30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids


It can be a little scary when children begin reading books on their own. You're not sure what content they are picking up from the library shelves, and there are a great many books available to them that aren't appropriate for their growing minds.

That's why I'm giving you this list of 30 of our favorite wholesome books for elementary aged children. You won't have to worry about the content of these books! They are filled with encouraging, uplifting, inspiring messages and characters who are worthy of emulating.

You'll also find that most of these books contain challenging writing that builds your child's vocabulary so I've made this summer themed printable vocabulary journal that you can use to keep track of those challenging new words.


40 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids at LifeInTheNerddom.com


This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. This helps me keep my blog up and running without costing you a penny more! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

A Penny's Worth of Character
by Jesse Stuart

A genuine treasure of a book that tells the story of little Shan who lives in rural Kentucky. Shan makes a not-so-great choice that costs him much, but he feels much better after he finally makes things right. A wonderful story about the importance of honesty.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Anna, Grandpa, and the Big Storm
by Carla Stevens

All of New York is covered in snow and getting to school is quite the adventure for Anna and her grandpa. But Anna just has to get to school! It's the final day of the spelling bee that she has studied so hard for. My kids loved this fun adventure.



30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Baby Island
by Carol Ryrie Brink

As described by Amazon: "When a ferocious storm hits their ship, young Mary and Jean become stranded on a deserted island. They're not the only survivors; with them are four babies. Immediately the sisters set out to make the island a home for themselves and the little ones."  My kids were on the edge of their seats for this one and couldn't wait to get to each new chapter.



30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Benjamin Banneker: Pioneering Scientist
by Ginger Wadsworth

Known as the first American black man of science, Benjamin Banneker lived in a time when most black men were slaves, but he was free! He was curious and inventive and wanted to understand how things worked. This inspiring book looks at his and all that he accomplished. It is a very educational book with beautiful illustrations and lessons in hard work, determination, and helping others.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

The Chocolate Touch
by Patrick Skene Catling

Amazon describes this book—"In this zany twist on the legend of King Midas and his golden touch, a boy acquires a magical gift that turns everything his lips touch into chocolate! Can you ever have too much of your favorite food? John Midas is about to find out..." My kids giggle throughout this book. It's such a cute story that quickly became a favorite in our home.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Escape by Night 
by Laurie Myers

This is an edge-of-your-seat page-turner set in Civil War times. It covers slavery in the most age-appropriate manner I have seen. I love this review given on Amazon "As a homeschooling mother to elementary students who are ardent readers, I must additionally give credit to Ms. Myers for penning historical fiction that is beautifully rendered, well articulated, introspective, intriguing, classically illustrated, and of superior add-it-to-your-home-library-for-reading-again-and-again quality. Two thumbs way up!"


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Esperanza Rising
by Pam Munoz Ryan

This is a fabulous book that teaches how quickly life can change and why we should cherish every person and every moment. The main character, Esperanza, learns some very difficult lessons when she and her mother are forced to flee California and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp. This isn't a thrilling book, but it is packed with wonderful messages and has won numerous awards since it was published.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Five True Dog Stories
by Margaret Davidson

What child doesn't love adorable dog stories? Parents can rest easy knowing that there are lots of character building messages within these sometimes sweet, sometimes sad little stories.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

The Great Molasses Flood
by Beth Wagner Brust

Based on the molasses flood of Boston in 1919, young Maggie tries desperately to warn the townspeople of the danger, but they won't listen to her! This short little reader brings an element of The Boy Who Cried Wolf to a historical event. A fun read that children will love.



30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Henry and Bessie: What They Did in the Country
by Elizabeth Prentiss

I loved this adorable book! This is a wonderful look at what life is like in the country as Henry and Bessie learn to do farm chores. A charming little book that should be on every child's shelf!


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

The Journey of Ching Lai
by Eleanor Frances

We loved this beautiful tale of Ching Lai and his adventures on a runaway donkey. There are wonderful lessons about obedience, natural consequences of disobedience, courage in the face of the unknown, and the importance of honesty. We loved this book.




30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Kate Shelley and the Midnight Express
by Margaret K. Wetterer

This is the adventurous true story of Kate Shelley who saved many lives during a flood in Iowa. Her bravery and resourcefulness are an inspiration to readers.


Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie
by Peter and Connie Roop

This is one of those rare books that packs so much into just a few pages. This inspiring true story of Abbie Burgess is one of bravery, responsibility, endurance, determination, and the importance of working together. Your children will be on the edge of their seats as they read about this wonderful role model.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

The King's Equal
by Katherine Paterson

This is such a beautiful little story. The vain prince Raphael learns some very valuable lessons in humility and selflessness as he searches for a bride who is his equal in beauty, intelligence, and wealth. This is a wonderful story that every child should read!


Lions in the Barn
by Virginia Voight

This was a read-aloud in our house and the kids didn't want me to stop reading. Virginia Voight gives us an engaging, heart-warming story about young Clay and his family who board a group of circus animals in their barn during the winter. This is a wonderful read with lovely lessons in responsibility, courage, and honesty.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Lumber Camp Library 
by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

Beautiful writing tells the story of young Ruby and her family and their life in the rolling hills of Vermont. This is a heart-warming story full of lessons in kindness, courage, perseverance, and the importance of family. This is a favorite in our home.


The Mail Wagon Mystery
by May Justus

"An adventure awaited the six Murray children! They had been invited to stay with their relatives out of town while their mother recovered from an illness. Little did they know that an ancient feud, a charge against their uncle, and a mysterious stranger in the town would motivate them to unite as family and friends to unravel a mystery." This was such a delight to read! The author does a wonderful job of keeping the mystery a real secret! My kids loved it.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

No Mountain Too High
by Myrna Grant

This is the inspiring story of Gladys Aylward who purchased a one-way ticket to China for the sole purpose of doing what God had told her to do—no matter what. Her bold determination and courage saved the lives of over 100 children! This is truly a must-read book for all children.


Prairie School
by Avi

Noah doesn't understand why he needs to learn to read. He's a farm boy, after all, and farm boys don't need an education. But his Aunt Dora finally convinces him, and his life is changed forever. Your children will love this heartwarming tale set in 1880's Colorado.



30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Sarah Plain and Tall
by Patricia MacLachlan

Anna and her brother Caleb live on the prairie. Their Papa places an advertisement for a wife and mother which is answered by Miss Sarah Elisabeth Wheaton, who describes herself as "plain and tall." The children anxiously await her arrival and fill the time with questions—will she sing, will she be nice, will she want to stay? This charming book will quickly become a favorite!


Slave Boy in Judea
by Josephine Sanger Lau

I truly loved this engaging story about young Madoc who is sold as a slave to Roman stationed in Judea. Even though Madoc is well-treated, he is determined to escape his captor and return to his mother—wherever she might be! This was so inspiring to read. I highly recommend it.


Star of Wild Horse Canyon
by Clyde Robert Bulla

This delightful little book is out of print but you can find a few copies on Amazon. A classic tale of a boy and his horse and all the wonderful adventures that they have together. Your children will love the engaging writing and will learn valuable lessons in forgiveness and being kind to others.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

The Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf

This heart-warming book is a true classic and one that has been read numerous times in our home. The kids adore Ferdinand and his gentle ways. I think yours will too!


Summer of the Monkeys
by Wilson Rawls

From Amazon: "The last thing a fourteen-year-old boy expects to find while trekking through the Ozark mountains of Oklahoma is a tree full of monkeys. But then Jay learns from his grandpa that the monkeys have escaped from a traveling circus...By the end of the 'summer of the monkeys,' Jay Berry will have learned a lot more than he bargained for—and not just about monkeys..."  We love this book so much. It's been read many times.


Thimbleberry Stories
by Cynthia Rylant

Amazon describes this book: "Nigel Chipmunk lives in a cozy little cottage on Thimbleberry Lane, and he has wonderful neighbors who are always up for a visit or an adventure. With heartwarming illustrations and old-fashioned charm, this oh-so-gentle storybook is perfect for a snuggly read-aloud and to be shared with the dearest of friends!"



30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Ten Mile Treasure
by Andre Norton

Amazon describes this book as follows: "A secret plan, a mystery cave . . . and a summer full of excitement! When Christie Kimball and her family start a new life on a run-down Arizona ranch—once a bustling stagecoach stop in the Old West—their lives take an unexpected turn...But when the Kimball kids and their Navajo friends go exploring in the desert and stumble on a mysterious treasure chest hidden deep in a cave—the real adventure begins." This is an exciting and fun read for the whole family.


Twenty and Ten
by Claire Hutchet Bishop

If you're looking for an age appropriate book for introducing children to World War II, then look no further. This wonderful book tells the story of ten Jewish refugee children who are hidden away among twenty French children in the mountains. We have enjoyed this one many times.




30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

Walter the Lazy Mouse
by Marjorie Flack

I loved reading this adorable little book to my kids when we were dealing with some laziness issues! This sweet story follows Walter, a lazy little mouse, who is so lazy that his family forgets about him and moves away without him. He sets out on a great adventure to find his family and learns some valuable lessons along the way.


When the Soldiers Were Gone
by Vera W. Propp

Jim Trelease, the author of The Read-Aloud Handbook, had this to say about When the Soldiers Were Gone: “Vera Propp has done a masterful job of reducing the terrors of the Holocaust and war to the believable scale of an eight-year-old. Anytime we bring the inhumanity of war to children through literate, there is the risk of either traumatizing the child or trivializing the event. Not so here. What is obvious in this book, besides the charity and tenderness with which it is told, is the fact that the author truly understands children – the ones in the book and the ones who will read it.” I couldn't agree more!


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids

The White Stallion
by Elizabeth Shub

A sweet, encouraging story of bravery. Young Gretchen finds herself separated from her family's wagon train as they travel west. Lost and alone, she discovers a beautiful white stallion who gives her hope and courage. A quick and fun read.



If you enjoy these books and would like a resource for more wholesome books for elementary kids you'll want to check out The Good and the Beautiful's Book List. It's a free downloadable list of more than 650 clean content books that have high literary and moral value.


Don't forget to pick up your FREE printable vocabulary journal!


This post is part of the 10 Days of Wholesome Summer Reading series. Be sure to check out all of the posts and visit the other contributing bloggers for lots of encouragement and freebies!




This post may contain some affiliate links for your convenience, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission. This helps me keep my blog up and running without costing you a penny more! Click here to read my full disclosure policy.


30 Wholesome Books for Elementary Kids at LifeInTheNerddom.com
Posted in Free Resources, Homeschool Life and tagged , , .

One Comment

  1. Thank you so much for these book lists! I was surprised to find that on the picture book list, almost all were new to me. As an expat homeschooling mama, I’m always trying to find people coming to visit who have space to bring along books. These are going straight to my wish list!!

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