Fourth grade is a magical time for reading growth. With more profound themes and complex topics, chapter books for fourth graders can inspire and stretch our readers. What’s more, these books promote strong comprehension and vocabulary development while challenging readers and keeping them engaged. In addition to realistic stories, these books offer a sprinkling of humor, fantasy, and historical fiction, reflecting the importance of reading for different purposes. With so many genres to choose from, we love the quality of these middle-grade chapter books. We guarantee you and your students will fall in love with these literary gems too.
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1. Merci Suárez series by Meg Medina
We love the heart and humor in this award-winning series by Meg Medina. Merci is a sixth grade student who experiences the many changes that come with middle school. She navigates the difficult feelings of being different at her private school because she is on scholarship. She also grapples with changing family dynamics and tries to balance her own wants and needs with her family’s expectations. Beautifully written and accessible, the series is a must-read for fourth graders. Bonus: Many readers will appreciate the inclusion of Spanish words woven throughout the story.
Buy it: Merci Suárez series at Amazon
2. Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Told from the perspective of two very different fifth grade boys, this chapter book for fourth graders will greatly resonate with readers. Joe and Ravi enter fifth grade with hope and expectations of how their year will go, only to be met with many obstacles, including the class bully, Dillon. As they confront him together, the boys connect over the course of their first week at school. The story thoughtfully addresses stereotypes and celebrates important differences in identity.
Buy it: Save Me a Seat at Amazon
3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Delightfully clever and original, Matilda is a true classic that your fourth graders will love. Precocious young Matilda, who read Great Expectations at the age of 4, tries to use brainpower to outsmart and withstand her dreadful family. Caught in the crosshairs of the horrifying headmistress Miss Trunchbull, she seeks support and guidance from her loving and kind teacher Miss Honey. This hilarious and insightful story will hold a special place in readers’ hearts.
Buy it: Matilda at Amazon
4. The Lemonade War series by Jacqueline Davies
Readers will enjoy these compelling, realistic chapter books for fourth graders about sibling relationships and discovering our own personalities. Jessie understands the world through math and logic, while her brother Evan understands people. Although they see the world differently, both have the same goal of selling the most lemonade before school starts.
Buy it: The Lemonade War series at Amazon
5. Front Desk series by Kelly Yang
This beautiful and powerful series will make a great addition to your fourth grade reading list. Tackling challenging topics like racism, immigration, and poverty, the books expose readers to these important issues. Based on her own childhood experience, author Kelly Yang shares the complex struggles Mia and her family face with honesty and understanding.
Buy it: Front Desk series at Amazon
6. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Beautifully told, this Newbery winner is a must-read. As a captive gorilla, Ivan’s life purpose is to entertain visitors at the mall where he lives. He’s content enough to enjoy TV and treats until a young elephant named Ruby arrives and changes everything. Remembering the past and imagining a better future, Ivan makes a promise to Ruby to change their fate. The epic tale is full of longing and hope, showing us the power of friendship.
Buy it: The One and Only Ivan at Amazon
7. Fudge series by Judy Blume
Our list of chapter books for fourth graders would not be complete without a series by the iconic Judy Blume. Her spot-on portrayal of sibling relationships and the common troubles and fears kids experience hits the mark time and time again. Readers can enjoy five unique stories told from different perspectives with the same great premise. Can’t get enough of Judy Blume? Check out our list of Judy Blume books for more recommendations!
Buy it: Fudge series at Amazon
8. Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
“Scoob” and his G-ma go on an unforgettable road trip that reveals important truths about the past and their lives along the way. The emotional story is engaging and fast-moving, sure to capture readers’ attention while giving them an important look at the Civil Rights Movement. It shines a light on many difficult topics including racism and segregation in an accessible way that will inform and entertain readers.
Buy it: Clean Getaway at Amazon
9. Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski
Readers will fall in love with this fun, creative series, which offers a twist on the traditional fairy tales we know and love. Abby and Jonah “fall” into the different tales through a magic mirror and sort out things that go awry. With an emphasis on empowerment and endless adventures to entertain us, these chapter books for fourth graders will surely be a hit.
Buy it: Whatever After series at Amazon
10. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Author Kate DiCamillo explores the bittersweet nature of life in this wonderful story. Ten-year-old Opal experiences loneliness, longing, and finding connection in a new town where her dad is a preacher. When stray dog Winn-Dixie comes into her life by chance, new relationships and opportunities open up, helping her make sense of the past. Sometimes it seems that the “whole world has an aching heart,” but DiCamillo trusts readers to have the emotional maturity to deal with difficult topics. This chapter book for fourth graders would also make a beautiful read-aloud.
Buy it: Because of Winn-Dixie at Amazon
11. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Be sure to introduce your fourth graders to this one-of-a-kind classic. A mysterious tollbooth changes everything for Milo, and his perspective on life will never be the same. Philosophical yet approachable, we guarantee your students won’t have read anything like it.
Buy it: The Phantom Tollbooth at Amazon
12. The Smartest Kid in the Universe series by Chris Grabenstein
On a mission to save his school, 12-year-old Jake finds some jelly beans that turn him into a genius. Can he navigate life as a middle schooler while possessing these new skills? Fast-paced and full of adventure, this sci-fi series is a great pick for reluctant readers looking for a page-turner.
Buy it: The Smartest Kid in the Universe series at Amazon
13. Anna Wang series by Andrea Cheng
Anna would rather escape into the world of a book than deal with the challenging dynamics of fourth grade friendships. But as she comes to terms with being different from her peers as an Asian American, she learns what it means to be a good friend. Anna’s struggles at school and with her family are relatable and honest. Readers will appreciate the authenticity and realistic storylines in these chapter books for fourth graders.
Buy it: Anna Wang series at Amazon
14. Savvy by Ingrid Law
Everyone in Mibs’ family has their own unique “savvy,” a magical power that they discover at age 13. Right before Mibs uncovers hers, something terrible happens. Now she must figure out how to make things right by harnessing her new superpower. We recommend this book for its beautiful storytelling and imaginative plot.
Buy it: Savvy at Amazon
15. Frindle by Andrew Clements
Nick is a fifth grader who has a propensity to push the boundaries at school. After learning about the origin of words in English, he comes up with the brilliant idea to rename the word for pen, calling it a “frindle” instead. The new lingo catches on and spreads in the school, community, and beyond. Illustrating the power of language and word choice, this funny, clever chapter book for fourth graders is delightfully entertaining.
Buy it: Frindle at Amazon
16. Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
After losing everything during the Great Depression, Ellie and her family escape to the woods of Maine to start a new life. Beautifully written and emotionally deep, this historical-fiction novel paints an accurate and vivid picture of life during this time.
Buy it: Echo Mountain at Amazon
17. Weird Little Robots by Carolyn Crimi
A delightful mix of friendship, magic, and science engages readers in this enjoyable story. Exploring complicated feelings of friendship and staying true to who we are, this middle-grade chapter book appeals to readers who are looking for down-to-earth characters to relate to. Fourth graders will resonate with characters Penny Rose and Lark even when the robots they’ve designed come to life.
Buy it: Weird Little Robots at Amazon
18. I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis
Be sure to add these informational and entertaining chapter books for fourth graders to your library. With an instant hook and fast-paced action, each riveting graphic novel covers a different historical event. Your students will keep coming back to this series to learn more about important topics from the past.
Buy it: I Survived series at Amazon
19. Mañanaland by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Through magical realism and powerful storytelling, award-winning author Pam Muñoz Ryan beautifully portrays immigrants’ experiences in this compelling story. Missing his mother, who abandoned him as a baby, 11-year-old Max embarks on a journey to discover secrets of the past as he explores a world he could only imagine.
Buy it: Mañanaland at Amazon
20. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
It’s no surprise author Kate DiCamillo makes our list twice. This unforgettable tale of a china rabbit’s long journey back home is one of our all-time favorites. Full of hope, longing, and enduring love, this book is at once heartbreaking and awe-inspiring. Edward Tulane is a wonder, and the timeless storytelling and beautiful prose will stay with you and your students for a long time.
Buy it: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane at Amazon
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Plus, check out these fourth grade classroom ideas for more inspiration.