18 of Our Favorite Books to Teach in 5th Grade

As educators, choosing the right books to teach in 5th grade is crucial for fostering a love of reading and expanding students’ knowledge. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a list of 18 of our favorite books that are not only engaging but also have valuable lessons and themes. Whether you’re looking to introduce new genres, explore diverse cultures, or reinforce important literary concepts, these books are sure to captivate your 5th-grade students.

  1. “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio: A heartwarming story about kindness and acceptance, following the journey of Auggie Pullman, a fifth-grader with a facial deformity.
  2. “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate: This captivating tale narrated by Ivan, a gorilla living in captivity, sheds light on friendship, empathy, and the power of hope.
  3. “Number the Stars” by Lois Lowry: Set during World War II, this historical fiction novel tells the story of a young girl named Annemarie who helps her Jewish friend escape from the Nazis.
  4. “Hatchet” by Gary Paulsen: A thrilling adventure novel about a boy named Brian, who survives a plane crash and must rely on his courage and resourcefulness to survive in the wilderness.
  5. “The Giver” by Lois Lowry: An intriguing dystopian novel that explores themes of individuality, conformity, and the importance of memories.
  6. “Because of Winn-Dixie” by Kate DiCamillo: Follow the heartwarming story of India Opal and her dog Winn-Dixie, as they bring together a small town and overcome their own personal struggles.
  7. “Wonderstruck” by Brian Selznick: This unique book combines illustrations and narrative to tell the stories of two deaf children from different time periods, exploring themes of identity and connection.
  8. “The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane” by Kate DiCamillo: A beautifully written tale about a porcelain rabbit named Edward Tulane, who embarks on a transformative journey and learns the importance of love and connection.
  9. “The Phantom Tollbooth” by Norton Juster: Join Milo on his fantastical journey through the Kingdom of Wisdom, where he learns the joy of learning and the power of words.
  10. “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett: This timeless classic follows the story of Mary Lennox, a young girl who discovers a hidden garden and learns the healing power of nature and friendship.
  11. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle: A captivating science fiction novel that takes readers on a thrilling journey through time and space, while exploring themes of love, courage, and the fight against evil.
  12. “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson: This poignant story explores the friendship between Jess and Leslie, as they create an imaginative world called Terabithia and learn important life lessons along the way.
  13. “Esperanza Rising” by Pam Muñoz Ryan: Set during the Great Depression, this novel follows the story of Esperanza, a young girl who must adapt to a new life as a Mexican immigrant in California.
  14. “The Lightning Thief” by Rick Riordan: The first book in the popular “Percy Jackson & the Olympians” series, this action-packed adventure introduces readers to Percy, a demigod who discovers a world of Greek mythology.
  15. “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin: A thrilling mystery that revolves around the eccentric millionaire Samuel W. Westing and a group of 16 tenants who are all suspects in his murder.
  16. “The BFG” by Roald Dahl: Join Sophie as she encounters the Big Friendly Giant and embarks on an adventure filled with dreams, friendship, and the fight against evil giants.
  17. “The Tale of Despereaux” by Kate DiCamillo: This enchanting story follows the journey of a small mouse named Despereaux, who defies expectations and proves that even the smallest creatures can be brave.
  18. “Holes” by Louis Sachar: This award-winning novel weaves together several interconnected storylines, focusing on Stanley Yelnats as he navigates the challenges of a juvenile detention camp and uncovers hidden secrets.

These 18 books offer a diverse range of genres, themes, and perspectives, making them excellent choices for teaching 5th-grade students. Whether they spark lively discussions, promote critical thinking, or inspire a love for reading, these books are sure to leave a lasting impact on your students’ literary journey. Happy reading!