Realistic fiction is a great way for young people to learn more about real-world problems and relationships. It’s also a great way for kids to see themselves in, and feel for, characters who are in the same situation as them, and to help them understand them. These are some of the best contemporary realistic fiction books for kids because they make kids think while also giving them a real look at what it’s like to be human.
Realistic Fiction Books for Kids on Epic
My Fourth of July
By: Jerry Spinelli
Illustrated by: Larry Day
This lively picture book is all about celebrating the Fourth of July, which is the birthday of the United States. He wakes up on the big day to the sounds of parades, drums, and chimes. Other kids are waving their flags as they walk down the street. His mom is getting ready for the big picnic, so he starts to help her out.
The little kids will love to watch the boy as he has a great time at all of the events and activities that happen during the day. When they read the story, they’ll get excited as it gets closer to the main event (the fireworks show), and their parents will enjoy reliving old memories from their own childhood.
Third Grade Angels (Audiobook)
By: Jerry Spinelli
Warm and funny, “Fourth Grade Rats” is a prequel to “Suds.” George (also known as “Suds”) is starting third grade in this book. I don’t know what that rhyme is supposed to mean. He knows it. For him, it means getting Mrs. Simms’ “halo” for being kind and being good. Suds wants to win, but will the pressure to always be good make it too hard for him?
Henry’s Freedom Box (Audiobook)
By: Ellen Levine
He wants to be free. This is a heartwarming true story about hope and how to hold on to your dreams at all costs. Henry Brown is a young slave. One day, his family is sold, and he’s put to work in a warehouse as a worker. Then he grows up and marries a young woman, who is also a slave, and they have a child. But when she is sold, he takes a risk and mails himself to the North, making the long journey in a crate toward freedom.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8
By: Beverly Cleary
Illustrated by: Jacqueline Rogers
Even if she’s talking to her third-grade teacher or making friends with the school bully, Ramona Quimby’s childhood is full of things that other kids have been through. After she turns eight, she has more to do and more to expect. It’s her job to be polite for Mrs. Kemp and ride the bus on her own. He or she will understand Ramona’s good times and bad times. They will laugh with her as she goes on her adventures from the past that are still fun to this day!
Nina Soni: Former Best Friend
By: Kashmira Sheth
Illustrated by: Jenn Kocsmiersky
This own-voices chapter book is part of a series that follows Nina, an Indian American girl who is both lovable and a little scatterbrained. She has to deal with real-life problems. This is Nina’s first book, and she has to deal with a lot. She has a writing assignment due, but she doesn’t know what to write about. Her best friend is mad at her because she accidentally destroyed his project, and her little sister Kavita’s birthday is coming up soon. Can she keep track of everything and come out on top?
By: Elizabeth Doyle Carey
When your child reads this real-life chapter book, he or she will learn about friendship, female empowerment, and a lot of fun at the beach. Summer Lifeguards: Piper is excited to be a junior lifeguard, but she doesn’t want to wear a bathing suit. This heartwarming story is full of things that older kids in elementary and middle school can relate to. It shows kids how important it is to love yourself and be there for others.
Save Me a Seat (Audiobook)
By: Sarah Weeks, Gita Varadarajan
joe is a white person. Ravi is an Indian American who lives in the United States All of Joe’s life, he’s lived in the same town. Ravi is the new kid who just moved to the United States. As soon as they figure out that the class bully is their enemy, the two of them don’t think much of each other. The two form a friendship, and they help each other as they deal with friendship, family, and school.
Just A Drop of Water
By: Kerry O’Malley Cerra
They are inseparable until after the tragic events of 9/11, when Sam and his family face anti-Muslim hostility in their neighborhood. People in their town learn that one of the people who attacked them lives there. As the kids at school work through how they feel, their classmate, Bobby, hits Sam because he is an Arab Muslim. People think Jake is guilty of the crimes when Sam’s father is questioned by the FBI. Your child will learn how important it is to stay with your friends even when things are scary and hard.
Main Street #5: The Secret Book Club (Audiobook)
By: Ann M. Martin
Friends They are about to spend the summer in Camden Falls, but a mysterious person starts leaving them well-loved books on their doorstep. The books come with instructions on how to read and talk about them, so you know what to do. There are also books for their friends Olivia and Nikki. So they decide to start a summer reading group with all of them. It’s interesting when they find connections between what they’re reading and what they’re going through in real life.
Other Tips and Suggestions
Our list of realistic fiction books for kids is good, and you should check it out. We’ve chosen a few more things you can buy on Amazon, so have a look at them.
Because of Winn-Dixie
By: Kate DiCamillo
She came home with a dog named Winn-Dixie one summer day when she was 10. But Winn-Dixie isn’t like any other dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal starts making new friends and meeting new people There is a reason why she finally asks her father about the mother who left when she was a child. It is because of Winn-Dixie. In this book by Kate DiCamillo, almost everything that happens this summer is because of Winn-Dixie, who is the star of the show.
Dead End in Norvelt
By: Jack Gantos
He has big plans for an exciting summer in this imaginative piece of history. Then his plans come to a halt when he’s banned “for life.” He’s going to have more fun than he thinks when he’s asked to write obituaries for an old friend. It moves from surreal to a little off kilter to hilarious. The story follows Jack as he goes on a journey that includes melting wax, a home-made plane, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, and other things.
Fifth-grade Auggie Pullman is a normal kid who has a very unique face. In other words, it won’t be easy for someone who was homeschooled to go to a mainstream public school for the first time. This is what he wants: to be treated like everyone else, but his classmates can’t get past the way he looks. This critically acclaimed graphic novel will teach your child the value of empathy, compassion, and respecting one another’s different ways of being.
By: Andrew Clements
Principal Kelling has a folder that’s as big as a phonebook, and it’s always getting bigger and bigger, as well. The reason for this is that every time Clayton breaks the rules, a new incident report is added to the stack. That makes it more difficult for him when he decides it’s time to change his ways. You and your child will have a good time reading this book about the difference between harmless mischief and dangerous behavior.