4th Grade Read Alouds: Top 27 Kid-Friendly Books To Choose

Fourth graders can be tricky to choose books for, especially when trying to find books for them to read aloud in class. They’re too old for picture books even when beautifully illustrated, but too young for young adult novels. Fortunately, there are many amazing read aloud books to engage and inspire them into reading aloud and there are some that are based on a true story.

Here are twenty-seven of the best books for 4th-grade read-alouds to incorporate into your fourth-grade reading comprehension activities.

1. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

This sweet story is told from the point of view of Ivan, a gorilla living in captivity, and his burgeoning friendship with a baby elephant named Ruby. As Ivan compares his life in the jungle to life in captivity, young readers get a glimpse of what life is like for an animal that’s lost its freedom. However, the novel also explores themes of friendship, kindness, and the art of self-expression.

The One and Only Ivan is a Newbery Award winner and listed as an editor’s pick on Amazon.


2. Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

The combination of comedian Dave Berry and mystery writer Ridley Pearson might seem strange, but somehow the two of them sweep readers away on a high-seas adventure. This Peter Pan prequel will enchant and excite readers as Peter discovers magic, finds his bravery, and fights pirates before settling down in Never Land.

Peter and the Starcatchers is the first in a five-book series and a perfect introduction to fantasy fiction for students.


3. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

This fantastic book is always a favorite for fourth graders. Students will be able to relate to the trials and tribulations of fourth grade, but also see how sibling rivalry can coexist with love for their family.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is the first in the five-book Fudge series.


4. Matilda by Roald Dahl

Students will be enchanted by this fairy-tale-style story of a young girl using her magic powers to defeat the bullies in her life. But as they follow along on Matilda’s adventures, students will also learn the value of kindness in one of my all-time favorite 4th grade reading comprehension activities.

Students who come from a rough or unconventional home life may also find a kindred spirit in Matilda as she stands up for herself against the cruel adults in her life and learns that found family is more important than biological family.

Roald Dahl’s catalog contains no shortage of books for middle-grade readers, and Matilda is especially whimsical. Students may also enjoy watching the adorable movie when the novel is finished.


5. The Lemonade War by Jaqueline Davies

The Lemonade War follows the sibling rivalry between people-smart Evan and his book-smart sister Jessie. While the novel is a tale of the ups and downs of a family, it also explores and celebrates the differences in the way each sibling’s talents and personalities.

The Lemonade War is the first in a series of five books surrounding Evan and Jessie. But be warned, the book does end on a cliffhanger, and your students may beg you to continue the series!


6. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

When Opal goes to the local Winn-Dixie, she finds a dog making mischief in the supermarket. Because of Winn-Dixie, Opal begins to make new friends of all kinds. Kids will be enchanted by this story of a smiling dog and have the chance to reflect on friendship, love, and pain.

Because of Winn-Dixie has won a Newbery Honor, Josette Frank Award, and Mark Twain Award. After finishing the novel, students can watch the 2005 film.


7. Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Themes of environmentalism are threaded throughout this classic novel. It’s only one of many themes, though, as Roy and his outcast friend work to stop a shady construction foreman from destroying the habitat of endangered owls.

As the two boys rally their class to save the owls, students will be introduced to themes of honesty, coming together, and not judging a book by its cover.

Hoot won a Newbery honor in 2003, and the film adaptation was released in 2006.


8. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Amina is a young Pakistani-American girl trying to navigate middle school. As she feels torn between staying true to her culture or fitting in, her local mosque is vandalized. This novel shows how multiracial and multiethnic students may struggle with finding their identity, and how diversity is a strength for all of us.

Amina’s Voice was listed as one of the Washington Post’s best children’s books in 2017. The sequel, Amina’s Song, was released in 2021.


9. The Unteachables by Gordon Korman

The Unteachables are a notoriously mischievous group of students paired with a burned-out teacher. But before the year ends, the Unteachables have to figure out how to band together to save Mr. Kermit’s job and learn that no one is truly Unteachable.

The Unteachables comes from prolific middle-grade author Gordan Korman. This underdog story was a New York Times bestseller and is listed as a Teacher’s Pick on Amazon – and for good reason. This is undoubtedly one of my favorite 4th grade books.


10. The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

This classic novel follows siblings Peter, Susan, Edmond, and Lucy as they discover the world of Narnia and fight to save it from the White Witch. The book is full of many important themes such as family, loyalty, morality, and sacrifice. While religious students may catch the not-so-subtle allegory, the lesson of good defeating evil is appropriate for all.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was the first book of the Chronicles of Narnia written by Lewis.


11. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars is based on the true story of the Danish Resistance during World War II. As Annemarie summons her courage to save her best friend from the Nazis, students will learn about life in Nazi-occupied Europe through the eyes of someone their age.

Annemarie’s bravery and loyalty will inspire students as she discovers the importance of stepping up to do what’s right in the face of evil.

Number the Stars was written by Lois Lowry, also well-known forThe Giver, and both novels are Newbery winners.


12. Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell

It’s 1957, and Regina and her family are members of the Umpqua tribe until the government declares the Umpqua people no longer exist.

Forced to relocate to Los Angeles, Regina grapples with discovering her identity and confronting racism. Like Number the Stars, Indian No More gives students a more relatable account of historic events.

Indian No More received multiple starred reviews and landed on multiple “Best” lists. Charlene Willing McManis’s own tribal history offers a unique lens into the real events or we can probably say – partly based on a true story.


13. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

11-year-old Anne has been shuffled between foster homes and orphanages since her parents’ death. She is sent by mistake to Green Gables. As Anne adapts and explores life at Green Gables, she’ll take students on her discovery of the importance of found family, friendship, imagination, and adventure.

Anne of Green Gables continues to capture the hearts of readers everywhere. Several books follow in this series, and the most recent adaptation is Anne with an E on Netflix.


14. The Borrowers by Mary Norton

The Clock family are tiny humans. To survive, they borrow things from the full-sized humans that live in the old country manor the Clocks have found shelter in. As readers follow their adventures, they’re confronted with themes of prejudice and class structure.

The Borrowers is the first in its series and was awarded a Carnegie Medal in 1952.


15. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse, must evacuate her home. Unfortunately, the youngest of her four children, Timothy, has pneumonia, and she can’t move him. When she meets the Rats of NIMH, she’s taken along on a journey of discovery and sacrifice, and learns that home is not a place, but where your family is.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH is a Newbery Medal-winning novel. After O’Brien died, his daughter added to the story by writing two sequels.


16. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Wonder follows Auggie, a boy born with a facial deformity, as he begins a mainstream school for the first time. The book is written primarily from Auggie’s perspective but also from that of his family and peers. This heartwarming book is the perfect opportunity to remind students to embrace differences and extend kindness to everyone.

Wonder reached number one on the New York Times bestseller list and received rave reviews.The film, starring Julia Roberts, came out in 2017.


17. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

While neighbors Jess and Leslie explore an area beyond a creek near their homes, the two dream up a mythical land called Terabithia. Jess’s relationship with Leslie opens his eyes to the people around him, and when she dies after drowning in the creek, he must cope with guilt and loss.

Bridge to Terabithia is a Newbery Award winner, and it’s also one of the American Library Association’s most challenged books due to themes of death and loss. After the novel is finished, students can view the 2007 film.


18. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

When millionaire Samuel Westing is found dead, sixteen individuals find themselves involved in a game to find Westing’s killer and inherit his fortune.

In a cast of wacky characters, thirteen-year-old “Turtle” is the one who ultimately solves the mystery. As she discovers the true secret of Samuel W. Westing, she learns not to judge based on appearances and the value of creativity and intelligence.

Another Newbery Medal winner,The Westing Game was also listed as one of the best all-time children’s novels by the School Library Journal in 2021.


19. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy Jackson has never been normal, per se, and when he learns his summer camp is a camp for demigods, things start to make more sense. Now thrust into a world of gods and monsters, Percy embarks on a journey of self-discovery.

Readers with ADHD and dyslexia will especially relate to Percy’s attempts to fit into the “normal” world and his struggle to come to terms with his identity. The novel is also a fantastic way to introduce students to the world of Greek mythology.

The Lightning Thief is the first book of Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series.


20. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

We all know the story of the orphaned boy who turned out to be a wizard, leaving his room under the stairs for the magic of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. This book is full of charm and wonder, perfect for fourth graders.

However, the novel also explores themes of class and racism as Harry navigates his new world, but regardless, this is a captivating story.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is, of course, the first of a seven Harry Potter books series about The Boy Who Lived. I bet this is one of the best read aloud books you should read to your 4th grade students.


21. Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan

Yet another one of the best stories about an amazing girl on a list of the best read aloud books, after Esperanza and her mother are forced from their privileged life in Mexico, Esperanza begins working at a farm camp to earn money. While working at the camp, she must face unfamiliar conditions, striking workers, and immigration roundups.

Students will get a new perspective on the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, and will also come away with a more nuanced understanding of class and racism.

Esperanza Rising is a Pura Belpré Award winner and was a Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year winner.


22. Holes by Louis Sachar

Holes is the classic story of a young boy who…accidentally steals a pair of shoes and is sent to a behavioral camp where he’s forced to dig a large hole every day? Students will enjoy the eclectic characters and narrative wit while enthralled as the boys at camp try to solve a decades-old mystery and break a curse.

At camp, Stanley and readers develop a deeper understanding of the racism young black boys face and also get a view of different types of family dynamics and the importance of doing what you believe is right.

Holes has won several honors, including a Newbery Medal. Students may enjoy the sequel,Small Steps. The film adaptation is faithful to the book, as Sachar wrote the screenplay himself.


23. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire’s lives are turned upside down when they are orphaned and sent to live with their scheming Count Olaf, who cares less about the children and more about the fortune their parents left behind. While the novel is over the top ridiculous at times, themes of family are woven throughout as the siblings rely on each other for comfort.

The Bad Beginning is the first in the 13-book Series of Unfortunate Events. Both the movie and Netflix series offer adaptations with a varying level of faithfulness.


24. Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli

Now that Suds is in fourth grade, he’s determined to toughen up. But every time he tries to act like a rat, something goes wrong. As students follow him on his attempts to toughen up, they’ll begin to understand why you shouldn’t force yourself to be something you’re not.

Fourth Grade Rats will appeal to fourth graders thanks to the same-age protagonist who understands what they’re going through.


25. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

Four children have been specially selected for a secret mission. In order for their mission to succeed, the team needs to learn how to work together despite their differences.

The Mysterious Benedict Society was awarded The E.B. White Read Aloud Award for Older Readers.


26. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Cassie is a nine-year-old black girl living in Mississippi during the Great Depression. Like Esperanza Rising, Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry offers a unique perspective on racism during the Great Depression.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry is a Newbery Medal winner that shows the pain of racism in a way that students will understand.


27. Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Mia Tang lives in a motel, where her parents clean rooms and she runs the front desk. But her parents have a secret- they hide immigrants. Mia struggles to help keep the guests hidden from the motel owner while also pursuing her dreams of being a writer. Mia’s story gives students a new perspective on immigration while also encouraging them to do what they love.

Front Desk is the first in its series and has numerous awards and accolades, including the Asian / Pacific American Award for Children’s Literature.


Final Thoughts

Whether you choose more realistic fiction or speculative fiction, a heartwarming story or one of tragedy, there’s something for everyone on this list for 4th grade read alouds.

With so many options as part of a series, your students may be excited to continue their reading journey even after the first book ends. These fourth grade reading aloud books can be the spark in your students’ lives to help them become lifelong readers.

Have you got any more 4th grade read alouds that are considered a classic book that I may have forgotten to share? Maybe some more beautifully illustrated books, or how about some read aloud books to solve puzzles?

Let’s try some book comparison… Tell me about some other read aloud books!

Last Updated on May 15, 2022 by Emily

Emily/ author of the article

Emily is an active mother of two and a dedicated elementary school teacher. She believes the latest technology has made a huge impact on the quality of early learning and has worked hard to upgrade her classroom and her own children’s learning experience through technology.

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