So far, I've read several good middle grade novels. None of these are really a match for 3rd graders but they seem great for 4th-6th.
Ship of Dolls by Shirley Parenteau is a book that I think lots of kids will like. It is a great into into historical fiction for kids new to that genre. The story is about the dolls that America sent to Japan in 1926. This is the story of one girl and one doll. Lexie is dealing with the death of her father. She has recently moved in with her grandparents so there is lots of change in her life. But her class is sending a doll to Japan as part of the Friendship Doll and Lexie feels very connected to the doll. Loved the stories and the characters in this one and learned a lot about the Friendship Dolls. I can think of several 4th graders who might like this one.