Suggested Reading List


Plan to read at least 1 book from each of the 4 categories sometime during the course, plus at least one of the 5 Newbery-award winning books annotated on the following page.


Science Fiction/Fantasy


20,000 Leagues Under the Sea – C, SF

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – C, F

Charlotte’s Web – C, NH, TA

Coraline – F

The Ear, The Eye, and the Arm –SF, NH

Ella Enchanted – F, NH

Ender’s Game – C, SF, YA

Feed by M.T. Anderson, YA, SF

The Giver – N, SF

Green Book – C, SF

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone –F

House of the Scorpion – SF, NH, P

Skellig – F

Tale of Despereaux – N, F

Tuck Everlasting – F

Wind in the Willows – C, F (younger)

Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom          Planet – C, SF (younger)

Wrinkle in Time – N, SF


Historical Fiction/Realism


Beduins’ Gazelle

Before We Were Free -- B, (YA)

Birchbark House (Native American)

Bud, Not Buddy -- N, K

Crispin: The Cross of Lead -- N

Dateline Troy

Esperanza Rising – B

Grab Hands and Run

Jip: His Story

Little House in the Big Woods – C

Little Women –C

Maus (graphic novel)

Midwife’s Apprentice – N

Morning Girl (Native American, shorter)

Nightjohn (shorter)

Number the Stars – N

Out of the Dust (poetry) -- N

Parvana’s Journey or the Breadwinner

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – N

Secret Garden – C

Shabanu – NH

Single Shard -- N (Korea)

Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963  K, NH


Contemporary Realism


Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart (short)

Because of Winn Dixie—NH

Eagle Song (short, younger, Native Am.)

First Part Last –YA, P


Hoot -- NH

Hundred Dresses – C, NH

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

Keesha’s House – YA, PH (poetry)

Love That Dog – (short, poetry)

Missing May – N

Mouse Rap (African American)

Pictures of Hollis Woods -- NH

Possibles  (ABQ author, African Am)

Rain Is Not My Indian Name (YA)

The Friends (Japan) –Ba

Walk Two Moons –N

What Jamie Saw – NH

Year of Miss Agnes




Bad Boy (Walter Dean Myers)

Blind Boone (ABQ Author)

Boy (Roald Dahl) -- C

Breaking Through or The Circuit (Jimenez)         BH (cataloged as fiction)

Brooklyn Bridge by Lynn Curlee SH

But I’ll Be Back Again (Cynthia Rylant)

Eleanor Roosevelt (Freedman) NH

Harvesting Hope (Caesar Chavez) (pic) BH

Hole in My Life (Jack Gantos) –YA

Leon’s Story (Leon Walter Tillage)

Lincoln: A Photobiography – N

No Pretty Pictures (Anita Lobel)

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes

So, You Want to Be President? (pic b)

Strange Mr. Satie (pic b)

Surviving Hitler SH

Talking about Bessie (poetry) KH

The Year I Got Polio (Peg Kehret)

Tree of Life (Darwin) (pic book)

Upon the Head of the Goat NH

When Marian Sang (pic book)


Five Newbery Titles

(suitable for children in grades 4-5 +)

Please read one of these, plus 1 book from the fantasy/science fiction category before the first week of class.

Take notes on your response to these books as you read:  What  questions do you have, what holds your interest, what do you think is going to happen?


Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark


Written by a native New Mexican author, this book is best-known for having won Newbery medal over the now classic Charlotte’s Web.


Few people read this book today, yet it has much to offer, especially from a historical and multi-cultural perspective. This story of a young Inca boy in the Andes of Peru who is seeking to find the truth of his identity and the secret of his people that lies hidden in the mountains, may seem to move slowly at first, but slow down and open yourself to the beauty of the language and the mind-set of a very different culture. Listen to some Andean flute music as you read, and look at nonfiction books about Machu Picchu, and you will see the actual places described.  You will experience something wonderful.



Bridge to Terabithia  by Katherine Paterson


This classic story of an unlikely friendship between a country boy and an unusual city girl, and the magical place they create for themselves, is beautifully and powerfully written by one of our greatest writers for youth.  There are hard questions here, with no easy answers.



The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin


If you love mystery stories, this book is for you. The story is set in Chicago, with a  huge cast of characters that may be difficult to keep track of in the beginning – making a list can be helpful. Be patient while they are all introduced. You will gradually learn how all of these lives are connected.  Maybe you will be able to solve the mystery before the end – an ending that certainly surprised me and left me in sad/happy tears, making this special book more than just a routine mystery story..




Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli


Maniac Magee is a larger than life hero, a kid who is allergic to pizza, who lives on his own, and crosses boundaries of class and race in his struggle to survive.

He’s a kid who will change the lives of all who meet him – and he might change your life, too.




Holes by Louis Sachar


Stanley Yelnats (notice anything odd about that name?) gets sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile detention center.

The lake had dried up long ago in the hot Texas sun, but Stanley, and the other kids at the camp are sent out onto the dry lake bed every day to dig holes, five feet in diameter and five feet deep.  Someone (the warden who paints her fingernails red with polish made of rattlesnake venom?) is looking for something, but what?