Book Lists for Book Groups

Updated 1/16/13

The following lists are of books that Jennifer or I have either already used in book groups, or books that we will be using in book groups.

Important to note:  these are simply books that we chose, for one reason or another, to read and discuss with our book groups.  Some book choices were a success; others were a flop, and neither the kids nor the adults enjoyed them.  Please take this list as simply a list of books read, not as hard and fast recommendations of books for children of these ages.  For detailed information on books, you can do a search on this blog to see whether I posted details on the book discussion (this will not often be the case, but I sometimes do get around to posting in detail about individual titles).

The lists are not in alphabetical order; they are in the order in which we have read them.  Books that have been used more than once over the years are marked with a star (*); we have found these starred books to be good books for discussion.  New books will be added to the list as my book groups choose new titles.

These books are mostly newer titles, since the kids who attend our book groups enjoy discovering new authors and new books, but there are some classics mixed in.

You will note that these books tend to be at a high-ish reading level for the grade; this is because of the composition of our book groups.  The children and teens who join our groups are already great readers, and appreciate a challenge.

It should also be noted that for a short time I ran a combined 4th and 5th grade book group, and thus some titles are shared in those two grades.

As a rule, I do not use structured discussion guides for my book groups.  This is for two reasons: 1) I believe strongly that a library book group needs to function in an entirely different way from a school reading group, and with that in mind I use a reader response philosophy in my groups, sometimes using questions posed by Aidan Chambers in Tell Me, but more often using my own scribbled bunch of questions, or questions that arise as the group discusses the book.  2) Having taught reading in an elementary school for almost four years, I am very comfortable with this rather free-form approach.  Other people may not feel at ease running a book group without a proscribed list of questions; if you fall in that category, try doing a Google search on your chosen book title.  Oftentimes someone, somewhere, will have posted a reading guide online.

3rd Grade ~ Most of these books were chosen and used by Jennifer

  • Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
  • Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins *
  • Welcome to the Bed and Biscuit by Joan Carris
  • Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton *
  • Being Teddy Roosevelt by Claudia Mills
  • Stink and the Incredible Super-Galactic Jawbreaker by Megan McDonald
  • A Girl, A Boy, and A Monster Cat by Gail Gauthier
  • The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
  • Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost by Cornelia Funke *
  • Lady Lollipop by Dick King-Smith *
  • Martin Bridge Ready for Takeoff by Jessica Scott Kerrin *
  • Maybelle in the Soup by Katie Speck
  • Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi *
  • Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson
  • Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley
  • Soupy Saturdays with the Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume
  • The Gecko and Sticky: Vilain’s Lair by Wendelin Van Draanen
  • Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows
  • 43 Old Cemetery Road: Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise *
  • Calvin Coconut: Trouble Magnet by Graham Salisbury
  • Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin *
  • Clementine by Sara Pennypacker *
  • Gator on the Loose by Sue Stauffscher
  • Gruffen by Chris D’Lacey
  • The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
  • Clementine and the Family Meeting by Sara Pennypacker
  • Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck
  • Almost Zero by Nikki Grimes
  • Bink and Gollie by Kate DiCamillo

4th Grade ~ Books with (J) after them were chosen and used by Jennifer

  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo *
  • Half Magic by Edward Eager *
  • Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements *
  • A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray by Ann Martin
  • Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
  • Poor Little Witch Girl by Marie Desplechin
  • Ghosthunters and the Incredibly Revolting Ghost by Cornelia Funke *
  • Ghosthunters and Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost by Cornelia Funke
  • Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
  • The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carman
  • The Dragon of Never-Was by Ann Downer
  • The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
  • Fergus Crane by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
  • The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley *
  • My Haunted House by Angie Sage (J) *
  • Medusa Jones by Ross Collins (J)
  • Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (J)
  • Chicken Feathers by Joy Cowley (J)
  • Gully’s Travels by Tor Seidler (J)
  • Highway Cats by Janet Taylor Lisle (J)
  • The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech (J)
  • The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron
  • The Hero’s Trail by T.A. Barron
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Dominic by William Steig (J) *
  • Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen *
  • Abel’s Island by Williams Steig (J)
  • Regarding the Fountain by Kate Klise (J) *
  • The Candymakers by Wendy Mass *
  • Missing on Superstition Mountain by Elise Broach
  • Poppy by Avi
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

5th Grade

  • Room One: A Mystery or Two by Andrew Clements *
  • A Dog’s Life: The Autobiography of a Stray by Ann Martin *
  • Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins *
  • Peter Pan in Scarlet by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Larklight by Philip Reeve
  • The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages *
  • Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  • The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton *
  • Crispin: Cross of Lead by Avi *
  • Magyk by Angie Sage *
  • The Fairy-Tale Detectives by Michael Buckley
  • Five Children and It by E. Nesbit *
  • Crispin: At the Edge of the World by Avi
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  • Castaways of the Flying Dutchman by Brian Jacques
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
  • The Kid Who Ran For President by Dan Gutman
  • The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
  • Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law
  • Olive’s Ocean by Kevin Henkes
  • The Traitor’s Gate by Avi
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  • Hannah’s Winter by Kierin Meehan
  • The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron
  • The Hero’s Trail by T.A. Barron
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
  • Olivia Kidney by Ellen Potter
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John *
  • White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages
  • Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator by Jennifer Allison
  • The Black Paw by Heather Vogel Frederick
  • Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
  • The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne Valente
  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath
  • Pie by Sarah Weeks
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Flush by Carl Hiaasen
  • Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

6th Grade

  • The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton *
  • Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce
  • Operation Red Jericho by Joshua Mowll
  • At The Firefly Gate by Linda Newbery
  • Magyk by Angie Sage
  • Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
  • The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke *
  • The Falconer’s Malteser: A Diamond Brother’s Mystery by Anthony Horowitz
  • Time Stops for No Mouse by Michael Hoeye
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart *
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  • Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy
  • White Sands, Red Menace by Ellen Klages
  • 100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson
  • Masterpiece by Elise Broach
  • Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
  • The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan
  • Into the Wild by Erin Hunter
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Dilemma by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
  • Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay
  • Wild Girl by Patricia Reilly Giff
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron
  • The Hero’s Trail by T.A. Barron
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  • The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
  • Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson
  • 13 Treasures by Michelle Harrison
  • The Glitch in Sleep by John Hulme and Michael Wexler
  • The Lost Island of Tamarind by Nadia Aguiar
  • Raven’s Gate by Anthony Horowitz *
  • Nick of Time by Ted Bell
  • Whales on Stilts by M.T. Anderson
  • Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen by M.T. Anderson
  • Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng
  • Silverfin by Charles Higson
  • Evil Star by Anthony Horowitz
  • Eye of the Crow by Shane Peacock
  • Dolphin Song by Lauren St. John
  • Pie by Sarah Weeks
  • Flyte by Angie Sage
  • The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg
  • H.I.V.E. by Mark Walden
  • Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  • Moonbird by Phillip Hoose

Teen ~ 7th – 9th Grade

  • Sand Dollar Summer by Kimberly K. Jones
  • Blackthorn Winter by Kathryn Reiss
  • Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
  • Day of Tears by Julius Lester
  • Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez
  • Monsoon Summer by Mitali Perkins
  • Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin *
  • The White Darkness by Geraldine McCaughrean
  • Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
  • Wintersmith by Terry Pratchett
  • Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
  • Airborn by Kenneth Oppel *
  • I Am Rembrandt’s Daughter by Lynn Cullen
  • Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale
  • Red Sea by Diane Tullson *
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld *
  • Eagle Strike by Anthony Horowitz
  • Incantation by Alice Hoffman
  • Peeled by Joan Bauer
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • The Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan *
  • Witch Child by Celia Rees
  • The Ruby in the Smoke by Philip Pullman *
  • The Burning Bridge by John Flanagan
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  • Flora Segunda by Ysabeau S. Wilce
  • Darkwing by Kenneth Oppel
  • Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
  • The Big Splash by Jack D. Ferraiolo
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Child of the Dark Prophecy by T.A. Barron
  • If the Witness Lied by Caroline Cooney
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
  • Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood by Meredith Ann Pierce
  • Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
  • The Capture by Kathryn Lasky
  • Demons of the Ocean by Justin Somper
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George
  • Terrier by Tamora Pierce
  • The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
  • Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams
  • The Alchemyst by Michael Scott
  • The Prophecy of the Stones by Flavia Bujor
  • Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
  • Birdwing by Rafe Martin
  • I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore
  • Wings by Aprilynne Pike
  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
  • Runemarks by Joanne Harris
  • House of Power by Patrick Carman

Reflections on children, literature, libraries, and life…and cats.