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Suggested Titles for Fifth Grade


The following titles may be enjoyed by Fifth Graders. All readers are at different levels and have different interests, so not all titles will appeal to, or be appropriate for, all readers. For additional recommendations ask at the Children's Reference Desk.


Fiction books for Fifth Graders can be found in a variety of locations, including J FICTION and KIDS GRAPHIC NOVEL. Click on each title for location and availability.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook

When a book of unexplainable occurrences brings Petra and Calder together, strange things start to happen: seemingly unrelated events connect; an eccentric old woman seeks their company; an invaluable Vermeer painting disappears. Before they know it, the two find themselves at the center of an international art scandal, where no one is spared from suspicion.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Also available in: audiobook | e-audiobook

When Esperanza and Mama are forced to flee the bountiful region of Aguascalientes, Mexico to a Mexican farm labor camp in California, they must adjust to a life without fancy dresses and servants. Now they must confront the challenges of hard work, acceptance by their own people, and economic difficulties brought on by the Great Depression. When Mama falls ill and a strike for better working conditions threatens to uproot their new life, Esperanza must relinquish her hold on the past and learn to embrace a future ripe with the riches of family and community.

Also available in: audiobook

Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Also available in: e-book | audiobook

In this Newbery Medal-winning novel, Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place: he's the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs and ghostly teachings of his guardians, such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him. Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?

In ten comedic stories from some of the funniest writers around, you'll meet a teenage mummy, a kid desperate to take a dip in the world's largest pool of chocolate milk, a homicidal turkey, parents who hand over their son's room to a biker, the only kid in his middle school who hasn't turned into a vampire, wizard, or superhero, plus many more hilarious tales. 

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Also available in: audiobook | e-audiobook

Brian Robertson, sole passenger on a Cessna 406, is on his way to visit his father when the tiny bush plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness. With nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present, Brian finds himself completely alone. Challenged by his fear and despair -- and plagued with the weight of a dreadful secret he's been keeping since his parent's divorce -- Brian must tame his inner demons in order to survive. 

Holes by Louis Sachar
Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook | video

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.

Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook

In the Pacific there is an island that look like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim. Once, Indians also lived on the island. When they left and sailed to the east, one young girl was left behind. This is her story -- a story not only of an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Matilda by Roald Dahl
Also available in: audiobook | e-audiobook

Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she's just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a menacing, kid-hating headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It'll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Also available in: e-book | audiobook

For Milo, everything's a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason.  Along the way, Milo realizes life is far from dull. In fact, it's exciting beyond his wildest dreams!

Redwall by Brian Jacques
Also available in: audiobook | e-audiobook

When the peaceful life in and around ancient Redwall Abbey 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.  This sword, Matthias is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy.

Also available in: e-book | audiobook | e-audiobook

In this wonderful middle-grade novel, nine-year-old Kenny describes  his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny's 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma's church is blown up.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

As her mother prepares to be a contestant on the 1980s television game show, "The $20,000 Pyramid," a 12-year-old New York City girl tries to make sense of a series of mysterious notes received from an anonymous source that seems to defy the laws of time and space.

Also available in: e-book | audiobook | video

Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own -- Old Dan and Little Ann -- he's ecstatic. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters, and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.

Also available in: e-book | e-audiobook

In a fading town, far from anyone he knew or trusted, a young Lemony Snicket began his apprenticeship in an organization nobody knows about. He started by asking questions that shouldn't have been on his mind. Now he has written an account that should not be published, in four volumes that shouldn't be read. This is the first volume. Follow the story in the series All The Wrong Questions.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare
Also available in: audiobook | e-audiobook

In 1687, 16-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the shores of colonial Connecticut. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her home on the island of Barbados and join a family she has never met. Just when it seems she must give up, she finds a kindred spirit, Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch.  But Kit and Hannah's friendship proves more taboo than Kit could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.


Nonfiction titles for Fifth Grade can be found on many topics throughout the CHILDREN'S NONFICTION collection. Click on titles for exact location and availability.

Also available in: e-audiobook

In December of 1938, a chemist in a German laboratory made a shocking discovery: when placed next to radioactive material, a Uranium atom split in two. That simple discovery launched a scientific race that spanned 3 continents. This is the story of the plotting, the risk-taking, the deceit, and genius that created the world's most formidable weapon. 

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
Also available in: e-book | audiobook

National Book Award Winner Jacqueline Woodson tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Woodson's eloquent poetry reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child, ultimately creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

The Elephant Scientist by Caitlin O'Connell

In the sprawling African scrub desert of Etosha National Park in Namibia, they call her "the mother of all elephants." Photographs and text recount Caitlin O'Connell's experiences observing African elephants in their natural habitat, describing the discoveries she made about elephant communication.

Inside this book, you'll find stories of 50 extraordinary people such as: Evel Knievel, who jumped his motorcycle over 14 Greyhound buses; The Iceman, the most well-preserved human, found in the ice after 5,300 years; Sam Patch, who jumped Niagara Falls for $75; Helen Thayer, who walked to the North Pole alone; and Roy Sullivan, who was struck by lightning 7 times. Even more intriguing facts await curious readers, amateur historians, and anyone who aspires to the altogether extraordinary!

Learn about the ways in which a designer communicates his or her ideas to the world. Author Chip Kidd explains not just the elements of design, including form, line, color, scale, typography, and more, but most important, how to use those elements in creative ways. Like putting the word "go" on a stop sign, Go is all about shaking things up.  Readers will love its playful spirit and belief that the world looks better when you look at it differently.

The Great Fire by Jim Murphy

In this 1996 Newbery Honor Book, author Jim Murphy relates the story, told through the eyes of several survivors, of the catastrophe that decimated much of Chicago in 1871, forcing more than 100,000 people from their homes.  Fascinating archival photos and maps outlining the spread of fire illuminate the danger and drama of this tragic event.

Could griffins have been real? When Adrienne Mayor carefully read the ancient Greek and Roman descriptions, this mythic hybrid of a lion and an eagle sounded like something people had actually seen. What could explain that evidence? After a decade of hunting through myths, poring over old maps, and tracing the discoveries of modern dinosaur hunters, she found the answer: awesome dinosaur fossils observed by ancient gold-hunters in the Gobi desert. 

On remote Codfish Island off the southern coast of New Zealand live the last 91 kakapo parrots on earth. Originally this bird numbered in the millions before humans brought predators to the islands. Now on the isolated island refuge, a team of scientists is trying to restore the kakapo population.

One hundred years ago, a mysterious and alarming illness spread across America's South, striking tens of thousands of victims. No one knew what caused it or how to treat it. People were left weak, disfigured, insane, and in some cases, dead. Award winning science and history writer Gail Jarrow tracks this disease, commonly known as pellagra, and highlights how doctors, scientists, and public health officials finally defeated it.

In Super Scratch Programming Adventure!, kids learn programming fundamentals as they make their very own playable video games. They'll create projects inspired by classic arcade games that can be programmed (and played!) in an afternoon.  This full-color comic book makes programming concepts like variables, flow control, and subroutines effortless to absorb. Super Scratch Programming Adventure! is a great first step for the budding programmer.

How did her Mary Mallon's first name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary?  With archival photographs and text among other primary sources, this riveting biography of Mary Mallon looks beyond the tabloid scandal of Mary's controversial life. How she was treated by medical and legal officials reveals a lesser-known story of human and constitutional rights, entangled with the science of pathology and enduring questions about who Mary Mallon really was.

In August 2010, the unthinkable happened when a mine collapsed in Chile, trapping 33 miners 2,000 feet below the surface. For 69 days they lived on meager resources with increasingly poor air quality. When they were finally rescued, the world watched with rapt attention and rejoiced in the amazing spirit and determination of the miners. By tracing the psychological, physical, and environmental factors surrounding the mission, author Aronson highlights the amazing technology and helping hands that made it all possible. 

Also available in: e-audiobook

Discover the inspiring story of one of the greatest moments in civil rights history as seen through the eyes of four young people who were at the center of the action. The 1963 Birmingham Children's March was a turning point in American history. Through the eyes of protesters and others who participated, We've Got a Job tells the little-known story of the 4,000 black elementary, middle, and high school students who voluntarily went to jail between May 2 and May 11, 1963. 

In the little colonial town of Salem Village, Massachusetts, two girls began to twitch, mumble, and contort their bodies into strange shapes. The doctor tried every remedy, but nothing cured the young Puritans. He grimly announced the dire diagnosis: the girls were bewitched!  The riveting, true story of the victims, accused witches, crooked officials, and mass hysteria that turned a mysterious illness affecting two children into a witch hunt unfolds in chilling, novelistic detail.