Best Books for Fifth-Graders

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When Peter’s father enlists in the army, he makes Peter release Pax back into the wild before he goes to live at his grandfather’s house. Peter misses Pax dearly, and sets off to find him again. This book alternates perspectives between Pax and Peter, detailing their different adventures as they long to be reunited. This book is full of love, grief and adventure, and makes a wonderful book for fifth-graders to read at home or school.

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Annemarie’s best friend, Ellen, is at risk of being taken away by Nazis. Annemarie’s family takes Ellen in and pretends she’s one of their own in an effort to save her as they move from Denmark to Sweden. This story details WWII in a way many YA books don’t, shedding light on the many horrors from that time. Annemarie’s perspective shows the potential that humans have for goodness and generosity during times of trouble.

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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.

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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 make the reading an educational and memorable experience.

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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.

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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.

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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.”