60 Third Grade Books To Add to Your Shelves
Third graders are capable but sweet, and it’s such fun to share books with them. Keeping your classroom library updated ensures that you have diverse representation and lots of appealing choices for reading aloud, mentor texts, and students’ independent reading. Here are 60 recent 3rd grade books we think are worth adding to your shelves.
(Note: WeAreTeachers may collect a share of sales from the links on this page. We only recommend items our team loves!)
1. Going Down Home With Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons
Lil’ Alan anticipates a grand family reunion at Granny’s house down home every summer, but he worries about how he’ll contribute to the annual celebration of family history. This touching narrative explores the concept of family. Use it as a writing mentor text.
Buy it: Going Down Home With Daddy on Amazon
2. I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes and Gordon C. James
This inspirational book exudes Black joy as it celebrates black boys’ resilience, creativity, perseverance, and kindness. There are so many concrete examples to which all students can connect, and the language is guaranteed to leave readers energized and inspired. Read this one every year!
Buy it: I Am Every Good Thing on Amazon
3. Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away by Meg Medina
It’s moving day for Daniela’s best friend and neighbor, Evelyn Del Rey. Daniela narrates their final moments together in heart-wrenching detail as she lists all the reasons she’ll miss her friend. We love this story for discussing characters’ emotional responses to events, and as a writing mentor text when studying narrative voice.
Buy it: Evelyn Del Rey Is Moving Away on Amazon
4. The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson
We just can’t stop reading this one again and again. Encourage students to find their voices and connect with one another.
Buy it: The Day You Begin on Amazon
5. How To Be a Lion by Ed Vere
The best picture books are so much more than they appear. Is there only one way to be a lion? Examine themes of bias, individuality, and friendship.
Buy it: How To Be a Lion on Amazon
6. A House That Once Was by Julie Fogliano
Two children discover an abandoned house that’s anything but empty. This is a shining example of a book that can be enjoyed on multiple levels, and we love unpacking it with 3rd grade students. Plus, use it to inspire writing about students’ own memorable items.
Buy it: A House That Once Was on Amazon
7. The One Day House by Julia Durango
Wilson longs to help Gigi fix up her house, even though she reassures him his company is more than enough. One day, he’s able to realize his intentions, with the support of his community.
Buy it: The One Day House on Amazon
8. The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker
This traditional tale with a twist stars Ibb, the one girl brave enough to investigate who actually lives in the old castle that stands in the middle of town. Rumors run rampant, but the truth surprises everyone.
Buy it: The Very Last Castle on Amazon
9. The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
Faizah admires her older sister on her first day of hijab—both for wearing her “proudest” color blue with strength and beauty and for resisting the hurtful words of others. This inspirational story is written by the first female Muslim American Olympic medalist.
Buy it: The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family on Amazon
10. Drawn Together by Minh Lê and Dan Santat
Remind students about the many forms of communication with this gorgeous, almost wordless title. A boy and his grandfather speak different languages, but they connect through art.
Buy it: Drawn Together on Amazon
11. Hurricane by John Rocco
John Rocco’s disaster stories are so fun to read aloud, and they’re fantastic for inspiring kids’ own narrative writing. When a hurricane tears through the area, a young boy’s favorite spot, the neighborhood dock, is wrecked. Can it be rebuilt? This would be fun to share as part of a weather unit too.
Buy it: Hurricane on Amazon
12. Still This Love Goes On by Buffy Sainte-Marie and Julie Flett
This gorgeous illustrated version of a song by an award-winning Cree singer-songwriter will take your breath away. Share it as part of a study of indigenous cultures, to practice determining themes, or to inspire student poetry. (We also just really want to see a school chorus concert with kids singing this song!)
Buy it: Still This Love Goes On on Amazon
13. Copycat: Nature-Inspired Design Around the World by Christy Hale
Tanka poems, stunning photos, and fascinating back matter give kids an introduction to biomimicry—design that imitates nature. This is a unique addition to your 3rd grade STEM books, for sure.
Buy it: Copycat: Nature-Inspired Design Around the World on Amazon
14. Counting in Dog Years and Other Sassy Math Poems by Betsy Franco
We love 3rd grade books that do double duty. These funny poems will also help kids practice math concepts like multiplication and fractions.
Buy it: Counting in Dog Years and Other Sassy Math Poems on Amazon
15. Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
This stunning memoir introduces conversations about the immigrant experience, resilience, and the power of literacy.
Buy it: Dreamers on Amazon
16. Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion by Shannon Stocker
This story of defying expectations is one of our new favorite 3rd grade books to spark classroom discussion. Don’t miss the author’s note. It explains how the author, also a disabled musician, used her own experiences and real-life conversations with the book’s subject to make sure her writing was authentic.
Buy it: Listen: How Evelyn Glennie, a Deaf Girl, Changed Percussion on Amazon
17. The Next President: The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America’s Presidents by Kate Messner
Here’s a creative and empowering take on an informational book about presidents. What were future presidents doing when their predecessors took office? Students can begin to think about where great leaders start and explore their own potential.
Buy it: The Next President on Amazon
18. Butterflies Belong Here: A Story of One Idea, Thirty Kids, and a World of Butterflies by Deborah Hopkinson
A girl who is a recent immigrant finds her voice through environmental activism. When she notices there are no monarch butterflies in her community, she leads efforts to plant a monarch way station. Share this story to help kids find their own passions, make plans, and create change.
Buy it: Butterflies Belong Here on Amazon
This title packs powerful messaging into sparse text and gorgeous artwork in a way that reminds us of Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport. This is an excellent addition to a collection of biography mentor texts. Mentions of Aretha’s performances at multiple presidential inaugurations tie this title to election conversations too.
Buy it: Respect: Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul on Amazon
20. Digging for Words: Jose Alberto Gutierrez and the Library He Built by Angela Burke Kunkel
Parallel stories tell of a Colombian garbage collector who salvages discarded books and a young boy who waits all week for library day. This narrative nonfiction title is a heartwarming celebration of the power of books to both transport and connect readers.
Buy it: Digging for Words: Jose Alberto Gutierrez and the Library He Built on Amazon
21. Show and Tell! Great Graphs and Smart Charts: An Introduction to Infographics by Stuart J. Murphy
Today’s kids are living in a visual world. Introduce bar graphs, pie charts, pictographs, and line graphs with fun illustrations and examples. Great for launching a math unit about representing data.
Buy it: Show and Tell! Great Graphs and Smart Charts on Amazon
22. Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond
This unique and captivating book is one for every social studies classroom! Get students thinking about connections across history, science, geography, and the arts through the lens of the color blue.
Buy it: Blue: A History of the Color as Deep as the Sea and as Wide as the Sky on Amazon
23. Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes by Wab Kinew
This book offers brief introductions to a variety of notable figures in history, sports, medicine, and more. The author’s note gives a helpful context.
Buy it: Go Show the World: A Celebration of Indigenous Heroes on Amazon
24. If You’re a Kid Like Gavin by Gavin Grimm and Kyle Lukoff
This OwnVoices story of transgender activist Gavin Grimm is empowering and important for all kids. Gavin made headlines for bravely speaking out about his right to choose which bathroom to use at school. Teachers will find the language so useful for building a classroom community in which transgender individuals—and all individuals—can be supported and celebrated.
Buy it: If You’re a Kid Like Gavin on Amazon
25. Made for Each Other: Why Dogs and People Are Perfect Partners by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
This impeccably organized and focused title is perfect for introducing an author’s message in nonfiction. Bonus: adorable dog photos!
Buy it: Made for Each Other: Why Dogs and People Are Perfect Partners on Amazon
26. Breaking Through the Clouds: The Sometimes Turbulent Life of Meteorologist Joanne Simpson by Sandra Nickel
Joanne Simpson was the first woman to receive a doctorate in meteorology. Her research changed the world’s understanding of clouds. Expand kids’ understanding of the field of weather studies with this fascinating biography.
Buy it: Breaking Through the Clouds on Amazon
27. Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil deGrasse Tyson by Kathleen Krull and Paul Brewer
“America’s Astrophysicist,” the charismatic Neil deGrasse Tyson started out as a regular city kid focused on friends and fun—and on learning as much about the stars as he possibly could. We love how this biography shows that not all scientists are introverts.
Buy it: Starstruck: The Cosmic Journey of Neil deGrasse Tyson on Amazon
28. Killer Underwear Invasion! How To Spot Fake News, Disinformation & Conspiracy Theories, by Elise Gravel
Put this one at the top of your pile of 3rd grade books about media literacy. One of our favorite authors takes on the timely topics of fake news, confirmation bias, fact vs. opinion, and credible sources. The outlandish examples and silly illustrations make this important content memorable for kids.
Buy it: Killer Underwear Invasion! on Amazon
29. The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation by Alice B. McGinty
Every day Darlene Arviso drives kids to school and then uses her school bus to deliver clean water to families of the Navajo Nation. This powerful true story, along with the author’s note, will give classrooms lots to discuss. It could easily inspire wonder, research, and activism too.
Buy it: The Water Lady: How Darlene Arviso Helps a Thirsty Navajo Nation on Amazon
30. Pride in … series by Emilie Dufresne
We love this series for how it improves representation in our nonfiction books. Each title opens with straightforward background about pride and the LGBTQIA+ acronym and then profiles notable members of the LGBTQIA+ community in specific fields.
Buy it: Pride in STEM, Pride in Arts, Pride in Change on Amazon
31. Stella Díaz series by Angela Dominguez
Like many of today’s 3rd graders, Stella Diaz is busy figuring out how to navigate two cultures and two languages. We love the relatable, diverse cast of characters.
Buy it: Stella Díaz series on Amazon
32. Road Trip With Max and His Mom and Weekends With Max and His Dad by Linda Urban
His parents live apart and that takes some getting used to, but Max has unique and fulfilling relationships with both his mom and dad.
Buy it: Road Trip With Max and His Mom and Weekends With Max and His Dad on Amazon
33. Locker 37 series by Aaron Starmer
Wouldn’t it be perfect if there was a way to fix any problem that’s ruining your school day? At Hopewell Elementary, select students can rely on Locker 37, a magical trove of helpful tools. Fast-paced and relatable, these are excellent 3rd grade books to keep your students reading.
Buy it: The Magic Eraser (Locker 37 #1) on Amazon
34. Dragons in a Bag series by Zetta Elliott
When his mom drops him off with Ma, a mysterious character from her own childhood, Jaxon has no idea he’ll travel into the world of magic and end up in charge of baby dragons. We love this urban fantasy series.
Buy it: Dragons in a Bag series on Amazon
35. I Hate Reading: How To Read When You’d Rather Not by Beth Bacon
OK, so we all have a few students (or more) who can relate to this book. Lighthearted, visually appealing advice will get even the most reluctant of readers to crack a smile about reading—and pick up some reading tips that are actually helpful too.
Buy it: I Hate Reading: How To Read When You’d Rather Not on Amazon
36. Who HQ series by Who HQ
You likely have some of the 250+ titles in this series in your classroom already, but what you might not know is that the series website has tons of companion resources. The series is constantly being updated, so add some of the newest Who? What? and Where Is? titles to your classroom library to pique every student’s curiosity.
Buy it: Who HQ series on Amazon
37. The Magnificent Makers series by Theanne Griffith
This series stars 3rd graders Violet and Pablo as they take science-themed adventures that include transport by magical science instruments to a challenge-filled Maker Maze, a guide that reminds us of Miss Frizzle, and fun project directions for home. As a neuroscientist and a mom, this author knows what will get kids excited about reading and science!
Buy it: Magnificent Makers series on Amazon
38. Julieta and the Diamond Enigma by Luisana Duarte Armendáriz
A father-daughter pair navigates a Paris art heist in this fast-moving story packed with tons of interesting background information for kids. It’s perfect for 3rd grade readers who love mysteries, travel adventures, and plucky, determined main characters. It would also be a popular chapter book for class read-aloud.
Buy it: Julieta and the Diamond Enigma on Amazon
39. The Magnificent Mya Tibbs series by Crystal Allen
These sweet stories will take students to small-town Texas, where nine-year-old Mya navigates the ups and downs of family life and school with plenty of spunk. A great series for a 3rd grade library.
Buy it: The Magnificent Mya Tibbs series on Amazon
40. Marya Kahn and the Incredible Henna Party by Saadia Faruqi
Ooh, we get excited about new series of 3rd grade books starring diverse kids and families. This series opener from the author of the popular Yasmin early reader series is ideal for 3rd graders. Marya is desperate for an over-the-top awesome birthday party like her neighbor Alexa. She can’t resist telling her classmates about it … even before getting the OK from her family.
Buy it: Marya Kahn and the Incredible Henna Party on Amazon
41. Marcus series by Kevin Hart
Tap into kids’ love of YouTube and videography with this fast-paced and fun series. Marcus takes an after-school film class and starts dreaming of turning his cartoon drawings into a hit movie. These books will have kids wondering: Could they be famous one day? Written by actor and comedian Kevin Hart.
Buy it: Marcus Makes a Movie and Marcus Makes It Big on Amazon
42. The Unicorn Rescue Society series by Adam Gidwitz
In this engaging and highly readable series, Elliot and Uchenna join their odd teacher, Professor Fauna, on quests to protect mythical creatures.
Buy it: The Unicorn Rescue Society series on Amazon
43. A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold
Meet Bat, an unforgettable 3rd grade boy on the autism spectrum, as he tries to show his mom that a baby skunk can be the perfect pet. Also check out Bat and the Waiting Game and Bat and the End of Everything.
Buy it: A Boy Called Bat on Amazon
44. Once Upon a Tim by Stuart Gibbs
This new series from a favorite author is readable, quirky, and fun. Tim, a smart-aleck peasant, finds himself wrapped up in a royal rescue scheme. This could make a great student book club choice. Keep an eye out for the sequel too.
Buy it: Once Upon a Tim on Amazon
45. Jada Jones series by Kelly Starling Lyons
We adore Jada Jones for her realistic kid voice and her love of everything STEM. This series reflects common childhood dilemmas and drama with fresh-feeling details and plenty of heart. Also check out the new Miles Lewis series by the same author.
Buy it: Jada Jones series on Amazon
46. The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza by Mac Barnett
Your collection of 3rd grade books should definitely include a hysterical crowd-pleaser like this one. A cat launches a space expedition to save the moon from hungry rats. It’s weird and adventurous and sure to be passed all around the class.
Buy it: The First Cat in Space Ate Pizza on Amazon
47. Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face series by John Dougherty
These British imports, recently re-released with updated illustrations, will appeal to students who like wacky humor. Stinkbomb and his messy little sister Ketchup-Face get themselves into madcap adventures in this fun series of 3rd grade books.
Buy it: Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face series on Amazon
48. Fantastic Frame series by Lin Oliver
This five-book series about a magical golden frame that transports time travelers into the historic world of famous paintings has a lot to offer: full-color illustrations, modern characters, a bit of art history, tons of adventure—and the thrill and tension of a ticking clock!
Buy it: Fantastic Frame series on Amazon
49. The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy
The hilarious but realistic antics of the two dads and four adopted brothers in the Fletcher family make for an enjoyable tale for your latest 3rd grade books.
Buy it: The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher on Amazon
50. Iggy series by Annie Barrows
LOL-worthy series alert! Iggy Frangi has a long list of complaints against him—and plenty of smart responses to explain away his behavior.
Buy it: Iggy series on Amazon
51. Lucy McGee series by Mary Amato
Mary Amato definitely understands upper elementary peer dynamics, and her books are surefire hits with 3rd graders. Meet spirited Lucy McGee, star of this accessible illustrated chapter book.
Buy it: Lucy McGee series on Amazon
52. Big Foot and Little Foot series by Ellen Potter
A young Sasquatch named Hugo and a young boy build an unlikely friendship despite their differences.
Buy it: Big Foot and Little Foot series on Amazon
53. The Last Kids on Earth series by Max Brallier
The relatable characters in these hybrid graphic novels navigate real-life kid emotions, even during apocalyptic turmoil. Plus, there’s a good dose of oozing zombie grossness to hook reluctant readers.
Buy it: The Last Kids on Earth series on Amazon
54. Sparks series by Ian Boothby and Nina Matsumoto
Readers will cheer for the masquerading feline stars of this graphic novel—great for students who love Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man books.
Buy it: Sparks series on Amazon
55. When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
Here’s your next class read-aloud winner. The appearance of a magical tiger brings to life the Korean folktales Lily’s grandmother always told her. Explore themes of self-discovery, identity, courage, family, and grief.
Buy it: When You Trap a Tiger on Amazon
56. Saving Winslow by Sharon Creech
No one can pack so much emotion into a slim novel like Sharon Creech. Louie’s efforts to nurse a sickly newborn donkey back to health turn into much more in this delightful testament to hope and healing.
Buy it: Saving Winslow on Amazon
57. Packing for Mars for Kids by Mary Roach
This new young readers edition of the bestselling adult nonfiction title could add some variety to your classroom read-aloud time or catch the attention of advanced readers. Surviving as a human in outer space is a complicated endeavor, as this science journalist explains with plenty of wit in chapters like “Toilet Training for Adults” and “Roommates for Very Small Rooms.” We plan on using excerpts as mentor texts for informational writing too.
Buy it: Packing for Mars for Kids on Amazon
58. Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor
If you loved Wish, prepare to be equally as drawn in by Barbara O’Connor’s newest set of compelling characters—including Henry the dog—in this coming-of-age story.
Buy it: Wonderland on Amazon
59. The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown
These tales about a robot marooned on a futuristic island will mesmerize your students. They offer plenty of material for discussions about perspective-taking too.
Buy it: The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes on Amazon
60. Cress Watercress by Gregory Maguire
Add this rich and complex animal story to your 3rd grade read-aloud books or share it with just the right student reader. A young rabbit must cope with his missing Papa and a big move to a new home. This is an instant classic.
Buy it: Cress Watercress on Amazon
What 3rd grade books have you discovered recently? Let us know in the comments!
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