Back to School for Your 5th and 6th Graders

A mixture of poetry, picture books and novels perfect for the start of the school year.

My Best Friend is as Sharp as a Pencil : And Other Funny Classroom Portraits. Hanoch Piven.  Schwartz & Wade Books, 2010.
When a girl’s grandmother comes to visit full of questions, the girl responds with portraits of the the important people in her life made from everyday objects.  Loaded with delightful similes.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade


Because of Mr. Terupt. Rob Buyea.  Delacorte Press, 2010.
Short chapters, each narrated by one of seven 5th graders in Mr. Terupt’s class, chronicle the school year by month.  We get to know the new girl, the prankster, the bully, the brain, the shy one, the one who never stands up for herself and the one who hates school.  We gradually learn how their lives have defined them.  Mr. Terupt is a teacher who always understands them, knows how to guide them, and makes learning fun.  A prank results in a tragic accident.  Valuable lessons are learned by all.
I couldn’t put it down!
Read-aloud 5th-6th grade

Countdown to Summer: A Poem for Every Day of the School Year.  Patrick J. Lewis.  Little, Brown, 2009.
A mostly light-hearted collection of 180 poems that follow the school year.  A great way to start or end each day.
Read-aloud 4th-6th grade

Extra Credit. Andrew Clements. Atheneum, 2009.
Abby needs to improve her grades, so she does an extra credit assignment writing letters to a student in Afghanistan.  Sadeed is chosen to be Abby’s pen-pal, but has to use his sister’s name to be culturally appropriate.  So much is learned by children in both cultures.  Very timely.  Chapter Book.
Read-aloud 4th-6th grade

Homework.  Arthur Yorinks.  Walker and Comapny, 2009.
Instead of doing his homework, tony reads comic books in bed until he falls asleep.  His pencil, eraser and ballpoint pen come to life and write his story for him.  The writing process made very enjoyable!
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

Miss Little’s Gift.  Douglas Wood.  Candlewick Press, 2009.
An autobiographical picture book depicting the author’s many struggles in 2nd grade, the biggest being his struggle with reading and ADHD.  Miss Little did not give up on him.  Today he is a very successful author of children’s books.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

Mr. President Goes to School. Rick Walton.  Peachtree, 2010.
When the President becomes overwhelmed from the many pressures of his job, he dawns a disguise and goes to kindergarten.  He takes back the lessons he learns about friendship and compromise to the White House and applies them to his job.  Maybe the hokey pokey really is what it’s all about!  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd grade and up


My School in the Rainforest: How Children Attend School Around the World.  Magriet Ruurs.  Boyds Mills Press, 2009.
An introduction to 13 school settings around the world.  This fascinating global look at importance of education around the world, from home schools to boarding schools to schools with no books or teaching materials.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 3rd-5th grade

Stampede! Poems to Celebrate the Wild Side of School. Laura Purdie Salas.  Clarion, 2009.
These 18 humorous poems liken children’s behavior in school to that of animals.  Simile and metaphor are plentiful.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 1st-5th grade

Thank You, Miss Doover.  Robin Pulver.  Holiday House, 2010.
Miss Doover’s Class is learning about writing thank-you letters and the art of revising.  Full of humor for kids and adults, this is a great writing lesson.  Picture Book.
Read-aloud 2nd-6th grade

Zombies!  Evacuate the School. Sara Holbrook.  Wordsong, 2010.
41 humorous poems about common school experiences (though only one zombie poem).  Simple design and many prompts throughout encourage readers to write their own poems.
Read-aloud 3rd-6th grade

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