5th Grade Book Recommendations from My 5th Grader

5th Grade Book Recommendations from My 5th Grader

My son has picked up the pace reading books this year in 5th grade. His book lists are now in three parts.

5th Grade Books from a 5th Grade Boy has books that he read as a rising 5th grader as well as book he read in the early part of the school year. You’ll notice his reluctance to read by all the graphic novels he read. This was also the turning point for novels in verse for him when he discovered The Crossover which lead to more novels in verse.

Best 5th Grade Books from My 5th Grade Son is part 2 of 3. You’ll notice that he likes FUNNY and ACTION ADVENTURE, preferably combined á la Rick Riordan. His 5th grade teacher has him reading historical fiction for the first time which he’s really enjoying. This set us up for more historical fiction and even historical fiction as a novel in verse!

How about you? What do you think he should add to his reading list? I am planning on having him read at least five books this summer.

5th Grade Chapter Books from a 5th Grade Boy

Brooklyn Bat Boy: the Story of the 1947 Season That Changed Baseball Forever by Geoff Griffin

I really liked learning about Jackie Robinson through the perspective of a Irish American bat boy.

Jackie Robinson’s first season with the Brooklyn Dodgers told from the point of view of the new batboy. My son and I loved this historical fiction early chapter book, complete with authentic slang. Pair it with a biography on Jackie Robinson if you  want to learn about this extraordinary man. [early chapter book, ages 8 and up]

You Can Fly: The Tuskegee Airmen by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Jeffrey Boston Weatherford

An interesting story about African American war pilots.

My son and I are enjoying novels in verse (thanks to The Crossover which got my son to enjoy poetry). This story about the Tuskegee Airmen is a Jackie Robinson story of aviation. At 68 pages, it’s a short, insightful and satisfying read. Jackie Robinson is also in this book if you want to make that connection to Brooklyn Batboy.  [novel in verse, ages 8 and up]

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex

A hilarious story about a girl and an alien teaming up to save the world.

It’s hard to describe Smekday except to say it’s a joyride of alien cross country adventure with a strong girl character of color. Despite the fate of the world being at stake and a missing mother, this is a light-hearted action adventure that will make you laugh from start to finish. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Another hilarious first book of a series about the god Apollo being turned into a mortal.

Percy Jackson and friends are back in a new series about Apollo who is forced to redeem himself as a human boy with acne in order to regain his godly status. In this first installment, Apollo’s oracles are silent and Camp Halfblood is in danger. Meet new halfblood heroes and reunite with old ones in this new 5 book (we think!) series. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Unidentified Suburban Object by Mike Jung

A very relatable story about a girl who feels different.

Korean Americans + aliens in midwest suburbia. This is a clever twist on the Model Minority myth that all Asian Americans are top students and virtuoso musicians. Perhaps there is more to that? The pacing of this story picks up towards the end, leading to insights about friendships, belonging, and fitting in. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

Journey Home by Yoshiko Uchida

An incredible story describing how Japanese Americans were treated during WWII.

After being forced into a WWII internment camp, a Japanese American family makes it way back into a hostile world. With their lives destroyed, Yuki and her family try to rebuild from scratch with only hope, faith, and courage to lead them. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

Booked by Kwame Alexander

Another cool poetry book that I can relate to about soccer.

If you liked The Crossover and play soccer, you MUST read this novel in verse. Twelve-year-old Nick is a star soccer player but that doesn’t mean his life is perfect. Far from it. His parents are fighting non-stop, twin bullies harass him, and he’s trying to impress a girl. Will the weird vocabulary words his father makes him learn and the books Mac, the school librarian, pushes him to read help him get the girl?  [novel in verse, ages 8 and up]

The Prince of Fenway Park by Julianna Baggott

An interesting story about a boy who felt cursed and finds out that he really is. 

I was not expecting a time travel fantasy twist to a Red Sox baseball story, nor an African-American bi-racial lead character to be the one who has to break the curse, but there it is. Baggott weaves a mesmerizing story that feels realistic. Red Sox fans and anyone who has ever been to Boston will delight in reading about real places that exist. Her exquisite writing will have you turning page after page. It’s a baseball story even for those who don’t follow sports. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

We reading this in class but we’re not done yet. So far, it’s a funny book full of fun plays on words and mind boggling sentences.

I loved this book at the same age as my son, but he’s not as fond of it as I am. This is his class read aloud and it seems to be going in fits and starts.

The Drake Equation by Bart King

Hoot + aliens = The Drake Equation. I loved Hoot. I like how Noah Grow is an obsessed birder (bird watcher). The alien element is sucking in my son. It’s working for me! [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

The Misadventures of Max Crumbly Locker Hero by Rachel Renée Russell

I just bought this notebook novel for my son of a sixth grader who gets stuffed into lockers by the school bully. He finished it in record time and recommends it. [notebook novel, ages 9 and up]

Rising 6th Grade Summer Reading List

Making Friends with Billy Wong by Augusta Scattergood

This looks great! I’ve enjoyed all of Augusta Scattergood’s books so far though my son hasn’t read any of them. This has an Asian American Deep South twist and I’m looking forward to reading it. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

Jason Reynolds is truly the nicest person. When he found an errant email about an interview with Multicultural Children’s Book Day, he was gracious and lovely and posted this for us. This is his first middle grade book (ages 9 and up) so I immediately bought it for my son. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

My son read about the Japanese American internment which part of his family history; his grandmother, my mother, was among those forced to relocate during WWII despite being an American citizen. He enjoyed the post-concentration camp story, Journey Home, which I read but never thought he’d read. I think he’ll like this as well, and it will help him to make the connection to his grandmother’s experience. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

I’ve heard nothing but rave reviews of Kate DiCamillo’s newest chapter book. I just got a copy and I’m dying to read it. This might be one of the times that I force my son to read a book that I’ve selected. 🙂 [chapter book, ages 9 and up]


The Pursuit of the Pesky Pizza Pirate by Mike Lowery

While this doodle adventure where you draw right into the book to create the story is on the easy side for my son, I know he’ll like it. He enjoyed the first book and was able to finish it in one sitting. Perfect summer reading! [notebook novel, ages 7 and up]

Alamo All Stars by Nathan Hale

This graphic novel is all about the Alamo during 1836. I like how the historical facts and personalities are not sugar coated. It’s an appealing format to learn about history. I’m hoping my son will read it, particularly since he’s been to San Antonio and visited the Alamo. [graphic novel, ages 9 and up]

Ms Bixby’s Last Day by John David Anderson

I’ve been reading great reviews of this moving story about a teacher who makes a difference in her students’ lives. I’m excited to read it with my son. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

Currently Reading

Where The Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

Out of the pile of books that I had lined up for him, my son asked for “the dragon book.” He’s always liked dragons. I’m delighted that this book sucked him in within two chapters. I’m hopeful that we’ll read the next books in this four book series.

I told my son that Starry River of the Sky is Grace Lin’s very first boy character. And her latest book is out soon. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

My son’s 5th grade class does a Holocaust unit and this is one of the books that they use. I will pair this with The Yellow Star: The Legend of King Christian X of Denmark for him. The lengths that others went to help the Jewish people is an uplifting theme to explore during this dark period of history.

To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

5th Grade Book Recommendations from My 5th Grader

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Maria Marrone

    Your son would love JG’s by M.D. Marrone available on Amazon…

  2. Adding these to our future book lists. I didn’t know there was a new Percy Jackson series!
    Erin Vincent recently posted…Inspiring Creativity with a 3D Drawing PenMy Profile

    • Hi Erin,
      The first book just came out. My son loved it! It’s about Apollo who gets cast down to Earth as a mortal as punishment by Zeus and I think he has to overcome 5 trials (hence 5 books) regain his godly status. But it’s fun because Percy Jackson and crew are in the story … they probably all eventually pop in but a few make an appearance in the first book though as minor support characters.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Easy Sun Catcher Craft for KidsMy Profile

  3. Oh wow lots of books I want to read in this list! My kids are talking about talking a sibling book group, so I’ll have to suggest some of these to them.
    MaryAnne recently posted…Exploring Medieval Secrets in Craigmillar CastleMy Profile

  4. Glad I saw this one! My son will be starting 5th grade this year, and since he has really started to love reading, I am always on the look out for books he will enjoy. (stopping by from the wake up Wednesday linky)

  5. That is an awesome list! 🙂 I’ve read some of these, but I’ll have to check the others out! 🙂
    Erik – TKRB recently posted…Perfect Picture Book Friday! Swatch by Julia DenosMy Profile

    • Thanks so much Erik! I’ll tell my son! He will be excited that you liked his list! He really started to read a lot more this year than in years past so I’m pretty happy about that. Except for right now during the summer where he’s really slowed down. We are reading the new Candymakers book. He loves it and it’s really long so hopefully we will finish before school starts.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Easy Sun Catcher Craft for KidsMy Profile

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