Fantastic Books for Fifth & Sixth Graders

New Titles

  • Beatty, Robert. Serafina and the Black Cloak. 2015. [also available on audio]
    In 1899, a 12-year-old rat catcher, who secretly lives in the basement of North Carolina's sprawling Biltmore mansion, teams up with the estate owner's young nephew to battle a great evil as they try to figure out why children of the estate are mysteriously disappearing. [Lexile: 850]
  • Condie, Ally. Summerlost. 2016. [also available on audio]
    Cedar Lee spends her summer working at a Shakespearean theater festival, making a new friend and coming to terms with her grief over the loss of her father and brother. [Lexile: 600]
  • DiCamillo, Kate. Raymie Nightingale. 2016. [also available on audio]
    Raymie Clarke hopes that if she wins the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, her estranged father will come home – but as the contest approaches, loneliness, loss and unanswerable questions draw Raymie and her competitors into an unlikely and important friendship. [Lexile: 550]
  • Haddix, Margaret Peterson. Under Their Skin. 2016.
    Twelve-year-old twins Nick and Eryn investigate why their mother and new stepfather are keeping secrets, why they are forbidden to meet their stepsiblings and, most important, why their lives are in danger. [Lexile: 760]
  • Hilton, Marilyn. Full Cicada Moon. 2015.
    In 1969, 12-year-old Mimi and her family move to an all-white town in Vermont, where Mimi's mixed-race background and interest in "boyish" topics like astronomy make her feel like an outsider. [Lexile: 790]
  • Lloyd, Natalie. The Key to Extraordinary. 2016.
    Orphan Emma Casey lives by a graveyard in her Tennessee town waiting for the destiny dream of her ancestors, but when it comes it shows her only a key and it is up to her to solve a mystery that has haunted her town for generations. [Lexile: 670]
  • Pennypacker, Sara. Pax. 2016. [also available on audio]
    After being forced to give up Pax, his pet fox, a young boy named Peter decides to leave home and get his best friend back. [Lexile: 760]

Graphic Novels

  • Chmakova, Svetlana. Awkward. 2015.
    After shunning Jaime, the school nerd, on her first day at a new middle school, Penelope Torres tries to blend in with her new art club friends, until the art club goes to war with the science club, of which Jaime is a member.(Read a staff review of this title!) [Lexile: GN280]
  • McCoola, Marika. Baba Yaga's Assistant. 2015.
    The fearsome witch of Russian folklore mentors a brave teen, who draws on her grandmother's wisdom to pass a series of tests, outfox a territorial bear and make dinner for her child-eating host. [Lexile: GN340]

Classics and Modern Classics

  • Cushman, Karen. Catherine, Called Birdy. 1994. [also available on audio]
    The 13-year-old daughter of an English country knight keeps a journal in which she records the events of her life as she longs for adventures beyond the usual role of women and goes to great lengths to avoid being married off. [Lexile: 1170]
  • Hamilton, Virginia. M.C. Higgins, the Great. 1974. [also available on audio]
    As strip mining causes a slag heap to creep closer to his house in the Ohio hills, 15-year-old M.C. is torn between trying to get his family away and fighting for the home they love. [Lexile: 630]
  • Jacques, Brian. Redwall. 1986. [also available on audio]
    When Redwall Abbey's peaceful life is shattered by the arrival of the evil rat Cluny and his villainous hordes, Matthias, a young mouse, determines to find the legendary sword of Martin the Warrior which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy. [Lexile: 800]
  • Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. 1987. [also available on audio]
    After a plane crash strands 13-year-old Brian in the wilderness, he must learn to survive with only a hatchet his mother gave him. During his 54 days alone, he also comes to terms with his parents' divorce. [Lexile: 1020]
  • Taylor, Mildred D. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. 1976. [also available on audio]
    A black family living in the South during the 1930s are faced with prejudice and discrimination, which their children don't understand. [Lexile: 920]


  • Human Body Theater: A Nonfiction Revue by Maris Wicks. 2015. [J 612 WIC (Graphic Novel Nonfiction]
    At the Human Body Theater, your master of ceremonies will lead you through a theatrical revue of each and every biological system of the human body! Starting out as a skeleton, the emcee puts on a new layer of her costume (her body) with each "act." [Lexile: GN920]
  • Most Dangerous: Daniel Ellsberg and the Secret History of the Vietnam War by Steve Sheinkin. 2015. [J 959.7043 SHE] [also available on audio]
    Master of nonfiction Steve Sheinkin recounts the story of Daniel Ellsberg and his decision to steal and publish secret documents about America's involvement in the Vietnam War. [Lexile: 890]

revised May 2016