Suggestions for Students Finishing Grades 4 or 5
Kwame Alexander – Enjoy poetry and sports? Try Alexander’s novels in verse including Booked and The Crossover. Follow Nick as he learns the power of words to help him deal with his problems at home and a bully while trying to impress the girl of his dreams in Booked. Or meet Josh and Jordan who are struggling with growing up while their father's health is declining in The Crossover.
Blue Balliett – Enjoy her series of books: Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3, The Calder Game, and Pieces and Players. Petra and Tommy solve the mysteries surrounding great works of art: a Vermeer painting, a Frank Lloyd Wright’s house and a Calder sculpture. Intriguing clues keep the reader determined to solve the mystery before the threesome does. Her latest mystery, which stands alone from her previous series is called, Danger Box. This exciting story explores the wonder of scientific discovery/ problem solving using a handwritten child’s newspaper interspersed between chapters.
Ruth McNally Barshaw – Looking for a fun read? Try Barshaw’s half journal, half graphic Ellie McDoodle series which includes Ellie McDoodle Have Pen Will Travel and Ellie McDoodle New Kid in School. Nine-year-old Eleanor McDougal, “Ellie McDoodle,” keeps a journal of her life and adventures. Follow the entries and drawings as she goes on a camping trip with relatives in Have Pen Will Travel or in New Kid in School, when Ellie’s family moves to a new town, where nobody else likes to read as much as she does, and even the teachers can’t get her name right. She helps students rally against unfair lunch lines.
Eric Berlin – Don’t Miss The Puzzling World of Winston Breen and The Potato Chip Mystery. Winston, who finds puzzles everywhere and likes nothing better than solving them, faces some fascinating treasure hunts in these books. These books have puzzles embedded in the plot, and you can solve the puzzles right along with him.
Jeanne Birdsall - The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, The Penderwicks at Point Mouette and The Penderwicks in Spring. Meet the Penderwick sisters, four girls with unique talents and a whole lot of love – these books have feel of a modern-day“Little Women.
Patrick Carman – If you like fantasy and master storytelling, Carman’s Land of Elyon series are the books for you! Alexis, the daughter of the mayor of Lathbury, summers in Bridewell with her dad, but she has never been beyond the stone walls that line her world. Soon Alexis discovers that evil lies within the walls, and her adventures begin. Alexis confronts giants, bats, ravenous dogs, and a particularly ghoulish mastermind in order to bring back peace. Look for The Dark Hills Divide, Beyond the Valley of Thorns, The Tenth City, Beyond the Valley of Thorns, and Stargazer
Andrew Clements – Room One: A Mystery or Two, follows the adventures of a mystery-loving twelve-year-old boy in Nebraska. Lunch Money, The Last Holiday Concert , No Talking and Lost and Found, are school-based stories by Clements. Others include The Report Card, The Landry News, School Story, and Extra Credit.
Eoin Colfer – His exciting Artemis Fowl series continues with The Time Paradox. Others in the series include Artemis Fowl, Artemis Fowl: The Arctic Incident, Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code, Artemis Fowl: The Lost Colony. When twelve-year-old evil genius, Artemis Fowl, tries to restore his family fortune by capturing a fairy and demanding a ransom in gold, the fairies fight back with magic, technology, and a particularly nasty troll. Artemis Fowl is a high-tech fantasy, mixing fairies, leprechauns, and computers, in a brilliant, thrilling story that is destined to become a cult favorite.
Bruce Coville - Coville is the author of more than 90 novels, including The Magic Shop series that started with Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher and Jennifer Murdley’s Toad. The latest offering in the series is Juliet Dove, Queen of Love. Look also for his My Teacher is an Alien series and his Unicorn Chronicles series. Coville’s stories keep kids reading!
Sharon Creech - Award-winning, Princeton, New Jersey native, Creech has written many wonderful books. Her free verse novels, Heartbeat, Love That Dog, and Hate That Cat are fresh and innovative. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, a heartwarming story about a 12-year-old girl and her best friend, is enhanced by words of wisdom and food from her grandmother. Newbery Award winning book, The Wanderer tells the tale of a 13-year-old girl’s voyage across the ocean aboard her uncle’s sailboat.
Kate DiCamillo – Awarding winning author of The Tale of Despereaux, Because of Winn Dixie, The Magician’s Elephant, Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventure, and her latest, Raymie Nightingale.
Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black - Doll Bones, The Spiderwick Chronicles : The Field Guide, The Seeing Stone, Lucinda’s Secret, The Ironwood Tree and The Wrath of Mulgarath. Follow the Grace family as they move into the dilapidated Spiderwick Estate to find themselves sucked into the dark and fascinating world of faeries. You’ll be completely absorbed too. DiTerlizzi also has a new series, Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles, which includes Nixie’s Song and The Giant Problem and continues this fantasy world with new characters.
Jeanne DuPrau - City of Ember is set in an underground world with no natural light, and for decades its inhabitants have forgotten the outside world and survived on the contents of its vast storerooms. Haunting action will capture you as two young people search for meaning and escape from their flickering world. The adventures continue in The People of Sparks, The Prophet of Yonwood and The Diamond of Darkhold.
Cornelia Funke - In Dragon Rider, the intrepid dragon Firedrake embarks on a journey to the Rim of Heaven in the Himalayas, searching for a safe home for his dragon companions. In The Thief Lord, orphans in Venice try to outwit a private detective who is trying to catch them, as they faithfully follow their teen leader without knowing the truth about his real life. Funke is also the author of the exciting, suspenseful, action-packed fantasy novels Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath.
Jack Gantos – Dead End in Norvelt, Joey Pigza series. Jack’s stories are semi-autobiographical and contain elements of humor, history, mystery, and fiction – oh, did we mention that they are very funny? His latest book is the winner of the 2012 Newbery Medal for fiction and takes place during the summer of 1962 in Pennsylvania. It deals with a character (whose last name happens to be Gantos) who plans on spending the “best” summer vacation ever until he is grounded for life by his mother after an unfortunate and silly incident. This novel has several strange, funny, and memorable characters along with a witty and unique plot.
Patricia Reilly Giff – Giff is has a gift for writing historical fiction with strong female characters. Her Nory Ryan series (Nory Ryan’s Song, Lily's Crossing, and Maggie’s and Water Street ) chronicles the trials in the lives of Irish girls through different time periods. The reader grows to care about Giff’s characters and hope for their success and happiness. Other Giff books include Willow Run, and Pictures of Hollis Woods.
Chris Grabenstein – Grabenstein’s characters jump right out of the book in his popular Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series and he creates summer adventures in his Welcome to Wonderland series. In The Island of Mr. Libris characters leave their books and interact with each other making for a very engaging summer for Billy Gillfoyle who is stuck in a lake house with no technology to entertain himself.
Mary Downing Hahn – Ghost of Crutchfield Hall, Closed for the Season, Deep, Dark, and Dangerous, Took: A Ghost Story and One for Sorrow: A Ghost Story are all eerie, action-packed ghost stories. These titles are great for that vacation to the old renovated beach house tucked along the New England coast, or the camping trip deep in the woods up in New York State. All of her most recent novels are also available in one set.
Anthony Horowitz - The Alex Rider series, Stormbreaker, Point Blank, Skeleton Key, Eagle Strike, Scorpia, Snakehead, Ark Angel, Russian Roulette, and Crocodile Tears, read like action-packed James Bond-type movies about a teen spy who survives difficult situations to complete his missions - highly recommended for the summer!
Erin Hunter - (A pseudonym for 3 authors) The extremely popular Warrior series follows the cat warrior clans as they roam the wild and fight for survival. The first series Warriors includes Into the Wild, Forest of Secrets, Fire and Ice and 4 more stories. The second series, The New Prophecy, includes Midnight, Moonrise, Dawn, Starlight, Twilight and Sunset. The third series, Power of Three, includes The Sight, Dark River and Outcast. The newest series is The Seekers.
Kathryn Lasky – Lasky’s very popular Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a 16-book series, will thrill fantasy and animal lovers alike. Enter the exciting world of owls as Soren, the young barn owl pushed from his nest by his brother, and his new friend Gylfie are taken to a secret school where the leader is training owls to help achieve her goal, one which will threaten owls everywhere.
Gail Carson Levine - Levine’s debut novel, Ella Enchanted won a Newbery Honor Award and was made into a movie. Her books are rich with elements from existing fairy tales but with an added twist! If you love the romance and adventure of fairy tales try one of Levine’s light-hearted fantasies such as The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Fairest, The Wish, Ever and her latest book, The Fairy’s Return and Other Princess Tales.
Cynthia Lord - Many students have read and enjoyed Rules and Touch Blue. Her latest novel is called Half a Chance which once again, as in her previous novels takes place in rural New England and mixes humor with the challenges of family growth and change.
Mike Lupica - Exciting and rich-in-detail sports tales from a professional sports writer include Travel Team and Fast Break (basketball) Heat (baseball), and The Underdogs, The Extra Yard (Home Team), The Only Game (Home Team (football). The Comeback Kids are shorter stories also with a sports theme.
Jim Murphy – Truce, American Plague, The Great Fire, Blizzard! are all masterfully written non-fiction books for children that read like fiction. His latest book is The Road to Gettysburg . If you are interested in learning about unique and interesting aspects of American History, these titles are great. The books are heavily illustrated with period photographs, maps, and illustrations.
Jenny Nimmo - The Children of the Red King Series: Midnight for Charlie Bone; Charlie Bone and the Time Twister, Charlie Bone and the Invisible Boy; Charlie Bone and the Castle of Mirrors; Charlie Bone and the Hidden King, Charlie Bone and the Beast. Charlie may remind you of another boy wizard named Harry, but this series is filled with intrigue and danger all its own. Charlie’s gift is being able to hear the thoughts of people in photographs. Also try her new series, The Magician Trilogy (The Snow Spider, Emlyn’s Moon and The Chestnut Soldier.)
Gary Paulsen - Critically acclaimed author of adventure/survival stories, Hatchet, Brian’s Hunt and the engaging historical fiction Mr. Tucket series which includes Mr. Tucket, Call Me Francis Tucket and Tucket’s Home. Lawn Boy is a modern humorous story about a boy who becomes a millionaire by cutting lawns. Check out Mudshark and Road Trip for a good laugh this summer!
Lincoln Peirce – Big Nate series. Fans of Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will love Big Nate. He is a notorious class clown who will probably never be the “teacher’s pet”. The format combines text with graphics/comics and the stories are very funny. Titles include: Big Nate: In a Class by Himself, Big Nate Strikes Again, Big Nate On a Roll Big Nate: Great Minds Think Alike!, Big Nate Goes for Broke, and Big Nate: Thunka, Thunka, Thunka
Rick Riordan - Continues to be the hottest children’s author this year, and he was a Social Studies teacher! His newest is The Trials of Apollo Book One: The Hidden Oracle. His top-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, includes The Lightning Thief , The Titan’s Curse, The Sea of Monsters, The Battle of the Labyrinth and The Last Olympian. Percy Jackson, attending a school for troubled youth, discovers that he is the son of Poseidon and a mortal woman. Poseidon is accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt, and Percy must locate and return the lightning bolt, or humankind is doomed. Lots of adventure and connections with mythology make this series a hit with girls and boys! Riordan continues the adventures with his Heroes of Olympus series: The Lost Hero,The Son of Neptune, House of Hades, The Mark of Athena, and The Blood of Olympus. For more Riordan thrills, check out The Red Pyramid, The Throne of Fire, and, The Serpent’s Shadow—all page-turner adventures in The Kane Chronicles series that combine Egyptian mythology with a thriller format, Magnus Chase, Book One, takes the reader into Norse mythology
Pam Munoz Ryan – The ultimate story-teller, Ryan has written many captivating and diverse stories. Riding Freedom (illustrated by Brian Selznick) an historical fiction story based on the life of a real woman in the old West who with the love of horses, survived a difficult life. Esperanza Rising, is the story of a young girl who thought she would always live in her beautiful estate in Mexico, but tragedy strikes, and Esperanza and her mother must flee with nothing to the United States during the Great Depression -- a story you won’t soon forget. Paint The Wind, is set in the open spaces of Wyoming, again featuring the tender connection between a girl and horses. Ryan’s latest is Echo is three interwoven stories each involving a harmonica over the course of several years.
Angie Sage - The Septimus Heap series. For Harry Potter lovers, here is another story of a young wizard who must face many harrowing experiences as he learns to use his magic. Included in the series are: Magyk, Flyte, Physik, Queste, Syren., and Darke.
Brian Selznick - Selznick’s Caldecott winning, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, is described as a story told in pictures and words. Based on the life of a silent movie film director and told through the eyes of a young boy, the story and its presentation will enthrall kids and adults. The film version, entitled “Hugo” was a sensation in 2011. Wonderstruck is another amazing work of historical fiction using both words and pictures combining two riveting stories in one narrative that pulls both plots together as the reader moves further into the novel. His latest, The Marvels, follows the paths of a family of actors over the course of several centuries.
Eileen Spinelli – The veteran children’s writer (and wife of Jerry Spinelli) continues with two of her newest stories told in free verse, Summerhouse Time, and Where I Live. In Summerhouse Time, 11-year-old Sophie’s summer is not the same fun-filled days that she remembers: her cousin isn’t speaking to her, and her dad is aloof. By the end of the summer, Sophie realizes that she is growing up. In Where I Live, another girl, Diana, tells a story of her love for her family through free verse poems, a new trend in young adult fiction. Another Day As Emily is her latest book – about a girl who pretends to be the famous writer, Emily Dickinson.
Paul Stewart/Chris Riddell – A British author and illustrator collaborate to create the marvelous world of The Edge Chronicles series, including Beyond The Deepwoods, Stormchaser, Midnight Over Sanctaphrax, The Curse of the Gloamglozer, The Last of the Sky Pirates, Vox, Freeglader, The Winter Knights and Clash of the Sky Galleons. The reader will meet many quirky characters in this fantasy series. In Beyond the Deepwoods, Young Twig, adopted by a family of Wood Trolls, leaves the Deepwoods to go out into the mysterious and dangerous lands beyond, to find out where he really belongs.
Trenton Lee Stewart - The Mysterious Benedict Society and sequels, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey and The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner’s Peril. You’ll like the exciting adventures of Reynie, Kate, Sticky, and Constance, gifted children chosen by Mr. Benedict to infiltrate the school run by a criminal mastermind who is using children to take over the world. In Perilous Journey, the foursome is forced to go on an unexpected search to find the missing Mr. Benedict.
Lauren Tarshis – I Survived series: Titanic, Shark Attacks of 1916, Hurricane Katrina, Pearl Harbor, San Francisco Earthquake: 1906, Japanese Tsunami, Pompeii, World War ll, Chicago Fire, and Joplin Tornado. Each book places a fictional character in a real-life historical “disaster”. The shark attack story takes place in New Jersey. The series contains terrific, fast-paced historical fiction. Each book closes with a glossary of terms and chapter of facts and figures about the actual event
Henry Winkler – Want a laugh-out-loud story? TV star/producer, turned children’s book author, Henry Winkler (Fonzie from Happy Days) has created an endearing character in the Hank Zipzer series. Hank, the world’s biggest underachiever, is always coming up with “great ideas” and schemes that never quite work out, but it makes for a great story. Just the book titles will make you chuckle: The Zippity Zinger, I Got A D in Salami and Who Ordered This Baby? Definitely Not Me. His latest work, Ghost Buddy involves two characters – one happens to be a ghost – who learn to understand how to solve problems working as a team despite their many “differences”.