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- Branches Books
We call them “Branches Books” because they are a part of Scholastic’s Branches line of early chapter books. They are designed for those ready to read independently and helps them transition from early readers to chapter books. Many of these books will have read stars on the spine (meaning they have an AR level below 3.5). With an array of series featuring riveting stories, fun characters and engaging art, there is a Branches book for every reader.
- Girls’ Club
For the most part, these books will have female protagonists, but we think they would be enjoyable reads for any eager reader. These books will range between 3rd-4th grade reading lebel, some will have red stars, some won’t. They may serve as good books to transition out of red star books (beginning chapter books).
- Boys’ Club
For the most part, these books will have male protagonists, but we think they would be enjoyable reads for any eager reader. These books will range between 3rd-4th grade reading level, some will have red stars, some will not. They may serve as good books to transition out of red star books (beginning chapter books).
- Neurodivergent Characters
You’ll find books by OwnVoices and non OwnVoices authors on this list. And protagonists with kinds of neurodiversity including sensory processing disorder (SPD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), dyslexia, ADHD, learning difficulties, and autism spectrum disorder in general (ASD).
- Black Authors & Characters
On this list you will find only books written by Black authors, featuring Black protagonists. Most books are contemporary fiction, but we’ve included a few historical fiction, as well as sci-fi & fantasy.
- Beware! Scary Books
Beware! The books on this list are full of ghosts, monsters, haunted dolls, mysteries, and more! Hopefully, they are just the right amount of scary, creepy, and spooky…but maybe don’t read them just before bed.
- Little House on the Prairie Alternatives
While it is important to read Little House on the Prairie with a critical lens, the books on this list may offer some alternative narratives with more varied perspectives during Laura’s era. Many of the characters in these books have a similar plucky and adventurous nature to Laura.
- Ready for Adventure
Looking for a good adventure? Look no further, these books have spies, treasure hunters, explorers, & so much more! Most of these will be magic-free, think more Sherlock Holmes & Indiana Jones than Harry Potter & Lord of the Rings.
- Feel Good
Hopeful plots, beautiful writing, characters to root for, and stories without heavy themes. This list has some of the best feel-good middle grade books — stories that will leave you with a smile on your face and a desire to hug the book. Some of them feature kids going through a rough patch, but it’s never anything too traumatic.
- “Rick Riordan Presents” Books
All these books utilize the mythology of various cultures and countries in its storytelling similair to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians. They aren’t written by Rick Riordan, but they have his stamp of approval.
- Harry Potter Read-Alikes
Have you read Harry Potter and are looking for another series to love? All of the books on this list are first books in a series. They may not be exactly like Harry Potter, but we think they have a similar vibe!
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