The Scripps National Spelling Bee receives a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

Best Books for Fifth-Graders

Young girl in book store reading comics

As students in fifth grade develop critical thinking skills, reading becomes an ever more important activity. Not only does reading enhance their vocabulary, but it also teaches them important lessons that prepare them for adulthood.

Here are a few of the best books for fifth graders to add to their reading lists. These books were chosen due to their imaginative plots and excellent imagery, which are sure to build your child’s excitement for reading. Each of these books offers a dose of entertainment and is useful for teaching fifth-grade students about different cultures and important life lessons through various ethical dilemmas. Children can improve their comprehension skills while reading the books on this list, and they are all great books to read aloud with adults who can join in on the fun.

Best Historical Fiction

A Single Shard (Paperback)


List Price: $7.99 USD
New From: $5.35 USD In Stock
Used from: $3.50 USD In Stock

Set in the 12th century, “A Single Shard” is a compelling story with the general theme of doing what’s right. It offers excellent character development and a clear story arc. This is an adventure story that focuses on building self-esteem, and young readers will learn about loyalty and commitment through this heartwarming tale

The main character is a young boy who is trying to find his way as an orphan when he stumbles across a community of master potters. The content is rich in history, explaining the multiple invasions and provincialism in Korea. A significant amount of factual information about pottery is also provided, which is worked gracefully into the storyline. The author also provides an upfront discussion about morality.

Most Emotional

Louisiana’s Way Home (Hardcover)


List Price: $16.99 USD
New From: $8.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $8.54 USD In Stock

This novel puts children’s resilience on display with a compelling tale about a young girl, Louisiana, who is forced to leave home in the middle of the night. Set in the 1970s, this book has a fairy-tale quality and includes plenty of heroes and villains, in addition to a princess looking for her home. It delivers fantastic character development and a tender touch on the idea that home is more than just a place.

The reader follows Louisiana to discover what home really means as she travels from Florida to Georgia with her grandmother. The main character has a strong, honest voice and tells her story with raw emotion. Louisiana works hard to maintain her friendships and is a character who is easy to love and care about. It’s difficult not to simultaneously laugh and hold back tears while reading this heartfelt book. DiCamillo’s imagery and vocabulary makes the reading an educational and memorable experience.

Best Storyline

Restart (Paperback)


List Price: $6.99 USD
New From: $5.59 USD In Stock
Used from: $1.60 USD In Stock

This story deals with ethical dilemmas, bullying and prejudice in a relatable way. The plot includes multiple perspectives without any repetition. Each chapter is told from the point of view of a different character.

The main character, Chase, falls off a roof and suffers from amnesia. Self-reflection plays a major role in this story as he begins to realize how his past actions have affected the people around him. Readers are given the opportunity to make connections from this story to their personal lives, helping them understand important life lessons and reflect on the implications of their own behavior. The book offers insight into middle school students’ daily experiences and the social pressures they endure.

Relatable Story

The Grand Plan to Fix Everything (Paperback)


List Price: $8.99 USD
New From: $5.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.99 USD In Stock

This story offers a unique look into life in a small village in India, allowing the reader to imagine what it would be like to relocate to another country. The story is told with wit and heart, making it engaging, while the lively and vibrant narrative helps improve writing and communication skills (especially for fifth graders).

The content allows kids to learn about a new culture along with Dini as she encounters plenty of surprises and culture shocks. The author puts her own unique spin on the English language, which sings and dances along the pages while following the cadences of the Hindi and Tamil languages.

Most Thrilling

Danger Gang and the Pirates of Borneo! (Paperback)


List Price: $7.99 USD
New From: $5.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.99 USD In Stock

Children who enjoy adventure won’t be able to put this book down because of the exciting plot and unexpected twists. This fast-paced, comical update of a classic swashbuckler includes a perilous journey through land, sea and air. Young readers will be drawn to the beautifully illustrated cover and enjoy the heroic character of Ronald.

The dual narrative structure of the main character’s exaggerated recounting of events offers plenty of entertainment. Readers will find the wordplay and humor masterfully conceived.

Expert Commentary

“In the fifth grade, many parents, teachers and caregivers are already thinking about preparation for high school. Including information around life events and other aspects of adulthood in reading can be helpful. If possible, encouraging reading that involves global geography is also recommended to keep expanding the child’s horizons and knowledge base.”

Our Expert Consultant

Kelsey Daubenmier

Kelsey Daubenmier is a licensed primary school teacher with over 10 years of experience in primary education. Kelsey thoughtfully balances the demands of raising four children with the never-ending stack of papers to grade and lesson plans to prepare. In the last decade, Kelsey has gained experiences educating children as young as 5 and as old as 11. She is passionate about bringing the best possible baby and children’s products to you and your loved ones.