By fourth grade, children are generally fluent readers and reading the words on the page is no longer a challenge. Kids at this age do need lots of practice consolidating what they know, gaining experience with story arcs, and attending to a wider variety of literary structures. When a fourth grader reads several books in a series, they are able to focus more attention on nuances in the plot line and interactions between characters.
Greetings from Somewhere by Harper Paris, Illustrations by Marcos Calo
When Ethan and Ella’s mom takes a job as a travel journalist, the whole family must say goodbye to their home and hit the road. Each book in this series is set in a new location around the world where the twins work together to solve various mysteries.
Beasts of Olympus by Lucy Coats, Illustrations by Brett Bean
Pandemonious (aka Demon), the son of Pan, is taken to Olympus to become a stable boy in the Stable of the Gods. It’s a good thing that he is able to talk to animals since many of these creatures are formidable. Mythology is threaded with humor as Demon copes stinky beasts and mountains of their poo.
Kids love this extensive series covering a huge range of famous people and places. Each book has illustrations and extra facts to help kids understand the time period and other historical information related to the person featured.
Goddess Girls by Joan Hulub, Illustrations by Suzanne Williams
The girls of Mount Olympus Academy give kids a basic understanding of Greek mythology in this entertaining series with high entertainment value.
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
Emily and Navin are led into a fantasy world after tragedy strikes their family and their mom is kidnapped. Emily discovers that she is a Stonekeeper and a key player in the survival of this world. Amulet is a beautifully illustrated graphic novel series that has been a hit with reluctant and avid readers alike.
Magic Shop Series by Kate Egan, Illustrations by Eric Wight
Mike means well, but he just can’t seem to stay out of trouble. He feels even worse about himself when his parents won’t let him play soccer. Then he stumbles upon a mysterious magic shop where he finally discovers something he is good at. This series is engaging and interspersed with magic tricks that kids can try themselves.
Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
Roan dreams of going to Pilot Academy like all of the other men in his family and is devastated when he isn’t accepted. That is until he receives a mysterious invitation to Jedi Academy. This series follows Roan’s funny and awkward tween-year adventures amongst familiar Star Wars characters.
Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler, Illustrations by Sarah Gibb
When she is twelve, Emily learns that she is half mermaid and discovers a mystical world below the sea in this fantastic, well written series.
The Year of… by Andrea Cheng, Illustrations by Abigail Halpin
Friendship is complicated, especially in the tween years. Anna turns to books to help her make sense of her world. This well written series captures the challenges of making and keeping friends.
A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz, Illustrations by Hugh D’Andrade
This series revisits the blood, danger, and gore of the original Grimm fairy tales. Written with a witty tone, the reader follows Hansel and Gretel into other dark and a variety of dangerous Grimm-inspired fairy tales.
Agent Jack Stalwart by Elizabeth Singer Hunt
This series is a favorite of many reluctant readers we know. When Jack’s brother goes missing, Jack begins working for the Global Protection Force and travels the world searching for his brother and solving crimes along the way. Each book begins with a fact file building the reader’s background knowledge about each book’s setting before launching into a fast-paced, action packed story.
Alvin Ho by Lenore Look, Illustrations by LeUyen Pham
This hilarious series follows Alvin, a kid who is afraid of everything, especially school. Alvin’s wild imagination makes for some hilarious story lines.
Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson
Phoebe happens upon a unicorn and is granted one wish: to make the unicorn her best friend. The unlikely friends embark on on a series of adventures in this beautiful, full-color series of graphic novels.
You Choose Adventures
Who doesn’t love a story where you get to make decisions along the way? This format is highly rewarding for reluctant readers since they only have to read a few pages before making each choice. Each book in this series takes place during a different historical event.
Recipe for Adventure by Giada De Laurentiis, Illustrations by Francesca Gambatesa
In another series about kids who travel the world, this set, written by celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis, follows Alfie and Emilia as they engage in food-related adventures in various cities.
The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black
When Jared, Simon, and Mallory move into an old Victorian house, they discover a secret room and a field guide to Spiderwick, the fantastical world that surrounds them. The magical creatures they go on to encounter are cause for concern.
Dragon Slayers’ Academy by Kate McMullan
Wiglaf, the unlikely hero of this series, leaves his uncaring family behind to attend Dragon Slayers’ Academy. He quickly learns that this school is not all it was cracked up to be, but it is a huge step up from his miserable family life. This fast-paced series is amusing.
EllRay Jakes by Sally Warner, Illustrations by Brian Biggs
EllRay Jakes is a relatable character. He isn’t a bad kid and isn’t particularly well behaved. He’s funny and the situations he encounters are ones kids can relate to.