12. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
This is the story of a well-loved china bunny who is quite full of himself early on but ends up on the adventure of a lifetime that changes him. Through these experiences Edward becomes cynical and begins to doubt whether love exists, and students are guided through his inner thoughts as he is lost or left behind time and again.
Full of emotion and told from Edward's point of view, the novel has many twists and turns as well as some heartbreak. Throughout his many misadventures, students will have many opportunities to explore character change and relationships.
A beautifully written story that touches both the heart and imagination, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane is a true star among novels for this age group.
Buy the book: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Get the No Prep Novel Study: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Novel Study
13. The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
This is the story of Roz, a robot who accidentally ends up stranded on an uninhabited island. Over time Roz begins to learn from the creatures around her and even becomes the surrogate mother for an orphaned gosling. However, it takes quite some time for the natural world to accept her as one of their own.
The 2017 Global Read Aloud selection, this story is a great science fiction selection for fourth grade students.While it is a relatively easy read that includes some illustrations, it is a story that many of the boys I work with absolutely loved, which can sometimes be a challenge to find.
Buy the book: The Wild Robot
Get the No Prep Novel Study: The Wild Robot Novel Study
14. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
A classic tale that brings every child's fantasy to life, this is the story of Charlie Bucket. After winning a once in a lifetime contest to tour Willy Wonka's factory, Charlie is drawn into a world of wonder and imagination.
With vivid description and a silliness that only Dahl can bring to a children's novel, this story is a sure favorite. There are so many great opportunities to discuss character traits and practice visualization, inferring, and more.
While the text has some challenging vocabulary and made-up words (as do nearly all Dahl's books), the plotline draws readers in and encourages them to overcome these challenges because the story is just that good.
Buy the book: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory
Get the No Prep Novel Study: Charlie & the Chocolate Factory Novel Study
15. Sarah, Plain & Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
A historical fiction novel detailing life on the plains, Sarah Plain & Tall is a great novel for making cross-curricular connections with social studies and discussing westward expansion.
It is the story of Sarah, a woman who responds to an ad of a widower seeking a wife, and how she acclimates to life on the plains and two children. It is also the story of how the family adjusts to her after already losing their mother.
This is truly a sweet story and gives students so much to talk about. I highly recommend it for your fourth graders. (Just a word of warning – if you decide to show the movie after reading this one it has a pretty hardcore birth scene near the end. Preview it to make sure you feel it is appropriate before you show your class.)
Buy the book: Sarah, Plain & Tall
Get the No Prep Novel Study: Sarah, Plain & Tall Novel Study