Classical Childrens Books

5th Grade Reading List

The Kalaidos Top Choices for Fifth Grade Books

This 5th grade reading list gives you Kalaidos' favorite dozen picks for quality classic literature for fifth grade students.
PLUS, see the bottom of this page for more book lists.

Blue Willow

By Doris Gates

It's the Great Depression and Janey's family has been moved again. This time they find an abandoned shack where they hope they can stay. Threatened with eviction, Janey's one treasured possession might save their home: the blue willow plate her mother gave her before she died. A chance meeting leads to a happy ending.

Call It Courage

By Armstrong Perry

Mafatu has been ridiculed by the other boys and a disappointment to his father because of his fear of water. Heading out to sea, he faces his fears as well as the dangers of the ocean and the threats on an island.

Bambi: A Life in the Woods

By Felix Salten

Forget the Disney movie with Thumper. This book bears no resemblance to that film. Instead, Bambi is a thoughful book about nature and the cycle of life. The growing fawn must conquer his fear of Man. He learns that even the dreaded Man is not all powerful. Because of its serious tone, it is included in the fifth grade reading list rather than the younger grades which may be more attracted to the movie. This book holds the students attention and deepens their respect for nature.

The Landing of the Pilgrims

By James Dougherty

An accurate history of the Pilgrims starting with their flight to Holland and their decision to move to the unknown land of America. It tells of their journey across the Atlantic on the Mayflower and the settlement of Plymouth Plantation as well as their relationship with the Native Americans. The book closes with a glimpse at the colony twenty years after its famous landing on the shores of the New World.


By Margery Williams Bianco

This Newbery Honor book tells the story of two teenagers who have to provide for their family during a long and difficult winter. Separated from their parents, coping with the scarcity of the Depression, and the cold of a long winter, the only thing they don't run out of is resourcefulness and snow.

Miracle on Maple Hill

By Virginia Sorensen

Marly's father has returned home from the war, but he is very somber and they do not have the happy family they all hoped for. The family makes a trip to Maple Hill where their great-grandmother used to live. With the coming of spring, the miracles on the farm bring new hope to everyone.

McHiggins the Great

By Virginia Hamilton

In spite of his father's attachment to the mountain where his grandmother fled to escape from slavery, M.C. dreams of leaving. Two outsiders arrive on the mountain who might make it happen.

The Black Stallion

By Walter Farley

Alex is shipwrecked on a deserted island with only one other survivor: a beautiful but wild stallion. Taming the horse might be his only chance for survival. One of the most famous horse stories ever published, the Black Stallion is the first in a series of 21 books about the Black Stallion and his descendants.

Twenty and Ten

By Claire Huchet Bishop

Twenty children at a rural Catholic school in occupied France agree to host ten Jewish children who are hiding from the Nazis. They soon learn that there is more at stake then simply sharing their rations, but they must use their withs to save their new friends when officers arrive at the school. A true story from the holocaust era, it shows how many were involved in rescuing neighbors and strangers.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh

by Robert O'Brien

A captivating tale about Mrs. Frisby, a plain, common, ordinary field mouse who must move her family before the tractor tears up the field. The widowed Mrs. Frisby finds out that her late husband was not such an ordinary mouse as she thought, but was well known to the local rats AND to a national organization who is looking for them.

Traitor: The Case of Benedict Arnold

By Jean Fritz

This biography of Benedict Arnold shows the fascinating details of the man whose name is equated with betrayal. The author describes both good and bad qualities of this intriguing figure from the American Revolutionary War.

King Arthur: Tales from the Round Table

by Andrew Lang

Join King Arthur as he pulls the sword from the stone, commisions the knights of the Round Table, and leads the quest for the Holy Grail. A reprint of the 1905 version, this is more readable than many of the older Arthurian tales.

Aladdin and Other Favorite Arabian Nights Stories

by Philip Smith

This childrens' version is more appropriate than the original tales for younger readers and includes six of the most famous stories from the ancient collection. Tales include Aladdin, Ali Baba, Sinbad the Sailor, and three others.

5th Grade Reading List Book Club

We have a book club certificate for fifth graders who read ten or more books from this 5th Grade Reading List.

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