Parents: Boston Public Schools Grade 5

Grade 5 Reading List

These books constitute the Core Literature List for Boston public schools. You can find these titles at a Boston Public Library branch near you.

Picture Books
Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Munoz Ryan
Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland
The Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki
Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco


Chapter Books
Canyons by Gary Paulsen
Crossing the Starlight Bridge by Alice Mead
Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Ernestine & Amanda by Sandra Belton
Felita by Nicholasa Mohr
The Fighting Ground by Avi
Goodbye, Vietnam by Gloria Whelan
The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
Jip, His Story by Katherine Paterson
Journey to Jo'burg, a South African Story by Beverly Naidoo
Journey to Topaz by Yoshiko Uchida
The Kid in the Red Jacket by Barbara Park
Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
Mississippi Bridge by Mildred D. Taylor
Moving Mama Town by R. T Young
The Pinballs by Betsy Byers
The Real Thief by William Steig
The Seven Songs of Merlin by T. A. Barron
Shiloh by Phyllis R. Naylor
Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell
Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
The Star Fisher by Laurence Yep
War Comes to Willy Freeman by J. and C. Collier
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman


Informational Books
Pride of Puerto Rico by Paul R. Walker
Sojourner Truth - Ain't I a Woman? by F. and P. McKissack
Two Tickets To Freedom by Florence Freedman


Poetry Books
Don't Read this Book, Whatever You Do! by Kalli Dakos
Hey World, Here I Am! by Jean Little
Inner Chimes: Poems on Poetry by Bobbie Goldstein
Words Words Words by Mary O'Neill


Picture Books

Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride by Pam Munoz Ryan
This large-format picture book celebrates the courage and pioneering spirit of two friends: Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt. Based on a true story, this book tells of an April evening in 1933. They steal away from a White House dinner, commandeer a plane, and take off on a glorious adventure.

Grandfather's Journey by Allen Say
In exquisite watercolors and carefully selected words, we learn about the life of a new immigrant. Even though he loves his new country, he also misses his home country. A poignant introduction to the immigration experience.

The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland
A young Vietnamese girl saves a lotus seed to help her remember the brave emperor and the homeland she had to flee. A perfect introduction to the immigration theme.

Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story by Ken Mochizuki
A true story of a Japanese consul during 1940. He risks his life and family to act against his government to save the lives of thousands of Jewish refugees in Lithuania. Based on a historical event, this award-winning book fills the reader with hope that one person's actions can make a difference.

Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco
Say Curtis describes his meeting with Pincus Aylee, a black soldier, as they are captured by southern troops. A perfect introduction to the Civil War.


Chapter Books

Canyons by Gary Paulsen
The paths of two boys, separated by time, meet finally in the canyons of Coyote Runs. When Brennan, a fifteen-year-old boy, finds the timeworn skull of a murdered Apache man, he must return it to a sacred, ancient place. The journey takes Brennan through to adulthood as he faces numerous challenges that tie him to his Apache heritage.

Crossing the Starlight Bridge by Alice Mead
Rayanne Sunipass, a nine-year-old Penobscot, moves from an island reservation to her Gram's house in Maine. As the only Penobscot in her new school, Rayanne finds comfort in her artistic ability and in her Gram's traditional stories about their heritage.

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary
Leigh Botts, lonesome for his Dad and his dog after his parents' divorce, turns routine school assignments into a search for companionship and understanding. As a result, he becomes an aspiring author.

Ernestine & Amanda by Sandra Belton
Who would want to destroy their dance studio? Ernestine and Amanda's crackling dialogue will intrigue readers as they try to solve the mystery. A series in which the author addresses serious issues with a light touch, giving readers both substance and humor.

Felita by Nicholasa Mohr
When her father moves his family from the barrio so that his children can have a better education, Felita and her three brothers give up their neighborhood, their friends, and their language. Grandmother, understanding Felita's feelings of loss, tells her stories about her relatives and their life in Puerto Rico.

The Fighting Ground by Avi
In Trenton, New Jersey in 1778, thirteen-year-old Jonathan finds that his attitude about war changes drastically after he is actively involved in a skirmish with the enemy.

Goodbye, Vietnam by Gloria Whelan
When Mai's grandmother is nearly arrested by the Vietnamese government, her family realizes they must flee for their lives. Aboard a crowded, ancient boat with a captain who can barely navigate, Mai must struggle to remain hopeful. As she leaves all that is familiar, she looks ahead to her dreams and her freedom in Hong Kong.

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
Gilly Hopkins, a young foster girl, is rebellious and unruly, yet she yearns for a place of her own. Finally, she learns to find love with a foster family. When her plans to be reunited with her real mother take an unexpected turn, Gilly learns that love comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
Harry Potter is living with mean relatives when he is accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A delightful romp that puts a fantastic spin on sports, student rivalry, and eccentric faculty. An utterly captivating story.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Bao Lord
A young Chinese girl emigrates to New York in 1947 and assimilates into a strange new culture of schoolyard toughs, stickball games, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Jip, His Story by Katherine Paterson
Jip is an orphan living on a poor farm in rural Vermont in the mid-1800's. His story depicts unexpected aspects of American slavery and the Underground Railway.

Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story by Beverly Naidoo
Worried about their baby sister, Naledi and Tiro start walking the 300 kilometers to Johannesburg to get their Mama, who works as a servant for a rich white family. At a bus stop, they meet Grace, who awakens them to the injustices of the government toward its black citizens.

Journey to Topaz by Yoshiko Uchida
December 7, 1941: the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Eleven-year-old Yuki Sakane's father is arrested in Berkeley, California by FBI agents and sent to a Prisoner of War Camp in Montana. Yuki and her mother and brother are evacuated to a War Relocation Center.

The Kid in the Red Jacket by Barbara Park
A baby brother, a new state, a new house, a new school, and six-year-old Molly who wants to play house! How much more can ten-year-old Howard Jeeter deal with when his family relocates from Arizona to Massachusetts?

Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
Summer has always lived with her aunt and uncle. When Aunt May dies, she must find ways of healing herself. At the same time, she must help her distraught uncle.

Mississippi Bridge by Mildred D. Taylor
Cassie is outraged when her Grandmother must sit in the rear of the bus for her trip to Jackson, Mississippi. After Cassie and her brothers leave Wallace's store to walk home in the pouring rain, more white passengers arrive and Big Ma and other black passengers are sent off the bus before it crosses the bridge.

Moving Mama Town by R. T. Young
Freddie James Johnson becomes the man of the family when his daddy Kenny runs off. FJ knows that he must keep his family together so he moves his Mama and his little brother to town.

The Pinballs by Betsy Byers
Carlie, as one of three foster children, feels helpless and out of control. Her life is constantly determined by the adults who enter her life. As she becomes closer to two other foster children, she finds their friendship is blooming. Carlie comes to realize that they are capable of controlling their own lives. Touching and inspiring!

The Real Thief by William Steig
Gawain the goose, Chief Guard of the Royal Treasury, leaves town in disgrace when gold and jewels mysteriously vanish. The real thief, burdened by guilt, eventually persuades Gawain to return to town and forgive those who wrongly accused him.

The Seven Songs of Merlin by T. A. Barron
This Merlin epic combines all the passion, power, and spiritual depth that are the hallmarks of Barron's work. An extraordinary journey of the mind, body, and spirit. Splendid read aloud.

Shiloh by Phyllis R. Naylor
When a young beagle, Shiloh, follows eleven-year-old Marty Preston home, his parents insist that he return it to its owner. Convinced the owner is mistreating Shiloh, Marty risks adult disapproval to rescue the dog from its abusive owner.

Sing Down the Moon by Scott O'Dell
In 1863, the U.S. Cavalry rode through Navaho country and destroyed crops and livestock. Bright Morning narrates the story of the Navahos after their surrender. They are forced to walk the 300 miles from northeast Arizona to Fort Sumner in southeast New Mexico. Eighty-five hundred Navaho survive the "Long Walk," but then they are held as prisoners until 1868.

Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan
In April of 1940, Norway is buried deep in snow and the Germans are about to occupy the country. Leading citizens are anxious to get thirteen tons of gold bullion to safety in the United States. Twelve-year-old Peter Lundstrom and his friends are recruited to help their country by sledding twelve miles a day past the German sentries.

The Star Fisher by Laurence Yep
Joan, Emily, and Bobby were all born in the United States. But when the Lee family moves to Clarksburg, West Virginia to open a laundry store, some townspeople shun them because of their Chinese heritage. As the oldest, fifteen-year-old Joan learns first-hand about the many levels of prejudice.

War Comes to Willy Freeman by J. and C. Collier
Willy Freeman's life changes forever when she witnesses her father's death at the hands of the Redcoats. She returns home to find that the British have taken her mother as a prisoner to New York City.

The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
It is forbidden to spank, thrash, cuff, smack, or whip a prince. Therefore, when Prince Brat misbehaves, his whipping boy Jeremy is punished in his place.


Informational Books

Pride of Puerto Rico by Paul R. Walker
Roberto Clemente, outfielder and powerhouse hitter for the Pittsburgh Pirates, was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame eight months after his tragic death in an airplane accident.

Sojourner Truth - Ain't I a Woman? by F. and P. McKissack
Born a slave in 1797 in New York, Isabella Baumfree was freed in 1827. In 1843, Belle claimed to receive a message from God to "Go East." Later she assumed the name of Sojourner Truth. From that time until her death in 1883, Sojourner traveled the country preaching the "truth" about the rights of blacks and women.

Two Tickets to Freedom by Florence Freedman
In 1848 a light-skinned slave, Ellen Craft, disguises herself as a man and travels with her husband dressed as her man-servant. The two attempt to make a daring flee from Macon, Georgia to Philadelphia.


Poetry Books

Don't Read this Book, Whatever You do! by Kalli Dakos
Poems about school. Titles include Cures for a Boring School Day and My Writing Is an Awful Mess.

Hey World, Here I Am! by Jean Little
A book of poetry from the perspective of Kate Bloomfield, a character in many of Little's books. This book contains both poetry and short essay pieces that present Kate's thoughts on school, friendship, family, and the world.

Inner Chimes: Poems on Poetry by Bobbie Goldstein
Inspiring poems about writing and especially poetry. Excellent resource.

Words Words Words by Mary O'Neill
A collection of poems about words and language. This versatile volume of poetry can be used to enrich word play and support your English Language Arts curriculum.