Challenging Reads for 4th & 5th Graders

Recommended books from the J and Y Fiction collections. Most Y Fiction titles are suitable for grades 6-8, but the Y books listed here are appropriate for many 4th and 5th graders. Find more suggestions for avid 4th and 5th grade readers on our list of Classics. Click here for a print-friendly version of this list.

Children’s Fiction (J)

Author Title Call Number
BeasleyCircus Mirandus
Micah Tuttle sets out to find the mysterious Circus Mirandus and to use its magic to save his grandfather's life. (292 pp.)
J Beasley
BeharLucky Broken Girl
In the 1960s, Ruthie, a Cuban-Jewish immigrant, must rely on books, art, her family, and friends when an accident puts her in a body cast. (243 pp.)
J Behar
BrownThe Wild Robot
Robot Roz starts life on a wild, remote island. The animal inhabitants help her survive until her mysterious past comes back to haunt her. (279 pp.)
J Brown
FitzhughHarriet the Spy
Harriet keeps notes about her classmates in a secret notebook, but when some of the students read the notebook, they seek revenge. (298 pp.)
J Fitzhugh
HashimiOne Half from the East
Obayda is a bacha posh, a girl dressed as a boy, in Afghanistan, but she must find a way to remain free when she returns to life as a girl. (256 pp.)
J Hashimi
Prue must venture into the Impassable Wilderness, a dangerous and magical forest in Oregon, to rescue her brother who was kidnapped by crows. (541 pp.)
J Meloy
PrineasThe Magic Thief
A young thief is drawn into a life of magic and adventure after picking the pocket of the powerful wizard Nevery Flinglas. (419 pp.)
J Prineas
ReynoldsAs Brave as You
When Genie spends his summer in the country with his grandparents, he learns a secret about his grandfather and what it means to be brave. (410 pp.)
J Reynolds

Junior High Fiction (Y)

Author Title Call Number
BarnhillThe Girl Who Drank the Moon
A young girl raised by a witch, a swamp monster, and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon must unlock the powerful magic buried deep inside her. (388 pp.)
Y Barnhill
BlakemoreThe Firefly Code
Mori and her friends live happily in their utopian community, but when a strangely perfect new girl moves in, they begin to question their world. (340 pp.)
Y Blakemore
CarterForever, or a Long, Long Time
Flora and her brother, Julian, who have been in foster care most of their lives, must delve into their past in order to build their future. (309 pp.)
Y Carter
CholdenkoAl Capone Does My Shirts
In 1935, Moose, whose father is a prison guard, faces the challenges of living on Alcatraz Island and with his sister, who is autistic. (228 pp.)
Y Choldenko
DowdThe London Eye Mystery
Ted and Kat, two very different siblings, must work together to find their cousin, Salim, who disappears on the London Eye Ferris wheel. (322 pp.)
Y Dowd
FlanaganThe Ruins of Gorlan
When Will is rejected by Battleschool, he becomes the reluctant apprentice to the mysterious Ranger Halt, protecting the kingdom from danger. (249 pp.)
Y Flanagan
HunterInto the Wild
When the warrior code of four clans of wild cats is threatened by mysterious deaths, a house cat named Rusty bravely faces the problem. (292 pp.)
Y Hunter
Matthias, a young mouse, searches for the legendary sword that may help Redwall's inhabitants destroy their enemy. (351 pp.)
Y Jacques
McDougallMars Evacuees
Alice has been evacuated to Mars, safe from the war with aliens on Earth . . . until the adults and robots mysteriously disappear. (327 pp.)
Y McDougall
Twin brothers are separated: one to attend University, while the other finds himself in a wondrous place where youths learn magic. (390 pp.)
Y McMann
StewartThe Mysterious Benedict Society
Four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. (485 pp.)
Y Stewart
VenkatramanA Time to Dance
In India, a girl who excels at Bharatanatyam dance refuses to give up after losing a leg in an accident. (307 pp.)
Y Venkatraman

Nonfiction, Folktales & Poetry

Author Title Call Number
KamkwambaThe Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
In this memoir, a drought in Malawi sparks a boy's interest in science and his desire to build a windmill. (293 pp.)
Y621.4 KA
TunnellCandy Bomber: The Story of the Berlin Airlift's "Chocolate Pilot"
World War II was over, and with Berlin in ruins, US Air Force Lt. Gail Halvorsen tries to help the starving children there. (110 pp.)
J943 TU
WoodsonBrown Girl Dreaming
One of today's finest writers tells the moving story of her childhood in South Carolina and New York, in mesmerizing verse. (336 pp.)
J921 Woodson

Last Updated: 11/17


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