On the hunt for great books for 3rd grade girls? Boy, do I have options for you! Many kids in the third grade are new to longer chapter books, but a few others are stronger readers moving into advanced reading like younger middle grade books. This list features books starring female protagonists across chapter books and young middle grade books aimed at younger readers. Of course, it goes without saying that you don’t have to be a girl or a 3rd grader to read any of these.
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20 Great Books for 3rd Grade Girls
Here are 20 of my favorite books for 3rd grade girls:
Zara’s Rules for Record-Breaking Fun
Published: April 19, 2022
Ten-year-old Zara has been crowned Queen of the Neighborhood by a loving neighbor. Zara makes fair rules for all the games she and her brother Zayd play with the other kids and Zara likes things just like that. But when her neighbor, Mr. Chapman moves out, a new family moves in. Their daughter Naomi has other ideas for playing and the other kids seem to like many of her ideas too.
This is the start of a beautiful chapter book series about a young Pakistani-American heroine and her friends and family. This sweet chapter book from master storyteller Hena Khan contains lovely black and white illustrations and short chapters.
Ellie’s Deli: Wishing on Matzo Ball Soup
Published: September 5, 2023
Eleven-year-old Ellie is feisty, determined, and a little bit anxious. She considers Lukshen Deli part of the family—after all, it’s been around for four generations, ever since her great-grandmother opened it. Ellie is determined to prove that old fashioned Jewish delis can get with the times—but if her plan doesn’t work, the deli will be sold for good. This heartwarming book for 8-10 year old girls has lovely illustrations and is just a joy to read. Thrilled to hear it will be a series!
Published: February 1, 2022
Just Harriet features young Harriet whose family is undergoing a change. Her mom is pregnant and has been placed on bed rest until the baby is born. Harriet, an energetic child has been sent to Marble Island where her grandmother lives and runs a bed and breakfast. She’s understandably frustrated, feeling abandoned by her parents. Thankfully, she takes her cat, Matzo Ball with her. When she arrives at Marble Island, Harriet starts to learn more about her father’s childhood and discovers that they have more in common than she expects. This chapter book is charming, with cute illustrations — perfect for kids ages 7+
Ruby Lu Brave and True
Published: March 1, 2004
This is a nice option for 3rd grade girls still building their reading skills. It features (almost)8-year-old Ruby as she navigates her love for magic tricks, having a baby brother, spending her Saturdays at Chinese school, and visiting her grandparents in Chinatown. Hand to kids who like quirky, funny female protagonists with big personalities.
Ruby and the Booker Boys
Published: May 29, 2018
Readers will love hanging out with Ruby Booker as she finds out what kind of mischief her brothers are getting into. She’s sweet and sassy and every bit as tough as her older siblings. She sings like nobody’s business; she has a pet iguana named Lady Love; her favorite color is grape-jelly purple; and when she grows up, she’s going to be the most famous woman animal doctor on the planet.
Published: October 6, 2020
This is one of my favorite graphic novels ever! Even though it features much older protagonists who are starting 6th grade, 3rd graders will love the bright illustrations and the sweet story. Twins Maureen and Francine Carter have always done everything together, but things have changed as they’re starting sixth grade.
The girls are still figuring out their new dynamic when Francine decides to run for student council, and by some stroke of fate, her shy, terrified-of-public-speaking sister is also running for president. Despite the ground rules laid by their parents, things get a bit messy as both girls try to establish their personal identities while fighting to reconcile their relationship as twins and sisters.
Frankie Sparks and the Class Pet
Published: June 18, 2019
Frankie Sparks’s third grade class is getting a class pet! Their teacher, Miss Cupid, tells them they will vote on their pet, but it has to meet some “parameters.” Frankie thinks that a rat—just like the rats in her beloved Aunt Gina’s lab—would be the perfect fit. But her best friend, Maya, doesn’t think a rat would be great at all. They are kind of gross and not as cool as a hermit crab, which is Maya’s top choice. Using her special workshop, can Frankie find a way to convince her teacher and her best friend that Team Rat is the way to go?
Ready to Wear (1) (Sew Zoey)
Published: June 4, 2013
Over the summer, fashion-loving Zoey Webber gets the best news ever: Her middle school is getting rid of uniforms! There’s just one problem. Zoey has sketchbooks full of fashion designs, but nothing to wear! So with a little help from her best friends Kate and Priti, she learns to make her own clothes. She even begins to post her fashion design sketches online in a blog. That’s how the Sew Zoey blog begins, and soon it becomes much more. This is a super cute series for advanced 3rd graders who like fashion and writing.
Katie and the Cupcake Cure (1) (Cupcake Diaries)
Published: May 7, 2013
If you’re looking for something lighthearted, frothy, and chock-full of friend dilemmas, try the Cupcake Diaries. In this first book, Katie Brown is miserable when her best friend is invited to join the Popular Girls Club and she’s left out. Fortunately, Katie finds her way with a great new group of friends—Mia, Emma, and Alexis—and together they form the Cupcake Club. Sometimes starting from scratch turns out to be the icing on the cupcake! This series is also available as a graphic novel adaptation for fans of The Babysitters Little Sister books.
Published: February 1, 2010
Raina is just trying to enjoy being a sixth grader when an accident severely injures her two front teeth. Thus begins an unending series of visits to dentists and different treatment options. Throughout this process, Raina still has middle school to tackle. Her friends are sometimes insensitive toward the things that matter to her and she’s finding herself newly developing crushes on boys, even as she’s too embarrassed to smile, thanks to the braces, head gear, retainer, and other contraptions she has to wear throughout the course of this book.
Ways to Make Sunshine
Published: April 28, 2020
Ryan Hart and her family are moving to a new (old) house because her dad lost his post office job and his new job doesn’t pay as much. Ryan is unhappy about the change for many reasons. She liked their old house, and even though she has her own room in this new house, this house is a smaller bungalow, which means there will be no stairs to play on. She also fears that it will be too small to entertain guests, because Ryan loves to create new recipes — and cook them!
Still, there are small joys. She doesn’t have to change schools and is still close enough to one of her best friends. With the new house, and selling one of their cars, her parents can better deal with their financial struggles. Throughout this slice-of-life book, Ryan learns how to believe in herself, enjoy public speaking, be a bigger person, and love who she is. Great for fans of Ramona Quimby!
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street
Published: October 3, 2017
The Vanderbeekers have always lived in the brownstone on 141st Street. It’s practically another member of the family. So when their reclusive, curmudgeonly landlord decides not to renew their lease, the five siblings have eleven days to do whatever it takes to stay in their beloved home and convince the dreaded Beiderman just how wonderful they are.
And all is fair in love and war when it comes to keeping their home.
Just Right Jillian
Published: February 15, 2022
Jillian is a shy fifth grader put to the test when her teacher suggests she join the Mind Bender quiz competition. Her class is also learning about chick development and incubating a few too! As Jillian works to improve her mindset and use her voice, she also has to deal with the grief of losing her grandmother, her mom’s lupus flares, and helping out a friend dealing with his own family challenges. Will Jillian get it right?
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Published: March 17, 2020
There’s a reason why this is a classic. It’s perfect even for kids as young as age 5. Ramona’s hijinks are relatable, and the story is warm and captivating even for older listeners. Ramona likes that she’s old enough to be counted on, but must everything depend on her? Mrs. Quimby has gone back to work so that Mr. Quimby can return to school, and Ramona is expected to be good for Mrs. Kemp while her parents are away, to be brave enough to ride the school bus by herself, and to put up with being teased by Danny the Yard Ape.
Home Sweet Forever Home (1) (The Invincible Girls Club)
Published: May 4, 2021
Lauren is a huge dog lover and is over-the-moon excited when she gets to go to the local shelter to read to the dogs. While there, she learns that the older dogs are often not adopted, so she and her friends set out to find them homes.
Together, Lauren, Ruby, Myka, and Emelyn create a brilliant event, where attendees can eat delicious cupcakes while meeting adoptable dogs. But on the big day, it seems like everything goes upside down. Can the girls save the event and make sure their four-legged friends get a chance at their fur-ever homes?
Audrey Covington Breaks the Rules
Published: April 18, 2023
Audrey is graduating from elementary school and struggling with having overprotective parents. She notices that her friends seem uninterested in hanging out with her (because she can’t do many of the things their parents allow them to — getting ice cream together alone, watching non PG movies alone, and more).
The breaking point comes when they officially uninvite from their much-anticipated graduation sleepover. Deeply upset, Audrey takes the opportunity to abscond with her celebrity grandmother (who’s desperate to get away for her own reasons). From escaping security on movie lots to crashing celebrity parties, the two have a hijinks-filled day. But how long can Audrey keep breaking the rules? This adventurous romp makes for a fun readaloud.
Where You’ve Got to Be
Published: September 13, 2022
Nolie feels like the odd person out amid changes. Her sister Linden, who’s only 14 months older seems to have grown up overnight, ditching the seashell necklace their grandmother gave them. And now her best friend, Jessa thinks Nolie’s nickname is too babyish and she should really go by her full name, Magnolia instead. She also wants to include a new cooler friend in their duo and give Nolie a complete makeover.
To top it off, Nolie doesn’t seem to have a “thing” that she’s good at or particularly passionate about. With all those emotions brewing, Nolie makes a poor choice to start stealing things from several people. Can she find her way? This is definitely a more advanced option but is a sweet character-driven story about dealing with changing circumstances.
Published: October 18, 2022
Marlene hates the salon where her mom takes her to get her natural curls straightened weekly. Marlene’s mom and some in their circle/family believe that “good hair” is straight hair. Marlene’s mom wants her to focus on school and look “tidy” by having her hair straight and slick. But Marlene isn’t so sure. She sees an internet influencer and her favorite aunt, Tia Ruby rocking their curls and is eager to try. But her first attempt fails woefully. With Tia Ruby’s hair, Marlene learns to care for her natural hair better and embrace her curls. This is a delightful, thought-provoking graphic novel about natural hair, self-acceptance, and body image.
Published: May 10, 2022
Eleven-year-old Abby is going to Camp Famous, but she has no idea. As far as she knows, her parents are sending her off to a sleepy sleep-away camp to (hopefully) make new friends. But when she arrives, she discovers it’s even better. She’s attending a fun summer camp with kid celebrities escaping the spotlight and constant paparazzi and new coverage. But as Abby starts to make friends at camp, she twists her personality and preferences to keep her camp friends interested in her. Plus, because she’s not a celebrity, finding and maintaining a cover story while being true to herself proves impossible. Will she make it?
Published: June 21, 2022
After Ash McAnulty won the school-wide Quiz Bowl in the fifth grade, it was almost like she got a golden ticket. Although she’d been in the school’s Gifted and Talented program since first grade, now everyone viewed her as the smartest of the bunch. But now fifth grade is wrapping up, and Ash feels less gifted. She can’t seem to grasp the abstract concepts other kids in her class do, and she begins to feel like a fraud.
If she asks for help and her teachers learn she’s struggling, she’ll no longer be “gifted,” will she? Then who will she be without her “gifted” identity? She resolves to prove herself in the upcoming Quiz Bowl, but her plan doesn’t go to plan, triggering a sequence of events that forces Ash to evaluate what matters most.
There they are: 20 great books for 3rd grade girls at varying reading levels! Which of these books have you read and loved? Which ones did I miss?
More Books for 3rd Graders
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