Fantastic Books for Fifth & Sixth Graders

New titles

  • Baker, Matthew. If You Find This. 2015.
    When the grandfather he never knew is released from prison suffering from dementia, 11-year-old Nicholas, a mathematical and musical genius, tries to save the family's home by helping search for heirlooms Grandpa claims to have buried.
  • Bar-el, Dan. Audrey (Cow). 2014.
    Looking for a life filled with poetry and the green pastures beyond the farm where she is destined for the slaughterhouse, Audrey the cow enlists the help of human and animal friends to stage a daring escape. [Lexile: 870]
  • Coville, Katherine. The Cottage in the Woods. 2015.
    This fairy tale-with-a-twist presents the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears as told by young "Teddy's" governess, who must unravel the mysteries of the Bear's manor, a golden-haired visitor and the Enchanted Forest. [Lexile: 1030]
  • Frederick, Heather Vogel. Absolutely Truly. 2014.
    Moving to the small town of Pumpkin Falls to take over the family bookstore when her injured war veteran father cannot find other work, Truly finds an unsent letter in a valuable book and embarks on a treasure hunt. [Lexile: 790]
  • Funaro, Gregory. Alistair Grim's Odditorium. 2015.
    In Victorian England, 12-year-old orphan Grubb escapes his life of drudgery as a chimney sweep's apprentice and finds himself in a very strange house filled with magical objects and creatures—but he soon learns there are dark forces seeking his new master.
  • Graff, Lisa. Absolutely Almost. 2014. [also available on audio]
    As his parents keep reminding him, 10-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist or most musical in his class, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.
  • Hunt, Lynda Mullaly. Fish in a Tree. 2015.
    Hiding the truth about her inability to read from a highly motivated new teacher, Ally eventually discovers her dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of and gains new confidence as she finds alternative ways to learn. [Lexile: 550]
  • Kadohata, Cynthia. Half a World Away. 2014.
    Twelve-year-old Jaden, an emotionally damaged adopted boy, feels a connection to a small, weak toddler with special needs in Kazakhstan, where Jaden's family is trying to adopt a "normal" baby. [Lexile: 670]
  • Lai, Thanhha. Listen, Slowly. 2015.
    Assisting her grandmother's investigation of her grandfather's fate during the Vietnam War, Mai struggles to adapt to an unfamiliar culture while redefining her sense of family.
  • Ryan, Carrie. The Map to Everywhere. 2014.
    While on a quest for a mysterious map, 12-year-old Fin, a master thief from the pirate world of Khaznot Quay, and Marrill, from Arizona, cross paths in the magical world of the Pirate Stream.
  • Springstubb, Tricia. Moonpenny Island. 2015.
    One of only two 11-year-olds on tiny Moonpenny Island during the off season, Flor struggles with feelings of abandonment before becoming involved in a geological excavation that helps her confront painful truths about her family and herself.

Graphic novel

  • Jamieson, Victoria. Roller Girl. 2015.
    Fans of Smile will love this graphic novel adventure about a girl who discovers roller derby right as she and her best friend are growing apart. [Lexile: GN440]

Classics and modern classics

  • Curtis, Christopher Paul. The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963. 1995. [also available on audio]
    The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963. [Lexile: 1000]
  • Hale, Shannon. Princess Academy. 2005. [also available on audio]
    While attending a strict academy for potential princesses with the other girls from her mountain village, 14-year-old Miri discovers unexpected talents and connections to her homeland. [Lexile: 890]
  • O'Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. 1960. [also available on audio]
    Stranded after her family embarks on an eastward journey in the 1880s, young Karana finds the courage and skills to survive alone on the Island of the Blue Dolphins for 18 years. [Lexile: 1000]
  • Raskin, Ellen. The Westing Game. 1978. [also available on audio]
    The mysterious death of an eccentric millionaire brings together an unlikely assortment of heirs who must uncover the circumstances of his death before they can claim their inheritance. [Lexile: 750]
  • Tolkien, J.R.R. The Hobbit. 1937. [also available on audio]
    Bilbo Baggins, a respectable, well-to-do hobbit, lives comfortably in his hobbit-hole until the day a wizard chooses him to take part in an adventure from which he may never return. [Lexile: 1000]


  • Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. 2014. [JB Woodson Jacqueline]
    In vivid poems that reflect the joy of finding her voice through writing, Woodson shares what it was like to grow up in the 1960s and '70s in both the North and the South. [Lexile: 990]
  • Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy. 2014. [J 597.3 ROY]
    An up-close look at the ocean's most fearsome and famous predators and the scientists who study them—just 26 miles from the Golden Gate Bridge. [Lexile: NC1330]
  • Famous Phonies: Legends, Fakes, and Frauds Who Changed History by Brianna DuMont. 2014. [J 920.02 DUM]
    Get ready to question everything you thought you knew about history's finest as you follow the fake lives of 12 history-changers to uncover the fabrications of the famous, and the should-be-famous! [Lexile: 1040]

revised May 2015