Monday, September 23, 2013

Which Book Would You Buy A 5th Grader?

One of my dearest friends recently moved back to NYC from San Francisco to teach fifth grade English at a charter school in the Bronx.

We were chatting the other day about the library she's putting together for her kids. A company donated books to her school, and she received a sizable share for her class. She created a really special nook with cozy chairs for her students to cuddle up and read.

Given how much middle grade I devour, this conversation was bound to inspire me. So I decided to donate some of my favorite modern middle grade books to her classroom.

This was a task I took on with utter seriousness. I wanted to find a range of novels for her library, ones with fully formed characters of color, as well as stories set in diverse socioeconomic backgrounds and settings. And most of all, books that encouraged bravery and adventure while stirring the imagination.

After a few trips to The Strand, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon, I got hardcover copies (for durability) of the following books for her kids:

1.)  Wonder by RJ Palacio
2.)  Waiting For Normal by Leslie Conor
3.)  Chained by Lynne Kelly
4.)  May B by Caroline Starr Rose
5.)  Where The Mountain Meets The Moon by Grace Lin
6.)  How Lamar's Bad Prank Won A Bubba-Sized Trophy by Crystal Allen
7.)  Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
8.)  When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
9.)  Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
10.) Inside Out And Back Again by Thanhha Lai
11.) Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool
12.) Randi Rhodes, Ninja Detective by Octavia Spencer
13.) Malcolm At Midnight by WH Beck

There were many more that I wanted to add to the list, but I had to stop somewhere! And since thirteen is my lucky number, I ended up going with a baker's dozen.

So, what middle grade books would you recommend to a fifth grader? If you could get every elementary schooler to read one book, what would it be?

13 comments:

  1. Some of my favorites are on that list! I'd add my MMGM from last week -- The Girl from Felony Bay.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've been seeing that title around lately -- must check it out :)

      Delete
  2. That was really nice of you to donate all those books to your friend's classroom. What a great list! And I just finished Counting by 7s. How utterly beautiful. You were so right, Gina. I think that book deserves a Newbery.

    I would recommend some of the same ones you did, plus The One and Only Ivan, One Crazy Summer, The Red Umbrella, Dead End in Norvelt, Bigger Than a Bread Box, May B.... I could go on for hours. Getting all fifth graders to read one book, though - that's tough. I'd probably have to say HOLES.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Amazing stories -- I still have to read a few, like Ivan and Bread Box.

      So glad you loved Counting By 7s. Definitely Newbery-worthy.

      Delete
  3. You have some of my favorites on there and others I really need to read.
    I would recommend The Great Wall of Lucy Wu and One Crazy Summer. :)

    ~Akoss

    ReplyDelete
  4. How nice of you to donate to your friend's classroom! Your picks are great, and I'm sure the kids will love them. Others have mentioned some great choices and a couple historical choices I would maybe add are Turtle in Paradise and A Diamond in the Desert.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I haven't checked out those books - thanks for the recommendation. I might donate some more books in the spring :)

      Delete
  5. This will be a lovely treat for the kids. I certainly would like to expand my middle grade library as well. I just finished When You Reach Me yesterday and hours afterwards my heart still ached. It was one of the best books I've ever read. I've heard great things about the other books. I need to read them all!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Such a great book!! Your reaction makes me want to reread it ASAP.

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. "The Adventures of Rupert Starbright" series is awesome! My niece and nephews loved them. I think Book 3 is coming out soon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome - must check this series out. I'm always looking for a terrific MG book, so much appreciated :)

      Delete
  8. Great post! I'm going to keep coming back to it for recommendations. (The only book on your list that I've read is When You Reach Me, so I've got some catching up to do!)

    ReplyDelete