Best Books of 2016 for Fourth, Fifth, and Sixth Grade (So Far)
Best Books for Fourth Grade, Fifth Grade and Sixth Grade of 2016

Intro

These books were chosen as the best books of 2016 for fourth grade, fifth and sixth grade using a combination of New York Times Best Seller lists, critical reviews (such as those in the American Library Association's Booklist magazine), Amazon and Goodreads ratings and reviews, and librarian and educator blogs.

There are many more amazing fourth, fifth, and sixth grade books set to be published in 2016, so this list will continue to grow.  

If you have favorite 4th to 6th grade books from 2016, please let us know in the comments!

 Seeing stars?  Professional book reviewers only award a star to exceptional books.  More than one star means experts from multiple organizations felt the book was outstanding. 

When Mischief Came to Town Book Cover
When Mischief Came to Town
by Katrina Nannestad
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: January 5, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

In the tradition of ANNE OF GREEN GABLES and PIPPI LONGSTOCKING comes a heart-warming novel about love, family, grief, joy and the power of laughter and imagination.
When Inge Maria arrives on the tiny island of Bornholm in Denmark to live with her grandmother, she's not sure what to...READ MORE

The Door by the Staircase Book Cover
The Door by the Staircase
by Katherine Marsh
illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: January 5, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Twelve-year-old Mary Hayes can't stand her orphanage for another night. But when an attempted escape through the stove pipe doesn't go quite as well as she'd hoped, Mary fears she'll be stuck in the Buffalo Asylum for Young Ladies forever. 

The very next day, a mysterious woman named Madame Z...READ MORE

Paper Wishes Book Cover
Paper Wishes
by Lois Sepahban
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: January 5, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Ten-year-old Manami did not realize how peaceful her family's life on Bainbridge Island was until the day it all changed. It's 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, and Manami and her family are Japanese American, which means that the government says they must leave their home by the sea...READ MORE

Pax Book Cover
Pax
by Sara Pennypacker
illustrated by Jon Klassen
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: February 2, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

From bestselling and award-winning author Sara Pennypacker comes a beautifully wrought, utterly compelling novel about the powerful relationship between a boy and his fox. Pax is destined to become a classic, beloved for generations to come.

Pax and Peter have been inseparable ever since Peter rescued him as a kit....READ MORE

The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs Book Cover
The Nine Lives of Jacob Tibbs
by Cylin Busby
illustrated by Gerald Kelley
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: February 2, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist

For fans of Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan comes the swashbuckling story of a little cat's adventures on the high seas
 
Captain Natick does not want to take a kitten on board his ship when it sets sail in 1837, but his daughter convinces him that the...READ MORE

The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price
by Jennifer Maschari
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: February 23, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal

A heartfelt, beautifully written novel of love, loss, and math—perfect for fans of Rebecca Stead and Sharon M. Draper.

Ever since twelve-year-old Charlie Price's mom died, he feels like his world has been split into two parts.Before included stargazing and Mathletes and Saturday scavenger hunts with his family. After means a dad who's...READ MORE

The Key to Extraordinary Book Cover
The Key to Extraordinary
by Natalie Lloyd
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: February 23, 2016

Everyone in Emma's family is special. Her ancestors include Revolutionary War spies, brilliant scientists, and famous musicians--every single one of which learned of their extraordinary destiny through a dream.

For Emma, her own dream can't come soon enough. Right before her mother died, Emma promised that she'd do whatever it...READ MORE

Maybe a Fox Book Cover
Maybe a Fox
by Kathi Appelt
illustrated by Alison McGhee
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: March 8, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly

Worlds collide in a spectacular way when Newbery and National Book Award finalist Kathi Appelt and Pulitzer Prize nominee and #1 New York Times bestseller Alison McGhee team up to create a fantastical, heartbreaking, and gorgeous tale about two sisters, a fox cub, and what happens when one of the sisters disappears...READ MORE

Alamo All Stars Book Cover
Alamo All-Stars (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #6)
by Nathan Hale
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: March 29, 2016

From Nathan Hale, #1 New York Times bestselling author and Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List maker, comes the definitive graphic novel about the Alamo.
 
Hale relays the facts, politics, military actions, and prominent personalities that defined the Texas Revolution in factual yet humorous scenes that will capture the attention...READ MORE

The Wild Robot Book Cover
The Wild Robot
by Peter Brown
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: April 5, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. Why is she there? Where did she come from? And, most important, how will she survive in her harsh surroundings? Roz's only hope is to learn from the island's...READ MORE

Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard: A Peter Nimble Adventure
by Jonathan Auxier
Audience: Grades 4 to 6,
Audience: Tweens
Published: April 5, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image The Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books

It’s been two years since Peter Nimble and Sir Tode rescued the kingdom of HazelPort. In that time, they have traveled far and wide in search of adventure. Now they have been summoned by Professor Cake for a new mission: To find a twelve-year-old bookmender named Sophie Quire.
 
...READ MORE

Raymie Nightingale
by Kate DiCamillo
Audience: Grades 4 to 6,
Audience: Tweens
Published: April 12, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star ImageHorn Book

Two-time Newbery Medalist Kate DiCamillo returns to her roots with a moving, masterful story of an unforgettable summer friendship.

Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her...READ MORE

The Last 5th Grade of Emerson Elementary Book Cover
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
by Laura Shovan
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: April 12, 2016

Laura Shovan’s engaging, big-hearted debut is a time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. Families change and new friendships form as these terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical novel-in-verse about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.
 
...READ MORE

Save Me a Seat
by Sarah Weeks,
by Gita Varadarajan
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: May 10, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL. 
Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. 
Ravi's family just moved...READ MORE

Some Kind of Happiness Book Cover
Some Kind of Happiness
by Claire Legrand
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: May 17, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Publishers Weekly

Reality and fantasy collide in this heartfelt and mysterious novel for fans of Counting by 7s and Bridge to Terabithia, about a girl who must save a magical make-believe world in order to save herself.

Things Finley Hart doesn’t want to talk about:
-Her parents, who are having problems. (But they pretend...READ MORE

Return to the Isle of the Lost Book Cover
Return to the Isle of the Lost (The Descendants Book 2)
by Melissa de la Cruz
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: May 24, 2016

The sequel to the #1 New York Times best seller The Isle of the Lost

 

Mal's an expert at intimidating her enemies, but she's broken the habit since leaving her villainous roots behind. So when she and her friends Evie, Carlos, and Jay all receive threatening messages demanding they return home, Mal...READ MORE

The Seventh Wish Book Cover
The Seventh Wish
by Kate Messner
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: June 7, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Charlie feels like she's always coming in last. From her Mom's new job to her sister's life away at college, everything else always seems to be more important than Charlie's upcoming dance competition or science project. Unsure of how to get her family's attention, Charlie comes across the surprise of...READ MORE

Ms Bixby's Last Day Book Cover
Ms. Bixby's Last Day
by John David Anderson
Audience: Grades 4 to 6,
Audience: Tweens
Published: June 12, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly Star Image School Library Journal

John David Anderson, author of Sidekicked and The Dungeoneers, returns with a funny, heartwarming, and heartbreaking contemporary story about three boys, one teacher, and a day none of them will ever forget.

Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard, the...READ MORE

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story Book Cover
Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story
by Nora Raleigh Baskin
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: June 28, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publisher's Weekly

From the critically acclaimed author of Anything But Typical comes a touching look at the days leading up to the tragic events of September 11, 2001, and how that day impacted the lives of four middle schoolers.

Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day—until a plane struck...READ MORE

Serafina and the Twisted Staff Book Cover
Serafina and the Twisted Staff (Serafina Book 2)
by Robert Beatty
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: July 12, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews  

Serafina's defeat of the Man in the Black Cloak has brought her out of the shadows and into the daylight realm of her home, Biltmore Estate. Every night she visits her mother in the forest, eager to learn the ways of the catamount. But Serafina finds herself caught between her...READ MORE

The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase Book Cover
The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase (Candymakers Book 2)
by Wendy Mass
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: August 2, 2016

The highly-anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling novel The Candymakers by beloved author Wendy Mass

 

It has been a few months since the nationwide New Candy Contest, and Logan, Miles, Philip, and Daisy have returned to their regular lives. But when the winning candy bar comes down the conveyor belt at...READ MORE

Maxi's Secrets Book Cover
Maxi's Secrets: (or what you can learn from a dog)
by Lynn Plourde
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: August 23, 2016

When a BIG, lovable, does-it-her-way dog wiggles her way into the heart of a loudmouth pipsqueak of a boy, wonderful things happen that help him become a bigger, better person. With its diverse cast, authentic narrator, and perfect blend of spot-on middle-grade humor, drama, and wisdom, this powerful debut is...READ MORE

Full of Beans Book Cover
Full of Beans
by Jennifer L. Holm
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: August 30, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star ImageHorn Book

Newbery Honor Book Turtle in Paradise is beloved by readers, and now they can return to this wonderful world through the eyes of Turtle’s cousin Beans.

 

Grown-ups lie. That’s one truth Beans knows for sure. He and his gang know how to spot a whopper a mile away,...READ MORE

Moo Book Cover
Moo
by Sharon Creech
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: August 30, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image School Library Journal

Fans of Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech’s Love That Dog and Hate That Cat will love her newest tween novel, Moo. This uplifting tale reminds us that if we’re open to new experiences, life is full of surprises. Following one family’s momentous move from the city to rural Maine, an unexpected bond develops between twelve-year-old...READ MORE

Wish Book Cover
Wish
by Barbara O'Connor
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: August 30, 2016

Eleven-year-old Charlie Reese has been making the same secret wish every day since fourth grade. She even has a list of all the ways there are to make the wish, such as cutting off the pointed end of a slice of pie and wishing on it as she takes the...READ MORE

The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade Book Cover
The Last Kids on Earth and the Zombie Parade
Approximate Reading Level: Grade 3
by Max Brallier
illustrated by Doug Holgate
Audience: Kindergarten to Grade 3 -- Early Readers,
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: September 6, 2016

A very funny post-apocalyptic graphic novel, now a New York Times bestseller!

"Terrifyingly fun! Delivers big thrills and even bigger laughs."--Jeff Kinney, author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Diary of a Wimpy Kid
 
The zombies are disappearing. This might seem like a good thing, since zombies eat your brains, but...READ MORE

The Poet's Dog Book Cover
The Poet's Dog
by Patricia MacLachlan
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: September 13, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly

From Newbery Medal winner Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about two children, a poet, and a dog and how they help one another survive loss and recapture love.

Teddy is a gifted dog. Raised in a cabin by a poet named Sylvan, he grew up listening to sonnets read...READ MORE

The Best Man Book Cover
The Best Man
by Richard Peck
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: September 20, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star ImageHorn Book

Newbery Medalist Richard Peck tells a story of small-town life, gay marriage, and everyday heroes in this novel for fans of Gary Schmidt and Jack Gantos

Archer Magill has spent a lively five years of grade school with one eye out in search of grown-up role models. Three of...READ MORE

Some Writer Book Cover
Some Writer!: The Story of E. B. White
by Melissa Sweet
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: October 4, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Horn Book Star Image Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

“SOME PIG,” Charlotte the spider’s praise for Wilbur, is just one fondly remembered snippet from E. B. White’s Charlotte’s Web. In Some Writer!, the two-time Caldecott Honor winner Melissa Sweet mixes White’s personal letters, photos, and family ephemera with her own exquisite artwork to tell his story, from his birth in 1899...READ MORE

When The Sea Turned to Silver Book Cover
When the Sea Turned to Silver
by Grace Lin
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: October 4, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star Image Publishers Weekly Star Image Horn Book

A breathtaking, full-color illustrated fantasy inspired by Chinese folklore, a companion to the Newbery Honor winner Where the Mountain Meets the Moon

 

Pinmei's gentle, loving grandmother always has the most exciting tales for her granddaughter and the other villagers. However, the peace is shattered one night when soldiers of the...READ MORE

Garvey's Choice Book Cover
Garvey's Choice
by Nikki Grimes
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: October 4, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews Star ImagePublishers Weekly

Garvey’s father has always wanted Garvey to be athletic, but Garvey is interested in astronomy, science fiction, reading—anything but sports. Feeling like a failure, he comforts himself with food. Garvey is kind, funny, smart, a loyal friend, and he is also overweight, teased by bullies, and lonely. When his only...READ MORE

Gertie's Leap to Greatness Book Cover
Gertie's Leap to Greatness
by Kate Beasley
illustrated by Jillian Tamaki
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: October 4, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Booklist

For fans of Three Times Lucky and The Penderwicks, this endearing new classic spins together sparkling humor, sizzle-pop writing, and a sassy main character with an unforgettable voice.

Gertie Reece Foy is 100% Not-From-Concentrate awesome. She has a daddy who works on an oil rig, a great-aunt who always finds the lowest prices...READ MORE

Like Magic
Like Magic
by Elaine Vickers
illustrated by Sara Not
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: October 18, 2016
Starred Reviews: Star Image Kirkus Reviews

This sweet middle grade novel featuring a diverse cast of characters proves that friendship can be just around the corner.

For three ten-year-old girls, their once simple worlds are starting to feel too big. Painfully shy Grace dreads starting fifth grade now that her best friend has moved away. Jada...READ MORE

Finding Perfect Book Cover
Finding Perfect
by Elly Swartz
Audience: Grades 4 to 6
Published: October 18, 2016

To twelve-year-old Molly Nathans, perfect is:

―The number four
―The tip of a newly sharpened No. 2 pencil
―A crisp white pad of paper 
―Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return...READ MORE

Comments

Hi Mother of 3! Ha! I feel ya. I can't seem to keep up with all the awesome books coming out, one after another. :D

Hi Dachelle! Hope you find some that work well for you and your little(ish) ones.

Hi Erin! Nice! Always fun to come across some promising new books. :)

I have a rising fourth grader, so these suggestions are super-applicable to me!

Hi Leslie! Nice! Glad you can share some ideas with your kiddo! :)

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Hi!  I'm Sarah.  I'm a former librarian and mother of three -- a teen daughter, a preschool-aged son, and a newborn boy.  We love to play outdoors... and read.  :)

This site is all about discovering great books to share with kids and teens. ...Read more

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