2017 Summer Free Choice Reading – grades 5 & 6
You can read other titles by a listed author, other volumes in a series, non-fiction about a topic that interests you, titles recommended by your parents, titles recommended by your local librarian, titles from the Readers' Advisory links on MS Library page...

Acampora, Paul. I Kill the Mockingbird.
Over summer break, Lucy, Elena, and Michael launch a campaign to make a beloved teacher's favorite book "go viral."

Anderson, John David. Ms. Bixby's Last Day.
Ms. Bixby is the sort of teacher who makes going to school worthwhile. When she is diagnosed with cancer, three boys decide to make sure her last day is perfect.

Angleberger, Tom. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.
Sixth-grader Tommy and his friends describe their interactions with a paper finger puppet of Yoda as they try to figure out whether or not the puppet can really predict the future.

Appelfed, Aharon. Adam and Thomas.
In the last months of World War II, two Jewish boys are taken from the Ghetto by their mothers to the forest of the Eastern Front and told to wait for their return. The boys forge a strong friendship, learning from one another and helping others escape through the woods. (Batchelder Honor Book)

Applegate, Katherine. Wishtree.
A talking tree who has seen it all over the centuries narrates this wise, entrancing story set in a neighborhood in which a Muslim family is made to feel unwelcome.

Barnhill, Kelly. The Girl Who Drank the Moon.
Saved by a witch as a baby, Luna is accidentally filled with extraordinarily powerful magic. (Newbery Medal Book)

Bartoletti, Susan Campbell. Terrible Typhoid Mary: A True Story of the Deadliest Cook in America.
Known as a carrier of the deadly typhoid fever, Mary Mallon was also a victim of civil rights violations and overly harsh treatment. Her nuanced biography reveals the true complexity of her infamous case.

Bell, Cece. El Deafo.
In this insightful and humorous graphic novel memoir, Cece Bell portrays growing up with a giant hearing aid strapped to her chest. Themes of navigating a new school, sleepovers, finding a true friend and a first crush make this book universal in appeal. Bell shows that our differences are gifts that "can be turned into something amazing."

Benjamin, Ali. The Thing about Jellyfish.
Twelve-year-old Suzy Swanson wades through her intense grief over the loss of her best friend by investigating the rare jellyfish she is convinced was responsible for her friend's death.

Black, Holly. Doll Bones.
In a distinctive coming-of-age tale, three friends set out on a life-altering quest driven by the presence of a sinister china doll that haunts their dreams and waking hours.

Bowman, Donna Janell. Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness.
Born a slave, William "Doc" Key, became a self-taught veterinarian. With much kindness, he raised a remarkable horse, named Jim Key, which he taught to answer questions, spell, and write.

Bradley, Kimberly Brubaker. The War that Saved My Life.
Bradley's powerful plot, remarkably drawn characters, and sparse language are outstanding components of this novel about courage, community, and conviction. (Newbery Honor Book)

Brown, Don and Mike Perfit. Older than Dirt: A Wild but True History of Earth.
Packed with 14 billion years of history, this slim and entertaining science comic explains the formation of our planet, from the big bang to the present day.

Brown, Peter. The Wild Robot.
An inquisitive and lonely robot mothers an orphaned gosling and befriends an island of animals in a story of survival, where nature and technology collide.

Burg, Ann E. Serafina's Promise: A Novel in Verse.
Set in Haiti and told in verse, 11-year-old Seraphina and her poor but loving family endure hunger, floods, and earthquakes while the determined girl never gives up her dreams of going to school and becoming a doctor.

Burns, Loree Griffin. The Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe.
After beekeepers discover the strange abandonment of hundreds of hives, scientists seek to understand this catastrophic phenomenon.

Calonita, Jen. Flunked.
When a thief gets sentenced to Fairy Tale Reform School, she gets more than she bargained for as a mystery develops.

Campbell, Sarah C. Growing Patterns: Fibonacci Numbers in Nature.
Crisp design and clear photography introduce and depict Fibonacci patterns in nature.

Carson, Mary Kay. The Bat Scientists.
Exceptional photography and clear text capture the lives of bats and explores the myths and threats to these amazing mammals.

Crump, Marty. The Mystery of Darwin's Frog.
The story of the frog that Charles Darwin had found in Chile. A journey of scientific investigation and discovery.

DeCristofano, Carolyn Cinami. A Black Hole is Not a Hole.
An introduction to black holes which describes, explains, excites, and sparks a sense of wonder.

DiCamillo, Kate. Raymie Nightingale.
DiCamillo's writing sparkles with humor and hope as new friends Raymie, Beverly, and Louisiana endeavor to find their places in the world.

Draper, Sharon M. Stella by Starlight.
In 1932 North Carolina, Stella feels the effects of a Klan cross burning, segregation, voter registration, and a major house fire in a story of change in a close-knit community.

Ehrlich, Esther. Nest.
On Cape Cod in 1972, eleven-year-old Naomi, known as Chirp for her love of birds, gets help from neighbor Joey as she struggles to cope with her mother's multiple sclerosis and its effect on her father and sister.

Ellis, Deborah. No Ordinary Day.
Valli, a resourceful homeless nine-year-old, learns she has leprosy. An encounter with a kind doctor gives her the chance to heal and find a home. Illuminates harsh realities in contemporary India.

Erdrich, Louise. The Birchbark House.
Omakayas, a young Ojibwa girl living near Lake Superior in the mid-1800s, cares for her baby brother and experiences the growing settlement of white people on her family's land.

Erskine, Kathryn. Mockingbird.
10-year-old Caitlin, who struggles with Asperger's Syndrome, seeks closure following the murder of her brother.

Foxlee, Karen. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy.
Inside her father's museum, Ophelia embarks on a journey to help a boy she found locked in a room by the evil Snow Queen.

Gantos, Jack. Dead End in Norvelt.
An achingly funny romp through a dying New Deal town. While mopping up epic nosebleeds, Jack narrates this screw-ball mystery in an endearing and believable voice. (2012 Newbery Medal Book)

George, Jessica Day. Tuesdays at the Castle.
On Tuesdays, Castle Glower takes on a life of its own, magically rearranging itself. When the castle is ambushed, it's up to Princess Celie to save the day.

Gidwitz, Adam. A Tale Dark and Grimm.
These six retellings tweak the classic fairy tale as Hansel and Gretel embark on an epic journey of self-discovery.

Grabenstein, Chris. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library.
After notorious gamemaker Luigi Lemoncello designs the town library, Kyle and 11 kids are locked inside overnight and won’t be free until they solve a series of puzzles based on famous books. Quirky and fun.

Graff, Lisa. Absolutely Almost.
Albie has never been the smartest kid in his class. He has never been the tallest. Or the best at gym. Or the greatest artist. Or the most musical. In fact, Albie has a long list of the things he's not very good at. But then Albie gets a new babysitter, Calista, who helps him figure out all of the things he is good at and how he can take pride in himself.

Greenberg, Jan and Jordan, Sandra. The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius.
This fascinating account of the life and work of eccentric and inventive ceramic artist George E. Ohr is enhanced by photographs and information about where to see his art today.

Greenfield, Eloise. The Great Migration: Journey to the North.
Muted mixed media illustrations set the tone for somber yet hopeful free verse honoring the author’s family as they journeyed north from the Jim Crow South. A haunting view of a pivotal moment in U.S. history.

Grimes, Nikki. Words with Wings.
Gabriella journeys from daydreamer to writer thanks to the intervention of an empathetic teacher. An engaging novel told in verse.

Hale, Shannon and Dean Hale. Rapunzel’s Revenge.
In a vibrantly illustrated graphic novel set in a make-believe frontier land, an untraditional Rapunzel escapes the tower, uses her long braids as weapons, and takes revenge on the wicked Mother Gothel.

Hatke, Ben. Zita the Spacegirl.
When a little red button crashes to earth any self-respecting graphic novel character would push it. When Joseph is whisked through an inter-dimensional portal to an alien planet, Zita follows to rescue him.

Hilton, Marilyn. Full Cicada Moon.
Set against the backdrop of the first lunar landing, this free verse novel features Mimi Oliver, a half Japanese, half African American girl who learns about fitting in and standing up for what's right.

Holm, Jennifer L. The Fourteenth Goldfish.
Ellie's scientist grandfather makes his greatest discovery when he reverses aging, but he has to live with the consequences of the effects on 13-year-old Ellie and her mother.

Holm, Jennifer L. Turtle in Paradise.
Sassy 11-year-old Turtle finds her life turned on end when she is sent to live with her aunt in Depression-era Key West. (Newbery Honor Book)

Hopkinson, Deborah. Titanic: Voices from the Disaster.
This story of the ill-fated ship is told in compelling detail, offering a gripping account through the voices of survivors. (2013 Sibert Honor Book, YALSA Finalist for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults)

Hunt, Lynda Mullaly. Fish in a Tree.
With the help of an insightful teacher and quirky friends, Ally discovers how smart she really is in spite of being identified as dyslexic.

Jamieson, Victoria. All's Faire in Middle School.
Witness Imogene's growth and pride in her family and in herself as she quests for connection and identity in this graphic novel.

Jenkins, Steve. The Beetle Book.
With jewel-like collage art, this over-sized edition examines different beetle species and their distinctive characteristics.

Jinks, Catherine. How to Catch a Bogle.
In rough Victorian England, 10-year-old Birdie proudly works as an apprentice to a bogler, luring out the scary monsters that are eating children. Fast-paced, lots of historical detail, and starring a resourceful young heroine.

Johnson, Jaleigh. The Mark of the Dragonfly.
When plucky machinist Piper rescues Anna after a meteor shower, both girls stow away on an armored train to escape the man chasing them.

Johnson, Rebecca L. Zombie Makers: True Stories of Nature's Undead.
Illustrated with amazing photographs, this shivery introduction to some of the fungi, parasites and viruses that invade bugs, mammals and sometimes humans, examines how they control the hosts' behavior to ensure their own survival.

Johnson, Varian. The Great Greene Heist.
Jackson Greene vowed never to get involved in another middle-school con, but he is put to the test when the girl of his dreams runs for class president.

Jones, Kelly. Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer.
Told primarily in letters, a series of humorous events kicks off when Sophie discovers chickens with astonishing abilities after her family inherits her great uncle's farm.

Joseph, Lynn. The Color of My Words.
Set in the Dominican Republic, Ana Rosa discovers the power of the written word. This is a novel of loss and triumph.

Jung, Mike. Unidentified Suburban Object.
When a new Korean American teacher comes to town, Chloe finally gets the opportunity to explore her family history with very surprising results.

Kadohata, Cynthia. Half a World Away.
Eleven-year-old Jaden considers himself an epic fail because his adoptive parents are traveling to Kazakhstan to adopt a new baby, which he thinks is his replacement.

Kelly, Erin Entrada. Hello, Universe.
In this story told from various viewpoints, including a bully, a deaf girl, a fortune-teller, and more, a rescue is performed, revealing bravery in the midst of fear. (Newbery Medal Book)

Kelly, Jacqueline. The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate.
Eleven-year-old Calpurnia Virginia Tate and her curmudgeony old grandfather bond over their interest in the evolution of the species on a Texas plantation at the turn of the last century.

Kent, Trilby. Stones for My Father.
In evocative prose, Kent creates a compelling survival story of young Corlie Roux, a Boer girl in South Africa during the Anglo-Boer War at the turn of the last century.

Khan, Hena. Amina’s Voice.
A Pakistani American Muslim middle-school girl attempts to blend her family’s traditions and her experience in school to be accepted.

Knisley, Lucy. Relish: My Life in the Kitchen.
The daughter of a chef and a gourmet, in this Technicolor love letter to cooking and eating, Knisley presents her personal history as seen through a kaleidoscope of delicious things.

Krishnaswami, Uma. The Grand Plan to Fix Everything.
Bollywood fan Dini is moving to India. Will she get a chance to meet her favorite movie star?

Law, Ingrid. Savvy.
This rich first-person narrative draws readers into a wild bus ride, winding through the countryside on a journey of self-discovery for Mibs Beaumont and her companions.

Lin, Grace. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon.
Minli and a dragon begin a quest to find the Old Man on the Moon, who may have answers to Minli's family's troubles.

Martin, Ann M. Rain Reign.
Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She's thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose's rules of homonyms, is very special. Not everyone understands Rose's obsessions, her rules, and the other things that make her different - not her teachers, not other kids, and not her single father. (ALA Notable Children's Book)

McDougall, Sophia. Mars Evacuees.
A war between Earth and aliens leads to the evacuation of children to Mars. When the grown-ups disappear, Alice, her friends, and a robot goldfish make a discovery that might just change everything.

McPherson, Stephanie Sammartino. Iceberg, Right Ahead!: The Tragedy of the Titanic.
Drawing from official documents, logs, and diaries and illustrated with plentiful photographs, this well-organized, gripping chronicle records the tragic story, from the original design and construction to the discovery of the ship's remains and motion picture recreations.

Montgomery, Sy. Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot.
This book documents the successes and failures of a rescue effort in New Zealand dedicated to saving a species of flightless parrots numbering fewer than 100. (Sibert Medal)

Mull, Brandon. Spirit Animals, Book One: Wild Born.
In Erdas, four children have four mighty spirit animals, but can these kids and their animals save their world?

Nannestad, Katrina. When Mischief Came to Town.
Recently orphaned, Inge Maria goes to live with her grandmother. Through her wild and spirited ways, Inge soon endears herself to the villagers, bringing joy to all.

Napoli, Donna Jo. Treasury of Greek Mythology: Class Stories of Gods, Goddesses, Heroes & Monsters.
From the chaos that spawned Gaia to the horrors of the Trojan War, this is the most comprehensive and lavishly illustrated compendium of Greek mythology since the D’Aulaires’ offering. Timeline, cast of characters, map appended.

Nielsen, Jennifer A. Mark of the Thief.
Nic, a slave in the mines of ancient Rome, escapes after discovering a magical amulet.

O'Connell, Caitlin and Donna M. Jackson. The Elephant Scientist.
Power-packed photos and prose transport readers to the dusty world of African elephants and a woman who studies them. (2012 Sibert Honor Book)

Oppel, Kenneth. The Nest.
Steve is always anxious and his baby brother's health issues take it to another level. When he is approached by the Wasp Queen, who claims she can solve his worries, he learns agreeing with the wasps comes with a dangerous price. Haunting and eerie.

Patterson, James and Chris Tebetts. Middle School, the Worst Years of My Life.
Rafe's plan to break every rule in the school handbook is soon out of his control.

Pennypacker, Sara. Pax.
Readers join a stirring search for peace in this poignant tale of loss and reconciliation, told in the alternating views of a fox and his boy.

Perez, Celia C. The First Rule of Punk.
Malu and her “SuperMexican” mother move across the country, leaving behind the father who gets her punk identity. Through new friends and zines, she connects to her roots in an authentic way. (Belpré Author Honor Book)

Perkins, Lynne Rae. Nuts to You.
Two squirrels go very far indeed to save a friend who has been snatched up by a hawk.

Phelan, Matt. Bluffton: My Summer with Buster.
In this distinctively-visual, nostalgic graphic novel, Henry is resigned to spending a boring summer in Muskegon, Michigan, until young Buster Keaton arrives in town to spend the summer with his vaudeville troupe.

Philip, Aaron and Tonya Bolden. This Kid Can Fly: It's About Ability (Not Disability).
Meet a 14-year-old boy who regularly overcomes the challenges of cerebral palsy to make a creative, determined difference as a New York City artist.

Raczka, Bob. Lemonade, and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word.
Think of a word, then compose a poem using only the letters in that word. Amusing challenges for poet and reader alike, these poem-puzzles are illustrated with similarly playful brush-paintings.

Raczka, Bob. Wet Cement.
Children will enjoy the unusual format of the poems and their titles in this kid-friendly collection of concrete poetry.

Rappaport, Doreen. Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance during the Holocaust.
Faces draw us into history. Filled with abundant photographs and stirring personal accounts, this inspiring, well-researched history reveals and recognizes courageous Jews and righteous Gentiles who fought back during the Holocaust.

Reynolds, Jason. Patina.
Patty’s triad of home, track, and school lives forces her to become reliant on others while altering her self-confidence and core values.

Rhodes, Jewell Parker. Towers Falling.
While learning about September 11, fifth grader Deja (born after the attacks) realizes how much the events still color her world.

Richardson, Gillian. 10 Plants that Shook the World.
Describes ten plants that caused profound changes in the world, both good and bad.

Rockliff, Mara. Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France.
Follow along as Ben Franklin applies the scientific method to a new mysterious phenomenon which Dr. Mesmer has been spreading across France. A whimsical look at science and history.

Rose, Caroline Starr. May B.
In this verse novel, dyslexic May B. is sent to help a couple in a soddy on the Kansas plains. Suddenly, May B. must fend for herself as winter approaches.

Rundell, Katherine. Rooftoppers.
In a tale that soars with hope and humanity, Sophie has fled Victorian London to go mother-hunting in Paris. Bounding above the streets, a pack of homeless young “rooftoppers” assist in her search. Lyrical and poetic.

Rusch, Elizabeth. Eruption!: Volcanoes and the Science of Saving Lives.
Compelling writing and informative photographs and maps explore the inner workings of volcanoes and highlights the work of a group of scientists dedicated to preventing the human tragedy caused by eruptions around the world.

Rusch, Elizabeth. The Mighty Mars Rovers: The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity.
Follows the creation and launch of the first two Mars rovers in 2004, their explorations of the Red Planet for the following six years, and the challenges that faced the scientists who built and guided them.

Ryan, Pam Munoz. Echo.
In an epic novel, three children find their lives changed through a magic harmonica and their own self-resilience. (Newbery Honor Book)

Sachar, Louis. Fuzzy Mud.
Taking a shortcut through the off-limits woods to avoid a bully, Tamaya and Marshall encounter fuzzy-looking mud that unleashes a medical and environmental disaster.

Sands, Kevin. The Blackthorn Key.
In 1665 London, Christopher, an apothecary's apprentice, and his best friend Tom attempt to uncover the truth behind a mysterious cult. They follow a trail of puzzles, codes, pranks, and danger toward a powerful secret.

Say, Allen. Drawing from Memory.
Say, an esteemed children's book creator, engagingly relays his early training, including the influences of his family and his artistic sensi. (2012 Sibert Honor Book)

Schlitz, Laura Amy. Splendors and Glooms.
Lizzie Rose, Parsefall, and Clara are caught in the clutches of a wicked puppeteer and a powerful witch set in Dickensian England.
(2013 Newbery Honor Book)

Schulz, Heidi. Hook's Revenge.
Captain Hook's daughter sets out to avenge her father's death by slaying the crocodile.

Scott, Elaine. Space, Stars, and the Beginning of Time: What the Hubble Telescope Saw.
An intriguing look at the creation and scientific revelations of the Hubble telescope. Complex science, clearly explained and beautifully illustrated with Hubble images.

Selznick, Brian. Wonderstruck.
Two parallel stories set 50 years apart converge in this textual and visual story of adventurous Ben and Rose as it explores topics of deafness, silence, wolves, and museums.

Senzai, H.N. Ticket to India.
A train trip to India takes an unexpected turn when two sisters are separated. With her big sister gone, 12-year-old Maya must team with an orphan named Jai to retrieve the treasures abandoned by her grandmother's family during the Great Partition.

Shurtliff, Liesl. Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin.
12-year-old Rump goes on a quest to discover his true identity and to break a magical curse in this humorous take on the classic fairy tale.

Shusterman, Neal and Eric Elfman. Tesla's Attic.
When Nick holds a yard sale to get rid of the junk in the attic of his new home, he realizes too late that all the objects have mysterious powers and he needs to get them back.

Singer, Marilyn. Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse.
Read these poems both forwards and backwards for a wild new spin on your favorite fairy tale characters.

Sloan, Holly Goldberg. Counting by 7s.
12-year-old genius and outsider, Willow Chance, must figure out how to connect with other people and find a surrogate family.

Sonnichsen, A.L.
Kara and her American mother are different from everyone they know in their Chinese neighborhood. When a medical emergency forces them into the mire of Chinese bureaucracy, Kara's future becomes desperate and unpredictable.

St. Antoine, Sara. Three Bird Summer.
An introspective boy and an adventurous girl uncover a poignant family mystery during a summer on the shores of Three Bird Lake.

Stead, Rebecca. Liar & Spy.
Story with unlikely friendships and secrets explores what is real and what is deception.

Stevens, Robin. Murder is Bad Manners.
Hazel Wong and her best friend Daisy Wells form a secret detective agency at their boarding school. They open their first big case when their teacher, Miss Bell, turns up dead.

Stewart, Trenton Lee. The Mysterious Benedict Society.
After passing a series of mind-bending tests, four children are selected for a secret mission that requires them to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules.

Stroud, Jonathan. The Screaming Staircase.
In a London overrun by ghosts, Lucy works with the ghost-hunting agency Lockwood & Co. to combat hauntings.

Swaby, Rachel. Trailblazers: 33 Women in Science Who Changed the World.
Women were and continue to be important STEM thinkers in our society.

Swanson, Jennifer. Super Gear: Nanotechnology and Sports Team Up.
Innovative improvements through nanotechnology demonstrate progressively better solutions, changing the world of sports.

Telgemeier, Raina. Smile.
Through artwork showing the details, the reader shares Raina's pain as the angst of middle school is exacerbated by her disfiguring dental mishap.

Thomson, Ruth. Terezin: Voices from the Holocaust.
Secret diary entries, excerpts from memoirs, and inmate artwork illuminate the dark story of the Nazi transit camp Terezin.

Thor, Annika. A Faraway Island.
Two Jewish sisters from Vienna, Austria, are sent by their parents to Sweden to escape the Nazis.

Thornhill, Jan. The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk.
Great Auks, flightless birds resembling penguins, were prolific in the icy waters of the northern Atlantic until human hunters, egg collectors, and climate change led to their extinction.

Tonatiuh, Duncan. Funny Bones: Posada and his Day of the Dead Calaveras.
In this book about artist Jose Guadalupe Posada, Tonatiuh juxtaposes his own artwork with Posada's iconic Dia de Muertos illustration and life, telling the story of a remarkable man and time in Mexican history. (Sibert Medal Book & Belpre Illustrator Honor Book)

Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection. Edited by Matt Dembicki.
This collaborative effort by more than 40 writers and artists presents 21 Native American trickster tales in graphic novel format.

Turnage, Sheila. Three Times Lucky.
Rising sixth-grader Mo LoBeau leads eccentric residents of Tupelo Landing, North Carolina, on a rollicking journey of mystery and adventure as she investigates a murder and searches for her long-lost mother. (2013 Newbery Honor Book)

Turner, Pamela S. The Dolphins of Shark Bay.
Learn why dolphins are so smart.

Williams-Garcia, Rita. Gone Crazy in Alabama.
Sisters Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern travel to rural Alabama to visit Big Ma during the summer of 1969, where they find out about southern culture, animal rights, and the strength of their family, both past and present.

Wolitzer, Meg. The Fingertips of Duncan Dorfman.
Three 12-year-olds from different parts of the country participate in the national Youth Scrabble Tournament in Florida. Their discoveries about themselves, their friends and families turn out to be more important than winning in this perceptive story.

Woods, Brenda. The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond.
Violet is smart and funny, and isn't afraid to speak her mind - except when it comes to how she feels about being biracial. She decides it's time to learn about her African American heritage.

American Library Association. Children’s Notable Lists.