When teachers ask me to recommend 4th grade books, I pile on series. Why? Kids spend more time reading and less time scouring bookshelves for something good.
Especially fun are cozy series with wonderful families. Books you return to for comfort and nostalgia.
Below are some of my favorites that will be a hit with your fourth graders! So slip into some cozy slippers, pour a cuppa, and grab your favorite soft blanket. We’re about to get down with comfort reads!
The Vanderbeekers by Karina Van Glaser
I discovered this series of 4th grade books last month and am hooked! The Vanderbeekers live in Harlem in a noisy brownstone apartment. It’s chaos in the best sense. The house smells like cookies and the kids are all involved in wonderful projects. The first book begins days before Christmas, when their grouchy landlord decides not to renew their lease. The kids do everything they can think of to change his mind before the new year.
It’s heartfelt and lovely and funny and…oh! Read it!
I bought the second, third, and fourth books. I’ve no doubt they’ll be as wonderful as The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street.
L. M. Montgomery books
This author has written many great series and stand-alone books. The ones pictured below are by Tundra books with the gorgeous artwork of Elly MacKay. (You can visit her website here. She’s remarkable.)
Anne of Green Gables series
Anne of Green Gables is L.M. Montgomery’s most noted work.
Anne is a resilient and imaginative orphan. She moves to Prince Edward Island to live with an older woman and man. With Anne, you’ll see the world as a beautiful place without feeling goody-two-shoes about it.
My favorite of all the books is the third, Anne of the Island.
There’s a new graphic novel version of the first book that has brought new fans to the series. My classroom copy got so loved last year, it fell apart and is now a wonderfully taped mess.
Here are some other lovely editions:
- My second favorite version of the 8 volume set. Gorgeous.
- Hardcover of first 3 books (Tundra books)
- Puffin in Bloom version of first book
- The original box set of 8 volumes (the one you’ll remember)
- 6 volume set by Arcturus Collectors
- 8 volume set by Sweet Cherry Publishing
The Emily series
Many readers prefer the Emily books to the Anne ones. Emily is also orphaned and is a writer from a young age. She’s more rough around the edges than Anne. But she creates her own safe circle of friends and family.
There are only 3 books in the Emily series but they are perfect for the young writer in your life.
The Story Girl books center on a girl with a remarkable ability to weave tales. The plot follows her story and the small group of friends that become her new family. It’s quite sweet!
The Blue Castle
The Blue Castle is unusual and hard to put down. A misunderstood and meek gal. Domineering and pain-in-the-butt relatives. An escape. A life realized. An island. A love story. A new family?
This one’s got it all. One of my new favorites. And a lifelong reread.
Jane of Lantern Hill
Jane of Lantern Hill is another winner. Our heroine lives a stuffy, unexciting life with her mother and overbearing grandmother. Believing her father to be dead, she soon learns he is living on Prince Edward Island. On her first summer visit to meet him, she falls in love with life there.
Most people don’t think of the Harry Potter series as a family story. But this neglected orphan has craved family his whole life. And he finds it in the oddly structured house of his best wizard friend, Ronald Weasley.
The Weasleys take Harry in as part of the family. And who wouldn’t want to move into that funny, lopsided home?
I let this one sit on my classroom shelves unread for years. What a mistake.
This series is charming, funny, relatable and heartwarming. The Penderwick family includes 4 daughters, a Latin-speaking father and their dog Hound. The story opens with a car trip to Arundel, a place that will change their lives.
I’ve read the first book several times as a read aloud and my 4th graders LOVE it.
They particularly appreciate the one-liners from Skye, the sister whose temper runs hot. (Many of my soccer-loving kids adore this series. You’ll see why once you start.)
There’s an old-fashioned quality to this series, but it’s not stuffy. Instead, you want to hug each of the kids and feed them warm oatmeal cookies.
Most famous for A Wrinkle in Time, Madeline L’Engle has written plenty of 4th grade books your kids will love!
Madeline L’Engle wrote Meet the Austins in 1960. While some parts are a little dated, others are ahead of their time. The Austin family is a large, intelligent family with kids who adore each other but get into plenty of tiffs.
The first book opens immediately with a phone call that changes their lives.
I discovered this in my public library as a kid and read it a dozen times since. The family is not perfect, but boy are they unforgettable. And her writing brings you back to your own childhood and the feelings most of us adults forget.
And all readers will want to visit the grandfather’s refurbished barn next the the sea. All the old horse stalls were transformed into bookcases!
The Time Quartet
If you’ve only read the first book in this series, A Wrinkle in Time, you should consider reading the rest. Like the Austins, the Murray family make you feel immediately at home.
The Library of America collection pictured above also contains the Polly O’Keefe Quartet. I’ve never read that series but am thrilled to have something so fun to look forward to. Madeline L’Engle never disappoints.
This collection contains also contains essays and deleted scenes from the original books. This publication is stunning and well-made. More expensive than the typical paperback, but worth it for the true fan!
Now It’s Your Turn!
Tell us in the comments below:
- Are any of these your favorites?
- OR … Did we miss any 4th grade books about cozy families? Tell us!
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The Melendy Family (The Saturday’s, 4 story mistake, etc) books are also on our list of favorites in this category. Must reads!!
Adding those to my list right now, Nicole! I’m excited to read them. 🙂
The Four Story Mistake
Then There Were Five
SpiderWeb for Two: A Melendy Maze