Top Picks: Chapter Books for 3rd Graders

Top Picks: Chapter Books for 3rd Graders

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As a fellow book lover, I vividly remember the excitement of exploring new worlds through the pages of a book. The characters became my friends, the adventures my own, and the lessons learned became a part of who I am today.

Now, as you embark on this journey with your third grader, I invite you to dive into the wonderful world of chapter books. It's a pivotal stage in their reading journey, where their comprehension skills continue to grow, and their love for reading blossoms.

Through carefully chosen stories, this collection of chapter books for 3rd graders offers a little something for every reader. From enchanting adventures to mysterious mysteries and laugh-out-loud funny tales, these books will capture their imaginations and keep them engaged for hours on end.

But it's not just about the plots and page-turning excitement. The diverse characters in these books will introduce your child to different perspectives and experiences, fostering empathy and understanding. They will see themselves represented in the pages and also learn to appreciate the unique qualities that make us all special.

So, whether your child prefers to read independently, listen to audiobooks, or share a story with you through alternating reading, these chapter books are sure to captivate their hearts and minds.

Are you ready to embark on this literary adventure with your third grader? Let's explore the top picks together!

Key Takeaways:

  • Third grade is an exciting time for young readers as they develop more independence and tackle longer, more complex stories.
  • This collection of chapter books offers a diverse range of adventures, mysteries, and funny tales that will engage and entertain your child.
  • These books not only improve comprehension skills but also introduce diverse characters, fostering empathy and understanding in young readers.
  • Whether your child reads independently, listens to audiobooks, or shares reading time with you, there's a perfect book waiting to be discovered.
  • Embark on this literary adventure with your third grader and watch their love for reading flourish.

Enchanting Adventure: "Islandborn" by Junot Díaz


In this enchanting adventure, the determined twelve-year-old daughter of La Llorona sets out to free her mother and undo the curses that have been afflicting the magical town of Tres Leches. With added help from the children of other monsters, they go on a charming adventure to break magical and metaphorical curses that have haunted their town for generations.

Magical Aunt: "How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay" by Julia Alvarez

The Tia Lola Stories

Young readers will love Tia Lola and want her as their own! She's a magical aunt who lends her aid during every adventure and life lesson. Whether it's a move, a summer rescue, or teaching Spanish at her niece and nephew's school, Tia Lola proves she's an unstoppable force!

If you're looking for a chapter book that offers a perfect blend of fun plots and diverse characters, "How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay" by Julia Alvarez should be at the top of your list. This heartwarming story captures the imagination of young readers and celebrates the power of family and cultural heritage.

"Tia Lola was magic, with laughter and healing in her hands. Her words could turn a rake into a singing salsa dancer, a feathered boa into a fierce jaguar, a man in love with a woman's voice and a baby's giggle. The magic of Tia Lola was like a magic door to happiness, freedom, and an unlimited future." - Excerpt from "How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay"

As children delve into the pages of this enchanting book, they will learn valuable comprehension skills while immersing themselves in a world of adventure and excitement. Julia Alvarez expertly weaves a story filled with relatable characters and meaningful life lessons, making it an ideal choice for third-grade readers.

Recommended Grade Level: 3rd grade

Key Features:

  • Magical Aunt: Tia Lola's captivating presence adds a touch of magic to every situation.
  • Fun Plots: Children will be hooked by the engaging and imaginative storylines.
  • Diverse Characters: The book celebrates cultural diversity and the strength of family bonds.

Bookwandering Adventure: "Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers" by Anna James

Pages & Co.

Tilly Pages has an enviable ability: she's a bookwanderer, which means she can travel into any story she chooses. Tilly discovers her power at Pages & Co., her grandparents' bookshop, after meeting literary characters - like Anne of Green Gables - who bookwandered out of their own stories and into Tilly's life. With the help of a new friend, Oskar, Tilly solves all sorts of bookish mysteries, starting with what happened to her mother who disappeared.

Embark on a magical journey with Tilly as she explores the limitless worlds within books and uncovers the secrets of her own life. "Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers" is a captivating chapter book for 3rd graders that combines adventure, mystery, and the joy of reading.

"I think you should read a good book," Tilly said.

Diverse Characters and Fun Plots

"Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers" not only takes readers on a thrilling adventure but also features diverse characters that children can relate to. Tilly's multicultural background adds depth and richness to the story, promoting inclusivity and representation.

The book's fun and imaginative plot will keep young readers eagerly turning the pages, as they journey through beloved literary classics and encounter iconic characters. Anna James skillfully weaves together the magic of storytelling with engaging mysteries, creating a truly enchanting reading experience.

Developing Comprehension Skills

Reading "Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers" can greatly enhance a third grader's comprehension skills. As they delve into the intricacies of Tilly's bookwandering abilities and navigate the mysteries surrounding her mother's disappearance, readers will sharpen their critical thinking and analytical abilities.

  1. Uncover the hidden clues and solve the bookish puzzles alongside Tilly.
  2. Engage in discussions about the characters' motives and actions.
  3. Make predictions and draw connections between different story elements.

Pages & Co. Book Series

"Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers" is just the beginning of Tilly's captivating adventures. The series continues with more thrilling installments that will keep young readers hooked and eager for more.

Book Author
"Pages & Co.: Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales" Anna James
"Pages & Co.: Tilly and the Bookwanderers" Anna James

Join Tilly as she embarks on a quest to save fairy tales and uncovers the secrets of her magical bookwandering abilities in the sequels to "Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers."

Immerse your third grader in the enchanting world of bookwandering and ignite their love for reading with "Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers" and the entire Pages & Co. series. It's an adventure they won't want to miss!


Quick and Funny Read: "The Enormous Crocodile" by Roald Dahl

The Enormous Crocodile

When it comes to chapter books for 3rd graders, Roald Dahl is always a good choice. One of his delightful creations is "The Enormous Crocodile." This book offers a quick read filled with hilariously funny moments that will leave young readers laughing out loud.

The story follows the misadventures of a greedy and crafty crocodile who hatches a plan to eat children. However, his cunning schemes are constantly foiled by the clever animals in the jungle. With its witty dialogue and engaging plot, "The Enormous Crocodile" captivates young readers and keeps them entertained from beginning to end.

Roald Dahl's books are known for their engaging storytelling and imaginative characters. If your child prefers listening to stories, there are also audio versions available, making it a perfect choice for auditory learners.

Mythical Creature Adventure: "The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Basque Dragon" by Adam Gidwitz

The Unicorn Rescue Society

For third graders who can't read enough about mythological creatures, "The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Basque Dragon" by Adam Gidwitz is a must-read. This chapter book is filled with thrilling adventures and captivating characters that will keep young readers engaged from start to finish. It's the perfect blend of exciting storytelling and educational content, making it an excellent choice for developing comprehension skills.

In this book, readers follow the new kid at school, Elliot Eisner, and thrill-seeking Uchenna Devereaux as they join the ultra-secret Unicorn Rescue Society. This organization has been protecting mythical animals for centuries, ensuring their survival and keeping them hidden from the world. Together, Elliot and Uchenna embark on a globe-trotting journey, facing fantastic creatures and unraveling ancient mysteries along the way.

"The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Basque Dragon" takes readers on a magical ride, exploring diverse cultures and mythologies while instilling important values like friendship, courage, and empathy.

The book features exciting plot twists, humorous dialogue, and heartwarming moments that will resonate with young readers. Adam Gidwitz's vivid storytelling and the accompanying illustrations make this book a visual delight and a perfect crossover for children transitioning into more independent reading.

With its blend of adventure, mythical creatures, and engaging storytelling, "The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Basque Dragon" is the ideal choice for third-grade readers who crave fun and excitement in their chapter books. It not only provides an enjoyable reading experience but also stimulates imagination, encourages critical thinking, and expands cultural knowledge.

Mystery Solving: "Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds" by David A. Adler

Cam Jansen

There's a reason this series has been a bestseller for over 30 years - and with over 30 books in the set, it will keep readers busy for a good while. You might think of Cam Jansen as a descendant of Nancy Drew: there's no mystery Cam can't solve if she just puts her mind to it, especially with her best friend Eric at her side. It's a great transition for those just getting into chapter books.

Why Kids Love Cam Jansen

Cam Jansen is a beloved character among young readers, captivating them with her sharp observational skills and knack for mystery solving. Throughout the series, she encounters fascinating puzzles, cleverly unravels clues, and helps bring justice to various situations. Third graders will be enthralled by the thrilling adventures and the sense of accomplishment that comes from solving mysteries alongside Cam.

Mind-Strengthening Comprehension Skills

The "Cam Jansen" series is not only entertaining but also beneficial for developing comprehension skills. As readers follow Cam's deductive reasoning and analytical thinking, they are encouraged to pay attention to details, make logical connections, and think critically. These cognitive processes foster reading comprehension and enhance cognitive abilities, setting the foundation for academic success.

Diverse Characters and Fun Plots

David A. Adler skillfully incorporates diverse characters into the "Cam Jansen" series, allowing young readers to engage with a variety of perspectives and backgrounds. This representation promotes inclusivity and fosters empathy among children. Additionally, the fun and engaging plots of each mystery captivate young imaginations and keep them eagerly turning pages, making reading an enjoyable experience.

"Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds" is a perfect introduction to the world of mystery-solving for third graders. The captivating storyline, relatable characters, and entertaining style of David A. Adler make this chapter book an absolute delight to read."

Key Features of "Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds" Benefits for Young Readers
Engaging and suspenseful mystery plot Develops critical thinking and problem-solving skills
Relatable and diverse characters Promotes empathy and understanding of different perspectives
Clear and concise writing style Enhances reading comprehension and vocabulary
Series with over 30 books to explore Encourages a love for reading and independent exploration

#OwnVoices Representation: "Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet" by Zanib Mian

Planet Omar

A wonderful #OwnVoices series, Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian, is a must-read for third graders. This captivating chapter book takes readers on the journey of Omar, a young Muslim boy, as he nervously navigates the challenges of transferring to a new school.

Omar's bighearted nature and wildly imaginative mind make him a relatable and endearing protagonist. From suspecting his new teacher of being an alien to dealing with a bully and feelings of otherness, Omar's experiences resonate with young readers who may have encountered similar situations in their lives.

Omar has his imagination, quirky family, and new best friend to help him find his footing. This heartwarming story emphasizes the importance of embracing one's identity and finding strength in diversity.

The book not only promotes #OwnVoices representation, but it also encourages the development of comprehension skills through its engaging and relatable storyline. Third graders will be captivated by Omar's adventures and plot twists, keeping them excited about reading.


Why Choose "Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet"?

This book is an excellent choice for third graders due to its:

  • Authentic representation of a young Muslim boy
  • Captivating and relatable storyline
  • Positive messages about embracing one's identity
  • Engaging diversity

By reading Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet, children can gain a deeper appreciation for different cultures while developing their empathy and understanding of others.

About the Author: Zanib Mian

Zanib Mian is a British-Pakistani author who has written several acclaimed books for children. As an #OwnVoices author, Zanib brings her own experiences and cultural perspective to her writing, creating authentic and diverse stories that resonate with readers from various backgrounds.

Book Details
Title Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet
Author Zanib Mian
Genre Children's Fiction
Publication Date 2020

With Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet, Zanib Mian delivers a heartwarming and relatable story that celebrates diversity, promotes #OwnVoices representation, and engages young readers with its fun and imaginative plot. This book is a fantastic addition to any third grader's reading collection.

Road Trip Adventure: "Clean Getaway" by Nic Stone

Clean Getaway

Scoob didn't count on a spring break like this one. He also didn't count on being majorly grounded, but his grandma had other ideas in mind, and she's whisked him away on an epic road trip - Green Book in hand - retracing the journey she and Scoob's grandpa took once upon a time. With his grandmother at the wheel, Scoob learns important truths about both his family and America's history.



In conclusion, these chapter books for 3rd graders offer a wide range of options to engage young readers. Whether it's embarking on enchanting adventures, solving thrilling mysteries, or exploring the world of diverse characters, these books have something for every interest.

Not only do these books captivate young imaginations, but they also enhance comprehension skills through their engaging storytelling. With fun and exciting plots, children will be eagerly turning the pages, eager to discover what happens next.

So, take the opportunity to explore this carefully curated list of chapter books for 3rd graders and find the perfect addition to your child's reading collection. These books are sure to foster a love for reading and open up new worlds of imagination and knowledge.


What types of books are recommended for 3rd graders?

The recommended books for 3rd graders are chapter books with diverse characters, fun plots, and a suitable level of complexity to help develop comprehension skills.

Can these books be read aloud?

Yes, these chapter books are also great for reading aloud, allowing children to enjoy the stories even if they are not yet independent readers.

Can I alternate reading with my child?

Yes, alternating reading with your child, where they read a page and then you read a page, can be a great way to practice their reading skills while still enjoying the story together.

Which book is recommended for children interested in magic and adventure?

The book "Islandborn" by Junot Díaz is an enchanting adventure that follows a determined twelve-year-old girl on her quest to free her mother and break magical curses in her town.

Are there any books with diverse characters?

Yes, "How Tia Lola Came to Visit Stay" by Julia Alvarez features Tia Lola, a magical aunt, who helps her niece and nephew in various adventures, providing representation of diverse characters.

Are there any books that involve bookwandering?

Yes, "Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers" by Anna James is about a girl named Tilly who can travel into any story she chooses, leading to bookish mysteries and adventures.

Are there books that teach valuable life lessons?

Yes, "The Meesh Chronicles" by Deirdre Sullivan is a series that follows Meesh as she navigates her way through the underworld, embracing her flaws and finding strength in unlikely places.

Do these books include humorous stories?

Yes, "The Enormous Crocodile" by Roald Dahl is a quick and hilariously funny read that is sure to capture the attention of young readers.

Are there any books about mythical creatures?

"The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Basque Dragon" by Adam Gidwitz is a thrilling adventure that takes readers around the world, exploring mythical creatures.

Are there any mystery-solving books for 3rd graders?

Yes, "Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Stolen Diamonds" by David A. Adler features Cam Jansen, a young detective who can solve any mystery with the help of her best friend Eric.

Are there any books that provide representation for underrepresented voices?

Yes, "Planet Omar: Accidental Trouble Magnet" by Zanib Mian centers around Omar, a young Muslim boy who faces a bully and feelings of otherness while relying on his imagination and family for support.

Are there any books that involve a road trip adventure?

"Clean Getaway" by Nic Stone follows Scoob on an unexpected road trip with his grandma, uncovering important truths about his family and history along the way.

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