The best fourth- and fifth-grade books must be relatable and fun to read for children. As children in these grades can read and understand stories, you should aim at providing them with books that can help fire their imagination and transport them to magical worlds.
To help you select the best books, here is a list of well-recommended books covering a diverse range of genres that are a must-buy for your little ones to foster a healthy reading habit. Pick some based on your child’s interest and personality and have fun reading sessions with them this summer.
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19 Best Books For Kids In The Fourth And Fifth Grades
Author: Scott O’Dell
Karana is a native American girl who is left behind on an island while the rest of her tribe migrates. Island of the Blue Dolphins tells of the story of that young girl’s survival. Through the course of her adventures on the isolated island, Karana encounters wild animals and learns to live against all the odds. The tale is simple yet inspiring.
Author: C.S. Lewis
Published in 1950, this is considered a children’s classic. The story is set in a magical land called Narnia, which is ruled by the evil White Witch. Four siblings team up with a talking lion called Aslan and set on a battle to defeat the witch and free Narnia from the clutches of evil. All-in-all, it is a fascinating story of how good eventually triumphs over evil.
Author: L. Frank Baum
Dorothy and her dog Toto are trapped in a tornado and transported to a world of mystical characters of flying monkeys and witches. Dorothy is desperate to find the way back home and becomes friends with a tin man, a scarecrow, and a cowardly lion along the way. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz came out more than 100 years ago but is considered to be one of the best books for children even today.
Author: Peter Brown
A robot named Roz finds itself discarded on an island with no human beings. The robot is unable to remember its pasts and its purpose of being on the island. So it decides to befriend animals, the only living beings on the island. The Wild Robot is a warm tale of self-discovery from the perspective of an inanimate object such as the robot.
Author: Lynne Jonell
The protagonist of this story, Emmy, is a good girl who does everything right: eats her meals on time, does her homework, does not argue with elders, and so on. One day, she discovers a talking rat who is just the opposite of all that she stands for. The rat is unruly and argumentative, but Emmy is constantly fascinated by the little rodent who turns out to be more than what meets the eye.
Author: Grace Lin
Inspired by a Chinese folk tale, this book is about a young girl named Minli who sets on a quest to find two folk characters, an old man living on the moon and the Jade Dragon. The girl encounters several fascinating characters during her journey and even meets some fantasy characters. The book is easy-to-read and has several attractive illustrations scattered across the pages.
Author: Laura Ingalls Wilder
In this book, the author, Laura Ingalls Wilder, narrates her true-life experience of growing up in a wood cabin, at the edge of a forest in rural America. The book elaborates on four-year-old Laura’s experiences in the wood cabin, which she shares with her two sisters and parents. The book is like a heartwarming memoir of a little girl.
Author: Jeanne DuPrau
The City of Ember is built as the last refuge for humankind after an apocalypse. While the place saves humans, it is on the verge of collapse due to depleting food resources and looming risk of complete darkness due to the lights turning off, one by one.
Two children, Lina and Doon, race against time to save the city using an ancient message they discovered in the City of Ember. The story is gripping and has elements of fantasy to keep the child engrossed.
Author: Gail Carson Levine
Ella Enchanted is a slightly modified version of the fairy tale, Cinderella. Ella is born with a gift of ‘obedience’ from a fairy. It means that Ella has to obey all orders given to her. But somehow, Ella turns out to be a rebel, and ultimately sets out on a journey to find the fairy and ‘return her gift.’ The book is filled with intriguing fairy tale characters and keeps the reader entertained until the end.
Author: George Selden
Chester is a Cricket (insect) and accidentally arrives in New York, hidden in a picnic basket. In New York, he makes friends with a mouse called Tucker and a cat named Harry. The cat and mouse duo become city guides for Chester, showing him around the vast city. Chester eventually befriends a boy named Mario, who adopts him.
But despite the glitter of the new city, Chester yearns to return to his life in the countryside. The Cricket in Times Square was published back in 1960 and is still considered to be one of the best books for fourth and fifth graders.
11. Esperanza Rising
Author: Pam Muñoz Ryan
Esperanza is a young girl who lives at a ranch in Mexico. The girl’s family is affluent and has all the comforts in the world. However, a chain of events forces the family to flee to California, where they live in a labor camp. The living conditions at the camp are the exact opposite of their comfortable life back in Mexico. The motivating tale tells how Esperanza rises above her difficulties and becomes a strong, dependable person.
Author: Wilson Rawls
It is a story of a young boy named Billy who adopts two dogs. He calls them Old Dan and Little Ann. The three of them become good friends and roam the valley as a team of hunters. But as time goes by, Billy realizes that the three cannot always stay together. ‘Where The Red Fern Grows’ is a heart-touching tale of friendship, love, and adventure.
Author: Chris Colfer
Alex and Conner are twins who use a magical book of stories to enter a fairyland where they encounter fairy tale creatures such as goblins, trolls, and witches. The initial excitement of the twins tapers off when they realize that leaving the fairy world is not as simple as entering it. The story is ingenious and will make an exciting book to read for fans of fantasy stories.
Author: R. J. Palacio
Wonder is one of the most critically-acclaimed children’s novels. It tells the story of a boy named August Pullman who is born with severe facial anomalies. August does not attend a conventional school until it is time to start the fifth grade. The young boy is nervous about going to school because he looks different. But friends, family, and his will power prove that despite the differences, he is like any other child of his age.
Author: Katherine Paterson
Jess and Leslie are school friends who spend their free time together. They invent an imaginary enchanted land called Terabithia, which in reality is nothing but a portion of the forest behind Leslie’s house. The friendship of the duo takes a tragic twist, and Jess now has to find the strength to deal with his grief.
16. Chasing Vermeer
Author: Blue Balliett
Two friends Petra and Calder love mysteries and solving them. The two are delighted when they realize that they are in the middle of a lost-painting mystery and embark on a quest to solve it. And while they are at it, they encounter some strange and suspicious characters. Chasing Vermeer is a simple whodunit story for fourth and fifth graders.
Author: Brian Selznick
The book tells the story of Ben and Rose, who lived 50 years apart. Each of them has their aspirations and desire to fulfill their quest. But the journey to their destination is not easy. The book is unique due to its presentation style where Ben’s story is written in words while Rose’s story is told in pictures.
Author: Andrew Clements
It is the story of a school-going child called Nick, who is a bit of a troublemaker. One day, Nick decides to play around with words and renames the pen as ‘Frindle.’ Nick does it for fun, but the word ‘Frindle’ gets so popular that it becomes the new name for a pen, both inside and outside the school. The young boy eventually realizes that the word ‘Frindle’ no longer belongs to him. The book is hilariously written and a good read for the weekend for middle grade children.
19. Number the Stars
Author: Lois Lowry
The story is set in 1943 Copenhagen, Denmark. It is the middle of World War II, and ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen’s family takes her best friend Ellen Rosen into their home to protect her from Nazi persecution. Annemarie is puzzled by the chaos unleashed by the war while the story tells how a group of Danish resistance helps thousands of Jews escape from the country. The book is a touching tale of war, oppression, empathy, hope, and friendship narrated in a way that is suitable for a fourth and fifth grader’s understanding.
How To Choose The Right Books For Kids In The Fourth And Fifth Grades?
Consider the following points when selecting the right book for fourth and fifth graders.
- Genre and interest: Identify your child’s interest to find the right book. From fantasy and science fiction to biographies, choosing a book based on your child’s interest will keep them engaged and motivate them to finish the book, developing a healthy reading habit.
- Readability: Consider the book’s readability, content, and flow to ensure your child can read and understands it. Taylor Beal, a reading specialist, school administrator, and English teacher, says, “The book should still include challenging words to help improve your child’s reading skills.”
- Length: Young children tend to get distracted easily; hence lengthy books or content might deviate their attention. Choose a book with short and crisp chapters that will encourage your child to continue reading. Taylor Beal, says, “If possible, read with your child and help them look forward to uncovering the next chapter.”
- Reviews: Check the book’s reviews by fellow readers and parents to determine if the book is suitable for your child. Parent-approved and teacher-recommended books usually contain age-appropriate themes, content, and language to make it easy for them to comprehend.
The books listed above are some of the best for fourth and fifth graders. However, if your children enjoy reading, the list of books can be endless. Children in the fourth and fifth grades are typically aged eight to ten, so when shopping for books for these children, keep their advanced preferences and age in mind. Continue to add books to your child’s library whenever you come across an interesting book like The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe with moral lessons, the fantasy-based Where the Red Fern Grows, or the adventure-themed Island of the Blue Dolphins and make sure your child has access to the books they enjoy reading. Also, while choosing from the list, keep in mind your child’s interests.
Infographic: How To Make Book Reading Engaging For Children?
Most children eagerly dive into the world of books, unlocking their imagination and expanding their knowledge with every page turn. Check out the following infographic to make their book-reading process more interesting, meaningful, and fruitful. It highlights tips you can incorporate to enhance the child’s book-reading habit.
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