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Must-Read 2nd-4th Grade Chapter Books

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Looking for excellent and diverse chapter books for 2nd-4th graders? Consider the titles on our Children's Core Collection Lists, curated by Denver Public Library staff to ensure that a variety of reading levels, topics, themes, genres and more have been included. These lists include timeless classics, soon-to-be classics, funny books, touching books and lots in between. 

Check out our other must-read lists for kids

How Tía Lola Came To Visit Stay
Alvarez, Julia.
Although ten-year-old Miguel is at first embarrassed by his colorful aunt, Tia Lola, when she comes to Vermont from the Dominican Republic to stay with his mother, his sister, and him after his parents' divorce, he learns to love her.
The World According To Humphrey
Birney, Betty G.
Humphrey, a pet hamster at Longfellow School, learns that he has an important role to play in helping his classmates and teacher.
Tales Of A Fourth Grade Nothing
Blume, Judy.
Peter finds his demanding two-year-old brother an ever increasing problem.
The Wild Robot
Brown, Peter, 1979- author, illustrator.
Roz the robot discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island with no memory of where she is from or why she is there, and her only hope of survival is to try to learn about her new environment from the island's hostile inhabitants.
Dragons And Marshmallows
Citro, Asia, author.
A girl, Zoey, and her cat, Sassafras, use science experiments to help a dragon with a problem.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Cleary, Beverly.
Ramona's job is to be nice to fussy Mrs. Kemp, who watches her while her mother works.
Frindle
Clements, Andrew, 1949-
Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? He really just likes to liven things up at school -- and he's always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he's got the inspiration for his best plan ever...the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle?
Matilda
Dahl, Roald.
Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she's just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It'll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!
Flora & Ulysses : The Illuminated Adventures
DiCamillo, Kate.
Rescuing a squirrel after an accident involving a vacuum cleaner, comic-reading cynic Flora Belle Buckman is astonished when the squirrel, Ulysses, demonstrates astonishing powers of strength and flight after being revived.
George
Gino, Alex, author.
When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part . . . because she's a boy. With the help of her best friend, Kelly, George comes up with a plan. Not just so she can be Charlotte -- but so everyone can know who she is, once and for all.
Make Way For Dyamonde Daniel
Grimes, Nikki.
Spunky third-grader Dyamonde Daniel misses her old neighborhood, but when she befriends a boy named Free, another new student at school, she finally starts to feel at home.
The Princess In Black
Hale, Shannon.
Who says princesses don't wear black? When trouble raises its blue monster head, Princess Magnolia ditches her flouncy dresses and becomes the Princess in Black.
Bunnicula : A Rabbit-tale Of Mystery
Howe, Deborah. 1946-1978
Though scoffed at by Harold the dog, Chester the cat tries to warn his human family that their foundling baby bunny must be a vampire.
The Secret Of Platform 13
Ibbotson, Eva.
Odge Gribble, a young hag, accompanies an old wizard, a gentle fey, and a giant ogre on their mission through a magical tunnel from their Island to London to rescue their King and Queen's son, who had been stolen as an infant.
Book Uncle And Me
Krishnaswami, Uma, 1956- author.
Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something.
My Happy Life
Lagercrantz, Rose, 1947-
Dani is probably the happiest person she knows. She's happy because she's going to start school. Dani has been waiting to go to school her whole life. Then things get even better―she meets Ella. After that, Dani and Ella do everything together. They stick together through wet and dry, sun and rain, thick and thin. But then something happens that Dani isn't prepared for...
Where The Mountain Meets The Moon
Lin, Grace.
Minli, an adventurous girl from a poor village, buys a magical goldfish, and then joins a dragon who cannot fly on a quest to find the Old Man of the Moon in hopes of bringing life to Fruitless Mountain and freshness to Jade River.
The Year Of The Dog
Lin, Grace.
Frustrated at her seeming lack of talent for anything, a young Taiwanese American girl sets out to apply the lessons of the Chinese Year of the Dog, those of making best friends and finding oneself, to her own life.
Juana & Lucas
Medina, Juana, 1980- author.
A spunky young girl from Colombia loves playing with her canine best friend and resists boring school activities, especially learning English, until her family tells her that a special trip is planned to an English-speaking place.
When Mischief Came To Town
Nannestad, Katrina, author.
In 1911, when orphaned ten-year-old Inge comes to live with her stern grandmother in a remote island village in Bornholm, Denmark, she ends up changing the climate of the town, bringing joy and laughter to her grandmother's life and finding a new family for herself to help assuage her grief over losing her mother.
The First Case
Nilsson, Ulf, 1948- author.
Someone's stealing the squirrel's nuts, and it's up to Detective Gordon to catch the thief. Unfortunately, solving this crime means standing in the snow and waiting for a long time... If only he had an assistant -- someone small, fast, and clever -- to help solve this terrible case. Then Detective Gordon would be able to go back to doing what he's best at: thinking, eating cakes, drinking tea, and stamping important papers.
Rickshaw Girl
Perkins, Mitali.
In her Bangladesh village, ten-year-old Naimi excels at painting designs called alpanas, but to help her impoverished family financially she would have to be a boy--or disguise herself as one.
Bayou Magic
Rhodes, Jewell Parker.
Visiting her grandmother in the Louisiana bayou, ten-year-old Maddy begins to realize that she may be the only sibling to carry on the gift of her family's magical legacy.
Hamster Princess : Harriet The Invincible
Vernon, Ursula, author.
Never a conventional princess, Harriet becomes an adventurer after learning she is cursed to fall into a deep sleep on her twelfth birthday, but after two years of slaying ogres, cliff-diving, and more with her riding quail, Mumfrey, things go awry at home and she must seek a prince to set things right.
Charlotte's Web
White, E. B. (Elwyn Brooks), 1899-1985.
Some Pig. Humble. Radiant. These are the words in Charlotte's Web, high up in Zuckerman's barn. Charlotte's spiderweb tells of her feelings for a little pig named Wilbur, who simply wants a friend. They also express the love of a girl named Fern, who saved Wilbur's life when he was born the runt of his litter.

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