Too-Good-to-Miss Books: 3rd Grade

Staff recommendations for children at a third grade reading level.

Compiled by:
Children's Services Staff
Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek: A Tall Thin Tale (introducing his forgotten frontier friend)

Deborah Hopkinson
(Juvenile Fiction - J Hopkins)

In Knob Creek, Kentucky, in 1816, seven-year-old Abe Lincoln falls into a creek and is rescued by his best friend, Austin Gollaher.

All Stations! Distress!: April 15, 1912, the Day the Titanic Sank

Don Brown
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 910.453 Bro)

This is the captivating story of an amazing vessel, the people who built it, and its tragic demise during its maiden voyage across the Atlantic. Told through first-hand accounts and detailed illustrations of the events as they happened.

Amelia's Are-We-There-Yet, Longest Ever Car Trip

Marissa Moss
(Juvenile Fiction - J Moss)

Ten-year-old Amelia keeps a journal of the summer car trip she takes with her mother and sister to Grand Canyon, Death Valley, and their California home town to visit Amelia's best friend. Look for more Amelia titles and also the Max Disaster series by Moss.

Babymouse: Queen of the World

Jennifer Holm
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Holm)
Series: Babymouse; #1

An imaginative mouse dreams of being queen of the world, but will settle for an invitation to the most popular girl's slumber party.

The Buddy Files - Case of the Lost Boy

Dori Butler
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Butler)

While searching for his mysteriously lost human family, Buddy the dog is adopted by another family and helps solve the mystery of their missing boy. Look for more Buddy File titles.

Drum Dream Girl

Margarita Engle
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Eng)

Based on the story of Millo Castro Zaldarriaga, follows a girl in the 1920s as she strives to become a drummer, despite being continually reminded that only boys play the drums and that Cuba has never had a female drummer.

Freckle Juice

Judy Blume
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Blume)

Andrew wants freckles so badly that he buys Sharon's freckle recipe for fifty cents.


Kate Klimo
(Juvenile Fiction - J Klimo)
Series: Klimo, Kate. Dog diaries

Ginger the golden retriever narrates the story of her life, from her birth in a puppy mill through the various people who have "owned" her.

Harriet the Invincible

Ursula Vernon
(Juvenile Fiction - J Vernon)
Series: Hamster Princess; 1.

Harriet becomes an adventurer after learning she is cursed to fall into a deep sleep on her twelfth birthday, but after two years of exploits with her riding quail, things go awry at home and she must seek a prince to set things right.

The Haunted Toolshed

David Keane
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Keane)
Series: Joe Sherlock; #1

A super-sleuth fourth grader solves the case of a neighbor's haunted toolshed. First in the Joe Sherlock series.

How Oliver Olson Changed the World

Claudia Mills
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Mills)

Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, nine-year-old Oliver finally shows his overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help while his class studies the solar system.

The Hundred Dresses

Eleanor Estes
(Juvenile Fiction - J Estes)

Wanda Petronski, a little Polish girl in an American school, is laughed at because she always wears a faded blue dress, until her classmates learn a lesson.

In Aunt Lucy's Kitchen

Cynthia Rylant
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Rylant)
Series: Cobble Street Cousins

While staying with their aunt for a year, three nine-year-old cousins keep busy baking and selling cookies, putting on a poetry and singing performance, and more. First in the Cobble Street Cousins series.

Juana & Lucas

Juana Medina
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Medina)

A spunky young girl from Columbia loves playing with her canine best friend and resists boring school activities, especially learning English, until her family tells her that a special trip is planned to an English-speaking place.

Knights of the Kitchen Table

Jon Scieszka
(Juvenile Fiction - J Scieszk)
Series: Time Warp Trio; #1

Joe receives a magic book for his birthday present from his uncle. Joe, Fred and Sam are transported to a time when evil knights, fire-breathing dragons and vile-smelling giants roamed the land. First in the Time Warp Trio series.

The Magician's Boy

Susan Cooper
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Co)

When a boy working as a magician's helper cannot find a puppet in the middle of a performance, the magician is furious. He points a long magical finger at the boy, and poof, the boy is suddenly in the strange Land of Story, where he must find the puppet he misplaced.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle

Beverly Cleary
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cle)

A reckless young mouse named Ralph makes friends with a boy in room 215 of the Mountain View Inn and discovers the joys of motorcycling. Read more Ralph stories in Runaway Ralph and Ralph S. Mouse.

Nic Bishop Butterflies and Moths

Nic Bishop
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 595.789 Bis)

Engaging text presents both basic information and fun, quirky facts about the insects' appearance, habits, and life cycle. (Ask for other nonfiction books by this author, especially Frogs and Lizards.)

Poison Island

H.I. Larry
(Juvenile First Chapter Books - J Larry)
Series: Larry, H. I. Zac Power ; 1.

Separated from his parents and older brother, twelve-year-old Zac, a secret agent of the Government Investigation Bureau, must rely on his own skills to obtain the formula for Dr. Drastic's secret Solution X.

The Quiet Place

Sarah Stewart
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ste)

A little girl moves to the United States from Mexico with her family and writes letters to her aunt in Mexico about her new life.

Runny Babbit : a Billy Sook

Shel Silverstein
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 811.54 Sil)

Runny Babbit's topsy-turvy world is brought to life through wordplay and drawings.

Secret Identity

Wendelin Van Draanen
(Juvenile Fiction - J Vandraa)
Series: Shredderman; #1

Fifth-grader Nolan Byrd, tired of being called names by the class bully, has a secret identity--Shredderman!  First in the Shredderman series.

The Sound of Silence

Katrina Goldsaito
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Gol)

Living in the bustling, splashing, whooshing, beeping and laughing city of Tokyo, a little boy tries to experience ma, or silence, when a musician tells him it is the most beautiful sound in the world.

A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin

Jennifer Bryant
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 759.13 Pippin Bry)

Presents an illustrated introduction to the life and work of artist Horace Pippin, describing his childhood love for drawing and the World War I injury that challenged his career.

Tar Beach

Faith Ringgold
(Juvenile Picture Books - Ej Ri)

A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on the author's quilt painting of the same name. 

Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic

Emily Jenkins
(Juvenile Fiction - J Jenkins)

Six stories relate the adventures of three best friends, who happen to be toys.

Young Zeus

Brian Karas
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 292.13 Kar)

This playful retelling of the myth of Zeus proves that being small (and young) doesn't mean you can't be the hero, reign supreme and have fun.