideways Stories from Wayside School’ is a whimsical and humorous short story collection that captivates young readers. With quirky characters and hilarious scenarios, the book keeps readers engaged from start to finish. This chapter book, written by Louis Sachar, features easy-to-read prose, making it perfect for third graders still developing their reading skills.

Beyond the laughs, the book also imparts valuable lessons about friendship, empathy, and problem-solving. A beloved classic in children’s literature, ‘Sideways Stories from Wayside School’ is a must-read for any 3rd grader.

Stuart Little by E.B. White

A timeless classic for 3rd graders and beyond, ‘Stuart Little’ takes readers on an enchanting journey through the bustling streets of New York City. The story revolves around Stuart, a small but brave mouse, as he embarks on thrilling adventures alongside his human family and animal friends. E.B. White’s charming and witty writing style makes it a perfect read-aloud in classroom settings. Children learn valuable lessons about kindness, bravery, and perseverance through Stuart’s escapades.

Fantastic Mr. Fox – Fun filled for young learners

‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ is a beloved children’s book by the renowned author Roald Dahl. The story revolves around a clever fox who embarks on a thrilling adventure to outwit three notorious farmers. Filled with humor, excitement, and valuable life lessons, this whimsical tale is perfect for 3rd graders who deeply love animals and enjoy engaging storytelling. It serves as an excellent introduction to the works of Roald Dahl for young readers exploring his captivating world.

Maya and the Robot – An empowering tale

‘Maya and the Robot’ is a captivating book that centers around a young girl’s journey into the world of coding and building robots. This STEM-focused story encourages young readers, like third graders, to explore their interests and embrace the power of technology. With diverse characters and themes of friendship, perseverance, and creativity, ‘Maya and the Robot offers an empowering reading experience for elementary school students.

This book, written by Eve L. Ewing, has received acclaim for its engaging story and positive message, making it a must-read for any young reader.

Lola Levine Is Not Mean – Heartwarming and delightful

In the heartwarming story, ‘Lola Levine Is Not Mean,’ young readers will embark on a journey with Lola as she navigates the challenges of finding her place in the world. Author Monica Brown’s engaging writing captures the spirit of childhood adventure while addressing themes of identity, friendship, and cultural differences. With illustrations by Angela Dominguez bringing Lola’s world to life, this book is a delightful addition to any 3rd-grade reading list.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue – Award winning book

‘Mercy Watson to the Rescue’ by Kate DiCamillo is a humorous tale about a pig named Mercy and her exciting adventures. With colorful illustrations and engaging characters, this book captivates young readers. It’s a great chapter book for 3rd graders, with short chapters and simple vocabulary. Through Mercy’s story, children will learn essential themes of kindness, empathy, and problem-solving. This Newbery Medal-winning author has created a must-read for any young reader.

Anisa’s International Day – Inspiration and aspiring

The heartwarming story of ‘Anisa’s International Day’ encourages readers aged 7 to 9 to celebrate diversity and multiculturalism. The main character Anisa takes the initiative to create an international fair at her school where different cultures are showcased. Through this, the book promotes important values such as friendship, teamwork, and accepting differences. ‘Anisa’s International Day’ is a must-read for young readers, making it a great addition to any classroom or home library.

News from Me, Lucy McGee – Sad and touching

In ‘News from Me, Lucy McGee,’ a young girl navigates the challenges of her parent’s divorce. This heartfelt story explores themes of family, friendship, and discovering one’s voice in difficult situations. Mary Amato, the author, skillfully combines humor and emotion, creating an engaging and relatable tale. With its relatable characters and thoughtful narrative, this book is recommended for 3rd graders, offering a valuable resource for discussing divorce’s impact on children.

Dog Man: From the Creator of Captain Underpants – A fun graphic novel

The ‘Dog Man: From the Creator of Captain Underpants series is a thrilling graphic novel that captivates young readers with its humor, action-packed adventures, and relatable characters. Written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey, the creator of the famous Captain Underpants series, these books are specifically designed to engage kids and encourage reading.

With 10 books in the series, there’s plenty of content for third graders. Educators and parents alike have praised Dog Man for its positive impact on reading and literacy skills.

Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen – Riveting topics around social issues

‘Bernice Buttman, Model Citizen’ is a compelling book that follows the story of a resilient young girl from a challenging neighborhood who perseveres and aims to improve her life. This relatable tale explores essential themes such as friendship, empathy, and overcoming obstacles. Written by Niki Lenz, it has received acclaim for its humor and ability to connect with young readers.

This realistic fiction with strong characters is recommended for 3rd graders and can serve as a valuable resource for teachers to delve into discussions surrounding relevant social issues.

The Secret Garden – A timeless classic f

‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a timeless classic for young readers. The book follows the journey of a young girl named Mary as she discovers a magical garden. The novel explores themes of friendship, forgiveness, and the power of nature.

‘The Secret Garden’ is a great way to introduce children to literary techniques like symbolism and foreshadowing. The book has been adapted into several films and stage productions, making it a multi-media experience for young readers.

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Another must read classic

‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ takes readers on a whimsical and imaginative journey through a fantastical world. The book’s themes of identity, self-discovery, and imagination encourage critical thinking and creativity in 3rd graders. Written by Lewis Carroll, this classic tale introduces young readers to the works of a celebrated author from the Victorian era. ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ is highly recommended by teachers for its timeless appeal and ability to capture the hearts of young readers.

The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe – Became a popular movie

‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’ by C.S. Lewis takes young readers on a magical and epic adventure into a fantasy world. This classic book has captivated children for decades and continues to inspire them today. It teaches valuable lessons about bravery, loyalty, and determination while offering a glimpse into a fantastical realm filled with mythical creatures and enchanting magic.

With its relatable characters and captivating storyline, ‘The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe’ is a must-read for any 3rd grader’s bookshelf.

Charlotte’s Web – Classic read on loss and love

‘The Endearing Tale of ‘Charlotte’s Web” is a heartwarming story that follows the unlikely friendship between Wilbur, a pig, and Charlotte, a spider. This book, written by E.B. White, has been cherished by readers since its publication in 1952. It teaches valuable lessons about friendship, loyalty, and selflessness and provides relatable characters and themes that resonate with young readers in the third grade. The enduring popularity of ‘Charlotte’s Web’ has led to its adaptations into movies and stage productions, cementing its place as a beloved classic in children’s literature.

Little House in the Big Woods – Charming tale of a bygone era

‘Little House in the Big Woods’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder takes readers on a journey back to the late 1800s, offering a glimpse into the simple and rustic rural life through the eyes of a young girl. With its focus on family values, self-sufficiency, and the charms of rural living, this classic chapter book captivates young readers with its relatable characters and enchanting storytelling. It also allows parents and teachers to explore historical events and cultural differences. Adventure, animals, and the great outdoors await in this must-read for 3rd graders.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Social class and culture

‘The Adventures of Tom Sawyer’ is a captivating and thrilling novel that follows the exhilarating escapades of a young boy. Filled with themes of friendship, adventure, and growing up, this classic book offers an immersive experience of the American small-town life of the mid-19th century. It provides a unique perspective on social class and culture during that era, making it an ideal choice for 3rd graders interested in exploring classic literature and historical fiction.

A Wrinkle in Time – Strong female characters

‘A Wrinkle in Time’ by Madeline L’Engle continues to captivate young readers with its timeless appeal. This classic novel showcases strong female characters and delves into good versus evil, science, and family themes. It has received numerous awards and has been adapted into movies and TV shows. ‘A Wrinkle in Time’ encourages imagination and critical thinking, making it a must-read for third graders. Additionally, the book is a valuable tool for discussing topics such as diversity, acceptance, and perseverance.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Both a movie and an interesting book

‘The Wonderful Wizard of Oz’ by L. Frank Baum is a beloved adventure story that has captivated generations of young readers. In this classic tale, a young girl named Dorothy embarks on an exciting journey to the magical land of Oz. Along her adventurous ride, she encounters fascinating characters like the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion.

This enchanting book beautifully conveys important lessons about friendship, courage, and determination, making it a must-read for 3rd graders drawn to tales of adventure and magic.

Best books for 3rd grade – Conclusion

In conclusion, these teacher-recommended books for 3rd graders offer various genres and themes that will captivate young readers. From magical adventures in “Harry Potter” to heartwarming tales in “Wonder,” these books will inspire imagination and foster a love for reading.

Whether it’s the whimsical charm of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” or the timeless appeal of “Charlotte’s Web,” each book on this list has something unique to offer. So, encourage your 3rd grader to dive into these captivating stories and embark on unforgettable literary journeys. Help them discover the joy of reading and let their imaginations soar. These books are sure to become treasured favorites on their bookshelves.

Editorial Staff

I'm David Unwin and I head the editorial staff here at Teach and GO. I've taught as an ESL teacher in Thailand for 5+ years at all levels of education, from elementary to University. I was also one of the first 1000 VIPKID teachers. I and my team now share my extensive experience as a teacher here at Teach and GO. Learn more.

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