9 Fantastic Chapter Books for
by Janssen Bradshaw
Fourth grade is such a delightful time. Most kids are getting to be pretty fluent readers and can now manage a much wider array of books.
There are tons of fantastic titles available to these more advanced readers, whether they’re looking for humor, fantasy, or realistic school stories.
These nine books are all home runs!
The story of young Matilda discovering her (literal) power and finding where she belongs is an all-time classic that no budding reader should miss. This deluxe edition features vibrant illustrations throughout for a new enchanted audience.
Weird Little Robots
New to town, 11-year-old Penny Rose has only the robots she creates to call friends — until she makes a very real, very best friend in fellow science-lover Lark. With a touch of magic, the friends’ weird little robot world comes alive in this charming story about friendship and problem-solving.
Alice lives in Ferenwood, where everything is neat and tidy and sensical (besides the fact that the sun sometimes rains). Missing her father, who disappeared with nothing but a ruler in hand, Alice embarks on a quest through the mystifying land of Furthermore, where everything’s turned on its head. Author Tahereh Mafi’s inspirations — The Secret Garden and The Chronicles of Narnia — shine through in this imaginative, captivating book.
The Smartest Kid in the Universe
Oh, boy. Twelve-year-old Jake is in for trouble when he filches some jellybeans that are actually totally new, totally untested ingestible information pills. Now he’s a super-genius, and everyone’s after him. Chris Grabenstein (of Mr. Lemoncello’s Library) is hilarious as ever in this first installment of a brand-new series.
We’re Not from Here
We all know the aliens-invade-Earth story, but what if we go live with them? When Lan Mifune’s family seeks refuge on Planet Choom, the Zhuri — intelligent creatures that look like giant bugs — don’t like humans that much and would prefer the Mifunes head back to their colony on Mars. Can Lan’s family convince them that humans are okay after all?
Merci Suárez Changes Gears
In this heartfelt coming-of-age story, Merci Suárez balances the challenges of both middle school and home life with grace and an unerring sense of self. A scholarship student at her private school, she’s finding her footing among her peers. Meanwhile, at home, her grandfather is acting differently, and Merci wants to be there for him like he’s always supported her.
Scoob was supposed to be grounded over spring break, but don’t bother telling G’ma that. With her Green Book in hand, G’ma’s whisked Scoob off on a road trip through the American South, the history of the civil rights movement, and the story of how their family came to be.
Ten-year-old Caitlin has Asperger's syndrome and her beloved older brother was recently killed in a middle school shooting. Despite its heavy topics, this book manages to be meaningful, appropriate, and even (surprisingly) funny.
This is one of my all-time favorite books for this age range. In the Beaumont family, every person gets a “savvy” when they turn thirteen — some sort of special ability or gift. Mibs is counting down the days until her birthday and the reveal of her special gift, but when her dad is in a terrible accident, suddenly her savvy doesn’t seem nearly as important.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2015 and updated in 2020.