Grade 5 Summer Reading

The following is a list of age and content appropriate novels for students entering Grade 5. We encourage children at this age to try to read at least two of these books over the summer.

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Baba Yaga Baba Yaga’s Assistant by Marika McCoola
Most children think twice before braving a haunted wood filled with terrifying beasties to match wits with a witch, but not Masha. Her beloved grandma taught her many things: that stories are useful, that magic is fickle, that nothing is too difficult or too dirty to clean. Spooky and poignant, Marika McCoola’s stunning debut—with richly layered art by acclaimed graphic artist Emily Carroll—is a storytelling feat and a visual feast.
Bridge to Terabithia Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
When Jess Aarons meets Leslie Burks, his life changes forever. Despite their superficial differences, it’s clear that Jess and Leslie are soul-mates. The two create a secret kingdom in the woods named Terabithia, where the only way to get into the castle is by swinging out over a gully on an enchanted rope. Here they reign as king and queen, fighting off imaginary giants and the walking dead: sharing stories and dreams, and plotting against the schoolmates who tease them. Jess and Leslie find solace in the sanctuary of Terabithia until a tragedy strikes. Newbery Medal Winner.
Camp X Camp X by Eric Walters
It’s 1943, and nearly-12-year-old George and his older brother Jack are spending a restless wartime summer in Whitby, Ontario, where their mom is working at a munitions plant while their dad is off fighting the Germans. One afternoon, the boys stumble across Canada’s top-secret spy camp—and so begins an exciting and terrifying adventure as George and Jack get caught up in the covert activities of Camp X.
Cosmic: It's One Giant Leap for All Boy-kind Cosmic: It’s One Giant Leap for All Boy-kind by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Liam Digby is an ordinary but very, very, tall twelve-year-old. Some people even think he’s a grown-up. This is the incredible story of how he told some fibs, nearly stole a Porsche, went to a theme part and then somehow ended up in space. This science fiction/fantasy is more than just an entertaining read, it is chock full of meanings, messages, and milestone. Liam’s experiences teach him and us not just about the vastness of the universe, but about adulthood, parenthood, and childhood as well. Adults and children are really not all that different, and when they are, each quality has its strengths. The author also uses a fantastic metaphor running throughout the book about World of Warcraft, which is informative and enlightening regardless of the reader’s familiarity with the game.
Darkwing Darkwing by Kenneth Oppel
The story of Darkwing is set 65 million years ago, during the early Paleocene era. Dusk and his family are chiropters, small arboreal mammals that glide and feed on insects. Changes are coming to their world, and not the least of them are Dusk’s abilities of flight and echolocation. Although his family stands by him, most of the colony is very uncomfortable with his flying, fearing reprisal from the birds that live above them in the trees. All concerns about Dusk’s oddities are swept aside when an outcast prowl of felids, led by the bloodthirsty Carnassial, attack the colony and Dusk’s special abilities help to guide his fellows and keep them safe. During their search for a new home, his quick wits are all that stand between the colony and disaster. This book is a prequel to Silverwing. A Red Cedar Award nominee for 2009/2010.
Dear Canada Dear Canada: These Are My Words, The Residential School Diary of Violet Pesheens by Ruby Slipperjack
Violet Pesheens is struggling to adjust to her new life at residential school. She misses her Grandma; she has run-ins with Cree girls; at her “white” school, everyone just stares; and everything she brought has been taken from her, including her name-she is now just a number. But worst of all, she has a fear. A fear of forgetting the things she treasures most: her Anishnabe language; the names of those she knew before; and her traditional customs. A fear of forgetting who she was. Her notebook is the one place she can record all of her worries, and heartbreaks, and memories. And maybe, just maybe there will be hope at the end of the tunnel.Drawing from her own experiences at residential school, Ruby Slipperjack creates a brave, yet heartbreaking heroine in Violet, and lets young readers glimpse into an all-too important chapter in our nation’s history.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
Calpurnia Virginia Tate is eleven years old in 1899 when she wonders why the yellow grasshoppers in her Texas backyard are so much bigger than the green ones.With a little help from her notoriously cantankerous grandfather, an avid naturalist, she figures out that the green grasshoppers are easier to see against the yellow grass, so they are eaten before they can get any larger. As Callie explores the natural world around her, she develops a close relationship with her grandfather, navigates the dangers of living with six brothers, and comes up against just what it means to be a girl at the turn of the century.
Flora and Ulysses Flora and Ulysses by Kate di Camillo
Holy unanticipated occurrences! A cynic meets an unlikely superhero in a genre-breaking new novel by master storyteller Kate DiCamillo. It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is the just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry—and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a big heart.
Island of the Blue Dolphins Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
In the Pacific Ocean there is an island that looks like a big fish sunning itself in the sea. Around it, blue dolphins swim, otters play, and sea elephants and sea birds are abundant. When the Indians who lived there leave and sail to the East, one young girl is left behind. This is the story of Karana, an Indian girl who lives alone for years. Year after year, she watches one season pass into another and waits for a ship to come to take her away. While she waits, she keeps herself alive by building a shelter, making weapons, finding food, and fighting her enemies, the wild dogs. Island of the Blue Dolphins is not only an unusual adventure of survival, but also a tale of natural beauty and personal discovery.
Endling The Last: Endling #1 by Katherine Applegate
Byx is the youngest member of her dairne pack. Believed to possess remarkable abilities, her mythical doglike species has been hunted to near extinction in the war-torn kingdom of Nedarra. After her pack is hunted down and killed, Byx fears she may be the last of her species. The Endling. So Byx sets out to find safe haven, and to see if the legends of other hidden dairnes are true. Along the way, she meets new allies—both animals and humans alike—who each have their own motivations for joining her quest. And although they begin as strangers, they become their own kind of family—one that will ultimately uncover a secret that may threaten every creature in their world.
The Mysterious Benedict Society The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Reynie Muldoon, a gifted child looking for special opportunities, finds himself in a world of mystery and adventure after responding to a newspaper advertisement. The 11-year-old orphan and three friends complete a series of challenging and creative tasks to become the Mysterious Benedict Society. After being trained by Mr. Benedict and his assistants, the four travel to an isolated school where children are being trained by a criminal mastermind to participate in his schemes to take over the world. Using their special talents and abilities, the young investigators discover Mr. Curtain’s secrets and their only chance to defeat him is through working together.
The Penderwicks The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
When the four Penderwick sisters find themselves staying on a beautiful estate for their summer holidays, they can’t wait to explore the wonderful grounds. And even more wonderful is Jeffrey, the son of the owner—the perfect companion for summer adventures. But Jeffrey’s mother is less than thrilled with the Penderwick sisters and warns the new friends to stay out of trouble, which of course, they will. Won’t they?
Rooftoppers Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. It’s true that there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck which left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive. But that means it’s still possible and according to Sophie, you should never ignore a possible. So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has—the address of the cello maker. Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers—urchins who live in the sky. Together they scour the city for Sophie’s mother before she is caught and sent back to London, and most importantly before she loses hope.
September 17 September 17 by Amanda West Lewis
In July 1940, a British government-sponsored program called Children’s Overseas Reception Board was set up to send children from Britain to Canada and other Commonwealth countries, in order to rescue them from the bombings of British cities. The City of Benares, a luxury liner that was recruited in September 1940 to transport ninety of these children to Canada, along with the ship’s regular passenger complement, was torpedoed by Germans and sank within a half an hour. Only thirteen children survived. September 17 is a novel that tells the story of three of the children that were on board the City of Benares, as they experience and survive the disaster and wait to be rescued. This is a great book for those who enjoy books about survival like Hatchet, and stories about the Titanic.
Skeleton Tree The Skeleton Tree by Iain Lawrence
Less than forty-eight hours after twelve-year-old Chris sets off on a sailing trip down the Alaskan coast with his uncle, their boat sinks. The only survivors are Chris and a boy named Frank, who hates Chris immediately. Chris and Frank have no radio, no flares, no food. Suddenly, they’ve got to forage, fish, and scavenge the shore for supplies. Chris likes the company of a curious, friendly raven more than he likes the prickly Frank. But the boys have to get along if they want to survive.
The Swallow The Swallow: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter
In 1960s Toronto, two girls retreat to their attics to escape the loneliness and isolation of their lives. Polly lives in a house bursting at the seams with people, while Rose is often left alone by her busy parents. Polly is a down-to-earth dreamer with a wild imagination and an obsession with ghosts; Rose is a quiet, ethereal waif with a sharp tongue. Despite their differences, both girls spend their days feeling invisible and seek solace in books and the cozy confines of their respective attics. But soon they discover they aren’t alone—they’re actually neighbors, sharing a wall. They develop an unlikely friendship, and Polly is ecstatic to learn that Rose can actually see and talk to ghosts. Maybe she will finally see one too! But is there more to Rose than it seems? Why does no one ever talk to her? And why does she look so... ghostly? When the girls find a tombstone with Rose’s name on it in the cemetery and encounter an angry spirit in her house who seems intent on hurting Polly, they have to unravel the mystery of Rose and her strange family—before it’s too late.
13 Gifts 13 Gifts by Wendy Mass
It doesn’t take long for Tara to realize that breaking into school to steal a goat is not a good idea nor is it the best way to make friends. As a punishment for her crimes, Tara is sent away to a small town called Willow Falls to stay with relatives she hardly knows. What Tara also doesn’t know is that this charmed town has something big in store for her on her 13th birthday. It’s not a typical birthday. But then again, nothing in Willow Falls is exactly typical! Tara finds herself involved with a strange and mysterious woman who makes her find 13 unusual objects as a way of paying a debt. The task seems daunting, but with the help of some new friends Tara learns there are more to things than meets the eye, while at the same time discovers she has some strengths she never knew she had.
Under the Egg Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
When Theodora Tenpenny accidentally spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfather’s painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. That’s great news for Theo, who’s struggling to hang onto her family’s two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfather’s legacy of only $463. There’s just one problem: Theo’s grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and she worries the painting may be stolen. With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo’s search for answers takes her all around New York City, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she’ll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.
The Whole Truth The Whole Truth by Kit Pearson
"After it happened they were sent away." So begins Kit Pearson’s new novel of mystery and family loyalty. It is 1932. Ten-year-old Polly and her older sister, Maud, travel from Winnipeg to an island between Vancouver and Victoria. There they will live with their grandmother, who will be their guardian. Maud will go to boarding school in Victoria, while Polly will live with her grandmother and attend the small school on the island. Their grandmother and other family members welcome the girls warmly; new-school jitters give way to new friendships and even a new puppy; and slowly Polly feels that she is becoming part of a larger family she never knew until now. But Polly and Maud have a dramatic secret, and they have promised each other never to tell anyone. A surprise arrival on the island, however, threatens Polly’s newfound happiness and tests the bonds of family love. Can Polly keep the secret and her new life on the island?
Wild Robot The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is—but she knows she needs to survive. After battling a fierce storm and escaping a vicious bear attack, she realizes that her only hope for survival is to adapt to her surroundings and learn from the island’s unwelcoming animal inhabitants. As Roz slowly befriends the animals, the island starts to feel like home—until, one day, the robot’s mysterious past comes back to haunt her.
Wolf Wilder Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
Feo’s life is extraordinary. Her mother trains domesticated wolves to be able to fend for themselves in the snowy wilderness of Russia, and Feo is following in her footsteps to become a wolf wilder. She loves taking care of the wolves, especially the three who stay at the house because they refuse to leave Feo, even though they’ve already been ‘wilded’. But not everyone is enamored with the wolves, or with the fact that Feo and her mother are turning them wild. And when her mother is taken captive, Feo must travel through the cold, harsh woods to save her—and learn from her wolves how to survive.

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