Every Hero Has a Story

For Elementary Readers


May 2015

This recommended reading list provides a broad list of books related to this summer’s theme of heroes and superheroes. This list includes audio, braille, and large print titles and is recommended for those reading at a 2nd through 4th grade reading level up to a 3rd through 6th grade reading level.


To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through our catalog. Identification numbers for braille books begin with BR, large print books begin with LP, and audiobooks begin with DB or MOD. All audiobooks with the prefix DB and available braille books listed are linked to the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD) for downloading.

Grades 2 to 4


The Adventures of Captain Underpants Books 1-8 by Dav Pilkey


Read by Rick Rohan, Nancy Leonard, and Maurice Devany. Reading time: 9 hours, 12 minutes.

Two mischievous fourth graders, George and Harold, enjoy writing their own comic books about superhero Captain Underpants, who flies around in his underwear. Then one day they hypnotize their principal into thinking that he is Captain Underpants, and they have some amazing adventures with him. This book contains the first eight books of the Captain Underpants series. 2006.


The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto by Natalie Standiford

BR 52134

BR 50137

Recounts the life of Balto, the sled dog who saved Nome, Alaska, in 1925 from a diphtheria epidemic by delivering medicine through a raging snowstorm. 1989.


Captain Awesome to the Rescue! by Stan Kirby

Download Captain Awesome to the Rescue! DB 75084

Read by Mark Delgado. Reading time: 37 minutes.

Second-grader Eugene and his family move to Sunnyview, where he goes to a new school. When the class hamster Turbo is kidnapped, Eugene reveals his superhero alter ego Captain Awesome to rescue Turbo. 2012.


Johnny Appleseed by Steven Kellogg

Download Johnny Appleseed, DB 33072

LP 1362

Read by Jack Fox. Reading time: 10 minutes.

John Chapman, who later became known as Johnny Appleseed, was born in 1774 in Massachusetts. Near his home was an apple orchard, and John loved to watch the apples grow. The animals sensed his love of nature and grew to trust him. As soon as he was old enough, John left home to explore the West. He planted apple trees along the way, and the legends about him grew larger than life. 1988.


Just Joking 3 by Ruth Musgrave and the National Geographic Society

Download Just Joking 3, DB 76334

Read by Gregory Gorton. Reading time: 1 hour, 6 minutes.

Collection of zany knock-knock jokes, tongue twisters, silly question-and-answer jokes, and much more. 2013.


The Librarian of Basra by Jeanette Winter

BR 16016

As war come to Basra, Iraq, the city librarian worries that the books will be destroyed. When the governor refuses to help her, the librarian saves the books her own way. Relates events in the life of Alia Muhammad Baker. PRINT/BRAILLE. 2005.


The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

Download The Lorax, DB 31231

Read by John Stratton. Reading time: 14 minutes.

Once, when the grass was still green, and the pond was still wet, and the clouds were still clean, Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba-loots, and Humming-Fish lived happily among the Truffula Trees. The Once-ler settled in this beautiful place and discovered that he could make Thneeds, which sold quite handsomely, from the Truffula Trees. Overcome by greed, he did not heed the warning of the Lorax. 1971.


Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth by Jane O’Connor

Download Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth, BR 19820

LP 2439

As a fan of Nancy Drew, Nancy Clancy eagerly searches for a missing prized possession. Sleuth Clancy's investigation leads her to the culprit--who happens to be someone close to her. Nancy Clancy series, book 1. 2012.


Stink: Solar System Superhero by Megan McDonald

Download Stink, DB 70802

Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time: 1 hour, 8 minutes.

When Stink discovers that Pluto has been downgraded from its status as a planet, he launches a campaign in his classroom to restore its rank as a full-fledged member of the solar system. Stink series, book 5.  2010.


Stone Soup by Ann McGovern

Download Stone Soup, BR 07465

LP 0864

A young, weary traveler gets a meal fit for a king from a little old lady who claims to have no food, when he teaches her to make stone soup. 1986.


Grades 3 to 6


Animal Heroes: True Rescue Stories by Sandra Markle

Download Animal Heroes, BR 18380

Nine accounts of animals--from trained guide dogs to a cow, a pet cat, dolphins, and a capuchin monkey--that helped humans during accidents and disasters. Discusses Roselle, the guide dog, who led Mike Hingson from the seventy-eighth floor to safety as his World Trade Center tower collapsed. 2009.


Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Download Ella Enchanted, BR 15992

BR 50727

Download Ella Enchanted, DB 46186

LP 0247

LP 50086

Read by Margaret Strom. Reading time: 6 hours, 23 minutes.

Ella was cursed at birth by a fairy--who thought she was bestowing a gift--to always be obedient. After her mother dies, Ella is at the mercy of two bossy girls and their mother. The enchantment even puts her love for Prince Charmont at risk, and Ella is determined to get rid of it. 1997.


The Janitor’s Boy by Andrew Clements

BR 19727

LP 0707

In fifth grade Jack is embarrassed to attend the school where his father is a janitor. When a greeting prompts teasing from his classmates, Jack plans revenge. The prank backfires, but it gives him a chance to learn more about his dad. 2001.


The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Download The One and Only Ivan, BR 19679

Download The One and Only Ivan, DB 75687

Read by Joe Peck. Reading time: 3 hours, 37 minutes.

Ivan the gorilla has lived comfortably for years in a down-and-out, circus-themed mall. But when baby elephant Ruby arrives, Ivan decides that he must find her a better life. 2012.


Shredderman series by Wendelin Van Draanen


Secret Identity by Wendelin Van Draanen

Download Secret Identity, DB 59278

Read by Michael Russotto. Reading time: 1 hours, 47 minutes.

Fifth-grader Nolan Byrd aka Byrd-the-Nerd is tired of being picked on by the class bully, Bubba Bixby. A newspaper writing assignment allows Nolan to assume a secret identity--Shredderman--and seize the chance to anonymously expose Bubba's tormenting. Shredderman series, book 1. 2004.


Attack of the Tagger by Wendelin Van Draanen

Download Attack of the Tagger, DB 61105

Read by Michael Russotto. Reading time: 2 hours, 9 minutes.

Someone is spray-painting graffiti all over Cedar Valley Elementary School. Fifth-grader Nolan Byrd, who maintains the Shredderman web site, is determined to expose the tagger without revealing his own secret identity. Shredderman series, book 2.  2004.


Meet the Gecko by Wendelin Van Draanen

Download Meet the Gecko, DB 61239

Read by Michael Russotto. Reading time: 2 hours, 14 minutes.

On Nolan Byrd's eleventh birthday, his father takes him to meet his favorite young television star Chase Morton, the Gecko. Nolan helps his new friend by using his Shredderman web site to expose a sleazy photographer who makes Chase's life miserable. Shredderman series, book 3. 2005.


Enemy Spy by Wendelin Van Draanen

Download Enemy Spy, DB 62285

Read by Michael Russotto. Reading time: 2 hours, 26 minutes.

As the search for Shredderman's identity intensifies, Nolan stumbles across a possible spy-ring operation. Nolan's involvement in the case puts his superhero secret in jeopardy. Shredderman series, book 4. 2005.


Shelter Dogs: Amazing Stories of Adopted Strays by Peg Kehret

Download Shelter Dogs, DB 52181

Read by Renee Dutton-O’Hara. Reading time: 2 hours, 10 minutes

Features eight stray dogs that were adopted from shelters and went on to become service animals, actors, and heroes. "Zorro, the Champion That Nobody Wanted" relates how a large, lively canine became a star on a fly ball team.1999.


The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

Download The Tale of Despereaux, BR 15300

Download The Tale of Despereaux, DB 57805

LP 1414

Read by Jill Fox. Reading time: 3 hours, 57 minutes.

Despereaux, a small mouse, is condemned to the dungeon for falling in love with human Princess Pea. Despereaux meets the rat, Roscuro, while Mig, an upstairs serving girl, wishes to be a princess, too. All four meet with near disastrous results. Newbery Medal winner. 2003.


Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges

Download Through My Eyes, DB 52540

Read by Margaret Strom. Reading time: 1 hour, 29 minutes.

Ruby Bridges recounts her experiences as the six-year-old first African American to integrate an all-white school in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1960. She also discusses her reactions to the chants and the jeers and how that year changed her. 1999.


The Tree that Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston

Download The Tree that Time Built, DB 71809

Read by Jill Fox. Reading time: 3 hours, 27 minutes.

Anthology of poems for nature lovers with subjects ranging from dinosaurs to earthworms and fossils to butterflies. Poets include William Blake, Emily Dickinson, Carl Sandburg, and Valerie Worth. Features eighteen poets reading their own work. 2009.


True Green Kids: 100 Things You Can Do to Save the Planet by Kim McKay and Jenny Bronin

Download True Green Kids, DB 69573

Read by Kristin Allison. Reading time: 2 hours, 16 minutes.

Suggests ways to encourage personal involvement in protecting Earth's resources while at home, at school, in the outdoors, shopping, or on vacation. Recommends practicing the four Rs--reduce, reuse, recycle, and rethink--from limiting time in showers and eating organic foods to making environmentally themed movies. 2008.