Top 5 Books Every Elementary Student Should Read 2021

Our Survey Says

Reading is fundamental. No doubt about it. Books we read in our childhood still shape our values and goals everyday.

ESGI and ThinkFives asked hundreds of elementary school teachers which books they’d recommend that every child should read. Here are their classics.

Where The Red Fern Grows

Storyline: Set during the desolate days of the Depression, this is the story of a boy’s yearning for two Redbone Hound dogs, which his parents cannot afford. 

Opening Line: “When I left my office that beautiful spring day, I had no idea what was in store for me.”

Memorable Quotes:

  • “It’s not easy for a young boy to want a dog and not be able to have one.”
  • “I’m sure no one in the world can understand a young boy like his grandfather can.”
  • “I always took their kidding with a smile on my face, but it made my blood boil like the water in Mama’s teakettle.”
  • “I told them I wasn’t giving up until my dogs did.”

The Giving Tree

Storyline: Simply put, the relationship of a boy and a tree.

Opening line:  “Once there was a tree, and she loved a little boy.”

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Come, boy, sit down. Sit down and rest.”
  • “And the boy did. And the tree was happy.”
  • “And the boy loved the tree…….very much. And the tree was happy.”
  • “I wish that I could give you something…but I have nothing left.”
  • ″You may cut off my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy.”

Charlotte’s Web

Storyline: The story of a “terrific”  livestock pig named Wilbur and his life-saving friendship with a wise barn spider named Charlotte.

Opening Line: ‘“Where’s Papa going with that ax?” said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast.”

Memorable Quotes:

  • “If I can fool a bug…I can surely fool a man. People are not as smart as bugs.” 
  • “Good things come to those who find it and shove it in their mouth!”
  • “You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing.”
  • “People are very gullible. They’ll believe anything they see in print.”

Harry Potter

Storyline: The epic chronicle explores the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Opening Line: “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

Memorable Quotes:

  • “It is our choices…that show what we truly are far more than our abilities.”
  • “But you know, happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
  • “I mean, it’s sort of exciting, isn’t it, breaking the rules?”
  • “It matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be.”


Storyline: Auggie Pullman, an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, who shows us that kindness brings us together, no matter how far apart we are.

Opening line: “I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid. I mean, sure, I do ordinary things. I eat ice cream. I ride my bike. I play ball. I have an Xbox.”

Memorable Quotes:

  • “Sometimes I think my head is so big because it is so full of dreams”
  • “When given the choice between being right or being kind, choose kind.”
  • “I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”
  • “It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.”

Honorable Mentions

  • To Kill a Mockingbird,  Harper Lee
  • Bridge to Terabithia, Katherine Paterson
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
  • Oh the Places You’ll Go, Dr. Seuss
  • The Giver, Lois Lowry
  • Percy Jackson, Rick Riordan
  • The Outsiders, S. E. Hinton

What book would you add to the list?


  1. I would add Where The Wild Things Are. It’s a timeless classic, and a must-read for any elementary school children to expand your imagination.

What do you THINK?

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