Books My Fourth Grader Loved

These are the books my fourth grader loved this year. I’ve written other book lists, but have waited until I have chapter book reading kids to review chapter books! (Full disclosure he is a bit more of a non-fiction guy, so getting him to read novels is a bit challenging. He would read science and biology books all day if I would let him.)

Books I’ve Read Aloud

When I choose to read a series aloud, there is usually a reason. I want to have a conversation about it. Or skip parts that aren’t kid-appropriate, even though I know they will love the story! We do these on top of our daily Bible reading.

The Chronicles of Narnia

For family reading time we read “The Chronicles of Narnia” this year. It’s easy to think that old classic books don’t need warnings, but I’ve changed my opinion on that. Each generation has sins of its day that they are blind to. Even brilliant theologians like CS Lewis were not immune.

While reading I noticed the strong colonial pride that seeped in through the writing. He described “Gorgeous people” as fair with light hair. Enemies were almost always dark-skinned and wearing Middle Eastern style turbans. I tended to skip over those descriptions while reading in order not to weaken the belief that all people are beautiful image bearers to my children.

The storytelling is masterful. The kids were on the edge of their seats for most of the series. The allegories get richer as I get older, but my kids noticed them too.

Tucket’s Travels

I’m reading this one aloud. It was a favorite of ours growing up, but I know it has some places that get a little graphic. Gary Paulson is an excellent adventure story writer and nearly every chapter is a cliffhanger. Since it is about the American west and centers on a boy kidnapped from a wagon train, there is tension between native peoples and white settlers. It’s impossible to ignore that tension when studying American history, so what I’m attempting to do is read equal parts from multiple perspectives.

What I do appreciate about Paulson is he specifically names the different nations. Rather than just labeling people “Indians” or “savages” he talks about the political tensions that were winding up. I’m also noticing as we read that he writes the people in the west as cut-throat and survivors regardless to nationality. He doesn’t gloss over hard history but makes it all come alive, and makes the hero someone young that kids can relate to.

Books my fourth grader loved to read alone

He read more than this, but these were the standouts. We bought him a Reading Journal at the beginning of the year and he loved adding the books he read to it! There are also Bible studies he can do alone.

The Wild Robot

He and I read this one as a “book club” together. It was so fun to pass it back and forth and talk about it along the way! He got so into it that he ended up crying at the end (which I thought was adorable and he thought was awful). We also read the second book side by side together and enjoyed too! I felt like it ended well, so we haven’t read the third.

He says he liked it because, “It had a fun adventure about a robot that was created in a factory, but is lost on an island. He learns to talk to animals.”

The Candy Maker

This book was recommended to us by a family at church. It was a lot thicker than some of the others, but he flew through it too. I read the first third and then life blew up and I didn’t finish. The premise is about a candy maker’s son who enters a candy-making competition. Kind of Great British Bake Off as a book, and about kids.

He says he liked it because “It can seem confusing at the start with different perspectives, but it ties them all together in the end. I loved that they invented new candies. “


He read this one at co-op. We watched the movie together after he finished it as a mother-son date. It was fun to hear him talk about what was different between the book and the movie. I hadn’t read the book, so it was fun to learn from him. He seems to have gotten a lot from the book, but he hates sad endings. Be sure to add this one to your Timeline Journal

He says, (SPOILER ALERT) “I didn’t really like this book. I don’t like that the father and the dog die at the end.”

The World According to Humphry

The audiobook and in paperback have been on repeat here all year. They are such fun stories from the perspective of an animal. I’ve found it’s given them a lot of empathy for living things.

He says he liked it because, “It’s silly and has lots of jokes and facts. It’s about Hampster that lives in classroom 26 and solves the problems of the kids in his class.”

The Hardy Boys

This is an old classic series. He read so many of them at the beginning of the year. There are some similar warnings to Chronicles of Narnia, as well as some fatphobia if I remember correctly.

He says he liked it because “They figure out all kinds of mysteries and have great adventures. They always figure out how to catch the bad guy.”

Boxcar Children

What you must know about this series before starting is that only the first 15 books were written by Gertrude Warner. The rest of them are recreated, with varying levels of success, to match her writing style. It’s bad enough I noticed as a kid. So I’ve only allowed mine the first 15.

He says he liked it because “it’s a bunch of mysteries. The kids live with their grandfather because their parents died. It’s a little creepy, but not too much.”

Homer Price

I thought this book was really fun. He didn’t really agree. It’s written as short stories rather than chapters. I think maybe what I did wrong on this one was I had him do comprehension writing along side it. Every part of that experiment ended up a mess, so we switched methods.

Geronimo Stilton

I like what I’ve seen from this series. It’s easy to read and engaging. There are lots of pictures, but I’ve not noticed it being crass like other comic-style books. The themes are usually taken from history.

He says he liked it because “It’s a funny book with great illustrations. He’s a journalist for the Rodent Gazette. That job takes him all around the world on mysteries and adventures.”

The books coming books we plan to read are in Around the Ancient World

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