Suggested Summer Reading: 5th Grade

2020 Suggested Summer Reading – 5th Grade 

Popular Fiction

  • Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi (RL: 5.3). Twelve-year-old Aru stretches the truth to fit in at her private school, but when she is dared to prove an ancient lamp is cursed, she inadvertently frees an ancient demon. 
  • Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea (RL: 4.6). Seven fifth-graders at Snow Hill School in Connecticut relate how their lives are changed for the better by "rookie teacher" Mr. Terupt. 
  • Best School Year Ever by Barbara Robinson (RL: 5.4). The six horrible Herdmans, the worst kids in the history of the world, cause mayhem throughout the school year. 
  • Booked by Kwame Alexander (RL: 5.0). Twelve-year-old Nick loves soccer and hates books, but soon learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams. 
  • Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtiss (RL: 5.6). Ten-year-old Bud, a motherless boy living in Flint, Michigan, during the Great Depression, escapes a bad foster home and sets out in search of the man he believes to be his father--the renowned bandleader, H.E. Calloway of Grand Rapids 
  • Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (RL: 5.3). Twelve-year-old genius and outsider Willow Chance must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family for herself after her parents are killed in a car accident. 
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan (RL: 6.2). Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression. 
  • Flush by Carl Hiaasen (RL: 5.0). With their father jailed for sinking a river boat, Noah Underwood and his younger sister, Abbey, must gather evidence that the owner of this floating casino is emptying his bilge tanks into the protected waters around their Florida Keys home.  
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements (RL: 5.4). When he decides to turn his fifth grade teacher's love of the dictionary around on her, clever Nick Allen invents a new word and begins a chain of events that quickly moves beyond his control. 
  • George by Alex Gina (RL: 5.0).  Knowing herself to be a girl despite her outwardly male appearance, George is denied a female role in the class play before teaming up with a friend to reveal her true self. 
  • The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester (RL: 6.0). Piper McCloud's ability to fly sets her apart from the other kids, so her mother sends her to an exclusive school for children with exceptional abilities, but even there she does not fit in with the other students. 
  • Heat by Mike Lupica (RL: 6.9). Pitching prodigy Michael Arroyo is on the run from social services after being banned from playing Little League baseball because rival coaches doubt he is only twelve years old and he has no parents to offer them proof. 
  • Holes by Louis Sachar (RL: 6.5). As further evidence of his family's bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.  
  • Hoot by Carl Hiaasen (RL: 5.2). Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site.  
  • Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo (RL: 4.2). Hoping that if she wins a local beauty pageant her father will come home, Raymie practices twirling a baton and performing good deeds as she is drawn into an unlikely friendship with a drama queen and a saboteur. 
  • Masterpiece by Elise Broach (RL: 5.4). After Marvin, a beetle, makes a miniature drawing as an eleventh birthday gift for James, a human with whom he shares a house, the two new friends work together to help recover a Durer drawing stolen from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl (RL: 5.0).  Matilda applies her untapped mental powers to rid the school of the evil, child-hating headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, and restore her nice teacher, Miss Honey, to financial security. 
  • One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia (RL: 4.6).  In the summer of 1968, after traveling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome as they discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp. 
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper (RL: 4.6). Considered by many to be mentally challenged, a brilliant, impatient fifth-graderwith cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time. 
  • Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty (RL: 5.9). In 1899, a twelve-year-old rat catcher on North Carolina's Biltmore estate teams up with the estate owner's young nephew to battle a great evil and, in the process, unlocks the puzzle of her past. 
  • Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan (RL: 5.3).  Twelve-year-old Peter Lundstrom and his friends help his Uncle Victor with a plan to protect the bank's gold bullion from the invading Nazis. 
  • A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements (RL: 5.3).  The fifth grade's annual camping trip in the woods tests Mark's survival skills and his ability to relate to a teacher who seems out to get him. 
  • The Wild Robot and The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter Brown (RL: 5.8).  Roz the robot discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island with no memory of where she is from or why she is there, and her only hope of survival is to try to learn about her new environment from the island's hostile inhabitants. (Mackin – 15) 
  • The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis (RL: 5.0).  The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African-American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963 
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle (RL: 4.7).  Meg Murry, her brother Charles, and their friend Calvin, embark on a journey through space and time, assisted by three otherworldly women, when they set out to find Meg's father, a physicist who disappeared while experimenting with time travel. 


  • Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman (RL: 5.2). A collection of poems describing the characteristics and activities of a variety of insects. 
  • Lend a Hand: Poems about Giving by John Frank (RL: 5.0).  A collection of poems centered on spontaneous acts of kindness, representing diverse voices and topical themes. 
  • A Pizza the Size of the Sun by Jack Prelutsky (RL: 5.5). A collection of humorous poetry on a variety of topics. 
  • Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman (RL: 6.8). Grass grows "in places others can't / where wind is high and water scant." Bacteria is "ancient, tiny / teeming, mixing, melding / strands curled like ghostly hands." This collection of original poetry highlights a diverse group of nature's most adaptive species, from mollusks to dandelions to coyotes to humans. Each poem is paired with in-depth information about its subject matter.Page Break 
  • Informational 
  • Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshall by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (RL: 5.5).  An illustrated biography of Bass Reeves, a former slave who was recruited as a deputy United States marshal, based on his ability to communicate with the Native Americans in the area that was to become Oklahoma. 
  • A Black Hole is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano (RL: 5.7).  An examination of black holes that discusses what they are, what causes them, how they are discovered, and more. 
  • Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal—the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (RL: YA).Examines the history of the atomic bomb, discussing the discovery of the behavior of uranium when placed next to radioactive material, the race to build a bomb, and the impact of the weapon on societies around the world. 
  • Eye to Eye: How Animals See the World by Steve Jenkins (RL: 5.7). Profiles a series of animals with unusual eyes, andexplains how such animals use their uniquely evolved eyes to gain essential information about the biological world. 
  • Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart (RL: 5.1). Young naturalists meet sixteen birds in this introduction to the many uses of feathers. 
  • Lego Awesome Ideas by Daniel Lipkowitz (RL: 6.7). Shows LEGO model breakdowns, with hundreds of new LEGO approved fan ideas, including how to build a Wild West train, outer space aliens, a cell phone, and more. 
  • Ugly by Robert Hoge (RL: 5.3) Robert Hoge was born with a tumor the size of a tennis ball in the middle of his face and short, twisted legs, but he refused to let what made him different stand in the way of leading a happy, successful life. This is the true story of how he embraced his circumstances and never let his 'ugly' stop him from focusing on what truly mattered 


Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice  

Grades 3-6 Nominees 2020-2021 




All That Trash: The Story of the 1987 Garbage Barge and Our Problem with Stuff 

Meghan McCarthy 

Because of the Rabbit 

Cynthia Lord 

Best Friends 

Shannon Hale and Pham LeUyen 


Sharon M. Draper 


Kayla Miller 

The Doughnut Fix 

Jessie Janowitz 

Dragons in a Bag 

Zetta Eliott 

Finding Langston 

Lesa Cline-Ransome 

Front Desk 

Kelly Yang 

Just Like Rube Goldberg: The Incredible True Story of the Man Behind the Machines 

Sarah Aronson 

Not If I Can Help It 

Carolyn Mackler 

Pass Go and Collect $200: The Real Story of How Monopoly Was Invented 

Tanya Lee Stone 

The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise 

Dan Gemeinhart 

The Season of Styx Malone 

Kekla Magoon 

Wedgie & Gizmo 

Suzanne Selfors 






Artemis Fowl 

Eoin Colfer 

Babysitter’s Club (graphica) 


Brixton Brothers 

Mac Barnett 

Brotherband Chronicles  

John Flanagan 

Chronicles of Narnia 

C.S. Lewis 

City of Ember 

Jeanne DuPrau 


Brandon Mull 

Fairy Tale Reform School 

Jen Calonita 

How to Train Your Dragon 

Cressida Cowell 

I Survived 

Lauren Tarshis 

Jake the Fake 

Craig Robinson 

Kane Chronicles 

Rick Riordan 

Kingdom Keepers 

Ridley Pearson 

Land of Stories 

Chris Colfer 

Middle School 

James Patterson 

The Mysterious Benedict Society 

Trenton Lee Stewart 

The Name of this Book is Secret 

Pseudonymous Bosch 


Jeanne Birdsall 

Peter and the Starcatchers 

Dave Barry 


Ingrid Law 

Science Comics 


Series of Unfortunate Events 

Lemony Snicket 

Spy School 

Stuart Gibbs 

Sisters Grimm 

Michael Buckley 

Storm Runners 

Roland Smith 

Theodore Boone 

John Grisham 

Underland Chronicles 

Suzanne Collins 


Lisa McMann 

Wings of Fire 

Tui Sutherland 


2021 Delaware County Reading Olympics 




Because of the Rabbit  

Lord, Cynthia 

Benjamin Franklinstein Lives 

McElligott, Matthew 

Bud, Not Buddy  

Curtis, Christopher Paul  

Chasing Secrets  

Choldenko, Gennifer 

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix  

Martin, Jacqueline Briggs 

Confessions of an Imaginary Friend: A Memoir by Jacques Papier 

Cuevas, Michelle 

Fight for Life #1 (Vet Volunteers; aka Wild at Heart #1)  

Anderson, Laurie Halse 

Finding Langston 

Cline-Ransom, Lesa 

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World's Most Famous Bear  

Mattick, Lindsay 

Fourteenth Goldfish, The  

Holm, Jennifer L. 

Fuzzy Mud  

Sachar, Louis 

Gold Cadillac  

Taylor, Mildred 

Honus & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure  

Gutman, Dan 

I Survived the Joplin Tornado  

Tarshis, Lauren 

Into the Wild (Warriors #1)  

Hunter, Erin 

Invention of Hugo Cabret  

Selznick, Brian 

Iron Trial, The  

Black, Holly 

Jack Plank Tells Tales  

Babbitt, Natalie 

Landry News, The  

Clements, Andrew 

Lemonade War, The  

Davies, Jacqueline 

Lewis and Clark and Me: A Dog's Tale  

Myers, Laurie 

Mouse with the Question Mark Tail, The 

Peck, Richard 

My Life As a Book  

Tashjian, Janet 

Night on Fire  

Kidd, Ronald 


Pennypacker, Sara 

Pictures of Hollis Woods  

Giff, Patricia Reilly 

Poppy and Rye  


Ramona's World 

Cleary, Beverly 

Return of Zita the Spacegirl, The  

Hatke, Ben 

Richard Wright and the Library Card  

Miller, William 

Roller Girl  

Jamieson, Victoria 

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief  

Van Draanen, Wendelin 


Law, Ingrid 

Shipwreck Search: Discovery of the H.L.  

Hunley, Walker Sally 

Show me a Sign  

LeZotte Ann Clare 

Stone Fox  

Gardiner, John Reynolds 

Story of the Statue of Liberty, The  

Maestro, Betsy 

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing  

Blume, Judy 

Through My Eyes  

Bridges, Ruby 

Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky 

Mbalia, Kwame 

Trouble with Tuck  

Taylor, Theodore 

Two Minute Drill (Comeback Kids series)  

Lupica, Mike 

Viking It and Liking It  

Scieszka, Jon 

Sonia Sotomayor (Women Who Broke the Rules) 

Krull, Kathleen 

Yang the Youngest and his Terrible Ear  

Namioka, Lensey