Suggested Summer Reading: 4th Grade

2020 Suggested Summer Reading – 4th Grade 

Popular Fiction 

  • 11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass (RL: 4.1).  After celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together, Amanda and Leo, having fallen out on their tenth and not speaking to each other for the last year, prepare to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their birthday begins to repeat itself over and over again. 
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (RL: 3.5). Twelve-year-old Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister. 
  • Attack of the Turtle by Drew Carson (RL: 4.2). During the Revolutionary War, fourteen-year-old Nathan joins forces with his older cousin, the inventor David Bushnell, to secretly build the first submarine used in naval warfare. 
  • Because of WinnDixie by Kate DiCamillo (RL: 3.9). Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog Winn-Dixie 
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (RL: 4.6). The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm. 
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (RL: 4.9). Each of five children lucky enough to discover an entry ticket into Mr. Willy Wonka's mysterious chocolate factory takes advantage of the situation in his own way. 
  • Closed for the Season by Mary Downing Hahn (RL: 4.3). When thirteen-year-old Logan and his family move into a run-down old house in rural Virginia, he discovers that a woman was murdered there and becomes involved with his neighbor Arthur in a dangerous investigation to try to uncover the killer.  
  • The Crossover: A Basketball Novel by Kwame Alexander (RL: 4.3). Fourteen-year-old twin basketball stars Josh and Jordan wrestle with highs and lows on and off the court as their father ignores his declining health. 
  • Drizzle by Kathleen Van Cleve (RL: 4.1). When a drought threatens her family's magical rhubarb farm, eleven-year-old Polly tries to find a way to make it rain again. 
  • Front Desk by Kelly Yang (RL: 4.5). After emigrating from China, ten-year-old Mia Tang's parents take a job managing a rundown motel, despite the nasty owner, Mr. Yao, who exploits them, while she works the front desk and tries to cope with fitting in at her school. 
  • Gollywhopper Games by Jody Feldman (RL: 4.0). Twelve-year-old Gil Goodson competes against thousands of other children at extraordinary puzzles, stunts, and more in hopes of a fresh start for his family, which has been ostracized since his father was falsely accused of embezzling money from Golly Toy and Game Company. 
  • The Hero Two Doors Down by Sharon Robinson (RL: 3.9). Eight-year-old Steve Satlow is thrilled when Jackie Robinson moves into his Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn in 1948, although many of his neighbors are not, and when Steve actually meets his hero he is even more excited--and worried that a misunderstanding over a Christmas tree could damage his new friendship. 
  • How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor (RL: 4.0). Living in the family car in their small North Carolina town after their father leaves them virtually penniless, Georgina, desperate to improve their situation and unwilling to accept her overworked mother's calls for patience, persuades her younger brother to help her in an elaborate scheme to get money by stealing a dog and then claiming the reward that the owners are bound to offer. 
  • Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (RL: 4.9).  Through a series of poems, a young girl chronicles the life-changing year of 1975, when she, her mother, and her brothers leave Vietnam and resettle in Alabama. 
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (RL: 5.1).  When twelve-year-old Hugo, an orphan living and repairing clocks within the walls of a Paris train station in 1931, meets a mysterious toyseller and his goddaughter, his undercover life and his biggest secret are jeopardized. 
  • No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman (RL: 4.9). Eighth-grade football hero Wallace Wallace is sentenced to detention attending rehearsals of the school play where, in spite of himself, he becomes wrapped up in the production and begins to suggest changes that improve not only the play but his life as well. 
  • No Talking by Andrew Clements (RL: 5.0). The noisy fifth grade boys of Laketon Elementary School challenge the equally loud fifth grade girls to a "no talking" contest. 
  • Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (RL: 4.9). In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, then-year-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. 
  • One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (RL: 3.6). When Ivan, a gorilla who has lived for years in a down-and-out circus-themed mall, meets Ruby, a baby elephant that has been added to the mall, he decides that he must find her a better life. 
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper (RL: 4.3). Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-graderwith cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time. 
  • The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson (RL: 4.2). Twelve-year-old Candice Miller is spending the summer in Lambert, South Carolina, in the old house that belonged to her grandmother. She sets out to find the inheritance, exonerate her grandmother, and expose an injustice once committed against an African American family in Lambert. 
  • Rapunzel's Revenge by Shannon Hale (RL: 3.7). Rapunzel, having grown up in a lovely castle with the woman she thought was her mother, is placed in a very tall hollow tree as punishment after her curiosity prompts her to climb the castle wall and look at the ruin of the world beyond her home, but she is able to escape and, with the help of Jack, embarks on a plan to free the land from the grip of the witch. 
  • Real Friends by Shannon Hale (RL: 2.6).  Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends ever since they were little. But one day, Adrienne starts hanging out with Jen, the most popular girl in class and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen's #1, and some girls would do anything to stay on top . . . even if it means bullying others. 
  • Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff (R: 4.4).  Relates the tale of Rumpelstiltskin's childhood and youth, explaining why his name is so important, how he is able to spin straw into gold, and why a first-born child is his reward for helping the miller's daughter-turned-queen. 
  • Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks (RL: 4.8). Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems--but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives. 
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law (RL: 6.5). Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her father is injured in a terrible accident. 
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier (RL: 2.6). An autobiography in graphic novel format describes how the author lost two of her front teeth in an accident when she was twelve, and her subsequent struggles with various corrective dental techniques throughout adolescence. 
  • Superfudge by Judy Blume (RL: 3.9). Peter describes the highs and lows of life with his younger brother Fudge. 
  • The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler (RL: 3.8)After finally convincing her mother that she should take swimming lessons, twelve-year-old Emily discovers a terrible and wonderful secret about herself that opens up a whole new world. 
  • A Tale Dark & Grimm by Adam Gidwitz (RL: 4.6). Follows Hansel and Gretel as they walk out of their own story and into eight more tales, encountering such wicked creatures as witches, along with kindly strangers and other helpful folk. Based in part on the Grimms' fairy tales Faithful Johannes, Hansel and Gretel, The seven ravens, Brother and sister, The robber bridegroom, and The devil and his three golden hairs. 
  • The Tale of Desperaux by Kate Dicamillo (RL:4.1) The adventures of Desperaux Tilling, a small mouse of unusual talents, the princess that he loves, the servant girl who longs to be a princess, and a devious rat determined to bring them all to ruin. 
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (RL: 3.8). Peter finds his demanding two-year-old brother an ever-increasing problem.  
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (RL: 4.1). A young disabled girl and her brother are evacuated from London to the English countryside during World War II, where they find life to be much sweeter away from their abusive mother.  
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (RL: 4.5). As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a twelve-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space. 
  • A Wolf Called Wander by Roseanne Parry (RL: 4.3). A young wolf cub, separated from his pack, journeys 1000 miles across the Pacific Northwest, dealing with forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before finding a new home. Based on the true story of a wolf called OR-7. 



  • El Deafo by Cece Bell (RL: 3.3). A graphic novel memoir of author/illustrator Cece Bell who grew up hearing impaired. 
  • Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins (RL: 5.7). Profiles a series of animals with unusual eyes, andexplains how such animals use their uniquely evolved eyes to gain essential information about the biological world. 
  • The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch (RL: 6.4). The Mighty Mars Rovers tells the greatest space robot adventure of all time through the eyes—and heart—of Steven Squyres, professor of astronomy at Cornell University and lead scientist on the mission. 
  • Pop: The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy (RL: 4.8). A collection of amusing historical facts on the invention of bubble gum. 
  • This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids Around the World by Matt Lamothe (RL: 3.8). Tells the daily activities of seven children from around the world.  
  • Who Was Ben Franklin? by Dennis B. Fradin (RL: 4.4). A biography of the eighteenth-century printer, publisher, inventor, scientist, and statesman who played an influential role in the early history of the United States. 
  • Women Who Broke the Rules (Series) by Kathleen Krull. Many awe-inspiring women have changed the course of history. From fighting for social justice and women's rights to discovering and shaping our amazing country, women have left an indelible mark on our past, present, and future. But it's not easy to affect change, and these women didn't always play by the rules to make a difference! 


  • Dark Emperor & Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman (RL: 4.0). A collection of poems that celebrate the wonder, mystery, and danger of the night and describes the many things that hide in the dark. 
  • Every Thing on It by Shel Silverstein (RL: 3.4). A collection of more than 130 original, never-before published poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein. 
  • Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex (RL: 4.0). Contains twenty humorous poems about the bad habits, anxieties, and other fears and foibles of monsters. 
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (RL: 3.9). A boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale are only two of the characters in a collection of humorous poetry illustrated with the author's own drawings. 

Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice 

Grades 3-6 Nominees 2020-2021 



All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff 

Meghan McCarthy 

Because of the Rabbit  

Cynthia Lord 

Best Friends 

Shannon Hale and Pham LeUyen 


Sharon M. Draper 


Kayla Miller 

The Doughnut Fix  

Jessie Janowitz 

Dragons in a Bag  

Zetta Eliott 

Finding Langston  

Lesa Cline-Ransome 

Front Desk  

Kelly Yang 

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines  

Sarah Aronson 

Not If I Can Help It  

Carolyn Mackler 

Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented  

Tanya Lee Stone 

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise  

Dan Gemeinhart 

The Season of Styx Malone  

Kekla Magoon 

Wedgie & Gizmo  

Suzanne Selfors, 






Kazu Kibuishi 

Babysitter’s Club (graphica) 

Ann M. Martin 

Baseball Card Adventures 

Dan Gutman 

Big Nate 

Lincoln Peirce 

Brixton Brothers 

Mac Barnett 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 

Jeff Kinney 

Doll People 

Ann M. Martin 

Dork Diaries 

Rachel Renee Russell 


Ursula Vernon 


Judy Blume 


Stuart Gibbs 


R.L. Stine 

Gregor the Overlander 

Suzanne Collins 


Betty G. Birney 

I Funny 

James Patterson 

I Survived 

Lauren Tarshis 

Lemonade War 

Jacqueline Davies 

Percy Jackson 

Rick Riordan 

Middle School 

James Patterson 

My Life as a … 

Janet Tashjian 

Mysterious Benedict Society 

Trenton Lee Stewart 

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales 

Nathan Hale 


Jeanne Birdsall 

Percy Jackson 

Rick Riordan 

Poison Apple 


Popularity Papers 

Amy Ignatow 

Sisters Grimm 

Michael Buckley 

Stick Dog/Cat 

Tom Watson 

Terrible Two 

Mac Barnett 

Timmy Failure 

Stephen Pastis 

Treehouse Series 

Andy Griffiths 

Upside Down Magic 

Sarah Mlynowski 

Warriors: Into the Wild 

Erin Hunter 

Willow Falls 

Wendy Mass 

Wings of Fire 

Tui Sutherland