5th grade reading books for children aged 10-11

Books for grade 5 – this list of recommended reading books for grade 5 has been curated and compiled by teachers and librarians to appeal to elementary school children in the 5th Grade, aged 10-11. There is a range of exciting and thought-provoking books to suit all abilities, including easy readers and more advanced texts. Authors include Kate Messner, James Patterson, Madeleine L’Engle and E.B. White. This list of 5th grade reading recommendations was last edited on Sep 16, 2020 @ 10:03 am.

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Books for Grade 5 – our recommendations

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

When a mysterious stranger arrives at the Wallace household, Meg and Charles’ world is changed forever and they set out on a quest to find their missing father. A great science fiction mystery story.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

A fascinating story told from the point of view of Ivan, a captive gorilla. One day, after years in a cave, Ivan sees life differently when a baby Elephant arrives at the zoo. A great story about friendship.

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Magee is an orphan child who lives with his aunt and uncle. One day he decides to run away and start on a series of heroic and unexpected achievements which change his life and his town forever.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

The classic story of Pippi, who has wild hair and an even wilder, sassy outlook on life, getting up to all sorts of mischiefs. A very funny book and ideal for reluctant readers.

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

A stunning set of stories about the orphaned Baudelaire children and the increasingly dark situations they manage to scrape through, including avoiding the money grabbing clutches of the evil Count Olaf.

Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

An inventive and slightly scary graphic novel about a young girl looking for new adventures who gets caught up in a strange situation which requires all her courage to escape from.

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

A modern classic about little people who live unnoticed in the walls and under the floors in a country house. Charming, this book is a great read full of twists and turns.

The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

The original and timeless pirate adventure story, full of cliffhangers and plot turns. A thrilling read from start to finish and full of unforgettable characters.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum

A classic fantasy and allegory story, written at the turn of the 20th century. The timeless story of Dorothy, The Cowardly Lion, the Tin Man, Scarecrow, Toto, The Wizard and the Wicked Witch of the West will still resonate with middle-grade children. There’s also a series of lesser-known sequels.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

When Jess and Leslie become friends through a shared love of track running, they spend time creating an imaginary world – Terabithia. But when Leslie goes there without Jess, something terrible happens and life will never be the same. A modern classic.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Wonder by RJ Palacio

A touching and thought-provoking story about Auggie, who wants to be like everyone else but struggles with how the other fifth graders react to his unique face. A great book to help children empathize with differences and understand the importance of inclusion.

Wonder by RJ Palacio

Descendants series by Melissa de la Cruz

A gripping and imaginative spinoff from the Disney movies Sleeping Beauty and Maleficent and set in the world of Maleficent. High fantasy adventure and strong characters dominate this series which is great for reluctant readers who can watch the films first.

Descendants series by Melissa de la Cruz

Narnia series by CS Lewis

C.S. Lewis’ classic series of children’s fantasy books – best known for The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – has captivated young readers for generations. Fantasy, good vs evil, and adventure underpin these parallel world adventures where the lead characters are middle-grade children. This is an ideal 5th grade reading book series for the classroom.

Narnia series by CS Lewis

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

This beautifully written novel flits between two characters and time periods – Nya, a girl in 2008 and Salva, a boy in 1985. Both live in Sudan, searching for their families and safety from war.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park

The Tapper Twins by Geoff Rodkey

Set in the modern digital world, the Tapper Twins Claudia and Reese are always looking to prank each other in school and online. A very funny and easy to read graphic/illustrated novel but also thought-provoking.

The Tapper Twins by Geoff Rodkey

The Water and the Wild by KE Ormsbee

Elliot is ill and gets more and more sick by the day. Lottie doesn’t know what to do until she discovers a route to another world through the roots of an old apple tree. Although there’s plenty of danger, she hopes to find a magic cure.

The Water and the Wild by KE Ormsbee

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

A must read modern classic for middle-grade children. Omri was hoping for a little more than a cheap plastic toy for his birthday. But through unexpected and old magic, the toy is turned into a real person. Can Omri keep him secret?

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern

Benny isn’t enjoying school. He doesn’t have a friend, isn’t good at bike tricks and blames himself for things which have gone wrong at home. When he thinks things can’t get any worse, he slowly realizes his caring nature is all that he needs to survive. A great book to inspire resilience.

Just My Luck by Cammie McGovern

Lost in the Pacific by Tod Olson

A gripping survival story set in WW2. When as USAF bomber runs out of fuel over the Pacific Ocean, a great war hero on a top-secret mission is in great danger. The only option is to ditch in the sea. Can the crew survive? This is a great 5th grade reading book for reluctant readers.

Lost in the Pacific by Tod Olson

The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele

John Coggin runs away from home with sister Page to avoid a life in the family coffin-making business. But soon they find themselves in great danger. Darkly humor, with strange and colorful characters. Ideal for grade 5 readers interesting in science and making things.

The Mechanical Mind of John Coggin by Elinor Teele

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen

When Mary’s family move from the city to a farmhouse in the country, her life changes completely, and she is drawn into a simpler, kinder world full of adventure and awe. Full of happiness, this book is ideal for children interested in the outdoors and wild places.

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen

Treasure Hunters by James Patterson

Fast-paced, with short chapters and gripping plots, this series of adventures is ideal for reluctant readers in grade 5. Think Clive Cussler style page turners for ten year olds in grade 5.

Treasure Hunters by James Patterson

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

A unique series of books about a skeleton private investigator with attitude who solves mysteries and fights crime. Edgy, but fun and easy to read. A gripping series for grade 5 readers.

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

The What on Earth Timeline Collection by Christopher Lloyd

Visually stunning and huge foldout books which can either be used as wall charts or room length friezes full of facts and illustrations which children can walk around to read. Quite unique, the books cover history, nature and science topics in vast detail. This is an ideal 5th grade reading book for the classroom.

The What on Earth Timeline Collection by Christopher Lloyd

Stuart Little by EB White

Stuart Little is a mouse who has lived with his family in New York his entire life. But when his best friend Margalo disappears, he ventures outside to search… By the author of Charlotte’s Web. Perfect to read aloud in grade 5.

Stuart Little by EB White - a great 5th grade class reader

Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry

Set in the Pacific islands of Polynesia, Maftu – the son of a great chief – is afraid of the ocean. When a storm comes, he is determined to show everyone his courage. Inspiring and timeless.

Call it Courage by Armstrong Sperry

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup

Adela is a princess who would rather be a gardener than part of the royal family. When she visits the enigmatic Lady Hortensia’s spectacular garden, she realizes there’s something very strange about her plants – which flower even in fall and winter. An atmospheric and interesting novel.

Garden Princess by Kristin Kladstrup

Half Upon a Time by James Riley

Jack, the son of Jack and the beanstalk Jack, meets Princess May from the land of punk in his journey to fix his family’s bean thieving reputation. A very funny and interesting fantasy world take on the classic children’s folk-tale.

Half Upon a Time by James Riley

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

Annabel cannot bear her mother, sister and brother; chores and being told off. Longing to be an adult, one day she wakes up as her mother! But her dreams of watching TV all the time eating whatever she likes don’t quite work out as planned…

Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

Charlie wishes she could catch a fish so big it would pay for an amazing dress for the next dance competition. But when she hooks a magical speaking fish which can grant wishes, things don’t go to plan at all in this hilariously funny family story of resilience and independence. A great story for grade 5 book clubs.

The Seventh Wish by Kate Messner

The Green Ember by SD Smith

Rabitts Heather and Picket live in a world of power struggles, good vs evil, dynasties, treachery, and revenge in this clever combination of aminals, fantasy and quest. An ideal 5th grade reading book for children who like animals.

The Green Ember by SD Smith

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Sugar’s life is turned upside-down by the death of her grandfather and her father’s gambling. But when a new family and rescue dog Shush comes into her world, Sugar finds new and inspiring ways to survive. A heart-warming and fulfilling read.

Almost Home by Joan Bauer

Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer

A stunning nonfiction guide to lesser-known wonders of the world. Stunning and vibrant illustrations make this bound to appeal to more reluctant readers. A great addition to every 5th grade library.

Atlas Obscura by Joshua Foer

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Harry Potter is an ideal series to hook a middle grade child on reading. Easy to read and fast paced, these gripping fantasy wizard school adventures develop in plot complexity and characterization throughout the seven books.

Harry Potter series by JK Rowling


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