Grades 5 and Up Reading Suggestions
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook. By Leslie Connor. Perry T. Cook has lived happily with his mom, an inmate at the Blue River Correctional Facility, for the last 11 years. After they are separated, Perry works to uncover the truth about her crime and show everyone the value of home and family. Realistic Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
As Brave As You. By Jason Reynolds. When two brothers decide to prove how brave they are, everything backfires—literally. Realistic fiction.
Awkward. By Svetlana Chmakova. Trying to blend in at her new middle school, Peppi joins the art club and finds herself at war with the school’s science club. Can she get past feeling Awkward and be friends with the nerds? Graphic Novel. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Beneath. By Roland Smith. Pat has always looked up to his big brother, Coop. When Coop leaves home and completely disappears, Pat decides his hero might need some saving. He tracks down Coop’s last known whereabouts and finds a secret society beneath the streets of New York. Adventure. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Blind Guide to Stinkville. By Beth Vrabel. It’s hard enough being the new kid in town but try adding blindness and albinism to the mix! Alice must learn to navigate Stinkville with her “guide dog,” Tooter, by her side. Realistic Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Book Scavenger. By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman. Emily’s best friends have always been books and the online game “Book Scavenger,” until she meets James, a fellow puzzle enthusiast. Together they find a hidden book, full of clues and ciphers that lead them deep into a dangerous game. Mystery. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Booked. By Kwame Alexander.
Twelve-year-old Nick excels on the soccer field but struggles to deal with his parents' divorce in this touching yet humorous novel in verse. Realistic fiction/Poetry.
The Borden Murders : Lizzie Borden & the Trial of the Century. By Sarah Miller.
Examines the Borden murders, using newspaper articles to recreate the events and the trial and acquittal of Lizzie Borden and exploring Lizzie's story to theorize on what may have happened. Non-Fiction.
Bubonic Panic : When Plague Invaded America. By Gail Jarrow.
In March 1900, San Francisco’s health department investigated a strange and horrible death in Chinatown. A man had died of bubonic plague, one of the world’s deadliest diseases. But how could that be possible? The true story of America’s first plague epidemic. Non-Fiction.
Drowned City. By Don Brown. The sadness of avoidable tragedy and the triumph of the human spirit come to life in this graphic novel about Hurricane Katrina, one of the worst natural disasters in U.S. history. Graphic Non-Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Echo. By Pam Muñoz Ryan. From Pre-WWII Germany, to 1935 Philadelphia, to a Southern California town reeling in the wake of Pearl Harbor, this epic novel tells the stories of three individuals whose lives are brought together by a magical harmonica. Historical Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Falling Over Sideways. By Jordan Sonnenblick. Claire has high expectations for her last year of middle school, which are quickly dashed by a series of disappointing setbacks. Then a true tragedy occurs when her father has a stroke, and Claire struggles to find her footing in a life she no longer recognizes. Realistic Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Firefly Code. By Megan Frazer Blakemore. Mori and her friends live in a utopian community where every kid knows he or she is genetically engineered to be better and smarter. When a strangely-perfect new girl named Ilana moves in, the friends begin to question their world. Science Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Freedom Over Me: Eleven Slaves, Their Lives and Dreams Brought to Life. Ashley Bryan.
Using original slave auction and plantation estate documents, contrasts the monetary value of a slave with the priceless value of life experiences and dreams that a slave owner could never take away. Non-Fiction.
Ghost. By Jason Reynolds. Ghost has been chosen for an middle school track team that could qualify him for the Junior Olympics. Struggling to deal with his past and present, Ghost receives help from his coach. Realistic Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
The Girl Who Drank the Moon. By Kelly Barnhill.
Saved by a witch as a baby, Luna is accidentally filled with extraordinarily powerful magic. (Newbery Medal Book) Fantasy.
I Will Always Write Back. By Caitlin Alifirenka & Martin Ganda. A riveting, true story about friendship, race, and class, told through letters exchanged between Caitlin, a girl from Pennsylvania and Martin, a boy from Zimbabwe. Biography/Memoir. (RIMSBA Nominee)
In the Shadow of Liberty: The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives. By Kenneth C. Davis. illus.
The lives of five enslaved people owned by four U.S. presidents reveal the contradictions of a land founded upon the idea of freedom. Non-Fiction.
The Inquisitor’s Tale; or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog. By Adam Gidwitz. Illus. by Hatem Aly.
On a dark night in 1242 France, travelers tell the story of three mysterious children: William, Jacob, and Jeanne, and their dog Gwenforte, recently brought back from the dead. (Newbery Honor Book) Fantasy.
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel. By Firoozeh Dumas. Zomorod wants to be a normal, Californian girl. She tries to blend in by changing her name and joining the Girl Scouts. When the Iranian Revolution erupts, everything becomes more difficult for “Cindy” but she navigates her shifting world with a heavy dose of humor. Historical Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
The Lie Tree. By Frances Hardinge.
In Victorian Britain, Faith Sunderly investigates the mysterious murder of her father, discovering a tree that feeds that feeds upon lies and gives visions to those who eat its fruit. Fantasy.
Lily and Dunkin. By Donna Gephart. This is the story of a transgender girl named Lily, a bipolar boy named Dunkin, and a tree named Bob. It's about finding out who you're meant to be and finding the people who will encourage you to reach for the sky, not chop you down. Realistic Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
March: Book Three. By John Lewis and Andrew Aydin. Illus. by Nate Powell.
This third graphic novel in Congressman John Lewis’ personal account of the Civil Rights Movement begins with the Birmingham church bombing and ends with the signing of the Voting Rights Act. (Sibert Medal Book) Graphic Non-Fiction.
Nest. By Kenneth Oppel. Steve’s baby brother is sick. When Steve is stung by a wasp in his backyard, he starts having strange dreams. In one of his visions, the Queen offers to “fix” the baby. All he has to do is say “yes.” Horror. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Orbiting Jupiter. By Gary D. Schmidt. Joseph, a father at age 13, has never seen his daughter, Jupiter. He is placed in a foster home in rural Maine where he meets 12-year-old Jack. Together, they discover the true meaning of family and sacrifice. Realistic Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
The Other Boy. By M.G. Hennessey. Shane is just a regular boy but he’s keeping something private. When a classmate threatens to reveal Shane’s secret, will he have the strength to ignore the haters and show the world that he’s the same boy he’s always been? Realistic Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Paper Wishes. By Lois Sepahban.
Near the start of World War II, young Manami, her parents, and Grandfather are evacuated from their home and sent to Manzanar, an ugly, dreary internment camp in the desert for Japanese-American citizens. Historic Fiction.
Raymie Nightingale. By Kate DiCamillo.
DiCamillo’s writing sparkles with humor and hope as new friends Raymie, Beverly, and Louisiana endeavor to find their places in the world. Realistic Fiction.
Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story. By Caren Stelson.
Sachiko was six years old when the atomic bomb fell on Nagasaki, Japan. Her incredible story of survival, loss, and courageous perseverance is one that must be heard. (Sibert Honor Book) Non-Fiction.
Scourge. By Jennifer A. Nielsen. As a lethal plague sweeps through the land, Ani is captured, tested, and quarantined on Attic Island where victims can only expect to live out short, painful lives. With her best friend Weevil beside her, she discovers the truth of what is happening. Fantasy/Adventure. (RIMSBA Nominee)
The Secret Keepers. By Trenton Lee Stewart. Illus. by Diana Sudyka.
When 12-year-old Reuben finds a peculiar, magical watch that has the power to turn its owner invisible, he’s propelled on the adventure of a lifetime. Fantasy.
Seventh Most Important Thing. By Shelley Pearsall. Why are these seven "pieces of trash" so important to The Junkman? To pay for throwing a brick at the Junkman’s head, Arthur is sentenced to help him collect trash. Is it possible to find something beautiful and sparkling in piles of broken garbage? Historical Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
The Tales of the Peculiar. By Ransom Riggs.
An illustrated edition of the fantastical book featured in the Miss Peregrine series that includes unusual fairy tales about wealthy cannibals, a fork-tongued princess, and the origins of the first ymbryne.
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom. By Lynda Blackmon Lowery. Lynda Blackmon Lowery was 15 years old when she participated in the 1965 civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery. Her strength shows how one voice is able to make a difference. Non-Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Uprooted: The Japanese American Experience during World War II. By Albert Marrin. illus.
This generously illustrated account of the shameful history of the U.S.’ internment of Japanese Americans during WWII is thorough, thoughtful, and provocative. (Sibert Honor Book) Non-Fiction.
Vietnam : A History of the War. By Russell Freedman.
An account of the Vietnam War describes how it began, why it was so difficult to end, and how its tragic legacy endures today. Non-Fiction.
We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler. By Russell Freedman. illus.
In this impeccably researched history, drawn from primary sources, readers learn about Hans and Sophie Scholl, former members of the Hitler Youth, who sacrificed their lives to spread the truth about the Nazi regime. (Sibert Honor Book) Non-Fiction.
When Friendship Followed Me Home. By Paul Griffin. Ben keeps people at a distance; as a former foster kid, he knows how quickly they can disappear. When he and his adoptive mom rescue Flip, a stray dog, Flip selects Halley to be Ben’s new friend. Will her struggle with cancer make it too hard for Ben to open his heart? Realistic Fiction. (RIMSBA Nominee)
Wolf Hollow. By Lauren Wolk. Dutton.
In this coming-of-age story, spunky and courageous Annabelle defends a veteran who has become the target of local bullying attacks. (Newbery Honor Book) Historic Fiction.