Doggone Good Books for Third Graders

The following lists contain a selection of books to satisfy the wide variety of reading levels and interests of third grade readers. Many of these authors have other titles which are appropriate for this reading level. Click on the subject heading to see a list of suggested books and their availability. To see a title's Lexile number, click on the title and then click on the "Full Record" tab.
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New Book Reviews

Separate is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh

Reading Level: Grades 2 - 5

When Sylvia's family moved to a new town in California, her aunt took her and her brothers along with her cousins to register for school. The school secretary gave enrollment forms to her two light skinned, light haired cousins, but informed Sylvia and her brothers that they would have to attend the Mexican school. After getting the runaround from every branch of the local government in a town where it was not unusual to see signs that read, "No dogs or Mexicans allowed" Sylvia's father decided the only thing to do was sue the Westminster School District to prove that segregation was unfair; a point that had to be proven seven years later by the more famous Brown vs. The Board of Education case.

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Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas by Lynne Cox

Reading Level: Grades K - 4

Elizabeth the elephant seal lived in a park in the middle of a busy city. The residents all loved her, but drivers did not because she had a tendency to take naps in the middle of the road. Eventually the government decided that Elizabeth needed to be relocated to an elephant seal colony well away from the city where she would be happy. However, Elizabeth had a different opinion about what would make her happy.

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The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheikin

Reading Level: Ages 10 - 14

On July 17, 1944, an explosion at the Port Chicago naval base in California killed over 300 people and sank two ships.  All the men loading bombs and ammunition onto ships were black.  All supervising officers were white.  Black sailors who had never received proper training in the handling of munitions were afraid and refused to go back to work on the docks.  Some gave in under pressure from the navy until only 50 men held fast.  They were brought up on charges of mutiny, a charge that could mean the death penalty.  Sheinkin has crafted another book that brings history to life.  You'll be outraged, but you'll cheer for 50 new heroes in the fight for equal rights.

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Duke by Kirby Larson

Reading Level: Ages 8 - 12

Set in Seattle, Washington in 1944, this is the home front story of Hobie Hanson, a fifth-grader whose father is flying B-24s in Europe. It's a time of great patriotism and sacrifice even for those at home.  Hobie is expected to step up and help at home, on the family fishing boat, and with his younger sister.  There are ration stamps for sugar, meat, and shoes.  Everyone is urged to do all they can to help in the war effort.  When Hobie learns about the real life organization called Dogs For Defense, he decides to donate his beloved German Shepherd, Duke. It never occurred to him that Duke might be sent into combat or that Duke might bond with his Marine handler.  Will his father and his dog survive?

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Itsy Bitsy Spider by Dosh Archer

Reading Level: Grades K - 3

On a rainy day an injured spider is rushed to City Hospital with injuries caused by a terrible waterspout accident.

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