Grades 4 to 6 May 2016 Picks
Best Books for Grades 4 to 6 May Picks


In this month’s picks for great new books for fourth grade, fifth grade, and sixth grade, there are friendship stories aplenty.  Save Me a Seat, Ollie’s Odyssey, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, and Slacker all place friendship as a central feature, yet in different ways.  The friendships in Slacker are more the everyday variety of companionship.  In Save Me a Seat, the friendships feel like the more all-important type of relationship.  The friendship in Ollie’s Odyssey is so powerful, it sets off an epic and perilous journey.

Save me a Seat is one of the books that I’m most excited to read this month.  The book is dual narrated, which usually just means that two characters speak in first person through alternating chapters.  In this case, the two voices actually come from the two different authors who wrote this book collaboratively.  One character, Ravi, has just moved to the US from India.  He has zeroed in on the popular Dillon, who is American born, but with Indian heritage.  Ravi is sure that Dillon will usher Ravi into life in the popular crowd, if he can only get Dillon to notice him.  American born and raised Joe, on the other hand, wants to stay under Dillon’s radar.  Joe’s seen Dillon’s charm turn sour in an instant.  The three worlds converge when they’re all placed in the same class.

I really like the idea that two authors have woven this tale together.  The authenticity of the characters voices and experience is also a draw.  It’s easy to place yourself in the characters shoes and feel that anxiety of being in a new school or feel that looming presence of a potentially threatening character.

Also on my need to read list is Fortune Falls.  The story takes place in a town where luck is real.  It’s not just a superstition.  Unfortunately, Sadie seems to be about as unlucky as they come.  Through a series of adventures, including a brush with a skeleton, Sadie begins to think that maybe she’s not so unlucky after all.

I’m also excited about Slacker and The Bolds.  Both of these books are prime picks for reluctant readers, and would click well with boys.  The Bolds features abundant humor, potty humor included.  Slacker would speak to the gamer who would prefer a life of video games, friends, aaannd that’s about it. wink

As always, please let me know what you and your kids are reading.  I love hearing about great books!

**This post was mentioned on Literacy Musing Mondays.


 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. 

Save Me a Seat
by Sarah Weeks,
by Gita Varadarajan
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
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

Isabel Feeney Star Reporter Book Cover
Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter
by Beth Fantaskey
published March 1, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist

It’s 1920s Chicago—the guns-and-gangster era of Al Capone—and it’s unusual for a girl to be selling the Tribune on the street corner. But ten-year-old Isabel Feeney is unusual . . . unusually obsessed with being a news reporter. She can’t believe her luck when she stumbles not only into a real-live murder...READ MORE

Ollie's Odyssey Book Cover
Ollie's Odyssey
by William Joyce
published April 12, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist  

From the creator of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore and The Guardians of Childhood comes an grand adventure of valor, friendship, and a look into the mysterious world of favorite toys.

In the secret realm of toys, there are many mysteries.

There is the Code of the Toys, which...READ MORE

The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island Book Cover
The Family Fletcher Takes Rock Island
by Dana Alison Levy
published May 10, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Kirkus Reviews

Love the TV show Modern Family? Wait until you meet the family Fletcher! With two dads, four adopted brothers, two cats, and one pug, the Fletchers will have you laughing out loud!  
Welcome to Rock Island, Where Time Stands Still!
The Fletchers are back on Rock Island,...READ MORE

The Last 5th Grade of Emerson Elementary Book Cover
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
by Laura Shovan
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.

Fortune Falls Book Cover
Fortune Falls
by Jenny Goebel
published January 5, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Booklist

Welcome to Fortune Falls, a magical town where superstitions are real. Four-leaf clovers really do bring good fortune, and owning a rabbit's foot is the secret to success.

However, there aren't enough charms in the universe to help Sadie Bleeker. She can't pass a ladder without walking under it, and...READ MORE

The Land of Forgotten Girls
The Land of Forgotten Girls
by Erin Entrada Kelly
published March 1, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image School Library Journal Star Image Booklist

Erin Entrada Kelly, the author of the acclaimed Blackbird Fly, writes with grace, imagination, and deepest heart about family, sisters, and friendship, and about finding and holding on to hope in difficult times.

Two sisters from the Philippines, abandoned by their father and living with their stepmother in Louisiana, fight to...READ MORE

The Bolds
by Julian Clary
illustrated by David Roberts
published March 1, 2016
Starred Reviews:
Star Image Kirkus Reviews  

The Bold family seems fairly normal: they live in a nice house, the parents have good jobs, and they all love to have fun. One slight difference: they're hyenas. That's right—they're covered in fur, have tails tucked into their clothes, and really, really like to laugh.

For years, the...READ MORE

Slacker Book Cover
by Gordon Korman
published April 26, 2016

Cameron Boxer is very happy to spend his life avoiding homework, hanging out with his friends, and gaming for hours in his basement. It's not too hard for him to get away with it . . . until he gets so caught up in one game that he almost lets...READ MORE


Nice! I think Fortune Falls looks wonderful too. I feel like the realistic fiction trend is sort of eclipsing some of the other genres. That's fine of course, but it makes me a little sad for this age group in particular. I remember the joy of losing myself in fantasy once I was an independent reader in elementary school. So, lucky for these kiddos (heh), fantasy books like Fortune Falls are still finding their way in children's literature.

Several of these sound like books my rising fourth grader would enjoy. Thanks for sharing at the #LMMLinkup.

Hi Leslie! Good to hear it! :D Summer's almost here, so it's a great time for reading for pleasure. :) And thank you for having me at the #LMMLinkup!

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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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