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Fifth grade novels and nonfiction texts provide deepening themes and ideas of compassion and empathy. These teacher recommended books for 5th grade are some that have stood the test of time as well as some 21st century favorites.
Teacher Recommended 5th Grade Books
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
It’s truly a right of passage to read this tear-jerking novel about two hound dogs and their owner Billy that grow up as a phenomenal hunting team in the Ozarks. This is one of the first novels I remember reading as a child about the love between man and animal. Where the Red Fern Grows is one of the first “dog” books that shows compassion and empathy for man and animals. Pair it with the film of the same name to use in your classroom. Your kids will remember this book for years to come.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Auggie, a boy born with a facial abnormality, teaches readers about the power of acceptance, anti-bullying, compassion, and seeing wonder in the world. Told through multiple perspectives, Wonder is a great novel to teach voice, point of view, and theme. Your students will also enjoy the companion book, Auggie & Me, and the movie.
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
Melody has cerebral palsy, but she will not be defined by her disability. Even though she can’t communicate, she has a gift for memory and intelligence that she is determined to share with the world. This novel can help teach your students to see beyond appearances. Like Wonder, Out of My Mind is another story of acceptance and empathy.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
For years, Sachar has been delighting upper elementary students with novels with engaging protagonists and both external and internal conflicts that drive plots. Fuzzy Mud is a story of two kids who get lost and find something in the woods they never could have imagined. The story has an ecological and environmental message that will help your children make connection to current events in our world.
Greek mythology is the fascinating study of gods and goddesses, heroes and monsters. As your students get older, they will find allusions to mythology in classic and modern literature. Give your students a chance to study greek gods and goddesses through this National Geographic nonfiction text littered with gorgeous illustrations. This nonfiction text comes highly recommended by 5th grade teachers in social studies and language arts! If you like Greek Mythology, another version we are huge fans of is D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths.
Our Favorite 5th Grade Books
I can never stick to just a few books when it comes to favorites. The list above are some favorites of teachers surveyed. This list contains some of my personal favorite fifth grade books. Some of these are a little more challenging, being older classics, but are well worth it!
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
The Good Master by Kate Seredy
The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
I hope you will fall in love with these teacher recommended books for 5th grade. Your kids or students will enjoy the themes, strong characters, and conflicts that go beyond what they have read before. What are your favorite books for this age?