I remember when I handed my daughter The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo when she was in third grade. We had just enjoyed Because of Winn Dixie together by the same author and The Tiger Rising seemed perfect from the quick cover once over. The chapter book was short, with biggish text inside.
A few days later, my daughter asks if she can please stop reading.
“Why?” I asked her.
“It’s too sad,” she replied.
I took the book from her and read the first few chapters. I was horrified to find out that this was a Grapes of Wrath level of sad kind of story. Not that this book isn’t wonderful or beautifully written but it was just too sad for an 8-year-old to bear.
After that I started reading ahead to screen all her books for her. And then I started this blog. I guess if I had this list, I wouldn’t be blogging!
I have added one asterisk to the books that I’ve read and liked it and two asterisks for books I read and loved. I also think that you can go up a grade or even two for these books but I would not necessarily go down.
Newbery Books by Age Appropriateness
2013: The One and Only Ivan (Grade 3) **
2012: Dead End in Norvelt (Grade 5) *
2011: Moon Over Manifest (Grade 4) **
2010: When You Reach Me (Grade 5) **
2009: The Graveyard Book (Grade 4)
2008: Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village (Grade 5)
2007: The Higher Power of Lucky (Grade 4) *
2006: Criss Cross (Grade 4)
2005: Kira-Kira (Grade 5) **
2004: The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread (Grade 4)
2003: Crispin: The Cross of Lead (Grade 5)
2002: Single Shard, A (Grade 6) ** (Historical fiction set in 15th Century Korea)
2001: Year Down Yonder, A (Grade 4)** (a funny book set in rural mid-west during Great Depression, and, yet not depressing at all)
2000: Bud, Not Buddy (Grade 5) **
1999: Holes (Grade 4) ** — Boston Public Library set this as Middle School read. Good choice for reluctant boy readers.
1998: Out of the Dust (Grade 5) – Content is intense. I’d personally set as Middle School. Very tragic story!
1997: View from Saturday, The (Grade 5) **
1996: Midwife’s Apprentice, The (Grade 6)
1995: Walk Two Moons (Grade 4)**
1994: The Giver (Grade 6) ** (required reading for our 6th grade middle school)
1993: Missing May (Grade 5) *
1992: Shiloh (Grade 4) **
1991: Maniac Magee (Grade 4) **
1990: Number the Stars (Grade 4) **
1989: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices
1988: Lincoln: A Photobiography (Grade 4)
1987: Whipping Boy, The (Grade 3)
1986: Sarah, Plain and Tall (Grade 3) *
1985: Hero and the Crown, The (Grade 7)
1984: Dear Mr. Henshaw (Grade 4) **
1983: Dicey’s Song (Grade 5)
1982: Visit to William Blake’s Inn, A: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers (Grade 4)
1981: Jacob Have I Loved (Grade 5) **
1980: Gathering of Days, A: A New England Girl’s Journal, 1830-1832 (Grade 6)
1979: Westing Game, The (Grade 6) **
1978: Bridge to Terabithia (Grade 5) **
1977: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Grade 5)*
1976: The Grey King (Grade 6) ** This is The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper. Read it in order.
1975: M. C. Higgins, the Great (Grade 4) *
1974: The Slave Dancer (Grade 6)
1973: Julie of the Wolves (Grade 5) **
1972: Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (Grade 5) **
1971: Summer of the Swans (Grade 4) *
1970: Sounder (Grade 5) *
1969: High King, The (Grade 6) ** This The Chronicles of Prydain by Alexander Lloyd series. Read it in order.
1968: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Grade 4) **
1967: Up a Road Slowly (Grade 6)
1966: I, Juan de Pareja (Grade 6) *
1965: Shadow of a Bull (Grade 5)
1964: It’s Like This, Cat (Grade 4) **
1963: Wrinkle in Time, A (Grade 4) **
1962: The Bronze Bow (Grade 5) *
1961: Island of the Blue Dolphins (Grade 5)**
1960: Onion John (Grade 4)
1959: The Witch of Blackbird Pond (Grade 5) **
1958: Rifles for Watie (Grade 6)
1957: Miracles on Maple Hill (Grade 4)
1956: Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (Grade 4)
1955: The Wheel on the School (Grade 4)
1954: …And Now Miguel (Grade 4)
1953: Secret of the Andes (Grade 4)
1952: Ginger Pye (Grade 6) *
1951: Amos Fortune, Free Man (Grade 6)
1950: The Door in the Wall (Grade 6) *
1949: King of the Wind (Grade 5) *
1948: The Twenty-One Balloons (Grade 6)
1947: Miss Hickory (Grade 5)
1946: Strawberry Girl (Grade 4) **
1945: Rabbit Hill (Grade 6) *
1944: Johnny Tremain (Grade 5) **
1943: Adam of the Road (Grade 6) *
1942: The Matchlock Gun (Grade 5)
1941: Call It Courage (Grade 6) * – A little sad.
1940: Daniel Boone
1939: Thimble Summer (Grade 5) **
1938: The White Stag (Grade 6)
1937: Roller Skates (Grade 6)
1936: Caddie Woodlawn (Grade 6) **
1935: Dobry (Grade 5)
1934: Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women (Grade 8)
1933: Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze (Grade 6)
1932: Waterless Mountain (Grade 5)
1931: The Cat Who Went to Heaven (Grade 5) * – The story is short and reads like a fable. My 2nd grader was able to read it.
1930: Hitty, Her First Hundred Years (Grade 7)
1929: The Trumpeter of Krakow (Grade 7)
1928: Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon (Grade 6)
1927: Smoky, the Cow Horse (Grade 6)
1926: Shen of the Sea (Grade 5)
1925: Tales from Silver Lands (Grade 6)
1924: The Dark Frigate (Grade 6)
1923: The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle (Grade 5)
1922: The Story of Mankind (Grade 9)
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.