Grace Lin’s newest chapter book, Starry River of the Sky, is the companion book to Newbery Honor winning Where the Mountain Meets the Moon. I actually think this book is her best work to date.
To say that Grace Lin speaks to the Asian American experience is probably not specific enough and, simultaneously, also much greater than that. As a sensei (sorry, I’m half Japanese and this means second generation in Japanese), Grace speaks poignantly of the pushes and pulls between her homeland and her “Americanization” conflicts that stem from trying to find the space where she fits in and yet connects with her ethnicity. I especially love Grace Lin’s Pacy series. The Year of the Dog is where Pacy discovers her career path in writing and illustrating books. The Year of the Rat has Pacy dealing with big changes coping from the loss of her best friend — the only other Asian American girl in her class who moves away to California. In real life, this happens to Grace as well, and this best friend turns out to be her future editor!
The fifth graders at my kids’ elementary school are challenged to try to read all the books for the Massachusetts Book Award. I’ve noticed many of them have won Newbery awards so it’s a great list. I found a breakdown for age appropriateness and have organized the books that way. I am excited about this list because there are beloved and acclaimed authors on the list as well as some who are new to me. What about you? Have you or your child read any of these books? Please share what you thought about these books as well as any other book you’d recommend for 5th grade (plus or minus two grades!).
I remember how difficult it was to find great books for kids once they’ve moved to chapter books but are not quite ready for Newbery books.
Reading list for boys, grades 1-6. I love to find books that excite reluctant readers. The key is to find that magic intersection that marries your child’s just-right level with content that matches their interest and a layout that is visually appealing (small chunks of text broken by pictures, larger font size, etc.). Alas, this is a moving target. I have an actual person that I select these books for, my youngest son’s best friend’s older brother who is a 4th grader with my oldest. My mom friends have had success with these books for their reluctant boy readers and suggests you try them. If you want to purchase a book, click on the image of the book to buy at Amazon.com.