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Best Books for Reluctant Readers

Boring and tired little boy reading book for elementary school

Even the most avid readers can find themselves stuck in a rut from time to time, feeling unsure what to read next. Whether your child is an avid reader who has pressed pause on their love of reading or a reluctant reader you have to persuade to read, there are times when getting your child to read can be a chore.
We filled this list with books that end on positive notes, feature adventure, fuel the imagination and, above all else, will ignite your child’s love of reading. If your child is a reluctant reader, then the words in these magical books might just make them lovers of reading after all. The stories featured below will grab your child’s imagination and pull them into interesting, exciting and enticing literary worlds.

Best Cultural Book

Save Me a Seat (Scholastic Gold) (Paperback)


List Price: $7.99 USD
New From: $5.89 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.78 USD In Stock

The beloved novel “Save Me A Seat” tells the story of Joe and Ravi, kids from very different backgrounds that only have one thing in common — school. Though the boys have few overlapping interests, they soon realize that the school bully is after them both, and they need to work together to take control of their own lives. This is a great book for teaching children about other cultures and how everyone can be friends, even though they are different. This book is highly recommended for reluctant readers from ages 8 to 12.

Most Heartwarming

The Wild Robot (The Wild Robot (1)) (Hardcover)


List Price: $16.99 USD
New From: $13.57 USD In Stock
Used from: $10.00 USD In Stock

Roz the robot wakes up and finds herself on an island where she has to fight for survival. From violent storms to scary bear attacks, Roz soon realizes that she needs to make friends with the island’s wild animals if she hopes to survive. Meanwhile, a big plot point looms: How did Roz end up there in the first place? Roz’s action-packed adventures will keep your child turning pages, eager to find out what happens when nature and technology collide. Featuring charming illustrations in black and white, this quirky story is recommended for ages 8 to 11 but will likely be enjoyed by kids of all ages.

Best Adventure

Gregor the Overlander (Paperback)


List Price: $7.99 USD
New From: $7.36 USD In Stock
Used from: $2.79 USD In Stock

A prophecy has foretold that Gregor has a role in a world that he didn’t even know existed. When he and his little sister fall through a grate in their laundry room, they land in a place known as the Underland. Fans of fantasy stories will soon find themselves engrossed in the adventures of Gregor as he tries to save this world, which is on the brink of war. Written by Suzanne Collins, the best-selling author of “The Hunger Games” series, this action-packed book will delight kids from ages 9 to 12 and have them eagerly awaiting the next volume.

Most Whimsical

Wishtree (Hardcover)


List Price: $16.99 USD
New From: $8.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $4.98 USD In Stock

Red, the narrator of “Wishtree,” is an old oak tree that is 216 rings old. All the animals, just like Red, have the ability to talk in this charming, warm and thoughtful story. Red is the wishtree in his neighborhood — residents come to Red to write down their wishes and tie them to the Red’s branches. But an anonymous boy is leaving hateful message on the wishtree for the neighborhood’s new familiy of Muslim refugees. Then, Red faces a threat to his own existence, and he must call on the animals to save him. Short in length and featuring a strong plot, this is the perfect book for a reluctant reader to sink their teeth into. Recommended for ages 8 to 12, this award-winning book will instill a love of reading into middle-grade children everywhere.

Most Fast-Paced

The Magic Misfits (Magic Misfits (1)) (Paperback)


List Price: $7.99 USD
New From: $6.39 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.22 USD In Stock

“The Magic Misfits” features six lovable characters and is set in a magical, sleepy New England town. When street magician Carter runs away, he never expects to find magic and friends in the little town where he stops. Soon, he and his new friends have to use magic and teamwork to defeat the B.B. Bosso crew, who have moved into town to steal anything they can find. This plot is fast-paced and teaches children the value of friendship, all while solving mysteries. The characters are delightful as they work together to save the town they’ve come to love in this book from actor Neil Patrick Harris that’s perfect for readers age 9 to 12.

Expert Commentary

“If you have a reluctant reader on your hands, a great way to help is with books that dive right into the action. I have also found that reading aloud to your child is a great way for them to get excited about the story and eventually gain confidence in their reading skills.”

Our Expert Consultant

Emily Watts

Emily Watts is a mother of three (she has two adopted children and one foster child). She also is a licensed teacher with experience educating children in complex life situations. Emily has over seven years of experience in alternative education. She is passionate about children and specializes in helping those who may need a little extra attention or special care.