Fantastic Books for Fifth & Sixth Graders


  • Cooper, Susan. Ghost Hawk. 2013. [also available on audio]

    At the end of a winter-long journey, Little Hawk returns to find his village decimated by a white man's plague. A new friendship with a young white settler is risky, but meaningful. [Lexile: 940]

  • Federle, Tim. Better Nate than Ever. 2013. [also available on audio]

    An eighth-grader, who dreams of performing in a Broadway musical, concocts a plan to run away to New York and audition for the role of Elliot in the musical version of "E.T." [Lexile: 930]

  • Grabenstein, Chris. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library. 2013. [also available on audio]

    When 12-year-old Kyle wins the chance to stay overnight in the new town library, designed by famous gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello, he expects a night of fun. But he and the other winners must solve a series of clues and secret puzzles to find the hidden escape route out of the locked library by morning— or lose the grand prize. [Lexile: 720] (Read a staff review of this title!)

  • Kadohata, Cynthia. The Thing about Luck. 2013.

    Just when 12-year-old Summer thinks nothing else can possibly go wrong, an emergency takes her parents to Japan, leaving her to care for her little brother while helping her grandmother cook and do laundry for harvest workers. [Lexile: 700]

  • Lloyd, Natalie. A Snicker of Magic. 2014.

    The Pickles are new to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town which legend says was once magic— but Felicity Pickle is convinced the magic is still there, and with the help of her new friend Jonah the Beedle she hopes to bring it back.

  • Lord, Cynthia. Half a Chance. 2014.

    Lucy, with her mother and photographer father, has just moved to a small rural community in New Hampshire where she plans to spend the summer taking photos for a contest with her new friend Nate. But Lucy soon learns that pictures sometimes reveal more than people are willing to see.

  • Sloan, Holly Goldberg. Counting by 7s. 2013. [also available on audio]

    After her parents are killed in a car accident, 12-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people, and find herself a surrogate family. [Lexile: 770]

  • Timberlake, Amy. One Came Home. 2013. [also available on audio]

    In 1871 Wisconsin, 13-year-old Georgia sets out to find her sister Agatha— presumed dead when remains are found wearing the dress she was last seen in— and before the end of the year gains fame as a sharpshooter and foiler of counterfeiters. [Lexile: 690]

  • Vawter, Vince. Paperboy. 2013. [also available on audio]

    When an 11-year-old boy takes over a friend's Memphis newspaper route in July 1959, his debilitating stutter makes for a memorable month. [Lexile: 940]

Classics and Modern Classics

  • Creech, Sharon. Walk Two Moons. 1994. [also available on audio]

    After her mother leaves home suddenly, 13-year-old Sal and her grandparents take a car trip retracing her mother's route. Along the way, Sal recounts the story of her friend Phoebe, whose mother also left. [Lexile: 770]

  • Gantos, Jack. Dead End in Norvelt. 2011. [also available on audio]

    In the town of Norvelt, Pennsylvania, 12-year-old Jack spends the summer of 1962 grounded for various offenses until he is assigned to help an elderly neighbor with a most unusual chore involving the newly dead, molten wax, Girl Scout cookies and countless bloody noses. [Lexile: 920]

  • L'Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. 1962.

    Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and forces of evil as they embark on a heart-stopping journey through space to search for Meg's father, who mysteriously disappeared after experimenting with fifth dimension time travel. [Lexile: 740]

  • Levine, Gail Carson. Ella Enchanted. 1998. [also available on audio]

    At her birth, Ella was given the "gift" of obedience by a foolish fairy; she must obey any order she's given, even if it's chopping off her own head! But strong-willed Ella is determined to break the curse, and sets off on a quest full of ogres, giants and wicked stepsisters. Will she live happily ever after? [Lexile: 670]

  • Lowry, Lois. The Giver. 1993. [also available on audio]

    At the annual Ceremony of Twelve, Jonas is chosen for something special. His lifetime assignment leads him to The Giver— a man who holds all memories of the past— and through him, Jonas learns the terrible truth about his society. [Lexile: 760]

  • Sachar, Louis. Holes. 1998. [also available on audio]

    As further evidence of his family's bad fortune— which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative— Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert, where he finds his first real friend, a treasure and a new sense of himself. [Lexile: 660]

  • Spinelli, Jerry. Maniac Magee. 1990. [also available on audio]

    After his parents die, Jeffrey Lionel Magee's life becomes legendary, as he accomplishes athletic and other feats which awe his peers. [Lexile: 820]

  • Turnage, Sheila. Three Times Lucky. 2012. [also available on audio]

    Washed ashore as a baby in tiny Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, Mo LoBeau, now 11, and her best friend Dale turn detective when her adopted father seems implicated in a murder. [Lexile: 560]


  • Go! A Kidd's Guide to Graphic Design by Chip Kidd. 2013. [J 741.6 KID]

    Explore the different elements of design, including form, line, color, scale and typography, and discover how to use them in creative ways.

  • The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown. 2013. [J 973.917 BRO]

    Brown brings the "Dirty Thirties" to life in this nonfiction graphic novel of one of America's most catastrophic natural events: the Dust Bowl.

  • Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell. 2014. [JB Baker]

    This book follows the life of famous performer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker as she works her way from the slums of St. Louis to some of the world's grandest stages.[Lexile: 790]

  • The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius by Jan Greenberg. 2013. [J 738.092 GRE]

    This account of ceramics artist George E. Ohr traces his youth during the Civil War, his unconventional creations and the remarkable trove discovered after his death.

revised May 2014