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Challenging Reads for 4th & 5th Graders

Recommended books from the J and Y Fiction collections. Most Y Fiction titles are suitable for grades 6-8, but the Y books listed here are appropriate for many 4th and 5th graders. Find more suggestions for avid 4th and 5th grade readers on our list of Classics. Click here for a print-friendly version of this list.


Children’s Fiction (J)


Beasley Circus Mirandus    (Micah Tuttle sets out to find the mysterious Circus Mirandus and to use its magic to save his grandfather's life.)
Behar Lucky Broken Girl    (In the 1960s, Ruthie, a Cuban-Jewish immigrant, must rely on books, art, her family, and friends when an accident puts her in a body cast.)
Brown The Wild Robot    (Robot Roz starts life on a wild, remote island. The animal inhabitants help her survive until her mysterious past comes back to haunt her.)
Fitzhugh Harriet the Spy    (Harriet keeps notes about her classmates in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge.)
Hashimi One Half from the East    (Obayda is a bacha posh, a girl dressed as a boy, in Afghanistan, but she must find a way to remain free when she returns to life as a girl.)
Meloy Wildwood    (Prue must venture into the Impassable Wilderness, a dangerous and magical forest in Oregon, to rescue her brother who was kidnapped by crows.)
Prineas The Magic Thief    (A young thief is drawn into a life of magic and adventure after picking the pocket of the powerful wizard Nevery Flinglas.)
Reynolds As Brave as You    (When Genie spends his summer in the country with his grandparents, he learns a secret about his grandfather and what it means to be brave.)

Junior High Fiction (Y)


Barnhill The Girl Who Drank the Moon    (A young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her.)
Blakemore The Firefly Code    (Mori and her friends live happily in their utopian community, but when a strangely perfect new girl moves in, they begin to question their world.)
Carter Forever, or a Long, Long Time    (Flora and her brother, Julian, who have been in foster care most of their lives, must delve into their past in order to build their future.)
Choldenko Al Capone Does My Shirts    (In 1935, Moose, whose father is a prison guard, faces the challenges of living on Alcatraz Island and with his sister, who is autistic.)
Dowd The London Eye Mystery    (Ted and Kat, two very different siblings, must work together to find their cousin, Salim, who disappears on the London Eye Ferris wheel.)
Flanagan The Ruins of Gorlan    (When Will is rejected by Battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, protecting the kingdom from danger. )
Hunter Into the Wild    (When the warrior code of four clans of wild cats is threatened by mysterious deaths, a house cat named Rusty bravely faces the problem.)
Jacques Redwall     (Matthias, a young mouse, searches for the legendary sword that may help Redwall's inhabitants destroy their enemy.)
McDougall Mars Evacuees    (Alice has been evacuated to Mars, safe from the war with aliens on Earth . . . until the adults and robots mysteriously disappear.)
McMann Unwanteds    (Twin brothers are separated: one to attend University, while the other finds himself in a wondrous place where youths learn magic.)
Stewart The Mysterious Benedict Society    (Four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened.)
Venkatraman A Time to Dance    (In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident.)

Nonfiction, Folktales & Poetry


Y621.4 KA The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind    (In this memoir, a drought in Malawi sparks a boy's interest in science and his desire to build a windmill.)
J943 TU Candy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot"    (World War II was over, and with Berlin in ruins, US Air Force Lt. Gail Halvorsen tries to help the starving children there.)
J921 Woodson Brown Girl Dreaming    (One of today's finest writers tells the moving story of her childhood in South Carolina and New York, in mesmerizing verse.)

Last Updated: 11/17

 

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