Grades 4 to 6 June 2016 Picks
Best Books for 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade June Picks


In this month’s picks for great books for fourth grade, fifth grade, and sixth grade, I was struck by the abundance of books for boys.  That is, books with boy protagonists, several of them written by men.  (And yet, girls will most certainly enjoy the books just as much as boys.)  I thought this might be worth noting though, because the opposite is more often true.  There are a greater number of books written by women with girls as main characters.  It's nice, in a way, to see the balance shift a bit this time around.  

This month, I’m especially looking forward to reading The Wolf’s Boy and The Haunting of Falcon House.  The setting and premise for both books provokes the imagination and sparkles with the promise of originality.

The Wolf’s Boy takes place in prehistoric times.  A boy who is born with a deformed foot is thought to be bad luck for the tribe and is abandoned by his parents outside a wolf’s den.  It is assumed that he won’t survive, but instead, the mother wolf takes the boy in.  The boy’s human mother comes to reclaim him eventually, but the boy still maintains an attachment to his wolf family.  Later, the boy takes in an orphan wolf and they bond deeply as time goes by.  After a tragic situation, the boy and his wolf must strike out on their own.  The survival element of this story, the close relationship between the boy and his wolf, and the reported deftness with which the story is told are as intriguing to me as this book's unique setting.


The Haunting of Falcon House takes place in a derelict mansion.  Lev Lvov is summoned to the massive Falcon House by his aunt, who encourages him to begin assuming his aristocratic responsibilities.  It is apparent from the very start that things in the household aren't quite right.  The ghost story’s mood is enhanced by the narrator’s tale.  The narrator had apparently found Lev's manuscript and drawings as a child.  The drawings, smudged and disheveled hold the secrets to Lev’s story.  The narrator explains that as he does his best to translate the documents, he can sense Lev’s chilly presence guiding his fingers as he types.  This book has all the right ingredients for a delicious, creepy ghost tale.  Perfect for summer.

Worms for breakfast also sounds like a good time.  While not the stuff of a scientific report, the book is apparently full of interesting facts about what zoo animals eat, including plenty of gross-out material in the form of recipes full of bugs and more.  It's a bit of a science lesson, but a light one.  Nice for whetting the appetite, so to speak, for deeper study, or possibly just to enhance a trip to the zoo.

 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. 

The Wolf's Boy Book Cover
The Wolf's Boy
by Susan Williams Beckhorn
published June 7, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

An outcast boy and a young wolf against an Ice Age winter . . . 

Kai burns to become a hunter and to earn a rightful place among his people. But that can never be. He was born with a clubfoot. It is forbidden for him to use or...READ MORE

The Seventh Wish Book Cover
The Seventh Wish
by Kate Messner
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
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

The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez
The Midnight War of Mateo Martinez
by Robin Yardi
published March 1, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Life is confusing for Mateo Martinez. He and Johnny Ramirez don't hang out anymore, even though they used to be best friends. He and his new friend Ashwin try to act like brave, old-time knights, but it only gets them in trouble. And last night, two skunks stole Mateo's old...READ MORE

Tru & Nelle
by G. Neri
published March 1, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Long before they became famous writers, Truman Capote (In Cold Blood) and Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird) were childhood friends in Monroeville, Alabama. This fictionalized account of their time together opens at the beginning of the Great Depression, when Tru is seven and Nelle is six. They love playing...READ MORE

Beetle Boy Book Cover
Beetle Boy
by M.G. Leonard
published February 23, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Publisher's Weekly  

Darkus Cuttle's dad mysteriously goes missing from his job as Director of Science at the Natural History Museum. Vanished without a trace! From a locked room! So Darkus moves in with his eccentric Uncle Max and next door to Humphrey and Pickering, two lunatic cousins with an enormous beetle infestation....READ MORE

The Haunting of Falcon House Book Cover
The Haunting of Falcon House
by Eugene Yelchin
published June 14, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist Star Image Kirkus Reviews

A long undisturbed bedroom. A startling likeness. A mysterious friend.

When twelve-year-old Prince Lev Lvov goes to live with his aunt at Falcon House, he takes his rightful place as heir to the Lvov family estate. Prince Lev dreams of becoming a hero of Russia like his great ancestors. But...READ MORE

The Kidnap Plot Book Cover
The Kidnap Plot (The Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie)
by Dave Butler
published June 14, 2016

Meet Charlie. He lives a quiet life with his protective father, an inventor and clockmaker.
When Charlie’s father is suddenly and mysteriously kidnapped by a shadowy group called the Anti-Human League, it’s up to Charlie to save him. Before long, he has assembled a motley crew to help. From...READ MORE

Worms for Breakfast Book Cover
Worms for Breakfast: How to Feed a Zoo
by Helaine Becker
illustrated by Kathy Boake
published April 12, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews  

Feeding time is one of the most popular events at zoos. It also prompts a smorgasbord of questions: what do different animals eat? How much food do they need to stay healthy? Where do zookeepers get all that chow? And what constitutes a special treat?

Worms for Breakfast answers all...READ MORE

Alamo All Stars Book Cover
Alamo All-Stars (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #6)
by Nathan Hale
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

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Hello there!

Hi!  I'm Sarah.  I'm a former librarian and mother of two -- a teen daughter and a preschooler son.  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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