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Best Books for 5th Graders

Dive into literary worlds perfect for 5th graders, as featured in leading book blogs. These titles have been consistently ranked as top picks for young readers.

Recommendations from 16 articles, Richard Branson, Rainn Wilson, Scooter Braun and 30 others.
65 books on the list
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Bridge to Terabithia book cover
Bridge to Terabithia
Katherine Paterson - 2009-10-06 (first published in 1977)
Goodreads Rating
Experience a heartwarming tale of friendship as Jess and Leslie create their own magical kingdom, Terabithia, where anything is possible. Despite a rocky start, the two become inseparable, and their imaginations unleash a world of adventure and wonder. Don't miss this captivating and enchanting read.
Recommended by
Christina Warren
Esperanza Rising book cover
Esperanza Rising
Pam Muñoz Ryan - 2002-09-27 (first published in 2000)
Goodreads Rating
Experience the journey of a young girl, Esperanza, as she goes from living in luxury on a ranch in Mexico to a harsh life of hard labor and financial challenges in California during the Great Depression. Forced to settle in a camp for Mexican farm workers, Esperanza faces a lack of acceptance that she's unprepared for. When their new life is threatened, Esperanza must find a way to rise above her circumstances, with Mama's life and her own on the line.
Hatchet book cover
Gary Paulsen - 2000-04-01 (first published in 1987)
Goodreads Rating
In this gripping tale of survival, a young boy must navigate the Canadian wilderness alone after his small plane crashes. Armed with only a hatchet, he must learn to find food and shelter, and overcome terrifying challenges each day. As he transforms from a helpless victim to a resourceful survivor, readers will be inspired to explore the wilderness themselves.
Number the Stars book cover
Number the Stars
Lois Lowry - 1998-02-09 (first published in 1989)
Goodreads Rating
Set in Copenhagen during World War II, Number the Stars tells the story of best friends Annemarie and Ellen, who face the daily struggles of life in a city occupied by Nazi soldiers. When Ellen is forced to pretend to be part of Annemarie's family to escape being relocated with the rest of Denmark's Jewish population, Annemarie is tasked with a perilous mission to save her friend's life. This poignant and suspenseful tale explores themes of friendship, bravery, and sacrifice in the face of unimaginable danger.
Maniac Magee book cover
Maniac Magee
Jerry Spinelli - 2002-04-28 (first published in 1990)
Goodreads Rating
This modern classic tells the story of Jeffrey Lionel "Maniac" Magee, an orphan who runs away from his unhappy home life. His running takes on a life of its own and he becomes known for his legendary and amazing feats. Set in a racially divided small town, Maniac Magee changes lives with his journey. A Newbery Medal winner, this book is a must-read for those looking for a powerful and inspiring tale.
The Lightning Thief book cover
The Lightning Thief
Rick Riordan - 2006-03-01 (first published in 2005)
Goodreads Rating
Embark on a thrilling adventure as twelve-year-old Percy Jackson sets out to catch a thief who has stolen Zeus' master bolt - the original weapon of mass destruction. Accompanied by a satyr and a daughter of Athena, Percy travels across the United States, facing mythical foes and coming to terms with a father he never knew. Don't miss this quest full of danger, betrayal, and self-discovery.
Holes book cover
Louis Sachar - 2000-09-02 (first published in 1998)
Goodreads Rating
A young boy named Stanley is sent to Camp Green Lake, a detention center where boys are forced to dig holes all day. But as Stanley soon realizes, there's more going on than just character building. With humor and creativity, this modern classic explores themes of crime, punishment, and redemption. Plus, get a sneak peek at the author's other novels.
Recommended by
Gretchen Rubin
A Wrinkle in Time book cover
A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L'Engle - 2017-11-07 (first published in 1962)
Goodreads Rating
Embark on a thrilling journey through space and time with Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin as they search for Meg's missing father, a scientist who vanished while working on a secret government project involving a mysterious concept called a tesseract. A Wrinkle in Time is a unique and captivating story that will leave readers on the edge of their seats. Winner of the Newberry Medal in 1963, this book is a must-read for fans of science fiction and adventure.
Tuck Everlasting book cover
Tuck Everlasting
Rinehart and Winston Holt - 1985-11-01 (first published in 1975)
Goodreads Rating
A family cursed with eternal life reveals their secret to a curious young girl who soon understands the burden of living forever. But when a stranger attempts to exploit their gift for personal gain, complications arise. Will the Tucks be able to keep their secret safe? This bittersweet tale poses thought-provoking questions about mortality and the value of life.
Where the Red Fern Grows book cover
Where the Red Fern Grows
Wilson Rawls - 2000-05-09 (first published in 1961)
Goodreads Rating
Join a loyal trio as they explore the wilds of Cherokee country. With undying determination, they form an unbeatable hunting team, but tragedy is always lurking. Journey through a story full of love, adventure, and heartache that is sure to stay with you forever.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
White Bird by R. J. Palacio
The Giver by Lois Lowry
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Amari and the Night Brothers by B. B. Alston
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
Flora and Ulysses by Kate Dicamillo
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
Refugee by Alan Gratz
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Anne Frank by Scholastic Inc.
Frindle by Andrew Clements
Rules by Cynthia Lord
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B White
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
Restart by Gordon Korman
The Stars Beneath Our Feet by David Barclay Moore
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein
Half Upon a Time by James Riley
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
When You Trap a Tiger by Tae Keller
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhhà Lai
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Forever This Summer by Leslie C. Youngblood
Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling