Great books: Grades 5 and up

Hello again everyone, Paul here.  We’ve made it to great books for grades 5 and up, all recommended by our great readers (and a few by Sher and me)!  There were so many books for 3rd and 4th grade readers that it took two posts to cover them all.  Thanks so much everyone for the suggestions.  I think I caused a little confusion by including The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks in my last post.  It may not have belonged there, but I’ll explain my thinking.  I have two older brothers, both very into reading and fantasy.  I read a lot of books before I probably should have because they were there and my brothers loved them.  Okay, well, with that out of the way, I’m going to do it again.

It was around 5th grade that I first read The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien.  To say that this book had a major impact on my life is an understatement.  I LOVE this book.  It took me to the Shire and Bag End.  I was sitting in Bag End with Bilbo, watching the magic smoke rings in amazement one minute, wondering what trouble those dwarves were going to cause next.  From the encounter with the Trolls to the encounter with Smaug, I was hooked.  More than once after reading The Hobbit, I tried to convince my Mom that I was entitled to elevensies.  She didn’t buy it, unfortunately.  Feel free to click on the book images to purchase any of the books on Amazon, or go to the My Amazon Store tab at the top of the blog to search for the book of your choice.

Books for 5th grade, ages 9 and up:

Going back to Denise Zaky’s comment (thanks for the great suggestons, Denise), we look at the popular A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.  This series tells the story of Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire after their parents’ death in a house fire.  If you’re unfamaliar with these books, the Goodreads description should tell you all you need to know.  “I’m sorry to say that the book you are holding in your hands is extremely unpleasant,” states a letter written by Lemony Snicket himself.  He ends by telling us, “It is my sad duty to write down these unpleasant tales, but there is nothing stopping you from putting this book down at once and reading something happy, if you prefer that sort of thing.”  I had a good chuckle reading this and simply have to read about these unfortunate events.

Photobucket Another 5th grade book is Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan, again suggested by Denise.  I have never read these books, but they sound absolutely superb.  It’s easy to see why they are so popular.  I love the idea of weaving Greek mythology into a children’s book.  What an interesting, exciting topic, as well as a great way to learn.

Here’s the Goodreads description of the first book of Riordan’s best-selling series.  “Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school…again. And that’s the least of his troubles.  Lately mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life.  And worse, he’s angered a few of them.  Zeus’ master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.”

PhotobucketNext up from Jess, author of The Secret DMS Files of Fairday Morrow, is A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle.  Jess tells us that she, “was a bit obsessed with A Wrinkle In Time– I loved how anthing could happen.”  I can see why she felt that way.  I’ve never read this book, but it sounds incredible.  What child (or adult for that matter) doesn’t love the idea of time travel?  I know there are a few things that I would consider going back in time for.  This book is now on my “to read” list.

The Goodreads description follows.  “It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.”

This stranger proceeds to claim to have been blown off course, and tells them that there is such a thing as a “tesseract”, which, if you didn’t know, is a wrinkle in time.  Sounds great to me.


Jess also suggests The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson.  If you’ve never read it, or just want to reminisce about when you did, here’s the description.  “Jess Aaron’s greatest ambition is to be the fastest runner in his grade.  He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmate’s faces when he beats them.  But on the first day of school, a new girl boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns them all.  Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen and their imaginations set the only limits.”

Deborah Dore on Twitter recommended The Silver Brumby by Elyne Mitchell.  This series recounts the life and adventures of Thowra, a magnificent silver bumbry stallion and his descendants, and is set in the Snowy Mountains of Australia.  This sounds like a wonderful set of books that follow Thowra as he uses all his speed and cunning to save him and his herd from danger and capture.

Other books in the series include Silver Brumbies of the South, Silver Brumby’s Daughter, Brumbies of the Night, Silver Brumby Kingdom, and a few others, including some short story collections. This would be a good choice for any teen who loves horses.

Lisa Tortorello, author of Lisa Tortorello ~ Teacher and Author, suggested author Lisa Lowry.  Lisa Lowry is the author of such great books as Number the Stars, The Giver, and The Silent BoyNumber the Stars is a story about ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and the evacuation of Jews from Nazi-held Denmark. The author fictionalizes a true story account in this heartfelt tale.  My research yielded some conflicting information as to the reading level of this book with some saying 7th or 8th grade and others 5th grade.


Well, that might just do it for all of our great reader suggestions.  I’m not sure if there are enough left for another post, so if not, this will be it.  Thanks so much everyone for stopping by and contributing.  I have had the best time writing about these books and I hope that you, like me, have found some wonderful books to read.  I can’t believe how many great books there are that I not only haven’t read, but have never heard of.  I will rest well knowing that as the fall and winter seasons approach and the weather turns frightful (at least here in Illinois) I have a mountain of books to read as I curl up on my recliner in front of the fireplace.  Thanks again everyone, and as always, please leave a comment about your thoughts on anything we discussed or tell us about anything you think that we forgot to discuss.

Share A Heart

Indie author-friendly freelance editor, children's book blogger for picture books through YA, kid lit, SF/fantasy lover with special fondness for middle grade, pun-loving SCBWI member, meter-maid for poetry and rhyming picture books.


  1. Yea! What a relief to come here after an unexpected change in schedule and find this post all done. I still have the first four books (and most of the others in those series) in my bookshelves because they were favorites and still are. As enamored as I was with horses, I missed the Brumby books. And now I’ll be on the lookout for the last two. I agree; finding old books and new ones to love has been great fun!

    • Thanks Sher! I’m just glad that you’re safe and sound and out of the direct path of that rascal Isaac. I agree, this has been great fun and my reading list is long,long, long….
      I can’t wait to dig in!
      Paul R. Hewlett

  2. I love that cover of the Hobbit. It’s one of my favorite illustrations. I just like how Smaug looks.

    • Thanks for the comment Michael. I agree it is a great cover. It’s not the one I have, but I wish that I did. I chose mine because it has the really neat fold out map. I love maps. I remember my oldest brother having a book (I think, it may have been a calender) by the Brothers Hildebrant (I believe) of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Great illustrations certainly help bring these great books even more to life. Thanks again, I hope to see you again soon around here:)
      Paul R. Hewlett

    • Glad you survived the storm, Sher. I assume you spent most of your time sitting around writing in candlelight.

    • Thanks, Ken. We had a short but vicious band pass over late Tuesday, and a long bout of standard storm yesterday (between longer bouts of sun), and I just walked (while reading a book) half an hour before it started raining today. I’m sort of disappointed the power never went off (except a split second) because then I would have gotten to write. Instead I had all my usual chores plus hubby home and visitors to keep me from writing until late last night. Today will be the day…

  3. You certainly got some great books here!

    I know the Number of the Stars can be read at the 5/6 grade level and the students really like it. I can also see it at the 7/8 grade level where a more in-depth analysis of the book can be done.

  4. Thanks Lisa! I have to give all the credit to our great readers (yourself included). The response has been fantastic. I am happy to see your thoughts on the Number of the Stars. It looks like a great book and I’m glad that it can be enjoyed by young and older readers alike. Your input as a teacher is invaluable. Thank you! I hope that your week has improved a bit since Monday and that the self-reflection papers do their job (whatever that may be).

    Paul R. Hewlett

  5. More great books. Love Lois Lowry and she has a new one coming out October 2nd, Son, sure to be another great read.

  6. The only book in your list that I’ve actually read is The Hobbit. Most of the others are still on my TBR pile. So little time…

    • Your daughter would probably love the Wrinkle in Time books as much as I did. But you should start with The Lightning Thief to hone your writing skills and critique mine. Riordan was a schoolteacher with a good handle on young teen’s craving for action/adventure with a great knack for mixing humor into the story. In fact, I should probably order the next in the series because I only read the first 3 of 5. I hate that there’s so little time…

  7. I recommended my nephews to the Percy Jackson series not too long ago, and they love it. Now I have few more to share with them: Lemony Snicket, The Hobbit (which I want to read, too) and Lois Lowry’s books (which I want to read badly, too). Thanks for bringing up these wonderful books!

  8. You’re welcome Claudine! I really have to thank you and all our other readers out there for all the fantastic recommendations. How have you been? Getting back into the swing of things after your trip? I really want to read Lemony Snicket myself. I’m with you on the Lois Lowry books ~ They sound great, I want to read them as well. Thanks so much for stopping by, hope all is well with you:)

    Paul R. Hewlett

  9. I’ve read The Lightning Thief and The Red Pyramid, both by Rick Riordan. Excellent books. I love the use of ancient stories incorporated into a modern day tale.

  10. Hi Cynthia! Thanks for your comment(s) & recommendations. I haven’t read any Rick Riordan books and it appears as though I have been missing out! I agree with you (although I haven’t read it), I thought the incorporating of Greek mythology into a middle grade/YA book is genius. I can’t wait to read The Lightning Thief, and others by Rick Riordan. Thanks again. Have a great holiday weekend:)

    Paul R. Hewlett

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