Our Reading List: Chapter Books for Grades 1-6 and Up

Akshaya and Udayan do not watch TV from Monday through Friday. Instead, I’ve encouraged reading to occupy free time and as a result Akshaya and Udayan have become avid readers. We enjoy looking for new books to read and compiling reading lists. I tend to suggest timeless or classic books because I’ve read many of them as a child. It is definitely an advantage in that I can test my children’s comprehension and also have meaningful discussions about the characters and events that take place in these novels. If I haven’t read the novel, I quickly look up the synopsis online. I believe the discussions that follow are just as important as the act of reading.

In today’s post, I’m sharing a list of books that the kids have read and books that we plan on reading at some point. They mostly include classics with a few books that my children have enjoyed that I thought I’d share. I’ve also suggested a grade level per book based on vocabulary and content. 

Grade 1

  • The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are scary and bad but they want to be good as they tackle some hilarious missions in this series.

  • Narwhal and Jelly by Ben Clanton

Narwhal and Jelly discover the whole ocean together in this silly early graphic novel series featuring three stories within each novel.

  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Written in 1964, the story features the adventures of a young boy named Charlie Bucket inside chocolatier Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.

  • Nate the Great Marjorie Weinman

This series which began in 1972, features Nate, the world’s greatest detective, who solves mystery after mystery.

  • Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel

This series of five easy-to-read books features the adventures of friends, Frog and Toad.

Grade 2

  • James and the Giant Peach Roald Dahl

Written in 1961, this popular novel is about the adventures of a young orphan boy who enters a magical, giant peach where he meets seven magical garden bugs.

  • Matilda by Roald Dahl

Written in 1988, this story features five-year old Matilda who is not only extremely intelligent but gifted with the power of telekinesis, unknown to her not-so-pleasant parents.

  • Mr. Poppers Penguin by Richard & Florence Atwater

Published in 1938, this book tells the story of a poor housepainter and his family who take in a penguin, Captain Cook, and eventually a female penguin from the zoo who together produce 10 more penguins.

  • Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume

Written in 1972, the second book in Judy Blume’s Fudge series tells the tale of Sheila who leaves with her family to spend summer in the country where she has to face her fears of dogs and swimming.

Grade 3

  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Written in 1894, this collection of stories features animal characters such as Shere Khan the tiger, Baloo the bear, and a boy/man-cub named Mowgli who is raised in the jungle by wolves.

  • Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

First published in 1904, this novel tells the tale of Peter Pan who can fly but never grows up, and his adventures on the mythical island of Neverland as the leader of the lost boys.

  • Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat

Written in 1961, this book tells the story of a Saskatoon boy, Billy, who brings home numerous animals, the latest of which includes two great-horned owls.

  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

First published in 1945, the story features Pippi, a super-strong, red-haired girl and her hilarious escapades.

  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The third book in a series of eight published between 1932-1943, this autobiographical story tells of the Ingalls’ month-long stay on the Kansas prairies including the building of their one-room log house on Indian Territory.

  • The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

First published in 1812, this novel is about a Swiss family shipwrecked in the East Indies en route to Port Jackson, Australia, where they spend the next decade before a British ship rescues them.

  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Written in 1952, the novel tells the story of a livestock pig Wilbur and his friend, a spider named Charlotte who writes messages praising Wilbur in her web in order to convince the farmer not to slaughter him.

  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Written in 1908 by a Canadian author, this novel centres around the adventures of a 11-year-old orphan girl named Anne Shirley, who is mistakenly sent to two elderly siblings originally intending to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in the town of Avonlea.

Grade 4

  • Harry Potter the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

The first book in the series, this fantasy novel follows the adventure of Harry Potter, a young wizard who discovers his magical heritage when he receives a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Once there he faces an attempted comeback of Voldemort, the dark wizard that killed his parents but failed to kill Harry when he was just a baby.

  • Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg

Written in 1981, this fantasy book is about two siblings, Peter and Judy, and a magical board game that implements animals and other jungle elements as the game is played in real life.

  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Published in 1883, this coming of age novel tells the story of an innkeeper’s teenage son Billy, who is enthusiastic to go to sea and hunt for treasure.

  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

In this 1865 novel, a young girl named Alice falls down a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by interesting creatures.

  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

First published in 1911, this novel tells the story of 10-year-old British girl Mary Lennox, who moves to her uncles’ home in England after her parents die in the Cholera epidemic in India. At her Uncle’s home, the maid tells Mary about a walled secret garden which Mary is determined to find.

  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

First published in 1964, this coming-of-age novel centres around 11-year old Harriet, an aspiring writer living in New York, who writes down everything she knows about everyone in her private notebook which she then discovers has wound up in the wrong hands.

  • Goosebumps by R.L. Stine

Published from 1992-1997, this series of children’s horror stories tell the stories of children who find themselves in scary situations which often included monsters and supernatural elements.

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl

Written in 1982, this novel tells the tale of a little orphan girl named Sophie and the Big Friendly Giant, who unlike other giants eats snozzcumbers instead of human children, and tries his best to give children happy dreams. Sophie with the help of the BFG hatches a plan to stop the other giants.

Grade 5 & 6

  • Holes by Louis Sachar

Written in 1998, this book centres around an unlucky teenage boy, Stanley, who is sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile corrections facility in a desert in Texas, after being falsely accused of theft. Themes such as racism, homelessness, illiteracy, and arranged marriage are explored.

  • Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

The story, told from the perspective of the neighbourhood’s wish tree, is about a new family that moves into the neighbourhood and unfortunately isn’t welcomed by all.

  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Written in 1877, this novel is about a horse’s experience in the hands of many owners; some which are loving and some which are cruel.

  • The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin

This series of novels, written between from 1986-2000, tells the stories of friends Kristy, Claudia, Mary Anne, and Stacy who form and operate a babysitting service. Each book, written from the point-of-view of one of the four members of the babysitters club, tackle an issue such as sibling rivalry, divorce, and peer conflicts.

  • Nancy Drew Mystery Stories by Carolyn Keene

Written from 1930 – 2003, this series of 175 novels chronicles the adventures of a young, female sleuth as she solves mysteries.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Published from 1950-1956, this fantasy series of seven books is set in the fictional realm of Narnia, a world consisting of magic, mythical beasts, and animals that can talk. It tells the story of various children from the real world who are transported to Narnia, where they protect Narnia from evil.

  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Written in 1962, the first in a series of four novels tells the tale of Meg Murry, Charles Wallace Murry, and Calvin O’Keefe as they embark on a journey through space and time and from universe to universe, as they attempt to save the Murrys’ father and the world.

  • Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

This novel narrates the story of Aru Shah, who unleashes a demon which results in her classmates and mom being frozen in time. To stop the demon, Aru Shah must find the reincarnations of the five legendary Pandava brothers from the Hindu poem, the Mahabharata, and journey through the Kingdom of Death.

The classics included in the above list are definitely worth reading throughout the elementary school years. If you have any other book suggestions that could be added to this list, let me know in the comments below and as usual if this post was helpful please share 🙂

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