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Reading has the power to transport us to worlds beyond our imagination, ignite our curiosity, and broaden our perspectives. However, for some children, the idea of picking up a book can feel like a daunting task rather than a delightful adventure. With all of the distractions offered today, many kids find themselves disenchanted with reading.

But fear not! Every child has the potential to become a book lover; they just need to find the right book to ignite that passion. In this curated list, we’ve gathered 8 captivating titles specifically tailored to entice reluctant readers and reignite their love for stories. 

Check out our top tips and tricks for encouraging reading! It can be hard work to foster the love of reading in your kids, but it is work worth doing! 

So, whether you’re a parent searching for ways to encourage your child’s literary journey or an educator seeking to inspire a love for reading in your students, check out these amazing books brimming with the potential to transform reluctant readers into enthusiastic bookworms.

For these titles, we have grades 4th-6th in mind! 

Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen

This book (and author) has long been a favorite for upper elementary/middle school students. Journey along with Brain as he braves being stranded in the Canadian wilderness after a plane crash. Gary Paulsen was an avid outdoorsmen and wrote wonderful books about adventures in the outdoors! Hatchet is also the part of a series, which is great for picky readers! By finding an author and series they love they automatically have a next book to read! 

My Side of the Mountain, By Jean Craighead George

This is another adventure book that is all about surviving in the wilderness. If your kiddo dreams of spending all their time in the outdoors and becoming friends with the wildlife, then this book is perfect for you! It has two books following it in the series. 

Matilda, By Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl worte some spectacular books! Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, The BFG, and Charlie and the Choclate Factory to name a few. Any of these books are great reads and perfect for reluctant readers. Roald Dahl gets right to the story in his writing, no long intros or backstories before he jumps into the fun. Matilda is a favorite for this age group because it combines both a realistic world and a power that all kids wish they had, magic! 

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

This classic book is loved for a reason! Adventure along with four brothers and sisters as they journey into the land of Narnia. This book has both a realistic start, relateable sibiling dynamics, a magical world, a fight between good and evil, and a whole series to follow if you child liked reading it! This book also makes a great read-aloud as a family! 

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate 

This book, based on a true story, is a heartwarming tale that captures the essence of friendship, courage, and the power of empathy. Through the eyes of Ivan, a silverback gorilla living in captivity, readers are taken on an unforgettable journey. This Newbery Medal-winning masterpiece not only entertains but also encourages readers of all ages to reflect on their relationships with others and the world around them. For kids who have a heart for animals, this book is a must-read! 

Holes, by Louis Sacher 

This book is a captivating blend of mystery, adventure, and redemption that keeps readers on the edge of their seats from start to finish. With its intricate plot, compelling characters, and unexpected twists, this Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a timeless classic that promises to both entertain and make you think. This book was also made into a movie! For reluctant readings, getting to watch the film afterwords and compare can showcase to young readers how rich books can be. 

The Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson  

This deeply moving tale explores themes of friendship, imagination, and loss with great sensitivity. Through its beautifully crafted narrative and memorable characters, this beloved novel not only transports readers to the magical world of Terabithia but also leaves a lasting impact, reminding us of the power of friendship and love. Katherine Paterson has written over 40 books including Jabob Have I love, The Great Gilly Hopkins, Lyddie, and Jip His Story. After reading this book, check out the movie based on it! 

The Wingfeather Saga, by Andrew Peterson

This four book series is a fantasy epic that enchants readers with its richly imagined world, compelling characters, and timeless themes of courage, sacrifice, and redemption. This beloved series invites readers to embark on an unforgettable journey filled with wonder, laughter, and heart-stirring moments that will stay with them long after the final page is turned.