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Suggested Titles for Fifth Grade

Fiction

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett

When a book of unexplainable occurences 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

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 they were accustomed to on Rancho de las Rosas. 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.

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

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 of his guardians' time as well as their ghostly teachings--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?

Ten hilarious stories from some of the funniest writers around. Before you're through, 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; and more. 

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

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

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.

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. It is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

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! Here is Roald Dahl's original novel of a little girl with extraordinary powers.

The phantom tollbooth by Norton Juster

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. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it's exciting beyond his wildest dreams!

Redwall by Brian Jacques

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 which, he is convinced, will help Redwall's inhabitants destroy the enemy.

A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about 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 twelve-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.

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. It doesn't matter that times are tough; together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks. Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters--now friends--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. 

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.

The witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

Sixteen-year-old Kit Tyler is marked by suspicion and disapproval from the moment she arrives on the unfamiliar shores of colonial Connecticut in 1687. Alone and desperate, she has been forced to leave her beloved 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. But Kit's friendship with Hannah Tupper, believed by the colonists to be a witch, proves more taboo than she could have imagined and ultimately forces Kit to choose between her heart and her duty.

Nonfiction

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

National Book Award Winner Jacqueline Woodson tells the moving story of her childhood in mesmerizing verse. Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. 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. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, 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 Roy Sullivan, who was struck by lightning 7 times These intriguing facts and hundreds more await curious readers, amateur historians, and anyone who aspires to the altogether extraordinary!

An introduction to the ways in which a designer communicates his or her ideas to the world. Written and designed just for those curious kids, not to mention their savvy parents, who want to learn the secret of how to make things dynamic and interesting. 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--and kids will love its playful spirit and belief that the world looks better when you look at it differently.

The great fire by Jim Murphy

A vertible cinematic account of the catastrophe that decimated much of Chicago in 1871, forcing more than 100,000 people from their homes. Jim Murphy tells the story through the eyes of several survivors. These characters serve as dramatic focal points as the fire sweeps across the city, their stories illuminated by fascinating archival photos and maps outlining the spread of fire. 1996 Newbery Honor Book.

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. Illustrated with 100 archival photographs, Red Madness includes stories about real life pellagra victims and accounts of scientific investigations. 

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.

What happens when a person's reputation has been forever damaged? 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. How did her name become synonymous with deadly disease? And who is really responsible for the lasting legacy of Typhoid Mary?

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. What could have been a terrible tragedy became an amazing story of survival. By tracing the psychological, physical, and environmental factors surrounding the mission, Aronson highlights the amazing technology and helping hands that made it all possible. 

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! And then the accusations began. 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 that took over a dozen people's lives and ruined hundreds more unfolds in chilling, novelistic detail.

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