Book Spotlight: 10 Classic Children’s Novels I Read in Elementary School

Grade 3
Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
A timeless little story about a Kansas family who takes a mail-order bride from Maine. My mother and I used to love watching the movie.

Grade 4
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
From what I recall, this book was told in letters about a boy learning to be a better reader and writer.

Silver Lining by Lois Szymanski
A fun equestrian adventure for little girls about horses and friendship.

It’s a Terrible Age to Be! by Jana Novotny Hunter
A delightful novel about a girl whose father is getting remarried. Very 1980’s/early ’90s, the advent of teen realistic fiction. I absolutely adored this novel in 4th grade.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson  by Betty Bao Lord
A culturally educational novel for young people about a Chinese American immigrant girl in the 1950s or ’60s.

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry
A book about horses I was assigned to read in fourth grade. At that age, I did find the writing and vocabulary to be a bit slower-paced and challenging.

Grade 5

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
A great fantasy for kids about a kingdom full of letters and numbers, words and shapes. As entertaining as it is educational, tongue firmly in cheek. Highly recommended.

Stay! Keeper’s Story by Lois Lowry
This is the classic tale of a dog who passes from owner to owner. He is born behind an Italian restaurant, and journeys from being the pet of a homeless man to being a rich and famous dog celebrity. A great children’s novel for dog lovers, and some of the writing is rather advanced, so older kids (or the young at heart) will like it too.

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
A novel I had to read in fifth grade about a girl who must decide whether to drink from the fountain of youth to become immortal, or live a normal life.

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
A boy is stuck in the wilderness and befriends a Native American boy. I don’t remember much about this one, other than the boy constantly referring to Robinson Crusoe, and I having no idea who that was at ten years old!

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