Friday, July 13, 2012

Books for Fifth Graders

So, I just accepted a job teaching fifth grade next year. Besides working as a naturalist for five years with elementary students, my sixteen years of classroom teaching have all been in junior high and high school. I have a pretty nice collection of young adult novels for my classroom library, but obviously I'll need to create a new library that will better match my new students. Even though I write both young adult and middle grade I feel much more competent in the young adult realm when recommending books for students.

So, I'd love a little help here.

What are some titles you'd include on a classroom shelf for fifth graders? I'd love to hear about some recent titles, titles in the last ten years, and some classics too. I'm talking about books that you think fifth graders will connect with and read independently. (I already own several of the Project Mayhem authors' books so I've got a start on my library.)

I'd also love to hear about titles that lend themselves to reading out loud to a fifth-grade class.

Thanks for your help. I'm really excited about teaching in an elementary school!! Should be tons of fun!!! :-) :-) :-)


  1. A really excellent source are the Cybils Awards shortlists from the past few years-- a great collection of a variety of genres.

    1. Thanks, Charlotte. I'll check it out. :-)

  2. I've tweeted for help, Paul. It should be great teaching 5th grade. (I know for a fact that Percy Jackson is BIG there.)

  3. Here are some picks off the top of my head: The Guys Read series by Jon Scieszka, anything by Frank Cotrell Boyce (Cosmic, Framed, Millions), The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen, the Joey Pigza books by Jack Gantos, Ida B and True...Sort Of by Katherine Hannigan, Origami Yoda books by Tom Angleberger...I am realizing that most of these are "boy books", but hopefully it's still helpful!

    Good luck! Fifth grade is such a great age.

  4. Obviously all books by PM authors, but moving on ...

    The Mysterious Benedict Society series.
    Peter and the Starcatchers series.
    The Familiars.
    The Emerald Atlas.
    Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes.
    The Artemis Fowl series.
    My Very Un-Fairytale Life, by Anna Staniszewski.

    I'll try to come back with more later, but these are all books my 11-year-old (who just left fifth grade) has read and loved within the last year.

    1. Matt, thanks!! I feel fortunate to benefit from your daughter's book choices!!! Thank you. :-)

  5. Twice a year I give talks on "100 Great New Books" to 4-8th grade teachers in our district. I have the annotated bibliographies for the last couple of years... At school, of course. If you would like me to e mail copies to you, shoot me an e mail at msyingling (at), and I can send them to you. I also have a lot of pathfinders if you are looking for specific topics. Good luck!

  6. Some of my favorites that my kids also loved when in 5th grade: SLOB, by Ellen Potter; TOAD RAGE, by Morris Gleitzman; STARGIRL, by Jerry Spinelli; THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY, by Trenton Lee Stewart. Oh, and WHEN YOU REACH ME, by Rebecca Stead. My kids didn't read that one, but I loved it so much I thought I'd include it anyway.


Thanks for adding to the mayhem!