Guest Post by Louisa Smith
I loved reading when I was in fifth grade, but not every child reads for fun and enjoyment. Video games and YouTube are often more appealing to kids in that tweenie stage, so finding a book that appeals to them is no easy task.
If that sounds like your kid, don’t worry; one of the best ways to encourage a child to read is to find a story that interests them.
Whether it be a detective novel, or coming-of-age novel about life and facing adversity, or simply a graphic novel with a ton of action.
At least one of these top 10 chapter books for 5th graders is sure to light the literary spark back in your kid’s life.
The 10 Best Chapter Books for 5th Graders
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By R.J Palacio
Wonder is a fitting chapter book for 5th graders since the main character is an eleven-year-old boy, August “Auggie” Pullman, who is home-schooled.
He has a genetic condition called Treacher Collins syndrome which means his face is disfigured. To shield him from bullies and those who don’t understand his condition, he is home-schooled by his mother.
But they decided it was time for him to be introduced to the world. So, from the 5th grade, he is to attend Beecher Prep school.
August just wants to be treated like any other kid in school, but it’s hard to make new friends when people don’t look past his exterior.
This is an eye-opening novel about what it means to never judge a book by its cover and to be sensitive to other people’s insecurities and sensitivities.
2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
By J.K. Rowling
You might be wondering why I’m recommending the fourth book in the franchise, and that’s because Harry Potter was written for developing age ranges. J.K. Rowling intended Harry Potter to be for her children, so each novel gradually becomes more mature and intended for different age groups.
The Goblet of Fire is when you move from short and sweet novels to whopping great paperbacks with over 600 pages. It’s daunting at first, but for 11-year-olds, it’s an exciting challenge, especially if they loved the first three books.
The story also becomes darker, involving more violence, romance elements, and even death.
I wouldn’t recommend Harry Potter to any child below the second grade because it can be pretty frightening. However, if you want to get your child back into reading, this is definitely fitting for 11+-year-olds.
If the dementors and threat of a dark wizard escaping wizard jail in the third book didn’t frighten your kid, then the fourth book will be ok.
By Jerry Spinelli
Loser is a powerful story about not fitting in and turning your life around. Written by Newbery-winning author Jerry Spinelli, this classic book is perfect for 11-year-olds who are worried about their place in society.
It follows a boy named Zinkoff, who considers himself like every other kid. But to the other kids in the 6th grade think he’s, well…a loser.
But Zinkoff doesn’t listen to the other kids, and one day his differences make him a hero.
This is a beautiful coming-of-age story about bullying and having self-confidence.
4. The Dragon With A Chocolate Heart
By Stephanie Burgis
If your child loves fantasy and dragon novels, they will love this fantastic tale by Stephanie Burgis. It follows a brave young dragon named Aventurine who wants to explore the world outside her family’s cave.
However, her family won’t let her leave because they think she’s too young to fly by herself. Determined to prove her wrong, she decides to capture their most dangerous prey, humans.
But humans can be tricky, and one human tricks her into drinking enchanted hot chocolate that turns her into a human.
One taste of chocolate and Aventurine is hooked, and she’s determined to find an apprenticeship with a chocolate maker.
This is a funny, fantasy story for kids about girl power and following your dreams.
5. Hotel Manifique
By Emily J. Taylor
Hotel Magnifique is a thriller/fantasy book with a gorgeous black cover about two sisters who take up a job at the Hotel Magnifique.
But this is no ordinary hotel. The Hotel Magnifique only appears in the same place, for one night, every other decade, so if you miss it, you won’t see it again.
Jani and her sister have been on their own for years and working at the hotel is the escape they need from their ordinary lives.
But when they start working there, they suddenly realize there’s something strange about the guests, the staff, and the hotel’s mysterious owner, who no one sees.
Maybe working at the hotel was a mistake?
The Hotel Magnifique can be considered frightening to some kids, so it’s best to discuss it with your child before buying it for them.
6. Fast Pitch
By Nic Stone
Fast Pitch is an inspiring chapter book for 5th-grade girls who enjoy reading books about strong and inspiring girls.
It follows a 12-year-old girl, Shenice Lockwood, who is captain of the Fulton Firebirds Softball Team. She is focused and determined to win the U12 fast-pitch softball regional championship.
But she is faced with prejudice, not just as a woman in sports but as a woman of color. Not to mention her great-uncle Jack has got himself into trouble which may bring shame to the family.
With all this going on in the background, she begins to lose focus. To help her teammates and get back on track, she must help her family, before the Firebirds lose faith in her as Captain.
7. Flora and Ulysses
By Kate DiCamillo
Flora and Ulysses is a Newbery Medal-winning novel about a shy 10-year-old girl named Flora who enjoys reading superhero comics.
She becomes friends with Ulysses, a squirrel with superpowers. The pair embark on a world of adventures together, which can be enjoyed by gorgeous illustrations created by K. G. Campbell.
This book is written in a black and white comic book style which is attention-grabbing for kids.
Kate DiCamillo is a former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.
8. Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
By John Grisham
Thirteen-year-old Theodore Boone is the only person in a city of lawyers who can convince a courtroom to convict a murderer.
Theo lives in the city of Strattenburg, and he knows every member of law enforcement, from the judges to the court clerks, as well as a lot about the law. One day, he dreams of becoming a trial lawyer.
But his dreams are coming sooner than he thinks when he finds himself in a courtroom and thrown into the middle of a murder trial. Only Theo knows the truth about a murderer who is about to go free, but Theo won’t let that happen.
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer is a gripping story of suspense and intrigue, keeping readers hooked from start to finish.
9. Percy Jackson and The Olympians Series
By Rick Riordan
The Percy Jackson series has been loved by kids in their tweens for more than a decade. The series features mythical Gods and monsters from mythology with an action-packed adventure story that has you hooked from start to finish.
The series begins with The Lightening Thief, which is where we are first introduced to our protagonist, Percy Jackson. He’s a good kid but can’t keep control of his anger and focus on schoolwork. Being at boarding school isn’t helping.
When Percy is convinced his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster, Percy’s mom decides it’s time to tell him the truth about his heritage.
She sends Percy to a summer camp for demigods, called Camp Half Blood, where he learns his father is Poseidon, God of the Sea.
With his new friends, including the demigod daughter of Athena, Percy embarks on an adventure full of magic, wonder, and danger…
This is a great book to read for fans looking for books like The Outsiders.
10. Out of My Mind
By Sharon M. Draper
Melody suffers from cerebral palsy, is mute, and cannot walk. She also has a photographic memory – she can remember everything, every minor detail, and every experience.
She is smarter than her classmates and smarter than most adults. But her classmates think she’s mentally challenged because she can’t tell them otherwise.
She doesn’t want to be defined by her cerebral palsy and is determined to tell everyone, but she just needs to work out how.
This is a heartwarming book about determination and perseverance. It’s a great book for 5th graders who need to understand not to judge people by their appearance.
Out of My Mind has won several awards, including the Massachusetts Children’s Book Award, Mark Twain Awards, and Nevada Young Readers’ Award.
Final Word on Best Chapter Books for 5th Graders
So there you have it, ten exciting chapter books for 5th graders. Whether your child is interested in dragons and mythical quests or is looking for a story with a deeper meaning, there’s something for every reader on this list.
About Our Guest Author
Louisa Smith is a former Primary School teacher and English Teacher with a passion for books. When she’s not traveling the world, she is sharing her love of books on her book blog, Epic Book Society. Louisa loves books of all forms but is particularly interested in fantasy, sci-fi, and romance novels.