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50 New and Noteworthy Read Aloud Books For 3rd Grade That Students Love

Check out the best new read aloud books for 3rd grade that your students will love. Wide variety of diverse books for all year!

Looking for the best read aloud books for 3rd grade? These are 50 of the most fun, diverse read aloud books chosen specially for 3rd grade. There are books for the whole year including all of the major holidays and heritage months. A great mix of diverse books to teach social justice, social emotional learning and more from the first days of school through the end of the school year!

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

Read Aloud Books For 3rd Grade

Crown by Derrick Barnes

The barbershop is where the magic happens. Boys go in as lumps of clay and, with princely robes draped around their shoulders, a dab of cool shaving cream on their foreheads, and a slow, steady cut, they become royalty. That crisp yet subtle line makes boys sharper, more visible, more aware of every great thing that could happen to them when they look good: lesser grades turn into As; girls take notice; even a mother’s hug gets a little tighter. Everyone notices.

A fresh cut makes boys fly.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Crown HERE

Outside In by Deborah Underwood

Outside is waiting, the most patient playmate of all. The most generous friend. The most miraculous inventor. This thought-provoking picture book poetically underscores our powerful and enduring connection with nature, not so easily obscured by lives spent indoors.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Outside In HERE

You can get a free lesson and activities for Outside In by signing up HERE:

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

Water is the first medicine. It affects and connects us all . . .When a black snake threatens to destroy the Earth and poison her people’s water, one young water protector takes a stand to defend Earth’s most sacred resource. This book is an excellent story for many occasions from Earth Day to Indigenous Peoples Day / Columbus Day.

Get the lesson plan and activities for We Are Water Protectors HERE

Looking for the best read aloud books for 3rd grade? These fun picture book read alouds for 3rd grade elementary students are engaging. Fiction and nonfiction books with lesson plans and activities linked. These are the best diverse picture book read alouds for 3rd graders. Many of these are award winning children's books about diverse characters, friendships, relationships, and for the whole year of third grade!
PIN ME!

Your Place in the Universe by Jason Chin

Explore the known Universe and consider its mind-boggling scale in this crisply illustrated, well-researched picture book from Caldecott honoree Jason Chin. Most eight-year-olds are about five times as tall as this book . . . but only half as tall as an ostrich, which is half as tall as a giraffe . . . twenty times smaller than a California Redwood! How do they compare to the tallest buildings? To Mt. Everest? To stars, galaxy clusters, and . . . the universe?

Get the lesson plan and activities for Your Place in the Universe HERE

I Am Every Good Thing by Derrick Barnes

The confident Black narrator of this book is proud of everything that makes him who he is. He’s got big plans, and no doubt he’ll see them through–as he’s creative, adventurous, smart, funny, and a good friend. Sometimes he falls, but he always gets back up. And other times he’s afraid, because he’s so often misunderstood and called what he is not. So slow down and really look and listen, when somebody tells you–and shows you–who they are. There are superheroes in our midst!

Get the lesson plan and activities for I Am Every Good Thing HERE

The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver by Gene Barretta

When George Washington Carver was just a young child, he had a secret: a garden of his own. Here, he rolled dirt between his fingers to check if plants needed more rain or sun. He protected roots through harsh winters, so plants could be reborn in the spring. He trimmed flowers, spread soil, studied life cycles. And it was in this very place that George’s love of nature sprouted into something so much more—his future. When books about Black scientists are so difficult to find, this book is an amazing biography to add to your collection.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Secret Garden of George Washington Carver HERE

Dazzle Ships by Chris Barton

Looking for a really engaging book to read for Memorial Day? This is a really interesting one to add to your collection! During World War I, British and American ships were painted with bold colors and crazy patterns from bow to stern. Why would anyone put such eye-catching designs on ships? Desperate to protect ships from German torpedo attacks, British lieutenant-commander Norman Wilkinson proposed what became known as dazzle. These stunning patterns and colors were meant to confuse the enemy about a ship’s speed and direction. By the end of the war, more than four thousand ships had been painted with these mesmerizing designs.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Dazzle Ships HERE

Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker

You’ve likely heard of the historic Apollo 13 moon landing. But do you know about the mathematical genius who made sure that Apollo 13 returned safely home? As a child, Katherine Johnson loved to count. She counted the steps on the road, the number of dishes and spoons she washed in the kitchen sink, everything! Boundless, curious, and excited by calculations, young Katherine longed to know as much as she could about math, about the universe.

From Katherine’s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, Counting on Katherine is the story of a groundbreaking American woman who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history. This book has it all, it provides a great springboard into conversations about space and space exploration, would work great during Black History Month or Women’s History Month. It’s definitely one of the best read aloud books for 3rd grade.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Counting on Katherine HERE

Akiak by Robert Blake

When she hurts her paw on the fourth day of the race, Akiak can no longer compete in the Iditarod—the famed dogsledding race through 1,151 miles of Alaskan terrain. Her musher has no choice but to leave her behind. The rules say once a dog is dropped from the race, it may not rejoin the team. But ten-year-old lead dog Akiak doesn’t know the rules, and nothing will stop her from catching up to her team. Akiak has never won the race before. Will she be able to help her team win this time? A great book to read in winter or to talk abou the Iditarod race in March.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Akiak HERE

Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom by Carole Boston

What have I to fear?
My master broke every promise to me.
I lost my beloved wife and our dear children.
All, sold South. Neither my time nor my body is mine.
The breath of life is all I have to lose.
And bondage is suffocating me.

Henry Brown wrote that long before he came to be known as Box, he “entered the world a slave.” He was put to work as a child and passed down from one generation to the next — as property. When he was an adult, his wife and children were sold away from him out of spite. Henry Brown watched as his family left bound in chains, headed to the deeper South. What more could be taken from him? But then hope — and help — came in the form of the Underground Railroad. Escape!

Get the lesson plan and activities for Box: Henry Brown Mails Himself to Freedom HERE

Ruby’s Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges

Ruby is unlike most little girls in old China. Instead of aspiring to get married, Ruby is determined to attend university when she grows up, just like the boys in her family. Based upon the inspirational story of the author’s grandmother and accompanied by richly detailed illustrations, Ruby’s Wish is an engaging portrait of a young girl who’s full of ambition and the family who rewards her hard work and courage. This is an amazing book about how one girl bucked tradition.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Ruby’s Wish HERE

Waiting For the Biblioburro by Monica Brown

Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros‑all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own.

Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, award-winning picture book creators Monica Brown and John Parra introduce readers to the mobile library that journeys over mountains and through valleys to bring literacy and culture to rural Colombia, and to the children who wait for the BiblioBurro. This is a staple at the beginning of the year to talk about library and for Hispanic Heritage Month!

Get the lesson plan and activities for Waiting For the Biblioburro HERE

Above the Rim by Jen Bryant

Hall-of-famer Elgin Baylor was one of basketball’s all-time-greatest players—an innovative athlete, team player, and quiet force for change. One of the first professional African-American players, he inspired others on and off the court. But when traveling for away games, many hotels and restaurants turned Elgin away because he was black. One night, Elgin had enough and staged a one-man protest that captured the attention of the press, the public, and the NBA. One of my favorite new read aloud books for 3rd grade especially when talking about Black athletes.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Above the Rim HERE

Six Dots by Jen Bryant

Louis Braille was just five years old when he lost his sight. He was a clever boy, determined to live like everyone else, and what he wanted more than anything was to be able to read. Even at the school for the blind in Paris, there were no books for him. And so he invented his own alphabet—a whole new system for writing that could be read by touch. A system so ingenious that it is still used by the blind community today. An excellent book about disabilities and helping students understand differently-abled students.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Six Dots HERE

Gleam and Glow by Eve Bunting

Inspired by real events, master storyteller Eve Bunting recounts the harrowing yet hopeful story of a family, a war–and a dazzling discovery.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Gleam and Glow HERE

Sugarbush Spring by Marsha Wilson Chall

In the month of the Maple Sugar Moon, the snow’s too wet for angel making, icicles rain from Grandpa’s porch roof, and something is stirring in the woods. It’s sugarbush spring–time to tap the trees, prepare the bottles, then gather round the cook fire to eat chicken and dumplings, roast marshmallows, and tell stories while the cold sap heats through, thickens, and boils to make syrup.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Sugarbush Spring HERE

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical train to the North Pole. The Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish. This is a story for all who believe in the spirit of Christmas and those who treasure the sound of a reindeer’s silver bell. This classic is definitely one of the best read aloud books for 3rd grade and just Christmas in general.

Players in Pigtails by Shana Corey

Did you know that one of America’s favorite songs, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” was written about a girl? And that in the 1940s girls all across America were crazy for our country’s favorite game?
These little known facts inspired Shana Corey to imagine a story about how one determined girl made her way to the big leagues & found a sisterhood of players in pigtails. With the same exuberant spirit that fueled the formation of the All American Girls Professional Baseball League, joyful text & jubilant pictures celebrate these brave girls’ love of the game & the league they called their own.

Carmela Full of Wishes by Matt de la Pena

When Carmela wakes up on her birthday, her wish has already come true–she’s finally old enough to join her big brother as he does the family errands. Together, they travel through their neighborhood, past the crowded bus stop, the fenced-off repair shop, and the panadería, until they arrive at the Laundromat, where Carmela finds a lone dandelion growing in the pavement. But before she can blow its white fluff away, her brother tells her she has to make a wish. If only she can think of just the right wish to make.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Carmela Full of Wishes HERE

Planting Stories by Anika Aldamuy Denise

When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy. An excellent biography for Hispanic Heritage Month.

A Spanish-language edition, Sembrando historias: Pura Belpré: bibliotecaria y narradora de cuentos, is also available.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Planting Stories HERE

Grace For President by Kelly diPucchio

“Where are the girls?” When Grace’s teacher reveals that the United States has never had a female president, Grace decides to be the first. And she immediately starts off her political career as a candidate the school’s mock election. But soon, she realizes that she has entered a tough race. Her popular opponent claims to be the “best man for the job”–and seems to have captured all the male votes–while Grace concentrates on being the best person. An excellent book for talking about elections or Presidents Day.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Grace For President HERE

Sweep by Louise Greig

Ed’s bad mood begins as something really small, hardly a thing at all. But before long it grows, gathers pace, and spreads through the whole town. Can Ed sweep his troubles away? This is a great book for social emotional learning and with the very visual representation of the saying “sweep your troubles away” it makes it really understandable and funny.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Sweep HERE

Pocket Full of Colors by Amy Guglielmo

Mary Blair lived her life in color: vivid, wild color. From her imaginative childhood to her career as an illustrator, designer, and animator for Walt Disney Studios, Mary wouldn’t play by the rules. At a time when studios wanted to hire men and think in black and white, Mary painted twinkling emerald skies, peach giraffes with tangerine spots, and magenta horses that could fly. If you want a great book for an art connection, this is a great choice!

She painted her world.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Pocket Full of Colors HERE

Apples to Oregon by Deborah Hopkinson

Apples, ho! When Papa decides to pull up roots and move from Iowa to Oregon, he can’t bear to leave his precious apple trees behind. Or his peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, and pears. Oh, and he takes his family along too. But the trail is cruel. First there’s a river to cross that’s wider than Texas, then there are hailstones as big as plums, and then there’s even a drought, sure to crisp the cherries. Luckily Delicious (the nonedible apple of Daddy’s eye) won’t let anything stop her father’s darling saps from tasting the sweet Oregon soil.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Apples to Oregon HERE

Salt In His Shoes by Deloris Jordan

Michael Jordan. The mere mention of the name conjures up visions of basketball played at its absolute best. But as a child, Michael almost gave up on his hoop dreams, all because he feared he’d never grow tall enough to play the game that would one day make him famous. That’s when his mother and father stepped in and shared the invaluable lesson of what really goes into the making of a champion—patience, determination, and hard work. Another great book for social emotional learning to talk to students about perseverance and grit.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Salt In His Shoes HERE

Fireboat by Maira Kalman

Teaching about September 11th? This is a great read aloud book for 3rd grade to help them understand that sad day in American history. The John J. Harvey fireboat was the largest, fastest, shiniest fireboat of its time, but by 1995, the city didn’t need old fireboats anymore. So the Harvey retired, until a group of friends decided to save it from the scrap heap. Then, one sunny September day in 2001, something so horrible happened that the whole world shook. And a call came from the fire department, asking if the Harvey could battle the roaring flames. In this inspiring true story, Maira Kalman brings a New York City icon to life and proves that old heroes never die.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Fireboat HERE

Rescue and Jessica by Jessica Kensky

Rescue thought he’d grow up to be a Seeing Eye dog — it’s the family business, after all. When he gets the news that he’s better suited to being a service dog, he’s worried that he’s not up to the task. Then he meets Jessica, a girl whose life is turning out differently than the way she’d imagined it, too. Now Jessica needs Rescue by her side to help her accomplish everyday tasks. And it turns out that Rescue can help Jessica see after all: a way forward, together, one step at a time. An endnote from the authors tells more about the training and extraordinary abilities of service dogs, particularly their real-life best friend and black lab, Rescue.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Rescue and Jessica HERE

The Raft by Jim LaMarche

Nicky is convinced that his summer with his grandmother in the Wisconsin woods is going to be the worst summer ever. She cooks food that he doesn’t like, there’s an art studio where her living room should be, and he’s expected to do chores—including fishing, the most boring chore ever.

But one afternoon, while Nicky is trying to catch their dinner, a raft drifts down the river towards him. The raft has a calming magic about it, affecting both Nicky and the wildlife of the river and woods. Through the raft and the adventures it brings him on, Nicky finds new common ground with his grandmother, a fellow river rat, who encourages him to explore his newfound talent for art. This is one of my favorite read aloud books for 3rd grade right at the end of the school year.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Raft HERE

Lift by Minh Le

Iris loves to push the elevator buttons in her apartment building, but when it’s time to share the fun with a new member of the family, she’s pretty put out. That is, until the sudden appearance of a mysterious new button opens up entire realms of possibility, places where she can escape and explore on her own. But when she’s forced to choose between going at it alone or letting her little brother tag along, Iris finds that sharing a discovery with the people you love can be the most wonderful experience of all. This is an excellent book to read for Asian American Heritage Month in May or to study relationships.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Lift HERE

You Are Special by Max Lucado

In the town of Wemmickville there lives a Wemmick named Punchinello. Each day the residents award stickers―gold stars for the talented, smart, and attractive Wemmicks, and gray dots for those who make mistakes or are just plain ordinary. Punchinello, covered in gray dots, begins to feel worthless. Then one day he visits Eli the woodcarver, his creator, and he learns that his worth comes from a different source.

Get the lesson plan and activities for You Are Special HERE

Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin

Wilson Bentley was always fascinated by snow. In childhood and adulthood, he saw each tiny crystal of a snowflake as a little miracle and wanted to understand them. His parents supported his curiosity and saved until they could give him his own camera and microscope. At the time, his enthusiasm was misunderstood. But with patience and determination, Wilson catalogued hundreds of snowflake photographs, gave slideshows of his findings and, when he was 66, published a book of his photos. His work became the basis for all we know about beautiful, unique snowflakes today. One of my favorite books for winter!

Get the lesson plan and activities for Snowflake Bentley HERE

Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick

Before Winnie-the-Pooh, there was a real bear named Winnie. And she was a girl!

In 1914, Harry Colebourn, a veterinarian on his way to tend horses in World War I, followed his heart and rescued a baby bear. He named her Winnie, after his hometown of Winnipeg, and he took the bear to war. Harry Colebourn’s real-life great-granddaughter tells the true story of a remarkable friendship and an even more remarkable journey–from the fields of Canada to a convoy across the ocean to an army base in England and finally to the London Zoo, where Winnie made another new friend: a real boy named Christopher Robin.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Finding Winnie HERE

Aliens Are Coming! by Meghan McCarthy

A picture-book account of one of the most famous pieces of radio history: the War of the Worlds broadcast. This is a really fun book to talk about evaluating sources.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Aliens Are Coming! HERE

The Girl Who Thought In Pictures by Julia Finley Mosca

If you’ve ever felt different, if you’ve ever been low, if you don’t quite fit in, there’s a name you should know… Meet Dr. Temple Grandin―one of the world’s quirkiest science heroes! When young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Girl Who Thought In Pictures HERE

The Remember Balloons by Jessie Oliveros

What’s Happening to Grandpa meets Up in this tender, sensitive picture book that gently explains the memory loss associated with aging and diseases such as Alzheimer’s. James’s Grandpa has the best balloons because he has the best memories. He has balloons showing Dad when he was young and Grandma when they were married. Grandpa has balloons about camping and Aunt Nelle’s poor cow. Grandpa also has a silver balloon filled with the memory of a fishing trip he and James took together.

But when Grandpa’s balloons begin to float away, James is heartbroken. No matter how hard he runs, James can’t catch them. One day, Grandpa lets go of the silver balloon—and he doesn’t even notice! Grandpa no longer has balloons of his own. But James has many more than before. It’s up to him to share those balloons, one by one.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Remember Balloons HERE

Hike by Pete Oswald

In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive — and closer than ever — as they document their hike and take their place in family history. In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Hike HERE

Chicken Sunday by Patricia Polacco

After being initiated into a neighbor’s family by a solemn backyard ceremony, a young Russian American girl and her African American brothers’ determine to buy their gramma Eula a beautiful Easter hat. But their good intentions are misunderstood, until they discover just the right way to pay for the hat that Eula’s had her eye on. A loving family story woven from the author’s childhood.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Chicken Sunday HERE

The Girl Who Ran by Frances Poletti

When Bobbi Gibb saw the Boston Marathon her mind was set-she had to be a part of it. But when the time came to apply for the marathon, she was refused entry. They told her girls don’t run, girls can’t run. That didn’t stop Bobbi. This picture book tells the true story of how she broke the rules in 1966 and how, one step at a time, her grit and determination changed the world.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Girl Who Ran HERE

My Papi Has a Motorcycle by Isabel Quintero

When Daisy Ramona zooms around her neighborhood with her papi on his motorcycle, she sees the people and places she’s always known. She also sees a community that is rapidly changing around her. But as the sun sets purple-blue-gold behind Daisy Ramona and her papi, she knows that the love she feels will always be there.

Get the lesson plan and activities for My Papi Has a Motorcycle HERE

Martin’s Big Words by Doreen Rappaport

Martin Luther King, Jr., was one of the most influential and gifted speakers of all time. Doreen Rappaport uses quotes from some of his most beloved speeches to tell the story of his life and his work in a simple, direct way. Bryan Collier’s stunning collage art combines remarkable watercolor paintings with vibrant patterns and textures. A timeline and a lsit of additional books and web sites help make this a standout biography of Dr. King. Definitely one of my favorite read aloud books for 3rd grade to talk about MLK and activism.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Martin’s Big Words HERE

Margaret and the Moon by Dean Robbins

A true story from one of the Women of NASA! Margaret Hamilton loved numbers as a young girl. She knew how many miles it was to the moon (and how many back). She loved studying algebra and geometry and calculus and using math to solve problems in the outside world.

Soon math led her to MIT and then to helping NASA put a man on the moon! She handwrote code that would allow the spacecraft’s computer to solve any problems it might encounter. Apollo 8, Apollo 9, Apollo 10, and Apollo 11. Without her code, none of those missions could have been completed.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Margaret and the Moon HERE

Otis and Will Discover the Deep by Barb Rosenstock

The suspenseful, little-known true story of two determined pioneers who made the first dive into the deep ocean.On June 6, 1930, engineer Otis Barton and explorer Will Beebe dove into the ocean inside a hollow metal ball of their own invention called the Bathysphere.

They knew dozens of things might go wrong. A tiny leak could shoot pressurized water straight through the men like bullets! A single spark could cause their oxygen tanks to explode! No one had ever dived lower than a few hundred feet…and come back. But Otis and Will were determined to become the first people to see what the deep ocean looks like.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Otis and Will Discover the Deep HERE

The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock

Caldecott medalist Mordicai Gerstein captures the majestic redwoods of Yosemite in this little-known but important story from our nation’s history. In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt joined naturalist John Muir on a trip to Yosemite. Camping by themselves in the uncharted woods, the two men saw sights and held discussions that would ultimately lead to the establishment of our National Parks.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Camping Trip That Changed America HERE

The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers

One day, William discovers that the tree outside his window has been sculpted into a wise owl. In the following days, more topiaries appear, and each one is more beautiful than the last. Soon, William’s gray little town is full of color and life. And though the mysterious night gardener disappears as suddenly as he appeared, William—and his town—are changed forever.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Night Gardener HERE

You Are Home by Evan Turk

Beneath the soaring doorways of stone,
and peaks that pierce the ceiling of clouds,
from every river, star, and stone
comes the eternal refrain:
you are home.

In simple, soaring language and breathtaking art, acclaimed author-illustrator Evan Turk has created a stirring ode to nature and nation. From the rugged coast of Maine to the fiery volcanoes of Hawaii, You Are Home reminds us that every animal, plant, and person helps make this land a brilliant, beautiful sanctuary of life. This recent discovery quickly became one of my favorite read aloud books for 3rd grade when talking about National Poetry Month and Earth Day!

Get the lesson plan and activities for You Are Home HERE

Grace Hopper Queen of Computer Code by Laurie Wallmark

Who was Grace Hopper? A software tester, workplace jester, cherished mentor, ace inventor, avid reader, naval leader—AND rule breaker, chance taker, and troublemaker. Acclaimed picture book author Laurie Wallmark (Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine) once again tells the riveting story of a trailblazing woman. Grace Hopper coined the term “computer bug” and taught computers to “speak English.” Throughout her life, Hopper succeeded in doing what no one had ever done before. Delighting in difficult ideas and in defying expectations, the insatiably curious Hopper truly was “Amazing Grace” . . . and a role model for science- and math-minded girls and boys. With a wealth of witty quotes, and richly detailed illustrations, this book brings Hopper’s incredible accomplishments to life.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Grace Hopper Queen of Computer Code HERE

Flotsam by David Wiesner

A bright, science-minded boy goes to the beach equipped to collect and examine flotsam–anything floating that has been washed ashore. Bottles, lost toys, small objects of every description are among his usual finds. But there’s no way he could have prepared for one particular discovery: a barnacle-encrusted underwater camera, with its own secrets to share . . . and to keep. An AMAZING wordless book that even though you can’t “read” it, its’ still one of the best read aloud books for 3rd grade!

Get the lesson plan and activities for Flotsam HERE

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down.

Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Each Kindness HERE

The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon by Dean Robbins

As a boy, Alan wanted to fly planes. As a young navy pilot, Alan wished he could paint the view from the cockpit. So he took an art class to learn patterns and forms. But no class could prepare him for the beauty of the lunar surface some 240,000 miles from Earth. In 1969, Alan became the fourth man and first artist on the moon. He took dozens of pictures, but none compared to what he saw through his artistic eyes. When he returned to Earth, he began to paint what he saw. Alan’s paintings allowed humanity to experience what it truly felt like to walk on the moon.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon HERE

I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott

What if words got stuck in the back of your mouth whenever you tried to speak? What if they never came out the way you wanted them to? When a boy who stutters feels isolated, alone, and incapable of communicating in the way he’d like, it takes a kindly father and a walk by the river to help him find his voice. When I first showed this book to students and told them that it was poetry, they groaned. After we read it, they couldn’t stop talking about it.

Get the lesson plan and activities for I Talk Like a River HERE

Paper Son by Julie Leung

An inspiring picture-book biography of animator Tyrus Wong, the Chinese American immigrant responsible for bringing Disney’s Bambi to life.

Before he became an artist named Tyrus Wong, he was a boy named Wong Geng Yeo. He traveled across a vast ocean from China to America with only a suitcase and a few papers. Not papers for drawing–which he loved to do–but immigration papers to start a new life. Once in America, Tyrus seized every opportunity to make art, eventually enrolling at an art institute in Los Angeles. Working as a janitor at night, his mop twirled like a paintbrush in his hands. Eventually, he was given the opportunity of a lifetime–and using sparse brushstrokes and soft watercolors, Tyrus created the iconic backgrounds of Bambi.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Paper Son HERE

The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen by Thelma Lynne Godin

Kameeka yearns to continue her hula hooping competition with her rival, Jamara, rather than help prepare for Miz Adeline’s birthday party, and “the itch” almost ruins the party before the girls learn who the real winner is.

Get the lesson plan and activities for The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen HERE

Best Read Aloud Books For 3rd Grade

What are some of your favorite read aloud books for 3rd grade? Are there any must-read read aloud books for 3rd grade that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!

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Looking for the best read aloud books for 3rd grade? These fun picture book read alouds for 3rd grade elementary students are engaging. Fiction and nonfiction books with lesson plans and activities linked. These are the best diverse picture book read alouds for 3rd graders. Many of these are award winning children's books about diverse characters, friendships, relationships, and for the whole year of third grade!
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Other Great 3rd Grade Read Aloud Stories

Looking for other great 3rd grade read alouds? Here are a few more to explore:

Best 3rd Grade Picture Books

Author Study 3rd Grade – The Ultimate List of Books

Realistic Fiction Books For 3rd Graders

Summer Reading List for 3rd Grade

32 Black History Month 3rd Grade Books

20 New Back to School Books for 3rd Grade

37 Narrative Nonfiction Books For 3rd Grade

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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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