Our fifth- and sixth graders have read widely and adventurously. We asked them to pick their favorite books that they read during the 2016 school year, and here are their top 10 choices.
- Wonder: Have you ever felt like the odd one out? If so, Wonder by R.J. Palacio will speak to you. The book follows the story of Auggie, a boy who has had 27 surgeries to fix facial anomalies. He’s been homeschooled his whole life, and he’s about to start fifth grade at Beecher Prep School. This story will have you cheering by the end and make you feel as if you’re a part of Auggie’s community, too.
- A Wrinkle in Time: Madeline L’Engle’s classic fantasy book has been loved by generations of children. Follow Meg, Charles, and Wallace as they travel through time and space on a journey to save Meg’s father from the experiment that doomed him. Read this book before you see the movie!
- Gregor the Overlander: This series by Suzanne Collins, the author of The Hunger Games, is for slightly younger readers than the Hunger Games crowd. Join Gregor as he journeys beneath the New York City streets into a subterranean land of bats, rats, and other Underland creatures. Like The Hunger Games, this series also deals with themes of war, peacekeeping, and self-preservation.
- The Book Thief: Markus Zusak’s novel, narrated by Death, is nothing short of haunting. This book is for young readers who enjoy history and a bit of a challenge. Liesel, who loves words enough to steal them, weathers the Nazi regime while her family harbors a Jewish boxer in their basement. Liesel and Max form a friendship you aren’t likely to forget.
- Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief: This one is a favorite among Book Slide members. Percy discovers he’s the son of the Greek god Poseidon and attends Camp Half Blood to master his burgeoning godly abilities along with other demigod children like him. Can’t get enough of Percy? Luckily, there’s a whole series of books about his further adventures and several spinoff series starring his demigod friends.
- Midnight for Charlie Bone: Harry Potter fans are likely to love Charlie, too. Like Harry, Charlie also attends an unusual school, but he’s no wizard. Charlie is a descendant of the Red King, and he has inherited an unusual skill: He can enter portraits and paintings. When a photograph prompts Charlie to search for a missing girl, he learns more about his heritage than he bargained for.
- Hatchet: Nature-lovers will love Gary Paulsen’s story about a boy named Brian and his fight for survival in the Canadian wilderness. When Brian’s father suffers a heart attack while piloting a small plane, Brian is forced to crash-land the plane into a lake and fight for his survival with nothing but a hatchet and some courage to keep him alive.
- Doll Bones: Kids with a spooky side are sure to have an interest in Doll Bones. Holly Black’s creepy story follows Zach, Poppy, and Alice as they must return a possessed doll to the burial place of a murdered girl or remain cursed forever.
- Chains: Here’s another one for the history-lovers. Acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson tells the story of Isabel, a slave girl who is encouraged to spy on her masters, who have vital information about the coming British invasion. With her freedom at stake, Isabel works to escape and supply the Patriots with invaluable information.
- The Dreamer: Pam Munoz Ryan’s book tells the inspiring story of a young Pablo Neruda’s struggle to overcome his shyness and his father’s cruelty to become one of the most celebrated poets in the world.
Did we miss anything? It was very difficult for our members to choose 10 favorites when we’ve read so many wonderful books. We did our best to choose books we love that represent a variety of genres. Please note that these books also represent a variety of reading levels. You may find that a few of these titles are too advanced for some readers in this age group and that others are too “easy.” That being said, we believe you can’t put an age limit on enjoying a book. These books were recommended by fifth- and sixth-graders, but our adult members enjoyed them too. Have you read any of these? What did you think? We would love to hear some opinions as well as recommendations.