BIRCHWOOD MEDIA CENTER RECOMMENDED READING FOR FIFTH GRADERS
(See also the Fourth Grade list and 5th grade student reviews of American Westward Movement fiction.)


(Lists compiled by Mrs. Disque, Media Specialist at Birchwood)

All titles listed are fiction, unless otherwise noted.

Adler, C. S.
- That Horse, Whiskey, Magic Of The Glits, and others

Applegate , Katherine A. - "The Animorph" Books

Auch, Mary Jane - Journey to Nowhere, Frozen Summer, The Road to Home

 Picture of Crispin, the Cross of Lead

Avi - Encounter at Easton, Fighting Ground, Smuggler's Island, The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle (1991 Newbery Honor Book), Crispin: The Cross of Lead (2003 Newbery Winner), Poppy, The Secret School, and many others. Click here for a biographical sketch of Avi.

Banks, Lynne Reid - Indian In The Cupboard, Return Of The Indian, Harry th Poisonous Centipede and others. Click here for a biographical sketch of Lynne Reid Banks.

Bauer, Marion - On My Honor (1987 Newbery Honor Book), A Question Of Trust , Runt, Ghost Eye , Land of the Buffalo Bones: The Diary of Mary Elizabeth Rodgers, an English girl in Minnesota (Dear America book), and others.

Bennett, Cherie - Searching for David's Heart

Brink, Carol Ryrie (1895-1981) - Caddie Woodlawn

Bruchac, Joe
   Skeleton Man - After her parents disappear and she is turned over to the care of a strange "great-uncle," Molly must rely on her dreams about an old Mohawk story for her safety and maybe even for her life.
   Journal of Jesse Smoke: A Cherokee Boy: The Trail of Tears, 1837 (Dear America book), Children of the Longhouse, Sacajawea: The Story of Bird Woman and the Lewis and Clark Expedition, and others

Burnett, Frances Hodgson (1849 - 1974) - A Little Princess, The Secret Garden, Little Lord Fauntleroy

Byars, Betsy - "Bingo Brown" Books, Cracker Jackson, Summer of the Swans (1971 Newbery Winner), The 18th Emergency, Me Tarzan, My Dog My Hero, Wanted, Mud Blossom (and others)

Clements, Andrew -
  Frindle - This hilarious war of words between a student and his teacher has been nominated for more than thirty-five children's choice awards across the United States.
  The Landry News - Cara Landry is a budding journalist trapped in Mr. Larson's dull, disorganized fifth grade classroom. One afternoon, Cara posts a scathing editorial about her burned-out teacher on the bulletin board and everything changes. Her editorial re-ignites Mr. Larson the Teacher! Instead of chiding Cara, he challenges her to create a real newspaper with her classmates.
  The School Story - In this enjoyable and original novel , a 12-year-old girl writes a book, and then she and her friend pretend to be adults in order to get it published.
   A Week in the Woods - Mark didn't ask to move to New Hampshire. Or to go to a hick school like Hardy Elementary. And he certainly didn't request Mr. Maxwell as his teacher. Mr. Maxwell doesn't like rich kids, or slackers, or know-it-alls. And he's decided that Mark is all of those things.
   Things Not Seen - Fifteen-year-old Bobby thinks he knows what it's like to be invisible - he's used to being ignored by the popular kids at school (especially the girls). Even his parents hardly seem to notice whether he's home or not. Then one morning, Bobby wakes up to find that he IS invisible.
The Report Card, Jake Drake Books, The Last Holiday Concert, (and others)
(Click here for another site about Andrew Clements with a video)



Picture of A Week in the Woods
 

Codell, Esme Raji - Sahara Special - Discarded letters to her absent father brand Sahara as a problem in school. Repeating fifth grade, Sahara encounters Miss Pointy, an unorthodox teacher, who sees the potential Sahara holds. By the end of this delightful story, Sahara knows, too.

 Picture of Artemis Fowl book cover

Colfer, Eoin - "Artemis Fowl" Books

Coville, Bruce - Into the Land of Unicorns, Goblins In The Castle , Fortune's Journey, "The Magic Shop" Books, and others. Click here for a biographical sketch of Bruce Coville.

Creech, Sharon Some of Sharon Creech's books are:
    Walk Two Moons -1995 Newbery Award Winner - This is the story of thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, from Bybanks, Kentucky, who is traveling across the country to Idaho with her grandparents. Along the way, she tells them the story of "Phoebe Winterbottom, her disappearing mother, and the lunatic."
    Granny Torrelli Makes Soup - Twelve-year old Rosie is furious with Bailey, her life-long pal. He actually said, "Rosie, get over yourself!" Can Granma Torrelli's warm soup and wise words comfort Rosie and help her understand her friendship with Bailey?
    Love That Dog- This is the story of Jack, his dog, his teacher, and words. The story develops through Jack's responses to his teacher, Miss Stretchberry, over the course of a school year. At first, his responses are short and cranky: "I don't want to" and "I tried. Can't do it. Brain's empty." But as his teacher feeds him inspiration, Jack finds that he has a lot to say and he finds ways to say it.
   Ruby Holler - Ruby Holler is a beautiful and mysterious place, deep in the country. An older couple, Tiller and Sairy, live in the holler and are looking for new adventures, each of them hoping to set off on a trip. When they invite the "trouble twins," Dallas and Florida, to join them, all of their lives take new turns.

Crompton, Anne - Snow Pony

Curtis, Christopher Paul - Bud, Not Buddy (2000 Newbery Award Winner), The Watsons Go to Birmingham (1996 Newbery Honor Book) Who is Christopher Paul Curtis? (another web site) 

Cushman, Karen - Catherine Called Birdy, Matilda Bone, The Ballad of Lucy Whipple , Rodzina (and others)

 

"Dear America" Books, "My America" Books, and "My Name is America" (Various authors) -
Travel back to the early days of America through the diary and journal pages of boys and girls who write of their lives and adventures. Click here for the Scholastic America series websites.

Dahl, Roald - Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny Champion of the World, The BFG, The Witches, Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and others.

 DeFelice, Cynthia -
Weasel
, The Light on Hogback Hill, The Apprenticeship of Lucas Whitaker, The Ghost of Fossil Glen, The Ghost and Mrs. Hobbs, (and others)

 

DiCamillo, Kate -
    Because of Winn Dixie (2001 Newbery Honor Book)
Since her mother left when she was three, India Opal Buloni lives with her father, a soft-spoken preacher, in a lonely little trailer. Thanks to the help of a smiling stray she meets, she is able to befriend the people in her small town: Otis, working in a pet shop with an arrest record and a special talent for soothing the savage beast; Miss Franny Block, bear-fighting librarian; the mysterious Gloria Dump, possible witch with a penchant for egg salad and many more original and engaging characters that will resonate with the reader like a sweet-sounding bell long after the book is closed. "We appreciate the complicated and wonderful gifts you give us in each other," prays the preacher, and indeed, the author has offered a complicated and wonderful story, not so much about a dog as it is about friendship and "loving what you got while you got it."
    The Tale of Despereaux - (2004 Newbery Winner)
This is a great story for children. It is about a tiny mouse named Despereaux, a princess named Pea, a rat named Chiaroscuro, and a peasant girl named Megory Sow. It is about bravery and love and hate and perfidy (be sure and look that up, if you don't know what it means) and forgiveness and soup, and it is about empathy which may be the most important thing of all. Despereaux is on a quest to . . . well, you should read it and find out. The story is a delight, and is surprisingly thought-provoking.

Drucker, Malka - Jacob's Rescue: A Holocaust Story

Ellis, Sarah - A Family Project, Pick-Up Sticks (and others)

Farmer, Nancy - House of the Scorpion (2003 Newbery Honor Book), The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm

Fitzgerald, John - The "Great Brain" Series

Fleischman, Sid - The Whipping Boy, Jim Ugly, and others

 

Ben, an orphan, Firedrake, a dragon seeking the Rim of Heaven in the Himalayas, and a brownie named Sorrel journey together to find a new home when humans encroach upon the valley of the dragons. The trio encounters a pageant of fabulous creatures, including some who help and some who thwart their best efforts.

Funke, Cornelia
   The Thief Lord - Prosper and Bo are orphans on the run from their cruel aunt and uncle. The brothers decide to hide out in Venice, where they meet a mysterious character who calls himself the "Thief Lord." Brilliant and charismatic, the Thief Lord leads a ring of street children who dabble in petty crimes. Prosper and Bo relish being part of this colorful new family. But the Thief Lord has secrets of his own. And soon the boys are thrust into circumstances that will lead them, and readers, to a fantastic, spellbinding conclusion.
   Inkheart - Meggie lives a quiet life alone with her father, a bookbinder. But her father has a deep secret -- he possesses an extraordinary magical power. One cruel night, as Meggie's father reads a book called Inkheart aloud, an evil ruler named Capricorn escapes the boundaries of fiction and lands in their living room. Suddenly, the two are plunged into the kind of adventure Meggie has only encountered in fiction, and they must somehow learn to harness the magic they were reading about to change the course of the story -- before it ruins their lives forever.

Garfield, James - Follow My Leader

Gauthier, Gail
   A Year With Butch and Spike - Jasper Gordon, every teacher's dream student, finds (as he enters sixth grade) that he is sitting between cousins Butch and Spike who are well-known for outrageous misbehaviors.
   The Hero of Ticonderoga - Therese LeClerc, not a shining student, is shocked when she is chosen to give the coveted oral report on Ethan Allen. Anticipating boredom, Therese is surprised to learn how much fun it is to write and present the report.

George, Jean - Julie Of The Wolves, My Side Of The Mountain (and others)

Giff, Patricia Reilly - Lily's Crossing (1998 Newbery Honor Book) , Nory Ryan's Song, Pictures of Hollis Woods (2003 Newbery Honor Book), The Gift of the Pirate Queen, and others.
   Maggie's Door - Faced with starvation, Nory Ryan sets out alone to find her way to a ship that will take her to America, and escape the terrible potato famine. Making her way with only a few crumbs of food for the journey, she wonders if she will ever reach her sister Maggie's door.
    Click here for a biographical sketch of Patricia Reilly Giff.

"Girls of Many Lands" series

Greene, Constance - Beat The Turtle Drum (and others)

Haddix, Margaret Peterson - Among the Hidden, Among the Imposters, Among the Betrayed, Just Ella, Running Out of Time, Because of Anya

 Picture of Because of Anya Book cover

Hahn, Mary - Wait Till Helen Comes, Stepping On The Cracks, The Dead Man In Indian Creek, Following The Mystery Man , Click here for a biographical sketch of Mary Downing Hahn.

Henry, Marguerite (1902- 1997) - King Of The Wind, Misty Of Chincotegue (and others)

Hermes, Patricia - "The Cousins Club" Books, You Shouldn't Have To Say Goodbye, Nobody's Fault, "Joshua's Oregon Trail Diary" books, "Elizabeth's Jamestown Colony Diary" Books, and others.and others. Click here for a biographical sketch of Patricia Hermes.

Hesse, Karen - Out of the Dust (1998 Newbery Winner), A Light in the Storm, The Civil War Diary of Amelia Martin (Dear America series), The Music of Dolphins, The Stowaway. Click here for a biographical sketch of Karen Hesse.

Hiassen, Carl - Hoot (2003 Newbery Honor Book) - Roy has moved to a new town. He has no friends and the school bully is all over him, but his luck changes when he meets Beatrice. The two set off on an ecological mystery that will warm your heart.

Hill, Kirkpatrick - A Year With Miss Agnes, Toughboy and Sister, Minuk; Ashes in the Pathway (Girls of Many Lands Series)

Hobbs, Will - Far North, Ghost Canoe, and others.

Holm, Jennifer - Our Only May Amelia (2000 Newbery Honor Book)

Holohan, Maureen - "Broadway Ballplayer" Books

Holt, Kimberly Willis - My Louisiana Sky, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, Dancing in Cadillac Light

Horowitz, Anthony
    Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Skeleton Key, and Eagle Strike - Alex Rider Adventures - After the death of the uncle who had been his guardian, fourteen-year-old Alex Rider is coerced to continue his uncle's dangerous work for Britain's intelligence agency, MI6. If you like James Bond, you will love Alex Rider.

Horvath, Polly - Everything on a Waffle (2002 Newbery Honor Book), The Trolls

Hudson, Jan - Sweetgrass, Dawn Rider

Hunt, Irene - The Lottery Rose, Across Five Aprils

Ibbotson, Eva - The Secret of Platform 13, Which Witch?, Island of the Aunts, Journey to the River Sea, and others
Ghosts and hags, wizards and banshees, mermaids and mistmakers-all are part of the magical worlds that Eva Ibbotson creates in her fantasy books.

 Picture of Redwall book cover

Jacques, Brian - "Redwall"" Books -
Jacque's 17 marvelous books (as of 2004) are known as the "Redwall" series, because they centre around Redwall Abbey. The heroes are peace-loving mice, moles, shrews, squirrels, and their friends who exhibit human characteristics in a medieval setting. They face the dark side of the animal world, represented by rats, weasels, stoats, foxes, and their villain allies, in the day-to-day struggle of good versus evil, life versus death. Click here for a biographical sketch of Brian Jacques.

Joseph, Lynn - The Color of My Words

 Kehret, Peg - Stranger Next Door, Night of Fear,I'm Not Who You Think I Am, The Richest Kids in Town, Horror at the Haunted House, Saving Lily, My Brother Made Me Do It, Don't Tell Anyone "Frightmares Books" (and others)

 

Kjelgard, Jim - Big Red (and others)

L'Engle, Madeline - Wind In The Door, A Wrinkle in Time Click here for a biographical sketch of Madeline L'Engle.

Levine, Gail Carson - Ella Enchanted (1998 Newbery Honor Book), Dave at Night, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, "The Princess Tales" books, and others

Lewis, C.S. (1898 - 1963) - "Chronicles Of Narnia" Series

Lowry, Lois - One Hundredth Thing About Caroline, Number The Stars, Taking Care Of Terrific, "Anastasia" Books, The Giver (and others)

 
1990 Newbery Winner

 

 A Corner of the Universe - Imagine learning about an uncle you never knew existed. In this 2002 Newbery Honor book, twelve-year-old Hattie Owen meets her Uncle Adam, a mentally disabled man. Adam was a family secret, but Hattie learns to love him.

Martin, Ann Among Ann M. Martin's many books are:
    Belle Teal - The real reason to read this book is because everyone would like a friend like Belle Teal. Loyal, funny, principled, fiesty and bright, this girl takes on the world. Her grandmother's faculties are fading fast, her mom is going to school and working overtime, she is bullied by a rich girl with little class and a big secret, and she has the backbone to defend her African-America buddy as he navigates his way through hostile 1960's desegregation territory.
The Doll People - Annabelle Doll has lived with her family in the same doll house for over a hundred years. Though her little human girls grow up and have their own children, one day is much like the other until the day she discovers her missing Auntie Doll's mysterious journal about the same time a new doll family moves in. Will Annabelle Doll leave the safety of her dollhouse to solve the forty-year-old mystery?
    P.S. Longer Letter Later - Cowritten with Paula Danziger, this is the story of Elizabeth and Tara*Starr are who are totally different from each other. Tara* Starr wears glitter and sequins and loves to be the center of attention. Elizabeth is shy and quiet and hates being the center of attention. So of course they're best friends. Now that Tara*Starr has moved away, the girls continue their friendship through letters. Their letters chronicle these events, and the realization that they can depend on each other and on themselves.

McKenna, Colleen - "Murphy Family" Books

Mikaelsen, Ben - Petey, Stranded, Countdown, Rescue Josh McGuire (and others)

Mitchell, Marianne - Finding Zola - When an elderly neighbor goes missing, 13-year-old Crystal Ramos is determined to find out what happened. But Crystal's investigations stir up even more trouble and put her own life in danger.

Naylor, Phyllis - Beetles Lightly Toasted, The Boys Start The War, The Agony Of Alice, Shiloh (1992 Newbery Medal Winner) and other "Shiloh" books, Carlotta's Kittens, and others. Click here for a biographical sketch of Phyllis Reynolds Naylor.

Nimmo, Jenny - "Charlie Bone or Children of the Red King" books - Charlie doesn't want to believe it when he can hear people speaking through their photographs. But his horrible aunts are delighted - it means that he is one of the chosen. Sent to a special school that is filled with hidden secrets and mysterious rooms, Charlie must use his wits, as well as his powers, to escape from the clutches of the evil Dr. Bloor.

Nixon, Joan (1927 - 2003) - "The Orphan Train" Books

O'Dell, Scott - Island Of The Blue Dolphins (1961 Newbery Winner)

 Paolini, Christopher
     Eragon - When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power.

Park, Barbara - Mick Harte Was Here, Operation Dump the Chump, Skinnybones, The Kid in the Red Jacket, and others

Park, Linda Sue - A Single Shard (2002 Newbery Medal Winner), When My Name Was Keoko, The Kite Fighters

Paterson, Katherine - The Great Gilly Hopkins, Lyddie, Jip: His Story, Preacher's Boy, Bridge to Terabithia, (and others)

Paulsen, Gary - Hatchet(1988 Newbery Honor Book), The River, Brian's Winter, Brian's Return, "Mr. Tucket" Books, and others. Click here for a biographical sketch of Gary Paulsen.

 

Peck, Richard - A Long Way from Chicago, A Year Down Yonder (2001 Newbery Winner)

Peyton, K. M. - Poor Badger

Raskin, Ellen (1928 -1994) - The Westing Game (1979 Newbery Winner)

Reeder, Carolyn - Shades Of Gray, Grandpa's Mountain, Captain Kate

Reiss, Johanna - Upstairs Room (Biography - 1973 Newbery Honor Book)

Roberts, Willo - Don't Hurt Laurie, The View From The Cherry Tree, Baby-Sitting Is A Dangerous Job, Hostage (and others)

Roth, Arthur - Avalanche, Trapped

Rowling, J.K. - "Harry Potter" Books

"Royal Diary" Books (Various Authors)

Ryan, Pam Munoz - Riding Freedom, Esperanza Rising

 
Sachar, Louis - Holes, (1999 Newbery Medal Winner), Loser, "Marvin Redpost" series. "Wayside School" series, and many others

Sachs, Marilyn - What My Sister Remembered

Shan, Darren - "Cirque du Freak" Books

Snickett, Lemony - "A Series of Unfortunate Events" Books
"If you have picked up this book with the hope of finding a simple and cheery tale, I'm afraid you have picked up the wrong book altogether," warns the author. "I am bound to record these tragic events, but you are free to put this book back on the shelf and seek something lighter." Absolutely miserable stories full of wit and exciting adventures. Don't miss them.

Speare, Elizabeth
    The Sign Of The Beaver Twelve-year old Matt is left to guard his family's wilderness cabin while his father returns for the rest of his family. They don't make it back as soon as expected, and Matt must survive the winter on his own. He is helped by Native Americans who teach him the necessary skills. They welcome him into their village and offer to take him with their tribe and he must choose between that and possibly seeing his family again.
    The Witch Of Blackbird Pond - Kit Tyler was raised in Barbados by her wealthy grandfather. When he dies, she travels to the Puritan colony of Connecticut to live with her Aunt, Uncle, and two female cousins. Immediately it is obvious that Kit's world was quite different. As Kit struggles to fit in, she befriends an old Quaker woman who is believed to be a witch. As a result of her friendship, Kit too is accused of witchcraft. She is put on trial, but is found innocent.

Sperry, Armstrong (1897 - 1976) - Call It Courage (1941 Newbery Winner)

Spinelli, Jerry - Maniac Magee ((1991 Newbery Winner), There's A Girl In My Hammerlock , Crash, Stargirl, (and others)

Stevenson, James - The Bones in the Cliff, The Unprotected Witness

Taylor, Theodore - The Cay, Timothy Of The Cay, Maria, A Christmas Story, The Trouble with Tuck, Tuck Triumphant

Tolan, Stephanie -
Surviving the Applewhites (2003 Newbery Honor Book), Save Halloween

Van Draanen, Wendelin - Secret Identity (Shredderman 1), "Sammy Keyes" Books - Who is Sammy Keyes? Well, first off, Sammy is not a boy, but a girl, and a real spitfire to boot. Sammy is daring and brash, yet cool-headed when faced with danger. She's a self-proclaimed tomboy, mystery-solver and one tough cookie! In this series, author Wendelin Van Draanen brings us the adventures of this feisty 13 year-old girl and her friends.

Voight, Cynthia - Homecoming, Bad Girls (and others)

Wallace, Bill - The Biggest Klutz In Fifth Grade, Beauty, Buffalo Gal, A Dog Called Kitty, Danger on Panther Peak, and others

Whelan, Gloria - Homeless Bird, Next Spring An Oriole, Indian School, Night of the Full Moon, Hannah and others.

White, Ruth -
Belle Prater's Boy (1997 Newbery Honor Book), Tadpole

   In rural Kentucky in1955, Serilda Collins, single mother of four lively girls, discovers that her orphaned nephew is being
subjected to brutality. Something must be done, but what? Serilda can barely afford to keep her own family clothed and fed. How can she take on another child?
        

Winthrop, Elizabeth - Castle In The Attic (and others)

Wood, June - The Man Who Loved Clowns, Turtle on a Fence Post, About Face

Wright, Betty Ren - Christina's Ghost, Dollhouse Murders, The Scariest Night (and others)

Yolen, Jane - The Devil's Arithmetic, Here There Be Unicorns "Young Merlin" books, "History Mystery" series (and others)

READ *READ * READ * ALL YEAR LONG! These books are available at the Birchwood Media Center and your public library.
Check other grade level lists for more great titles and authors!

Updated August 2005

 

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