Brian’s Hunt by Gary Paulsen is Sam Gribley, of My Side of the Mountain, a little older, morphed with the movie starring Michael Douglas and Val Kilmer called The Ghost and The Darkness. Perfect for reluctant boy readers grades 4-6th.
This is a great book to teach children how to relate to their classmates with special needs. In this picture book, MacKenzie Macabee meets Dylan, the new boy at school who seems a little different. When he has trouble fitting in, she puts the pieces of the puzzle together of why and learns about autism, but, even more importantly, she learns how to connect with him.
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is Pippi Longstocking meets Anne of Green Gables combined with a Newbery Honor Award. For grades 3-5.
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord is the story of Shirley Temple Wong as she immigrates to America at age 8 and discovers that American is the land of opportunity by learning about baseball, the Brooklyn Dodgers and the great Jackie Robinson. Four other immigrant stories are listed and all books are approrpriate for grades 3-5.
Rosemary Well’s Mary on Horseback is historical fiction about Mary Breckenridge, founder of Frontier Nursing Services in mountains of Appalacia after WWI. I also recommend The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill.
A thumbs up for the entire Percy Jackson series! I’ve added the classic Mythology by Edith Hamilton which I read and loved as a child. You may as well capitalize on an interest in Greek Mythology and even Roman Mythology that this series will instill in your child. The Usborne is great for younger readers but Edith Hamilton is THE expert and her Mythology book has greater detail.
If you want a great old-fashioned fairy book and tire of those repetitive Rainbow Fairies, try No Flying in the House by Betty Brock.
Grace Lin is the Amy Tan of Children’s Literature. Her latest book, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, is her best yet. Perfect for 2nd-5th graders or even older. She weaves Chinese folk tales into a tapestry of stories where the whole is much greater than the sum of its parts.