Good Books for Fourth & Fifth Graders

Children's Services Staff Image

Explore these good books for fourth and fifth graders. For more great reading, check out other books by these authors or ask your neighborhood librarian for additional suggestions.

Absolutely Almost

Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.

Echo

Lost in the Black Forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and finds himself entwined in a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica. Decades later, three children– Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California– find themselves caught up in the same thread of destiny in the darkest days of the twentieth century, struggling to keep their families intact and tied together by the music of the same harmonica.

El Deafo

Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers! The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear–sometimes things she shouldn’t–but also isolates her from her classmates. After some trouble, Cece is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All” and, more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find a true friend.

Fuzzy Mud

Two middle-grade kids take a shortcut home from school and discover what looks like fuzzy mud but is actually a substance with the potential to wreak havoc on the entire world.

Hokey Pokey

Ever since they were Snotsippers, Jack and the girl have fought, until one day she steals his bike and as he and the Amigos try to recover it, Jack realizes that he is growing up and must eventually leave the “goodlands and badlands of Hokey Pokey.

Icebreaker

Petrel is an outcast on the ancient ship, an icebreaker, that has been following the same course for 300 years. In that time, the ship’s crew has broken into three warring tribes. Everyone has a tribe except Petrel, who lives in the ship’s darkest corners, and trusts no one except two large gray rats – that is, until a mysterious boy is discovered on an iceberg, and brought onto the ship.

Mighty Miss Malone

With love and determination befitting the “world’s greatest family,” twelve-year-old Deza Malone, her older brother Jimmie, and their parents endure tough times in Gary, Indiana, and later Flint, Michigan during the Great Depression.

One Crazy Summer

In the summer of 1968, after travelling from Brooklyn to Oakland, California, to spend a month with the mother they barely know, eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters arrive to a cold welcome. They discover that their mother, a dedicated poet and printer, is resentful of the intrusion of their visit and wants them to attend a nearby Black Panther summer camp.

Pax

After being forced to give up his pet fox Pax, a young boy named Peter decides to leave home and get his best friend back.

Raymie Nightingale

Hoping that if she wins a local beauty pageant her father will come home, Raymie practices twirling a baton and performing good deeds as she is drawn into an unlikely friendship with a drama queen and a saboteur.

This Journal Belongs to Ratchet

Homeschooled by her mechanic-environmentalist father, eleven-year-old Rachel “Ratchet” Vance records her efforts to make friends, save a park, remember her mother, and find her own definition of “normal.”

Unstoppable Octobia May

In 1953 ten-year-old Octobia May lives in her Aunt’s boarding house in the South, surrounded by an African American community which has its own secrets and internal racism, and spends her days wondering if Mr. Davenport in room 204 is really a vampire–or something else entirely.

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball

Using an “Everyman” player as his narrator, Kadir Nelson tells the story of Negro League baseball from its beginnings in the 1920s through the decline after Jackie Robinson crossed over to the majors in 1947. Illustrations from oil paintings by artist Kadir Nelson.

When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses

Readers are introduced to living things with some of the strangest defenses known to science: termites that blow themselves up to save the colony; fish that produce copious amounts of gooey, slippery slime; lizards that run on water; and other animals that defend themselves in peculiar ways.

Wonder

Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.