Gifted readers are always looking for their next book. These voracious consumers of the written word will quickly devour the standard fare, then often turn to books that are above their age level. A book list of high-quality, age-appropriate books is our most frequent request from parents.
Below, we’ve assembled a list of favorites. Most of the commentary below is from our kids 🙂
Note: Even if your child is not a gifted reader, audiobooks are a great alternative. These books offer the depth that gifted minds crave regardless of reading level.
Books are categorized by age-appropriateness of content, NOT reading level. We’ve placed some adult-level reading, great-for-everyone books in the K-2 section, such as The Hobbit.
Kinder – 2nd Grade
Ramona the Brave, Beverly Cleary
Clementine, Sara Pennypacker
Squish #1: Super Amoeba, Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
Diary of a Spider, Doreen Cronin
The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Beverly Cleary. A classic for all ages.
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, Betty MacDonald. Magic and moral lessons bundled up with kindness and humor.
The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, Julie Andrews Edwards. A lovely story that is appropriate for 2nd graders, although they might need some explanation to fully understand some parts.
Around the World in 80 Days, Jules Verne
Geronimo Stilton, Geronimo Stilton. Fun, colorful mystery/adventure series that make kids smile.
A Light in the Attic, Shel Silverstein
Jedi Academy, Jeffrey Brown
Frindle, Andrew Clements. We love Andrew Clements. Frindle is exceptionally special, and a great read for gifted kids who will probably identify with many of the protagonist’s feelings. Funny, thought-provoking, and amazing! 100% appropriate.
No Talking, Andrew Clements. Another Clements classic. Sends positive messages and shows an understanding between kids and adults. Intelligent and compassionate characters. Safe for all ages.
The Homework Machine, Dan Gutman. This book shows that bad things happen when you cheat on homework.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Richard Atwater
The BFG, Roald Dahl. Many younger children enjoy this book, but please note that that the giant snatches children from their beds and there’s some “grinding of bones” banter among the giants.
3rd – 5th Grade
The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stuart. “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” Dozens of children respond to this peculiar ad in the newspaper and are then put through a series of mind-bending tests, which readers take along with them. This is a puzzle-solving, imaginative series about gifted children. Adults will enjoy as much as their children.
Chasing Vermeer, Blue Balliett. A fun mystery with a dash of history and code-breaking.
The Name of This Book is Secret, Pseudonymous Bosch
Half Magic, Edward Eager. This book is a lunchtime read-aloud favorite at our school. Appropriate and engaging for all ages.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, E.L Konigsburg. Another kid favorite that is often re-read year after year.
Because of Mr.Turrupt, Rob Buyea. The characters are funny and have diverse personalities. You feel like you are inside what is happening and feel the emotions of the story. Parents should know: Near death of the teacher, but lovely support. No swearing or profanity. Parent problems.
A Snicker of Magic, Natalie Lloyd
The Genius Files series, Dan Gutman. Note: This series does contain references to the Donner Party and 9/11. Also, kids are put into some hair-raising situations. If your child is less than 9 years old, I’d recommend a pre-read.
Spy School, Stuart Gibbs. Teacher review: Our students love Stuart Gibbs however not all parents feel the same way. There are some swear words, assassins, and kids are generally smarter than grown-ups. Student review: This is the first book in an AMAZING series. Is there any kid who doesn’t like Spy School? Funny, compelling. Make sure you start it in the morning, or you’ll be up all night until you finish it.
Dash, Kirby Larson. Based in Seattle soon after Pearl Harbor. Shows how it was in World War II. Goes from happy to sad many time throughout the book. Funny and lovable characters. Some non-Japanese people help the main character, which makes it an amazing story. Parents should know: Some racist content against the main characters. Smoking and stealing involved.
Postcard, Tony Abbott. Interesting plot and characters with twists that will keep readers on their toes until the book is finished. Parents should know: Mild swearing. Adults smoking. Man shot at and hit in the head with dull objects and man killed in a war. Adults threaten minors.
The Hobbit, J.R.R. Tolkien.
Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson.
Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, Jules Verne
A Week in the Woods, Andrew Clements
Fun Jungle series, Stuart Gibbs
4th – 6th Grade
Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Rick Riodian
Masterminds, Gordan Korman
Dash (Dogs of WWII), Kirby Larson – This book is about internment during WWII. While tear-provoking in parts, the story is discussion-provoking and inspirational. I’d recommend that parents pre-read for sensitive kids.
The Omnivore’s Dilemma: Young Reader’s Edition, Michael Pollan
The Boy Who Played with Fusion, Tom Clynes
Artemis Fowl (3 book series), Eoin Colfer
My Side of the Mountain, Jean Craighead George. A modern classic.
The Phantom Tollbooth, Norton Juster. A classic of word-play, philosophy and creativity. The content is safe for all ages, but older children 4th grade+ will be more likely to understand the layers of meaning in this book.
The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
Out of My Mind, Sharon M. Draper – The story of a girl with a genius mind who cannot walk or talk due to cerebral palsy. I’ve found that this deeply emotional story hits parents harder than children, but please pre-read with your own child in mind.
Fish in a Tree, Linda Mullaly Hunt – A touching story of a bright girl with dyslexia. This story will resonate with anyone who has felt like they don’t fit in…. which would be pretty much all of us.
Ivahoe, Sir Walter Scott. A tale of knights and chivalry that inspired many great authors.
The Three Musketeers, Alexander Dumas
Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe
Call of the Wild, Jack London.
Adult Level Books for Advanced Readers
The following books have been enjoyed by many of our students but do contain themes or passages that can be intense. Please pre-read these books with your own child in mind!
Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, Alfred Lansing
River of Doubt, Candice Millard. A riveting adventure about Theordore Roosevelt’s exploration of the Amazon. Historical fiction at its finest from Candice Millard, a former NY Times and National Geographic writer.
George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring that Saved The American Revolution, Brian Kilmeade and Don Yaeger
The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R. Tolkien
We use Amazon Affiliate links for some of our recommendations. Funds raised from Amazon will be donated to a charity chosen by the children. The current pick is the International Rescue Committee. We also love the Oregon Humane Society!