14 Books to Help Foster the Avid Reader in Your Child

Article and Photo courtesy of STRATFORD SCHOOL ALTADENA
Published on Mar 20, 2020

You can help ignite your child’s passion for reading by incorporating activities focused on building reading skills to improve comprehension and engagement.

To help with this engagement, Stratford Librarians have hand-selected a series of books, by grade level, to help inspire and foster the avid reader in your child.


Juno Valentine and the Magical Shoes written by Eva Chen, Illustrated by Derek Desierto

A beautifully illustrated picture book about Juno’s epic journey through time and space, stepping into the shoes of women role models from Cleopatra to Frida Kahlo to Serena Williams. Each pair of shoes Juno tries on brings a new adventure and a step towards knowing that her very own shoes are the best ones for her. Readers will be introduced to fourteen groundbreaking women just enough to peak their interests, inspiring them to visit a library with their parents, and do more research on their favorite heroines in the story.

What do You do With a Problem by Kobi Yamada

Want to teach your kids life-long lessons? Then this is the book. All too often we get bogged down with problems to the point that we fail to see opportunities right in front of us. This book tackles that attitude in fun way that kids will love and can understand. The premise of the book is simple yet powerful: instead of seeing problems as thorns in your side see them as opportunities – opportunities to learn and grow. And be happy.

First Grade

Stick Dog/Stick Cat (series) by Tom Watson

This series is sure to please any animal lover with a sense of humor. Follow Stick Dog and Stick Cat along with a bunch of their rowdy friends on hilarious adventures that will surely involve food! Don’t forget to pack a snack along for this jovial ride!

The Kingdom of Wrenly (series) by Jordan Quinn

The Kingdom of Wrenly series is a wonderful story kids will enjoy. Embodying a delightful storyline and packed full of adventure kids will be hooked from the start wanting to read on and on until they have devoured the entire series. Kids can follow Lucas and Clara, the young, main characters, as they explore the Kingdom of Wrenly.

Second Grade

I am Jane Goodal – Ordinary People Change the World (series) written by Brad Meltzer

This series was written for the author’s own children so that they could understand that the power to change the world is within them. The heroes are depicted as children throughout, telling their life stories in first-person present tense, which keeps the books playful and understandable to young children. This book has more than just the story of how Jane met the chimpanzees and changed the way scientists think about animals. It starts with her love of wildlife as a very young child. It will inspire any reader to believe that they too can overcome their fears and make a difference. This book has a beautiful message to children about accomplishing your dreams by being patient, working hard, and knowing that each of us has an impact on the world.

Third Grade

Vet Volunteers (series) by Laurie Halse Anderson

Animal lovers and mystery fanatics are in for a real treat with this animal-themed mystery series jammed packed with adventure and excitement! There is never a dull moment at the vet clinic for volunteers busy at work with cats, dogs, birds, and even horses. Every story involves a plot riddled with humor and suspense as our vet volunteers work to save animals in need.

Shark Wars (series) by EJ Altbacker

Imagine an underwater world ruled by a prehistoric shark clan since the beginning of time. Existence has always been peaceful until rising sea temperatures and overfishing threatens the order of the clan. A young reef shark, Gray, is driven out to the Open Water to restore the peace and uncover the legend of his family heritage.

Spirit Animals (series) by various authors

This series has gained a following among young readers. The story is set in the fantasy world of Erdas, and during a time when skill with a sword and hand to hand combat were valued. Horses are once again important as the cavalry is the powerhouse of the battlefield. Four kids go through a ritual and learn they can each call forth a spirit animal. Each book is written by a different author, one you’ll probably recognize: Brandon Mull anyone? Besides that, each book contains a code which can be used to play the online game.

Fourth Grade

The Last Kids on Earth (series) by Max Brallier

This is the series for any reader looking for humor, illustrations, and zombie apocalyptic! Jack Sullivan, thirteen year old monster apocalypse survivor, has been living on his own in his treehouse ever since that fateful event. Armed with all the necessities to survive; video games and junk food, Jack must round up a team of friends to battle the monster and prove once and for all that they are average no longer!

The Bad Beginning: A Series of Unfortunate Events Book One (series) by Lemony Snicket

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire are intelligent children. They are charming, and resourceful, and have pleasant facial features. Unfortunately, they are exceptionally unlucky. In the first two books alone, the three youngsters encounter a greedy and repulsive villain, itchy clothing, a disastrous fire, a plot to steal their fortune, a lumpy bed, a deadly serpent, a large brass reading lamp, and a terrible odor. In the tradition of great storytellers, from Dickens to Dahl, comes an exquisitely dark comedy that is both literary and irreverent, hilarious and deftly crafted. Never before has a tale of three likeable and unfortunate children been quite so enchanting, or quite so uproariously unhappy. Once your children have read the books you can watch the series on Netflix together.

Fifth Grade

Ms Bixby’s Last Day by John David Andersen

This heart-warming book will have you in tears in the end. You’ll learn lessons that will stick with you for the rest of your life. You see there are teachers then there are those special ones that you never forget. You take their lessons with you buried deep in your heart, and you never forget. Follow a group of kids as they go through school and learn from one of the greats: Ms Bixby. You know who she is.

Middle School

The Wild Robot written by Peter Brown

Wall-E meets Hatchet in this new middle-grade novel from New York Times bestselling author Peter Brown. When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz’s only hope is to learn from the island’s hostile animal inhabitants. When she tries to care for an orphaned gosling, the other animals finally decide to help, and the island starts to feel like home. Until one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her. Heartwarming and full of action, Peter Brown’s middle-grade debut raises thought-provoking questions about the environment, the role technology plays in our world, and what it means to be alive.

The Wishing Spell – Land of Stories Book One (series) written by Chris Colfer

The first book in Chris Colfer’s #1 New York Times bestselling series The Land of Stories is about two siblings who fall into a fairy-tale world! Alex and Conner Bailey’s world is about to change, in this fast-paced adventure that uniquely combines our modern day world with the enchanting realm of classic fairy tales. The Land of Stories tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with fairy tale characters they grew up reading about. After a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.

Misfits – Royal Academy Rebels, Book 1 (series) written by Jen Calonita

In Enchantasia, becoming a legendary prince or princess doesn’t happen overnight. Enter Royal Academy, the training ground for the fairy tale leaders of tomorrow! But Devin has major reservations about her new school and her royal future. How can she be a princess and the best creature caretaker Enchantasia has ever seen? It doesn’t help that there’s something seriously weird about RA’s headmistress. Olivina seems obsessed with preparing students for possible attacks from villains (“A royal can’t rule when they’re stuck in a tower!”) Devin gets that being Snow White and Rapunzel’s fairy godmother has probably made Olivina pretty paranoid, but anytime someone steps a toe out of line, Olivina becomes more of a fairy nightmare than a fairy godmother. Something isn’t right with this lady, and Devin is determined to find out what. But what Devin discovers could change the fairy tale world forever…

At Stratford, we believe high expectations yield extraordinary results. Our advanced, innovative, intentionally balanced curriculum challenges students, accelerates their achievement, and prepares them for the future. To learn more go to stratfordschools.com.

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