Books for Gifted Students

All Time Favorite Books from Baby to 8th Grade

books for gifted children

These are our favorite, time-tested books for gifted young children and students in elementary and middle school.  Our recommended grade levels are adjusted for high ability readers. For example, a book that is written for typical 12 year olds might be listed here under a younger age – such as 8 or 9.

Again, these grade suggestions are based on our experience with Lucy and other children in our gifted classrooms. Additionally, these books should be content-safe for the grade level listed, but parental and educator guidance is always suggested, as our recommendations are subjective.

For gifted kids ages 2 and up, please also check out our huge list of our favorite websites for gifted children and games for gifted children.

Newbery Award Winning Books – We rely heavily on Newbery Award Winners for all age levels. Using these awards is way to vet out great authors and works of literature when building your library.

Books for Gifted Kids by Age

Books for Gifted Babies
Books for Gifted Preschoolers
Books for Gifted Kindergarteners
Books for Gifted 1st and 2nd Graders
Books for Gifted 3rd Graders
Books for Gifted 4th Graders
Books for Gifted 5th Graders
Books for Gifted 6th Graders
Books for Gifted 7th – 8th Graders (Middle School)

Books for Gifted Babies (Ages 0 – 3)

This portion of the list is for newborn – Age 3 and ordered starting with our earliest reads and ending with all-time favorite books from ages 2-3. Some of these books may only be available used or from 3rd party sellers. Also, as a side note looking back at our own book collection, I ordered this one when Lucy was about 3 months old (showing signs of extreme intensity!) >> Raising Your Spirited Child. I highly recommend it for parents of gifted children.

Gifted babies are generally very attracted to books and begin reading at a very early age (Lucy was reading many words by 18 months!), so we did not want to leave our favorite baby books off the list. Mom’s Note: I found that Lucy wasn’t drawn to some of the more “popular” baby books because she preferred real pictures to illustrations from 0-3, so many of these baby books contain photographs and not illustrations. These can be challenging to find! You may see that many of the books I’ve noted are no longer published, but still can be found on Amazon or at your used bookstore. Again, the books under Books for Gifted Babies are time-tested by my family and they are gifted-child approved! They are well worth the purchase, whether new or used 🙂

  1. Sleepy Dog – A fantastic book! We bought multiple copies that got dog-eared from so much reading.
  2. So Big! – I tear up a little about thinking how much we read this one. It’s a must buy.
  3. Touch and Feel: Wild Animals (Touch & Feel)
  4. Touch and Feel: Farm
  5. First 100 Words
  6. Five in A Bed – We LOVED LOVED this book! A must buy!
  7. Twinkle Twinkle
  8. Animals (Baby Touch and Feel
  9. My Big Animal Book
  10. Baby Einstein: Violet’s House – Possibly the most favorite book in this category
  11. Jamberry
  12. Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown
  13. Good Night, Gorilla
  14. Goodnight Moon – Classic
  15. DVD how Lucy learned her letters! LeapFrog: Letter Factory

Books for Gifted Preschoolers (Ages 3-4)

Most of the books here are for gifted children who are starting to read. Lucy was reading fluently at age 3-4. The same theme continues here that Lucy was more drawn to non-fiction and books with real photos, so our entire library at this age was comprised mainly of the Step into Reading book series.

  1. Today I Feel Silly: And Other Moods That Make My Day by Jamie Lee Curtis
  2. Step into Reading Level 2
  3. Step Into Reading Level 3
  4. Tikki Tikki Tembo

Books for Gifted Preschoolers –  Kindergarteners (Ages 4-5)

In general, we highly recommend the “Step into Reading” Series because they are inexpensive and great reads! There are way too many to list, but you can search by Levels 1-5.

  1. Step into Reading Level 4
  2. Arthur Step Into Reading Books – A beloved series around age 4
  3. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Books for Gifted 1st – 2nd Graders

  1. American Girl Series – for gifted girls, obviously. Great series! The American Girl Movies are equally good if your daughter is done with all of the animated, brainless stuff and loves the books.
  2. TIME for Kids BIG Book of Why: 1,001 Facts Kids Want to Know
  3. The Tale of Despereaux
  4. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  5. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  6. Frindle by Andrew Clements
  7. What Was Ellis Island?
  8. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  9. Matlida by Roald Dahl
  10. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library
  11. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
  12. The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  13. The Boxcar Children Series
  14. Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series – ALL kids, gifted or not, love this series!
  15. The Graveyard Book

Books for Gifted 3rd Graders

  1. Bud, Not Buddy
  2. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
  3. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  4. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg
  5. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Di-Camillo
  6. The One and Only Ivan
  7. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  8. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  9. Yellow Star
  10. Harry Potter  – Note that Harry Potter is often read by 1st and 2nd grade gifted children, but it’s a challenging read even for gifted kids.

Books for Gifted 4th Graders

  1. The Pushcart War (New York Review Children’s Collection)
  2. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’ Dell
  3. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  4. Holes by Louis Sachar
  5. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  6. Rules by Cynthia Lord
  7. The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles 30th Anniversary Edition by Julie Andrews Edwards
  8. The 39 Clues Series
  9. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  10. The Trumpet and the Swan by E.B White
  11. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  12. Mandy – Julie Andrews Collection
  13. Bloomability by Sharon Creech
  14. The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull
  15. Number the Stars
  16. The Candymakers

Books for Gifted 5th and 6th Grade Students

  1. The Giver (Giver Quartet)
  2. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle
  3. The Kane Chronicles Box Set
  4. Percy Jackson and the Olympians 
  5. The Twilight Saga White Collection
  6. Wonder by R.J Palacio
  7. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  8. The Trouble Begins: A Box of Unfortunate Events
  9. The Heroes of Olympus
  10. What If?: Serious Scientific Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions
  11. Boys without Names
  12. A Long Walk to Water: Based on a True Story
  13. The Madman of Piney Woods
  14. Greenglass House by Kate Milford
  15. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
  16. Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children
  17. The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place by E.L Konigsburg
  18. The Silver Star by Jeanette Walls
  19. A Friendship For Today 

Books for Gifted Middle Schoolers (7th – 8th Grade)

As a parent, this is the TOUGHEST age to find non-fiction works that are both challenging, inspiring, and not always centralized around teen/early adult storylines that middle school students just don’t need yet. These are in no particular order:

  1. The Hunger Games Trilogy: The Hunger Games / Catching Fire / Mockingjay
  2. The Maze Runner Series
  3. The Maze Runner Series (Maze Runner)
  4. The Six of Crows Duology Boxed Set (Six of Crows and Sequel Crooked Kingdom)
  5. Their Eyes Were Watching God
  6. Thirteen Reasons Why
  7. Watership Down: A Novel
  8. The House of the Scorpion
  9. To Kill a Mockingbird
  10. Fahrenheit 451: A Novel
  11. Looking for Alaska
  12. The Perks of Being a Wallflower
  13. Native Son (Perennial Classics) – Warning Mature Themes
  14. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Modern Classics) – Warning Mature Themes