See ALL my book recommendations for 10 year olds here.
Printable list here.
Book Series for 5th Graders (10-Year-Olds)
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
FANTASY / ADVENTURE
I stayed up all night to finish this book –it was fantastic! Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. And Sophie has a secret—she’s a Telepath, not a human. She must leave the human world for the Elvin world where she’ll face danger from both worlds. Her only hope is to regain the memories of her past.
The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger’s Apprentice book 1 by John A. Flanagan
Will is apprenticed to become a Ranger, a job he’s unsure about. But as he develops a relationship with his master and learns what being a Ranger is all about (spying for the kingdom), he begins to embrace his new life. When an old enemy of the kingdom sends out dangerous beasts to attack Will’s master, Will is instrumental in getting help and killing the creatures. Action, fantasy, adventure, friendship, excellent writing — this book has it all! It’s a must-read, especially for boys. BOX SET
All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
I think you already know about these amazing books but if you don’t, they’re absolutely engaging fantasy adventures that will hook your kids into reading, especially The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Kyle and a few classmates win a sleepover at the new town newly created library by game-creator Mr. Lemoncello. The silly Mr. Lemoncello devises a fun way to get OUT of the library — you can only get out if you solve the puzzles around the entire library. Will the kids work together or will it be every child for himself? Kids can’t put this literary adventure book down, nor it’s the subsequent books in the series.
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Ada and her brother escape their mother’s abuse when the London children are evacuated during WWII and go to live with a grieving woman in a small country town. It’s difficult for both the woman and children to trust but slowly the trust grows and all three regain something lost – hope and love. “I slipped my hand into hers. A strange and unfamiliar feeling rand through me. It felt like the ocean, like sunlight, like horses. Like love. I searched my mind and found the name for it. Joy.” I can’t recommend this book and it’s recent sequel enough, it just touched my heart at such a deep level. The sequel, The War I Finally Won, is just as incredible.
Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
HUMOR / MAGICAL REALISM
A funny but poignant story of middle-school angst and discovery! Unpopular Dwight can make origami Star Wars characters. When his puppet of Yoda comes to life, just like Yoda, the origami Yoda is wise and helpful during the many trials of 6th grade.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle
A Wrinkle in Time is a remarkable, well-written adventure in space that deals with the overarching theme of good vs. evil. Meg and her brother, Charles Wallace, and friend, Calvin, set off to find her scientist father who disappeared while researching tesseracts. I’ve read this book so many times, I can’t count and every time it’s just as fantastic. Box set here.
Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman
Aidan and Meg Falconer are their parents’ only hope. The Falconer parents are facing life in prison — unless Aidan and Meg can follow a trail of clues to prove their innocence. The problem? Right now they’re trapped in a juvenile detention center. They escape to find themselves on the run, both from the authorities and from a sinister attacker who has his own reason to stop them. The Falconers must use their wits to make it across the country … with plenty of tests along the way. This series is compelling, and its fast-paced adventure is perfect for reluctant readers.
Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, illustrated by Karl Kwasny
Charlie’s dad has remarried and moved Charlie and his younger brother into the stepmother’s frightening purple mansion. There, Charlie begins to have the most horrible nightmares — nightmares that blur the boundaries between reality and dream. When witches from the nightmare world steal Charlie’s brother, Charlie and his friends must face their fears in order to save both Charlie’s little brother and the entire awake world. Hard to put this story down — talk about enthralling.
The Doll People by Ann M. Martin and Laura Godwin, illustrated by Brian Selznick
After discovering her missing aunt’s diary, Annabelle Doll can’t stop wondering about what happened and is determined to find out — even at the risk of becoming “Permanent”. Will she leave the safety of her family’s dollhouse to find her aunt? Kids love this exciting adventure of the dolls in a dollhouse who are real and do come to life when we’re not watching. Box set here.
The Green Ember by S.D. Smith
ADVENTURE / FANTASY
Dead City by James Ponti
Molly’s recruited to hunt zombies in New York City, just like her mother, who is dead. Or is mom actually a zombie? Molly glimpses someone who looks just like her mother, only she’s a zombie. This is a great action-adventure-mystery book series for 5th graders.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwick family embarks on a summer vacation on the estate of Arundel. It’s a magical time of imaginative play, family time, and a new friend — Jeffrey, the son of the estate owner. I love the unique personalities of all the sisters, their adventures, and the nostalgic feel of the long summer days spent together in play.
Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp
FANTASY / HUMOR
I read many parts out loud to my kids while I was reading this book; they were just so funny!! Now my kids are addicted to this series, too. Quirky but lovable Ivy’s adventures involve a sinister ghost, a mystical jewel, and a surprising destiny.
Lost in the Pacific, 1942: Not a Drop to Drink by Tod Olson
Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
FANTASY / ADVENTURE
Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood
Miss Penelope Lumley is a new governess in charge of three children who were found living wild in the woods, now charges of the Ashton Place Lord and Lady. She’s directed to teach the children how to speak, not howl, learn Latin, poetry, and manners. It’s a difficult (and funny) task which she does with love all the while questioning the children’s previous life and how Lord Frederick really discovered them. I liked this book more than my kids.
Warriors by Erin Hunter
A house cat discovers wild cats who live in four clans near his house. He leaves his home to join the ThunderClan and becomes Firepaw, an apprentice warrior. Just in time, too. Because the ShadowClan wants to take their land. Firepaw will be needed to find the traitor and protect his new family. Excellent writing and adventure make this book series hard to put down. Boxed set here. (Also, there are about a million books in this series so if your kid likes this first book, they’ll have plenty more to read continuing on…)
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
We love this book (and the series) because it’s a unique story with memorable, wonderful characters. Miri and the other girls in her mountain village are ordered to attend a newly created school to learn enough to be considered wife material for the prince. But the prince, when he does appear, sees cold and unfriendly making Miri reconsider what she wants. Then, when bandits take over the school and hold the girls hostage, Miri finds her inner strength and clarity of purpose.
Bloom by Kenneth Oppel
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
We loved this so much we read it twice for a bedtime story! You’ll love the strong female main character, a princess named Cimorene who doesn’t want to live the typical princess life. She leaves her home to apprentice herself to a dragon. Just for fun. No prince rescuing involved, thank you very much. Then she must help save her dragon from a group of evil wizards. We LOVE and highly recommend this dragon series. BOX SET
Eddie Red Undercover Mystery in Mayan Mexico by Marcia Wells
Eddie, his best friend Jonah, and his parents are on vacation in Mexico. When Eddie’s dad becomes the primary suspect in the theft of a stolen Mayan mask, Eddie and Jonah decide to solve the mystery themselves. Only they don’t speak Spanish very well and there’s more to this mystery than just a stolen mask. You’ll love the Spanish words throughout, the well-paced action, and the characters.
Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
The best selling children’s book of all time, this is a MUST READ for so many reasons: the brilliant storytelling, a complex and entertaining plot, relatable characters, rich language, essential life lessons about friendship, magic, and bravery, and more. (See all my reasons for reading Harry Potter.) Harry Potter gets kids excited about reading; it’s compelling and amazing. I can’t say enough good things about it!!
The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald
It’s a club of three sisters; sisters who love the theater and each other in this tight-knit family with two working actor parents. Fun (and funny) to read, 5th graders will enjoy the siblings’ many ups and downs.
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibb
A Tale of Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
This book is bloody and macabre and an excellent, imaginative story that weaves Hansel and Gretel with eight more Grimm fairy tales. Hansel and Gretel abandon their terrible parents in order to find better ones –ones that won’t try to kill them. The narrator, a strong, quirky voice, warns us of the bloody things to come. While he’s sometimes distracting, for the most part, I liked how his snarky voice kept me from getting too freaked out by the gruesome parts. Once in the wild forest, Hansel transforms into a ravenous, hunter-beast and Gretel continues on her own. This book will make you want to reread your Complete Brother’s Grimm. (Just don’t read it right before bed.)
Girl’s Best Friend (A Maggie Brooklyn Mystery) by Leslie Margolis
Maggie loves walking dogs in her neighborhood (even though her parents don’t know) so when dogs go missing, she knows she must find the culprit. The clues lead her to suspect her friend and secret crush, Milo. Maggie’s determined to solve the case but what if she doesn’t like what she finds?
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
REALISTIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Raina shares her growing up stories with humor and amazing art in the books: Smile, Sisters, and Drama. My 10-year-old daughter read Sisters four times the first week she owned it – they’re excellent books and quite addictive. Boxed set here.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Like The Penderwicks, you’ll fall in love with this quirky, wonderful family from the first page. The Vanderbeekers’ landlord wants them out by the end of December but the Vanderbeeker kids are determined to change his mind, even though he hates noise, kids, and their family. But it’s almost Christmas and their efforts are only making things worse. What will they do? Charming and heart-warming.