2013 Summer Reading List for 5th Grade

Incoming Grade 5 Students

The One and Only Ivan  - Catherine Applegate.  Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.  Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line. Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.u>

The Chalk Box Kid - Clyde Robert Bulla.  As the story opens, Gregory's father has lost his factory job, and the family is moving to a smaller house in a poorer part of town. At first, Gregory feels lost. The kids at his new school don't readily accept him, he has to share a bedroom with his 22-year-old uncle, and the new house doesn't have a yard where he can play. Then Gregory discovers the chalk factory — an old, burnt-out building nearby. Gregory goes exploring, and as he does, he finds plenty of chalk in the debris.

The Paint Brush Kid - Clyde Robert Bulla. School's out and Gregory doesn't know what he's going to do with his summer vacation. During the school year he created a beautiful garden with his giant chalk drawings, and now he'd like to draw something even better. Gregory spends his days at his friend Uncle Poncho’s house, listening to him tell stories about his childhood. But Uncle Pancho is about to lose his house. Gregory comes up with the idea of painting scenes from Uncle Pancho's childhood onto his house in order to make it so beautiful; no one will want to tear it down.

Freckle Juice - Judy Blume. Poor Andrew wishes he had freckles like his classmate, Nicky. While sitting behind him one day, Andrew counts 68 of them, until he is "interrupted" by the teacher. Andrew figures that if he did have freckles, he'd live a much easier life, beginning with the fact that his mother would never know if he washed behind his neck. When he decides to chuck all embarrassment and ask Nicky how he got his freckles, he doesn't realize that Sharon, who's always bugging him, is standing nearby.

The Good Dog  - Avi. McKinley, a malamute, is torn between the domestic world of his human family and the wild world of Lupin, a wolf that is trying to recruit dogs to replenish the dwindling wolf pack.

Detective’s Duel - Jurgen Banscherus. Klooz is the best fifth-grade detective in town, right? Wrong! A kid named King shows up and starts stealing, and solving, all the local mystery cases. So the two boys challenge each other to a duel. Whoever solves the next case is the winner. The loser has to quit detective work for good!

Skinny Bones - Barbara Park. When sixth grader Alex Frankovitch boasts about his curve ball, he ends up humiliating himself in front of several classmates during a pitching contest with star pitcher T.J. Stoner. Will Alex ever be able to gain back his dignity?

Turtle in Paradise - Jennifer Holm. Life isn't like the movies, and eleven-year-old Turtle is no Shirley Temple. She's smart and tough and has seen enough of the world not to expect a Hollywood ending. After all, it's 1935, and jobs and money and sometimes even dreams are scarce. So when Turtle's mama gets a job housekeeping for a lady who doesn't like kids, Turtle says goodbye without a tear and heads off to Key West, Florida, to stay with relatives she's never met. Florida's like nothing Turtle has ever seen. It's hot and strange, full of wild green peeping out between houses, ragtag boy cousins, and secret treasure.

The Boy Who Saved Baseball - John Ritter.  Twelve-year-old Tom Gallagher loves baseball. He also loves the old ballpark in his hometown, which is about to be destroyed. Tom finds himself in a tight spot. The fate of Dillontown, his small California town, rests on the outcome of one baseball game, winner take all. Tom hopes to lead his team to victory with the secrets of the now disgraced player, Dante Del Gato. Maybe Tom has one hope: Cruz de la Cruz, the mysterious boy who just rode into town on horseback claiming to know the secret of hitting.

Loser - Jerry Spinelli ** Donald Zinkoff is a loser, but he doesn't know it. Even when his classmates discover it, Zinkoff is too busy experiencing life to listen to them.

Dexter the Tough - Margaret Peterson Haddix. It's only the first day of school for Dexter, but he's already mad at the principal, and the secretary, and the janitor, and the kids who laugh at him. When his teacher tells the class to write a story, Dexter writes about how tough he is -- and how he's already gotten into a fight. Is any of Dexter's story true? Why was the other boy crying before Dexter hit him? And why would the other boy still want to be Dexter's friend? Even Dexter doesn't know the answers to some of those questions. But as he deals with family problems, a persistent teacher, and a boy who's strangely interested in floor wax, he discovers many surprises hidden in his own tale.

The Cricket in Times Square - George Selden ** Chester, a musical cricket from rural Connecticut, finds himself transported (via a picnic basket) to the grit and grime of New York City. When Mario Bellini, a boy from the neighborhood, finds Chester, he raises the insect as his own. Chester soon meets Mario's animal friends, Tucker and Harry, and learns about life on the streets. And when Mario's parents are faced with the bankruptcy of their subway newsstand, the friends try to come up with a plan to save it from disaster.

Surviving the Applewhites, by Stephanie Tolan ** Word is Jack Semple was kicked out of every school in his home state. Now, the only place that will take him is the Creative Academy, a home school run by a chaotic, quarrelsome family named Applewhite. When Jake meets E.D. Applewhite, a scruffy girl longing for order, the only thing they have in common is the determination to survive the family's eccentricities. Jake thinks this will be a breeze. But is he really as tough or as bad as he seems?

A Week in the Woods - Andrew Clements. A Week in the Woods is a beloved tradition of Hardy Elementary, where Mark Chelmsley (the Fourth) is pretty much killing time before his parents send him off to an exclusive prep school. But then Mark realizes the week might be a chance to prove to Mr. Maxwell that he's not just another of the slacker rich kids the teacher can't stand. But it may be too late for Mark to change Mr. Maxwell's opinion of him. On the first day of the Week, the tension between teacher and student explodes, and in a reckless moment, Mark puts not only himself, but also Mr. Maxwell, in grave danger. Can two such strong adversaries work together to save their lives?

Sounder, - William Howard Armstrong ** Winner of the Newbery Medal and an acknowledged landmark in children's literature, Sounder traces the keen sorrow and abiding faith of a poor African-American boy in the 19th-century South. The boy's father is a sharecropper, struggling to feed his family in hard times. Night after night, he and his great coon dog, Sounder, return to the cabin empty-handed. Then, one day, he succeeds in bringing something home. Unfortunately, the joy is short-lived: an angry sheriff and his deputies come and take the boy's father away to jail for stealing a hog. Sounder, shot in the fracas, disappears.

The Higher Power of Lucky, - Susan Patron. Lucky, age ten, can't wait another day. The meanness gland in her heart and the crevices full of questions in her brain make running away from Hard Pan, California (population 43), the rock-bottom only choice she has. It's all Brigitte's fault -- for wanting to go back to France. Guardians are supposed to stay put and look after girls in their care! Instead Lucky is sure that she'll be abandoned to some orphanage in Los Angeles where her beloved dog, HMS Beagle, won't be allowed. She'll have to lose her friends Miles, who lives on cookies, and Lincoln, future U.S. president (maybe) and member of the International Guild of Knot Tyers. Just as bad, she'll have to give up eavesdropping on twelve-step anonymous programs where the interesting talk is all about Higher Powers. Lucky needs her own -- and quick. But she hadn't planned on a dust storm. Or needing to lug the world's heaviest survival-kit backpack into the desert.

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