Great Books for Grade-School Age Children

Classic and new children's books to enjoy together with your child

Whether your child is just starting to take his first steps into the world of reading or is a skilled and avid reader who can plow through chapter books, these beginner books and chapter books for older children are perfect for reading and sharing together.

1
Frog and Toad, by Arnold Lobel

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Your child will love the funny and touching adventures of two stalwart friends, Frog and Toad. These timeless classic books are also illustrated with lovely drawings that will delight your child as much as the words.

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2
The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson

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This brilliant story about a clever mouse, his would-be predators and a dim-witted Gruffalo will be a hit with younger and older children alike. Children as young as 4 will understand the humor and wit, and will delight in the illustrations by Alex Scheffler.

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3
Amos & Boris, by William Steig

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The lovely illustrations and lyrical prose will touch your child in different ways at different ages. Younger children will love the story of a loyal and determined small mouse saving the life of his massive whale friend. Older children and grownups will understand the poetic beauty of the writing and the genius of Steig’s work. Other wonderful books by Steig include Brave Irene and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.

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4
The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden

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This oldie but a goodie was published in 1960 but has held up well. This timeless story is about a Connecticut-countryside cricket named Chester who accidentally ends up hitching a ride to Times Square. He befriends a boy named Mario whose family run a newsstand. Their story of adventure and friendship will delight first or second graders, who will be able to tackle some of the reading themselves.

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5
The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart

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This original and clever series is about a group of intrepid, brilliant, and exceptional children who become members of a society of equally-brilliant and remarkable adults who are working to protect society from the machinations of an evil genius who is determined to take over the world. Brilliant and very funny.

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6
Gregor the Overlander, by Suzanne Collins

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Suzanne Collins, the author of the critically-acclaimed and wildly popular Hunger Games trilogy, which is for kids 13 and up, also wrote a series for younger grade-school age children. The Underland Chronicles, about a boy named Gregor and his adventures in the land that exists beneath our own, will appeal to kids who love action and heart-pounding suspense. Collins can create complex, compelling characters and fantastic but believable worlds. Parents will love the fact that she can also write beautiful prose.

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7
The Last Dragon, by Silvana De Mari

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A wonderfully-written book about a brave and honorable elf, a moody dragon, a plucky and resourceful girl, and a quest to save the world. Kids will love the story, the characters, and the lush and detailed fantasy world created by De Mari. Parents will like the love story and the positive values embodied by the protagonists.

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8
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

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This compelling story about an orphaned boy in 1930s Paris who has to use his wits to survive when the uncle who’d been taking care of him disappears is filled with gorgeous illustrations, giving the reader a sense that he is watching a movie rather than reading a book. No wonder Martin Scorsese directed a film based on the book.

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9
A Series of Unfortunate Events

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This Goth-tinged series about three orphaned siblings trying to escape the clutches of an evil count who wants their fortune is as brilliantly-written as it is ingeniously marketed (the author, Lemony Snicket, aka Daniel Handler, urges readers NOT to read the series -- a surefire way to get kids intrigued). Before you know it, you and your child will be hooked.

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