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Grade 3 & 4 Summer Reading List

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Each title listed below was selected, between 2001 and 2011, as an exemplary book by the American Library Association (ALA) and at least one professional education association. Education associations include: the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), and the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA). List can be downloaded as a .pdf here: Grade 3 to Grade 4.

PICTURE BOOKS

Togo by Robert J. Blake
In 1925, Togo, a Siberian husky who loves being a sled dog, leads a team that rushes to bring diphtheria antitoxin from Anchorage to Nome, Alaska.
ALA, IRA

A Book by Mordicai Gerstein
“Once in a book by Mordecai Gerstein … there lived a family of characters.” This is the tale of one little girl’s search for her own story.
ALA, NCTE

Rocks in his Head by Carol Otis Hurst
A young man has a lifelong love of rock collecting that eventually leads him to work at a science museum.
ALA, NSTA

Crow Call by Lois Lowry
Nine-year-old Liz accompanies the stranger who is her father, just returned from the war, when he goes hunting for crows in Pennsylvania farmland.
ALA, IRA

Zen Shorts by Jon J. Muth
When Stillwater the giant panda moves into the neighborhood, the stories he tells to three siblings teach them to look at the world in new ways. Includes factual note on Zen.
ALA, NCSS

Kamishibai Man by Allen Say
After many years of retirement, an old Kamishibai man–a Japanese street performer who tells stories and sells candies–decides to make his rounds once more even though such entertainment declined after the advent of television.
ALA, NCTE

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz
As he spends hours studying his father’s world map, a young boy escapes the hunger and misery of refugee life. Based on the author’s childhood in Kazakhstan, where he lived as a Polish refugee during World War II.
ALA, NCSS

CHAPTER BOOKS

Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
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.
ALA, NCTE

Ruby Lu, Brave and True by Lenore, Look
“Almost-eight-year-old” Ruby Lu spends time with her baby brother, goes to Chinese school, performs magic tricks and learns to drive, and has adventures with both old and new friends.
ALA, NCTE

Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry
A most unusual new student who loves to be the center of attention entertains her teacher and fellow second graders by telling absolutely true stories about herself, including how she got her name.
ALA, NCTE

The Small Adventure of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor
In Fayette, South Carolina, the highlight of Popeye’s summer is learning vocabulary words with his grandmother until a motor home gets stuck nearby and Elvis, the oldest boy living inside, joins Popeye in finding the source of strange boats floating down the creek.
ALA, NCTE

Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles
When her quirky grandmother goes to Hawaii for the summer, nine-year-old Ruby learns to survive on her own in Mississippi by writing letters, befriending chickens as well as the new girl in town, and finally coping with her grandfather’s death.
ALA, NCTE

FOLKLORE

Tales Our Abuelitas Told by F. Isabel Campoy
Presents the authors’ retellings of more than ten traditional tales accompanied by information on origins and different versions.
ALA, NCSS

Aesop’s Fables illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
A collection of nearly sixty fables from Aesop, including such familiar ones as “The Grasshopper and the Ants,” “The North Wind and the Sun,” “Androcles and the Lion,” “The Troublesome Dog,” and “The Fox and the Stork.”
ALA, NCTE

POETRY

A Whiff of Pine, A Hint of Skunk by Deborah Ruddell
Take a lighthearted romp through four seasons in the forest with these whimsical poems.
ALA, IRA, NCTE

Dark Emperor by Joyce Sidman
A collection of poems that celebrates the wonder, mystery, and danger of the night and describes the many things that hide in the dark.
ALA, NSTA

NONFICTION

Spiders by Nic Bishop
Text and photographs introduce readers to different types of spiders and their behavior.
ALA, IRA, NSTA

How to Clean a Hippopotamus by Steve Jenkins
Learn about the ingenious lifestyles of some of the world’s most unusual animal partners.
ALA, NSTA

There’s a Frog in My Throat! by Loreen Leedy
Explains various animal expressions that employ similes, metaphors, idioms, and proverbs.
ALA, NCTE

Hip-Pocket Papa by Sandra Markle
When the eggs of the hip-pocket frog hatch, the father sits “while the tadpoles wiggle up his hind legs and into the hidden pockets on his hips.” But that is only the beginning of a fascinating adventure–the father must evade predators while searching for the perfect place for his froglets to emerge.
ALA, NSTA

The Lamp, the Ice, and the Boat Called Fish by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Tells the dramatic story of the Canadian Arctic Expedition that set off in 1913 to explore the high north.
ALA, NCSS

BIOGRAPHY

Fly High! by Louise Borden
Discusses the life of Bessie Coleman, the determined African American woman who went all the way to France in order to earn her pilot’s license in 1921.
ALA, IRA, NCSS

Odd Boy Out by Don Brown
An introduction to the work and early life of Albert Einstein, the twentieth-century physicist whose theory of relativity revolutionized scientific thinking.
ALA, NCSS

Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill
Chronicles the life of Dave, a nineteenth-century slave who went on to become an influential poet, artist, and potter.
ALA, NCSS, NCTE

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley

ALA, NCSS, NCTE, NSTA

Marvelous Mattie by Emily Arnold McCully
Mattie Knight loved to make things ranging from a foot warmer for her mother or toys for her older brothers. Or, when she was 12, a metal guard to prevent shuttles from shooting off looms and hurting workers. Later, Mattie invented a machine that could cut and glue the square-bottomed paper bags we still use today. Meet the woman known as “the Lady Edison.”
ALA, NCSS

Eleanor, Quiet No More by Doreen Rappaport
A biography of Eleanor Roosevelt, the most socially and politically active — and controversial — First Lady America had ever seen. Ambassador, activist, and champion of civil rights, Eleanor Roosevelt changed the soul of America forever. Includes selected quotes from Eleanor’s own writings.
ALA, NCTE

Before John was a Jazz Giant by Carole Boston Weatherford
This lyrical picture-book biography of John Coltrane focuses on his childhood and how he interpreted sounds before he made his music.
ALA, NCSS

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