Books for Advanced Readers: Upper Elementary School-Aged Kids

Discover books that will keep older kids interested and engaged without the heavy topics.

By Amy Mascott
Feb 24, 2014



Feb 24, 2014

When it comes to children in upper elementary school who are reading at an advanced level, we as parents need to make sure they are challenged but watched and carefully supported.


Many of the Young Adult (YA) novels cover topics that our young readers are not socially or emotionally ready to handle, though they may be skilled enough to decode the words. 


Give any one of these books -- some classics and some newer releases -- a shot for your excited, advanced upper elementary school reader. Loosely organized in order of easier reads to more difficult reads, this list should point you in the right direction. 


Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

One of the greatest stories of friendship of all time, this classic is approachable to so many young readers because of the heartwarming story of Fern, Wilbur, and Charlotte, and because of the beauty of the language. 

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
by Roald Dahl

Children will love this tale of magic, mystery, and candy as Willy Wonka slowly figures out which of the five lucky winners of the Golden Ticket are worthy of the biggest, most amazing prize of all. 

Maniac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli

This is the story of Jeffrey Lionel Magee, who became Maniac Magee after his parents died and he became a living legend. 

The Toothpaste Millionaire
by Jean Merrill

Young entrepreneurs Kate and Rufus have to tackle some problems when they start selling toothpaste that Rufus makes in his kitchen!

Danny, the Champion of the World
by Roald Dahl

Another hit by Dahl will keep young readers intrigued and reading to find out what they can about Danny's dad's secret.


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter has no idea what is in store for him when he receives a letter via owl messenger, but his life is forever changed once he accepts the invitation to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Little Mary Lenox is sent to live with a faraway relative after her parents pass away, and her life is lonely and unhappy until she finds a secret garden. Though this is not an easy text, it is a worthwhile challenge for advanced younger readers. 


Anne of Green Gables
by L. M. Montgomery

Anne is sent to live on Prince Edward Island with a couple who expects a boy—not a girl—to help with work on the farm.  Soon the lovable, imperfect, and charismatic Anne finds a permanent spot in the hearts of the Cuthbert family, and she will do the same for readers of the first book in this classic series.


A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L'Engle

Meg Murry, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O'Keefe travel through space and time to find Meg's missing physicist father, after he mysteriously disappears. This novel, the first in the Time Quartet, is an incredible, unforgettable story.



Our suggestion is to always read the book before you hand it to your child.  That way, you will know for sure if your own child will be able to handle the subject matter. 



What are some other great book recommendations for younger advanced readers? 


Share your thoughts on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page, or find Amy on Twitter, @teachmama, and let's continue the conversation!



Read all posts by Amy Mascott.

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