Menu

Books by Theme

Great Read Alouds for Third Graders

Often adults think just because children can read by themselves that reading aloud is no longer important. It is! What better way to tackle tough topics than by sharing a book and talking about it? Questions may include what a child thinks of a character’s behavior or actions (what would you do if…? Or how would it feel to be in…?). Interests and ideas keep on coming but remember, children’s reading levels are usually lower than what they understand when books are shared aloud. Empathy, experience, vocabulary and a love of language continue to grow long after children can read by themselves.

See also: Great Read Alouds for Kids: Babies to Grade 3.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Action Jackson

By: Jan Greenberg, Sandra Jordan
Genre: Nonfiction, Biography
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The artist Jackson Pollack’s style and energy in his piece Number 1 1950 earned him the nickname Action Jackson. Fascinating details emerge as the art, environment, and inspiration of Jackson Pollack are presented in a carefully crafted, well-told, and vivaciously illustrated picture book biography.  

Babe the Gallant Pig

By: Dick King-Smith
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Rich language and lots of farm detail are used in the saga of Babe, a unique and truly heroic pig, who works successfully as a sheep dog.

Because of Winn-Dixie

By: Kate DiCamillo
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

When Opal meets (and rescues) a dog in a Winn Dixie grocery store, the shaggy hound gains a name, a friend and a home. He also becomes the catalyst to bring a community together. Humor and goodwill are the hallmarks of this imaginative tale.

Charlotte's Web

By: E.B. White
Illustrated by: Garth Williams
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The classic story of friendship and how a spider named Charlotte saves Wilbur, a small pig, from certain death with words in a web is now more than 50 years old. Nonetheless, it remains as fresh as the day it was first written.

Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures

By: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by: KG Campbell
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The small squirrel rescued from a super vacuum cleaner by 10-year old Flora emerges hairless but with new superpowers. Newly named Ulysses, the squirrel cracks Flora's protective cynicism as she copes with her parents' separation. Humor and pathos combine in text and illustration in this humorous, memorable and poignant novel. (2014 Newbery Medal Winner)

My Pen

By: Christopher Myers
Genre: Fiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A boy in a fedora uses his pen to travel, grow, “make giants of old men/who have seen better days” (an homage to his late father, Walter Dean Myers), and visit places real and imagined. Black and white line drawings and sophisticated, poetic language effectively convey the power of art and imagination and are sure to spark conversation.

The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate

By: Jacqueline Kelly
Genre: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Girls didn’t always have the freedom to choose what they wanted to do. This is certainly true for Callie Tate, the only girl in her family. How she follows her interests and deals with not being taken seriously is revealed in rich, well-paced language. Callie’s story started in The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate though both books can be read without the other. Both will appeal to sophisticated readers.

The People Could Fly: The Picture Book

By: Virginia Hamilton
Illustrated by: Diane Dillon, Leo Dillon
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

To escape the horrors of slavery, some people who remembered the old magic flew away from their enslavement. This is a richly illustrated homage to the reteller of the folktale (that first appeared in a 1985 collection) and to the dignity and history of African Americans.

Unwitting Wisdom: An Anthology of Aesop's Fables

By: Helen Ward
Illustrated by: Helen Ward
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

The enduring wisdom of Aesop's fables have been retold and newly illustrated. The large, attractive format invites readers to consider how the actions of the animals are similar to their own.

What's New? The Zoo: A Zippy History of Zoos

By: Kathleen Krull
Illustrated by: Marcellus Hall
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

A spunky look at zoos from all over the world beginning 4400 years ago in the Sumerian city of Ur and ending at the present day San Diego Zoo. The many places worldwide and zoos' purposes are presented in informative text and lighthearted cartoon illustrations.

What's the Big Idea? Amazing Science Questions for Curious Kids

By: Vicki Cobb
Genre: Nonfiction
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

This oversized book asks and ways to test “big ideas” — the ones that have “no simple or easy answer.” Motion, energy, and matter are made accessible and downright fun here. Just right for curious kids to share with curious adults.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

By: Grace Lin
Genre: Fiction, Fairy Tales and Folk Tales
Age Level: 9-12
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Minli embarks on a journey to change the luck of her family and their village. Traditional stories inspired by Chinese folklore combine with a rousing adventure for an altogether satisfying tale. Richly-hued illustrations decorate and enhance the handsome novel.

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at Amazon.com help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!

Sign up for our free newsletters about reading

Our Literacy Blogs

Maria Salvadore
Maria Salvadore

Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.

"Wear the old coat and buy the new book." — Austin Phelps