Build a Better World

For Grade School Readers

 Build a Better World


This recommended reading list provides a broad list of books related to this summer’s theme of construction and recycling. 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 4th through 7th 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 WolfPAC. Identification numbers for braille books begin with BR, large print books begin with LP, and audiobooks begin with DB or DBC. All audiobooks and available braille books listed are linked to the Braille and Audio Reading Download site (BARD) for downloading.


Grades 2 to 4


The Boy Who Invented TV: The Story of Philo Farnsworth by Kathleen Krull


Read by Mike Stefanelli. Reading time:  24 minutes.

Describes the life of Philo Farnsworth (1906-1971), who, before radio or telephones were common, was interested in machines and electricity. Explains how plowing fields on the family farm helped fourteen-year-old Philo figure out the basis for television and go on to become a lifelong inventor. 2009.


The Case of the July 4th Jinx by Lewis B Montgomery

BR 19208; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

When things start going wrong at the Fourth of July celebration, it feels like a jinx. Milo and Jazz--with some help from world-famous private eye Dash Marlowe--investigate whether the so-called jinx is really sabotage. 2010.


The Lorax by Dr. Seuss


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.           


The Man Who Walked between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein

BR015045; web-braille not available. 

Tells of Frenchman Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the unfinished World Trade Center Towers in New York City. Discusses the sentence he received for this illegal act. PRINT/BRAILLE. Caldecott Medal. 2003.


Nancy Clancy, Super Sleuth by Jane O’Connor

BR019820; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 


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.


Now and Ben: The Modern Inventions of Benjamin Franklin by Gene Barretta

BR017002; web-braille not available. 

Discusses inventions of Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) that are still in use today, such as bifocal glasses, lightning rods, rocking chairs, and flippers for swimming. Mentions Franklin's establishment of public services like libraries and his written documents, including the Declaration of Independence. PRINT/BRAILLE.  2006.


A Splash of Red: the life and art of Horace Pippin by Jennifer Bryant

BR020564; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 


Read by Jill Fox. Reading time: 28 minutes. 

Horace Pippin loved to draw from the time he was a very small child. He drew pictures for his family and his classmates. As a soldier in World War I, he filled his notebooks with drawings, even though he was badly wounded. Returning home, he couldn?t lift his right arm. But he loved art too much to give up, and became a wonderful painter whose art is displayed in museums and galleries across the country. Show-Me Book Award nominee, 2015-2016. 2013.


Tumtum and Nutmeg: Adventures beyond Nutmouse Hall  by Emily Bearn


Read by Laura Giannarelli. Reading time: 8 hours, 12 minutes.

Three tales of daring escapades wherein big-hearted Tumtum Nutmouse and his wife Nutmeg secretly protect Arthur and Lucy, human siblings who also reside in Rose Cottage. Threats include pirating pond rats and the children's visiting aunt Ivy, while allies feature General Marchmouse and gerbils. 2009.


Grades 3 to 6


Alice's Adventures in Wonderland; and, Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There by Lewis Carroll

BR001412; web-braille not available. 



Read by Yvonne Fair Tessleer. Reading time: 6 hours, 11 minutes.

Extraordinary things happen when a little girl falls down a rabbit hole and encounters the White Rabbit, the Cheshire Cat, the Mad Hatter, and other unusual characters. Alice's second adventure takes her to a land with a peculiar back-to-front order in which everything is reversed. 1865.


Caught Stealing; Hoop Hustle; Soccer Shake-Up; Touchdown Triumph by Jake Maddox


Read by Joe Peck. Reading time: 2 hours, 53 minutes. 

In Caught Stealing, a valuable baseball card goes missing during a team sleepover. In Hoop Hustle, a missed curfew jeopardizes a boy's basketball dream. In Soccer Shake-Up, a player fails to take the sport seriously. In Touchdown Triumph, a family move threatens a football team's winning streak. 2015.


House of Robots by James Patterson


Read by Jack Patterson. Reading time: 3 hours, 1 minute. 

Fifth-grader Sammy struggles to fit in when his inventor mother requires him to take her latest creation, a robot named E, to school with him. Much to Sammy's horror and his classmates glee, he is supposed to show E how to be a regular student. House of Robots series, book 1. Commercial audiobook. 2014.


Where is ... ? by Patricia Demuth


Read by Kerry Dukin. Reading time:  6 hours, 28 minutes. 

Six books highlighting facts and history about important places in the world. Includes Where Are the Great Pyramids?, Where Is Mount Rushmore?, Where Is Niagara Falls?, Where Is the Empire State Building?, Where Is the Grand Canyon?, and Where Is the Great Wall? Where Is series, books 1-6. 2015.


Grades 4 to 7


11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass

BR018360; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. 


Read by Theresa Sullivan. Reading time:  5 hours, 23 minutes.

After celebrating their first nine same-day birthdays together, Amanda and Leo, having fallen out on their tenth and not speaking to each other for the last year, prepare to celebrate their eleventh birthday separately but peculiar things begin to happen as the day of their birthday begins to repeat itself over and over again. Mark Twain Award nominee, 2011-2012.


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

BR020541; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. 


Read by Jacqueline Woodson. Reading time:  3 hours, 58 minutes.

In this autobiography told through vivid poems, Woodson explores her childhood as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s and her growing awareness of the civil rights movement. Reflects on the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite her difficulties with reading as a child. Commercial audiobook. 2014.


Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett



Read by Ellen Reilly. Reading time:  4 hours, 48 minutes.

When strange and seemingly unrelated events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, sixth-grade classmates Petra and Calder combine their talents to investigate an international art scandal. 2004.


Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America's First Black Paratrooper  by Tanya Lee Stone

BR019865; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. 

Explores the history of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion, America's first black paratroopers. Recounts the racism the "Triple Nickles" faced and their success in defying old stereotypes and becoming a highly skilled combat company during World War II. 2013.


Fish in a Tree by Lynda Hunt

BR021151; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. 


Read by Kathleen McInerny. Reading time: 5 hours, 46 minutes.

Bullied and moved from different schools, sixth grader Ally creatively distracts anyone from discovering that she has problems reading. But one teacher, Mr. Daniels, helps her understand that she has dyslexia and encourages Ally to understand her feelings in a new way. 2015.


From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler  by E. L. Konigsburg

BR009549; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 



Read by Suzanne Toren. Reading time:  3 hours, 22 minutes.

Claudia, feeling misunderstood at home, takes her younger brother and runs away to New York City where she sets up housekeeping in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Newbery Medal. 1967.


Girls think of everything stories of ingenious inventions by women  by Catherine Thimmesh


Read by Nanette Savard. Reading time:  1 hour, 33 minutes. 

Profiles ten women and two girls who--through necessity, ingenuity, and hard work--responded successfully to challenges by inventing such items as Toll House cookies, glow-in-the-dark paper, the Snugli baby carrier, and windshield wipers. Includes instructions on how to apply for a patent. 2000.


Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling


Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling

BR014710 (Spanish); 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. 

BR017774; 2 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. 

BR050947; web-braille not available. 


DB050988 (Spanish)


Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time: 8 hours, 55 minutes.

Read by Maria Pino. Reading time: 9 hours, 20 minutes.

On Harry Potter's eleventh birthday, he learns that he is more than an unwanted orphan. The Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry recruits him because he has inherent magical abilities. As he purchases his school supplies--robes, wand, and messenger owl--Harry looks forward to attending his new boarding school. Harry Potter series, book 1. Bestseller. 1998.


Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling

BR012276; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. 

BR014711 (Spanish); 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. 

BR050950; web-braille not available. 


DB050989 (Spanish)


Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time: 10 hours, 13 minutes.

Read by Maria Pino. Reading time:  10 hours, 25 minutes.

Despite a warning not to return to Hogwarts for his second year of wizardry studies, Harry shows up. But Harry is in danger from the opened Chamber of Secrets as well as from his would-be protector. Harry Potter series, book 2. Bestseller. 1999.


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J. K. Rowling

BR012390; 3 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. 

BR014713 (Spanish); 4 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. 

BR050949;web-braille not available. 


DB050990 (Spanish)


Read by Eric Sandvold. Reading time: 12 hours, 54 minutes.

Read by Maria Pino.  Reading time: 13 hours, 14 minutes.

Harry is relieved to be back at Hogwarts for his third year with his friends Ron and Hermione even though he isn't completely safe. The escaped convict Sirius Black, a staunch supporter of Voldemort, is after Harry. Harry Potter series, book 3. Bestseller. 1999.


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling

BR012764; 10 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7. Volume 8. Volume 9. Volume 10. 

BR014713 (Spanish); 7 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7. 

BR050948web-braille not available. 


DB052975 (Spanish)


Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time:  21 hours, 57 minutes.

Read by Juan Ramirez. Reading time:  28 hours, 28 minutes.

The Dursleys and join his friends Hermione and Ron for the Quidditch World Cup before beginning his fourth year at Hogwarts. But his enemies have not forgotten him. Harry Potter series, book 4. 2000.


Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J. K. Rowling

BR014705; 13 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7. Volume 8. Volume 9. Volume 10. Volume 11. Volume 12. Volume 13. 

BR015643 (Spanish); 9 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7. Volume 8. Volume 9. 


DB058958 (Spanish)


Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time:  31 hours, 44 minutes.

Read by Maria Pino. Reading time: 32 hours, 35 minutes.

The first part of the summer after his fourth year at Hogwarts finds Harry back with the Dursleys, isolated in the Muggles' world. But that changes after he is attacked by Dementors. Harry Potter series, book 5. 2003.


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling

BR016000; 8 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7. Volume 8. 

BR016304 (Spanish); 6 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. 


DB061014 (Spanish)


Read by Erik Sandvold. Reading time: 22 hours, 14 minutes.

Read by Maria Pino. Reading time:  20 hours, 34 minutes.

Harry and his friends return for their sixth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Evil Voldemort's power increases daily and Harry encounters a prince. Harry Potter series, book 6. 2005.


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J. K. Rowling

BR17210; 10 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7. Volume 8. Volume 9. Volume 10. 

BR018711 (Spanish); 7 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. Volume 5. Volume 6. Volume 7. 

BR051694; web-braille not available. 


DB068968 (Spanish)


Read by Erik Sandvold.  Reading time: 25 hours, 8 minutes.

Read by Maria Pino. Reading time:  25 hours, 32 minutes.

This is the seventh and concluding volume in the series that follows young wizard Harry Potter and his friends and enemies through his years at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Harry Potter series, book 7. 2007.


The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy

BR020115; 4 volumes of braille. Volume 1. Volume 2. Volume 3. Volume 4. 


Read by Graham Halstead. Reading time:  11 hours, 37 minutes.

The four princes charming--Liam, Frederic, Duncan, and Gustav, band together once again to keep an object of great power from falling into the wrong hands. Hero's Guide saga, book 2. 2013.


Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths by Ingri D’Aulaire

BR014795; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 


Read by Annie Wauters. Reading time:  3 hours, 51 minutes.

Humorous, earthy retellings of the adventures of the gods, goddesses, and legendary figures of ancient Greece. 1962.


Mistakes that Worked by Charlotte Foltz Jones

BR012587; 1 volume of braille. Volume 1. 

Forty stories of things that were invented, discovered, or named by accident. Training dog guides for the blind began after a doctor's dog led a blinded WWI soldier across the hospital grounds. Other examples include Post-it Notes, Levis, Coca-Cola, cheese, aspirin, potato chips, and Ivory Soap. 1991.


Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper


Read by Jill Fox. Reading time:  6 hours, 27 minutes.

Cerebral palsy limits fifth grader Melody's physical movements and ability to speak but not her capacity to think. In an inclusion class, with the help of her university student aide, Melody figures out what she needs to truly communicate and in doing so surprises many people. Mark Twain Award nominee, 2012-2013. 2010.


The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone


Read by Michael McCullough. Reading time:  7 hours, 6 minutes.

On a sixth-grade field trip to the Art Institute of Chicago, Ruthie and Jack discover a small magic key that shrinks them to fit into the Thorne Rooms--minidioramas from different eras. But Ruthie and Jack are not the first visitors to explore inside these tiny rooms.  2010.


Volcanoes by Seymour Simon


Explains, in simple terms, the characteristics of volcanoes and describes some famous eruptions and their aftermath. 2006.


Wonderstruck: A Novel in Words and Pictures by Brian Selznick


Read by Laura Giannarelli. Reading time:  4 hours, 50 minutes.

After the death of his mother, Ben, who is deaf, travels to New York City's American Museum of Natural History, where he hopes to find his father. While searching he makes an incredible discovery. Mark Twain Award nominee, 2013-2014.  Schneider Award. 2011.