This 5th grade summer reading list was fun to put together. Middle grade books are my favorite kind of books to read these days and these titles are appropriate for kids ages 8 -12, so they aren’t just for 5th graders, just as last year’s 4th grade summer reading list was not just for 4th graders.
It is so HARD to believe my son is getting ready to be a 5th grader! I’ve tried to put together a book list that reflects this year’s summer reading theme, “Every Hero Has a Story,” although I’d say most books can be categorized that way! (Note: covers and titles are affiliate links.)
Magic Marks the Spot is the first book in the Very Nearly Honorable League of Pirates series. Hilary wants to be a pirate. Unfortunately pirates don’t take young ladies into their ranks and she is sent off to finishing school. With the help of her gargoyle (that’s right) she escapes and runs off to join the ship, “the Terror of the Southlands”. From then on it is a non-stop treasure seeking adventure. This book has loads of humor, quirky characters, a dynamic heroine, and all the qualities of a fantastic summer read.
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures. My son read and loved several of DiCamillo’s books this year. He told me he really wants to read this one as well. A run in with a vacuum cleaner gives Ulysses the squirrel superhero powers! 10 year old Flora, a self-proclaimed cynic and comic book reader becomes friends with this new superhero, and even opens up her cynical heart. The novel uses comic strip style illustrations to tell parts of the story and is wonderfully funny as well as touching.
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. (1990) Set in 1832, this Newbery Honor book tells the absolutely riveting story of Charlotte, who sets out on a sea voyage from England to Rhode Island. Instead of being chaperoned by other families on the journey, she unexpectedly finds herself alone with the crew and becomes entangled in a nail-biting and dangerous adventure.
The War that Saved My Life. Wow. This was a great book! Ada, born with a club foot, has never left the apartment that she shares with her younger brother and cruel mother. When her mother sends her brother out of London to the countryside at the start of WWII, Ada runs away with him. In the country they begin to make a new life with Susan, a woman who reluctantly takes them in. The three of them form a bond and Ada finally gets to truly live. This is one of the best books I have read in recent months, with interesting historical details and a compelling narrative voice.
Savvy is about the magical Beaumont family. Mibs is about to turn thirteen, the age when each child finds out what his or her magic, or “savvy”, will be. Her brothers can control natural elements, her mother can do everything perfectly and Mibs is anxious to find out what her special quality is. Right before her 13th birthday party, her father has an accident and Mibs is convinced that her power will heal him. She runs away with her siblings and friends to try and reach him. I simply loved this book and it would be a great choice for kids who like Harry Potter.
The Toothpaste Millionaire. The practical side of math is highlighted when sixth-graders Rufus and Kate decide to invent a superior toothpaste, sell it and make their fortunes. First published 40 years ago, Jean Merrill’s book (she also wrote The Pushcart War) is still a highly entertaining celebration of the imaginative spirit. After reading this book, don’t be surprised to see your kid start up a new entrepreneurial endeavor using his or her math skills! For more math themed novels check out this list of math chapter books.
The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity is the first book in the Brixton Brothers series. 12 year old Steve dreams of being a detective and has studiously read and re-read “The Baily Brothers Detective Handbook.” He knows everything about solving crimes, which comes in handy when he finds himself thrown into the middle of an exciting mystery. Every book in the series has tons of adventure, twist and turns, loads of intelligent humor and a satisfying ending. Can you tell yet that I love them? These would be a great choice for kids who like Encyclopedia Brown.
The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. I actually checked out and read the sequel, The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic first. However, it seems better to put the first book on a reading list! Dini loves Bollywood movies but when her mother announces they are going to live in India, she is disappointed they will be living in a small village instead of Bombay. Dini is sure that now she will never meet her idol and Bollywood star, Dolly Singh. In an extraordinarily fun, convoluted and charming series of events Dini gets her wish.
Summerhouse Time is a free verse novel, which if you’ve been following my book lists, you might have noticed verse novels are my favorite type of book these days. Spinelli’s novel is classic summer fare. 11 year old Sophie and her family head out to their beach house. Sophie looks forward to swapping secrets with her favorite cousin, trips to the donut shop and hanging out at the beach. Things aren’t quite as she expects, but the summer turns out well in the end. An easy, breezy summer read.
Under the Egg is part mystery, part treasure hunt, part friendship story and a suspenseful, engaging read. Just before her grandfather died, he whispered to Theodora, “There’s a letter… And a treasure” hidden “under the egg.” Theodora, whose mother is incapable of taking care of her, must find away to pay the bills and she starts her search for this mysterious treasure involving a work of art. Her hunt takes her all over New York City, into the past, and introduces her to a diverse group of new friends. The ending is slightly convenient, but the book is so engaging that everything works.
The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom. (Series) Fans of fairy tale adventures will enjoy this cheeky and humorous story about the “Prince Charmings.” The princes, who now have actual names, turned out by their princesses for various reasons of unsuitability, band together to prove themselves worthy by defeating Rapunzel’s witch. The feisty princesses also make an appearance and by the end of the book it is hard not to laugh out loud at the lovable foolishness of the princes’ exploits. Great fun.
Surviving the Applewhites. Jake has gotten kicked out of his last school and now has come to live with the eccentric, artistic, homeschooling Applewhite family. The father has taken on directing a local production of “The Sound of Music” and no one is more surprised than Jake when he finds he loves performing. I loved the quirky characters and the boundless energy of this book. When the family has to pull together to get the show up after they are blackballed by a local stage mom, the results are hilariously successful. I really enjoy how the story reinforces the necessity of cooperation when putting on a play. I also recommend this as a terrific read aloud.
Absolutely Almost. Albie struggles with school. He has learning disabilities and almost all subjects are difficult for him. He is starting a new school and gets an artistic new babysitter, who connects with him on a creative level. At his new school he finds sympathetic teachers who help him navigate his learning delays. He and his parents are still trying to understand each other. In other words, life is challenging for Albie, but he is learning about life and how he can succeed in the world, despite his difficulties.
I had tried to finish Out Of The Dust before completing my book list of children’s novels in verse but I didn’t quite make it. I’m happy to be able to share Hesse’s book with you now. Billie Jo narrates her story of living in the dustbowl Texas during the Depression. In free verse, she describes the difficulties of poverty, having a distant father, and the tragic accident of her mother’s death which also damaged her own hands so she is no longer able to play the piano. A moving story.
More book lists:
- 6th grade summer reading
- 4th grade summer reading
- 11 books for 11 year olds
- 10 books for 10 year olds
- 100 funny chapter books for kids
Don’t forget. You can view the index of all our book lists for kids. There is something for everyone.
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