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2013 Grade 3 & 4 Summer Reading List

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Many of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, UNDERGROUND. Most listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) or the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). (Download a .pdf of the list).


In the Garden with Dr. Carver by Susan Grigsby
A fictionalized account of how plant scientist George Washington Carver came to an Alabama school and taught the children how to grow plants and reap the rewards of nature’s bounty. Includes factual note about George Washington Carver. Lexile: 990

Boy of the Deeps by Ian Wallace
James, the son of a coal miner, goes with his father for the first time to work in the mines of Cape Breton. Lexile: 690


Cam Jansen and the Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones by David A. Adler
When she notices some bones missing from a dinosaur skeleton exhibited in the museum, a young girl with a photographic memory tries to discover who has been taking them and why. Lexile: 490

The End of the Beginning by Avi
Avon the snail and Edward, a take-charge ant, set off together on a journey to an undetermined destination in search of unspecified adventures. Lexile: 620

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
Three farmers, each one meaner than the other, try all-out warfare to get rid of the fox and his family. Lexile: 600

Tales From the Waterhole by Bob Graham
During the dry season, Morris the crocodile and his animal friends enjoy playing in and near the water hole. Lexile: 490

Watch Out World, Rosy Cole is Going Green! by Sheila Greenwald
Rosie’s team comes up with some creative ideas for the Read School Fall Fair, whose mission is to sell “green-themed” products. Lexile: 760

Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy
Although Aunt Arlene tries to interest her in clothing and growing up, ten-year-old Mildred is entirely focused on growing a pumpkin big enough to win the annual Circleville, Ohio, contest, as her mother dreamed of doing before she died. Lexile: 790

Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise
In this story told mostly through letters, children’s book author, I. B. Grumply, gets more than he bargained for when he rents a quiet place to write for the summer. Lexile: 730
Nutmeg Nominee 2004

Marty McGuire Digs Worms! by Kate Messner
With help from her Grandma Barb, Marty builds a habitat for worms in her school cafeteria as part of the Save the Earth Project.

Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan by R. A. Spratt
When Mr. Green announces his diabolical plan to remarry, his children are horrified at the thought of losing their beloved Nanny Piggins. Includes a story called “Nanny Piggins and the Tunnel to China.” Lexile: 880

Lulu and the Brontosaurus by Judith Viorst
Lulu’s parents refuse to give in when she demands a brontosaurus for her birthday and so she sets out to find her own, but while the brontosaurus she finally meets approves of pets, he does not intend to be Lulu’s. Lexile: 910

On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Laura and her family move to Minnesota where they live in a dugout until a new house is built and face misfortunes caused by flood, blizzard, and grasshoppers. Lexile: 720


Leo Geo: And His Miraculous Journey Through the Center of the Earth by Jon Chad
Armed with scientific knowledge and a magic dagger, Leo is determined to outwit man-eating Quadclops giants and Malvisors and travel to the center of the earth.


The Secret of the Stones by Robert D. San Souci
When they try to find out who is doing their chores while they are working in the field, a childless couple discovers that the two stones they have brought home are actually two bewitched orphans. Lexile: 700


Wild Tracks!: A Guide to Nature’s Footprints by Jim Arnosky
Learn how to read the secret language of animal tracks. Find out how to tell how fresh tracks are, which animals made the, how fast they might have been traveling, and more. Lexile: 1040

A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston
Introduces readers to rocks and minerals, describing how they are created, what they can be used for, and their different forms and types. Lexile: 1110

Wolfsnail: A Backyard Predator by Sarah Campbell
Stunning photographs and a fact-filled story deliver a closeup look at a day in the life of a tiny, and unexpected, predator-the seriously slimy wolfsnail.

If You Find a Rock by Peggy Christian
Celebrates the variety of rocks that can be found, including skipping rocks, chalk rocks, and splashing rocks. Lexile: 930

Bones: Skeletons and How They Work by Steve Jenkins
A guide to human and animal skeletons provides informative comparisons while sharing such facts as the number of bones in the human body and the ways that skeletal structures work. Lexile: 980

 Muddy as a Duck Puddle: And Other American Similes by Laurie Lawlor
A collection of 26 American similes–one for each letter of the alphabet–including notes on the origins and meanings of each.


Barnum’s Bones: How Barnum Brown Discovered the Most Famous Dinosaur in the World by Tracey Fern
Documents the work of an early twentieth-century paleontologist, named after the famous circus icon by his ambitious parents, who grew up to work for the American Museum of Natural History and discovered the first documented skeletons of the Tyrannosaurus Rex and other noteworthy species. Lexile: 1010

Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya by Donna Jo Napoli
The story of Wangari Maathai, who in 1977 founded the Green Belt Movement, an African grassroots organization, and in 2004 was the first African woman to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Lexile: 710

The Dinosaurs of Waterhouse Hawkins by Barbara Kerley
The true story of Victorian artist Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins, who built life-sized models of dinosaurs in the hope of educating the world about what these awe-inspiring ancient animals and what they were like. Lexile: 550

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