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12 Kid-Approved Books for Advanced Fourth and Fifth Grade Readers

by Kari Ness Riedel

Finding the right book is a challenge for many kids. It can be especially hard for advanced readers who are capable of reading significantly above their grade level. Students in fourth or fifth grade who can read at a seventh, eighth, or even high school level may gravitate toward the latest young adult sensation — think The Fault in Our Stars, If I Stay, or Twilight. But just because these kids have the ability to read these books, it doesn’t mean they necessarily should.

Here are twelve books recommended as “must reads” by advanced fourth and fifth grade readers on, an online community of young readers. These stories are engaging, thought-provoking, and encourage young readers to learn more about the world — all in an age-appropriate manner. Plus, they’re great reads for adults, too. Read along with your young reader and help them dig deeper by making connections from the books they read to current events, history, and their own lives.

  • Mystery Tales

  • The Mysterious Benedict Society series

    by Trenton Lee Stewart, illustrated by Carson Ellis

    Kristin, 9, raves that The Mysterious Benedict Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart “is so amazing. Almost everyone I know has read it. If you haven't, you should definitely read it next.” Dynamic characters, high quality writing, and lots of twists and turns make this series about four gifted kids who are on a secret mission to save the world a great pick for mystery and adventure fans.

  • Chasing Vermeer

    by Blue Balliett, illustrated by Brett Helquist

    Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett is a puzzle-filled mystery about two kids trying to track down an art thief. Erica, 10, says, “I would recommend this book to anyone who likes puzzles and patterns.” It’s also great for engaging advanced readers who have an interest in art or art history.

  • Wonderstruck

    by Brian Selznick

    Caroline, 9, says, Wonderstruck by author and illustrator Brian Selznick “is such a good book. I was glued to it.” Selznick masterfully uses a blend of words and pictures to tell two distinct but intertwining stories about Rose and Ben and their unique quests to find out the truth about themselves and their families.

  • History Meets Fiction

  • Echo

    by Pam Muñoz Ryan

    Echo, the newest book by the amazing Pam Muñoz Ryan, weaves together three powerful stories from three different cities both before and after World War II. A magical harmonica connects all of the stories and each one leaves you wanting more. Tommy, 10, says, “If you love music, you will love this book, it is so deep.”

  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

    by Grace Lin

    Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, a Newbery Honor book by Grace Lin, is a magical story that is part fantasy novel and part Chinese folklore. Readers get to join Minli on her incredible journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. Abigail, 10, sums it up well with her review: “Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Awesome.”

  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham

    by Christopher Paul Curtis

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    Any books by Newbery Medalist author Christopher Paul Curtis are a good fit for advanced readers to learn more about important moments in history. Riley, 9, loved The Watsons Go to Birmingham, the story of a middle-class black family who travel from Michigan to Birmingham in the middle of 1963. She says, “I like this book because there are a lot of funny moments, as well as sad ones, and sweet ones.”

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