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2014 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, SCIENCE. 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), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)  or the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). (Download a .pdf of the list).


What Floats in a Moat? by Lynne Berry
While trying to cross a moat, Archimedes the Goat and Skinny the Hen learn why objects sink or float. Lexile: 400

Family Pack by Sandra Markle
A young wolf, taken from her pack in Canada to Yellowstone National Park, struggles alone to master the skills of hunting and survival until she finds a lone male and begins a new pack with him. Lexile: 760

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka
When the teacher tells his class that they can hear the poetry of science in everything, a student is struck with a curse and begins hearing nothing but science verses that sound verymuch like some well-known poems. Lexile: NP


Ivy + Bean: What’s the Big Idea? by Annie Barrows
When all the second grade students must enter the science fair, which has global warming as its theme, best friends Ivy and Bean team up to create an unusual project. Lexile: 550

Violet Mackerel’s Natural Habitat by Anna Branford
As the youngest in her family, seven-year-old Violet identifies with small creatures in the natural world, but when she tries to help special ladybug, she learns an important lesson about animal habitats. Lexile: 1080

The Year of the Baby by Andrea Cheng
Fifth-grader Anna is concerned that her baby sister Kaylee, adopted from China three months ago, is not thriving so she and her best friends, Laura and Camille, create a science project that may save the day. Lexile: 640

The Contagious Colors of Mumpley Middle School by Fowler DeWitt
When a mysterious illness sweeps through school, causing students to change color, sixth-grader scientist Wilmer Dooley tries to find the cause and cure. Lexile: 720

Hiss-s-s-s! by Eric A. Kimmel
When a Muslim American boy named Omar finally convinces his family that he should have a pet snake, it escapes and Omar learns why his mother is so scared of them. Lexile: 540

Judy Moody Saves the World by Megan McDonald
When Judy Moody gets serious about protecting the environment, her little brother Stink thinks she is overdoing it, but she manages to inspire her third grade class to undertake an award-winning, environment-saving project. Lexile: 500

How Oliver Olson Changed the World by Claudia Mills
Afraid he will always be an outsider like ex-planet Pluto, nine-year-old Oliver finally shows his extremely overprotective parents that he is capable of doing great things without their help while his class is studying the solar system. Lexile: 730


Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke
When young Zita discovers a device that opens a portal to another place, and her best friend is abducted, she is compelled to set out on a strange journey from star to star in order to get back home. Lexile: 310

Super Amoeba by Jennifer L. & Matthew Holm
Squish, a meek amoeba who loves the comic book exploits of his favorite hero, “Super Amoeba,” tries to emulate him when his best friend is threatened by a bully. Lexile: 230. And other books in the Squish series.

Zig and Wikki in The Cow by Nadja Spiegelman
Two extraterrestrial friends land on Earth in the center of a farm ecosystem, where an argument forces them to separate, only to be brought back together in the stomach of a cow. Lexile: 270


Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies
Introduces the sights and sounds of the changing seasons, along city streets and in country meadow. Lexile:

Out of This World: Poems and Facts About Space by Amy E. Sklansky
Offers lyrically presented facts about space and with perspective illustrations and additional explanations in the margins. Lexile:


Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin
An island is about to be born- one that in time will become the home of plants and animals that exist nowhere else on Earth. This book is the biography of a Galápagos island- from birth, through adolescence, to adulthood, and beyond. Lexile: 900
Or other books by Jason Chin – Gravity, Coral Reefs, or Redwoods.

Eight Dolphins of Katrina: A True Tale of Survival by Janet Wyman Coleman
Recounts the true story of eight bottlenose dolphins and their trainers who survived the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. Lexile: 710

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca
Here is the story of the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon — a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away by steady astronauts in their great machines. Lexile: 990

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber
Demonstrates how Scout the bee searches for nectar to sustain her hive and pollinates flowers to produce seeds and fruits. Lexile: 840

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
An illustrated introduction to a variety of beetle species with information on unique characteristics and how these insects have adapted to survive. Lexile:

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer
When 14-year-old William Kamkwamba’s Malawi village was hit by a drought in 2001, everyone’s crops began to fail. His family didn’t have enough money for food, let alone school, so William spent his days in the library. He came across a book on windmills and figured out how to build a windmill that could bring electricity to his village. Everyone thought he was crazy but William persevered and managed to create a functioning windmill out of junkyard scraps. Several years later he figured out how to use the windmill for irrigation purposes. (Publisher) Lexile: 910
IRA, NCSS, NSTA, Nutmeg Nominee 2015,

Survival at 120 Above by Debbie S. Miller
Introduces the variety of animals who call the Australian Simpson Desert home and shows how they have adapted to survive extreme temperatures. Lexile: . Also Survival at 40 Below.

No Monkeys, No Chocolate by Melissa Stewart
When you think of chocolate, you might think of a candy bar, a birthday cake, or a glass of chocolate milk. But where does chocolate come from? This book tells about the cocoa bean, which grows in the tropical rain forests and how the animals and other living things play an important part, even the monkeys. Lexile: 740


On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne
Follows the life of the famous physicist, from his early ideas to his groundbreaking theories. Lexile: 680

Rachel Carson and Her Book That Changed the World by Laurie Lawlor
Retells the story of Rachel Carson, a pioneering environmentalist who wrote and published “Silent Spring,” the revolutionary book pointing out the dangerous effects of chemicals on the living world. Lexile: 890

Favorites & Classics


Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
The unexpected delivery of a large crate containing an Antarctic penguin changes the life and fortunes of Mr.
Popper, a house painter obsessed by dreams of the Polar regions. Lexile: 910

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Madeline, smallest and naughtiest of the twelve little charges of Miss Clavel, wakes up one night with an attack
of appendicitis. Lexile: 480

Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
Andrew wants freckles so badly that he buys Sharon’s freckle recipe for fifty cents. Lexile: 370

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
In winning a medal she is no longer there to receive, a tightlipped little Polish girl teaches her classmates a lesson. Lexile: 870

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
A young boy determines to rescue a poor baby dragon who is being used by a group of lazy wild animals to ferry them across the river on Wild Island. Lexile: 990

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Ferdinand likes to sit quietly and smell the flowers, but one day he gets stung by a bee and his snorting and stomping convince everyone that he is the fiercest of bulls. Lexile: 710

The Tales of Uncle Remus as told by Julius Lester
A retelling of the Afro-American tales about the adventures and misadventures of Brer Rabbit and his friends and enemies. Lexile: 760

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Escapades of a lucky little girl who lives with a horse and a monkey–but without any parents–at the edge of a Swedish village. Lexile: 870

Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are
captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay. Lexile: 560

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pinkus Aylee, a black soldier, during the Civil War, and their capture by Southern troops. Based on a true story about the author’s great-greatgrandfather. Lexile: 590

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
A young girl dreams of flying above her Harlem home, claiming all she sees for herself and her family. Based on
the author’s quilt painting of the same name. Lexile: 790

Grandfather’s Journey by Allen Say
A Japanese American man recounts his grandfather’s journey to America which he later also undertakes, and the feelings of being torn by a love for two different countries. Lexile: 560

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
By the time the Velveteen Rabbit is dirty, worn out, and about to be burned, he has almost given up hope of ever finding the magic called Real. Lexile: 820

Rumpelstiltskin by Paul O. Zelinsky
A strange little man helps the miller’s daughter spin straw into gold for the king on the condition that she will give him her first-born child. Lexile: 740

Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer’s Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte, decides to help him. Lexile: 680


Amber Brown series by Paula Danziger
Babymouse series by Jennifer L. Holm
Bunnicula series by James Howe
Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker
Frog and Toad series by Arnold Lobel
Gooney Bird series by Lois Lowry
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Calvin Coconut series by Graham Salisbury
The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka
Commander Toad series by Jane Yolen



Categories: Summer Reading Lists
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