Fifth Grade Summer Reading List

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based on 42 ratings
May 16, 2011
Updated on Mar 31, 2014

Kids entering fifth grade definitely know what they like and dislike about everything ... including books! Getting your child to read over the summer is all about finding just the right book. Looking for fresh reading options for your fifth grader? Look no further. We've combed the shelves for new titles to spice up summer reading.

Our 2012 Summer Reading List

Looking For Me, by Betsy R. Rosenthal. Set in Depression-era Maryland, the heroine of the story is 11-years-old and wedged in the middle of a big family.  Edith’s search for identity is completely relatable to kids today, and because this novel is told in verse, it unburdens the reluctant reader from the daunting appearance of a block of text. For kids who already love reading this book makes poetry accessible and relevant. (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $13.28)

Castle of Shadows, by Ellen Renner, Illustrated by Wilson Swain.  Eleven-year-old Charlie is a mischievous girl; unwashed, uneducated and unsupervised. She is also the princess of Quale. But ever since her mother mysteriously disappeared and her father, the King, went mad, her life as a royal has never been quite right. And to make things worse, a rebellion is brewing in the kingdom. When Charlie accidentally discovers a clue about her mother’s disappearance, she is bent on finding out the truth. The misfit princess will have to battle an evil housekeeper, a slimy Prime Minister and more to get to the bottom of the mystery, save her mother, and save her kingdom. This hybrid of historical fiction and fantasy will be fun for any reader. (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $10.87)

The Adventures of Beanboy, by Lisa Harkrader. Diary of a Wimpy Kid...move over! This graphic novel leans more towards novel than graphic, paving the way for more text-heavy books, while interspersing comics to keep kids engaged. Its humor, about a superhero powered by the gas he passes, is perfect for 10-year-old boys who’ve outgrown Captain Underpants, but can still appreciate a gross guffaw. The comic book story runs in parallel to the life of its author, who needs some superhero intervention in his own life, and what makes this book stand out is how its well-drawn hero prevails in the face of difficulties. (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $9.99)

Gifts From The Gods, by Lise Lunge-Larsen, Illustrated by Gareth Hinds.  Action-packed illustrations make this a novel of graphic proportions. It tells tales of Greek legends and gods, bringing pomp, circumstance and muscle to vocabulary enrichment. Did you know that “Janus”, god of the doorways and hallways, gave us the name janitors? Learn other fun facts about words like chaos, genius, nemesis, panic, and echo. This book is sure to spark a love of linguistics and Greek mythology. (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, $13.86)

Our 2011 Summer Reading List

Dogtag Summer by Elizabeth Partridge. 12-year-old Tracy finds an ammunition box that her father brought home from the Vietnam War. Tracy has always known of her Vietnamese heritage, but can't explain the violent scenes playing in her mind since finding the box. This book captures the warm and easygoing essence of classic coming-of-age summer stories while also exposing maturing readers to the vast and complex extent of war's human toll. (Bloomsbury, $12.74)

True (...Sort of) by Katherine Hannigan. Complex, flawed, and deeply interesting characters set up a story that is at once realistic and transcendent. Delly is a big-hearted, but tough-as-nails tomboy who seems to find trouble at every turn. Best friend Ferris helps to put her on the straight and narrow, but all that changes when Delly finds out the truth: Ferris is in some real trouble of her own. A compelling story about friendship, trouble, and facing the truth. (Greenwillow Books, $11.55)

The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley. Scullery maid Molly might have the key to the kingdom’s safety.  It's a fast read to find out how. Grounded in her life at Dethemere Castle, Molly is perfectly poised for the moment when a grisly curse rears its head. A no-nonsense plot leads the way through a good starter book for beginning fantasy readers. (Harper, $11.19)


The Trouble With Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante. Dellie’s family is struggling with the death of her younger brother. When Corey moves into her building, Dellie starts taking care of the boy, and finally begins the process of healing. This realistic portrayal of grief can be a tearjerker at times, but has a lot to teach tweens in the throes of adolescence about life, love and friendship. (Putnam, $13.25) 

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, illustrated by Inga Moore. Got an independent reader on your hands, but nostalgic for the days when he'd cuddle up at night and listen to you read aloud? Don’t pass this book up! This story has been leaving kids open-mouthed since it was first published in 1908. The abridged and gorgeously illustrated version is a great introduction for kids not quite ready for the original. (Candlewick, $14.95) 


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