Sometimes kids that are in 5th grade need books that are easier but not babyish. They need high interest, lower comprehension books. This is an ongoing list of those books. They are around 3rd or 4th grade reading level but still will keep a 5th grader’s attention.
IF you want a list of even easier books, let me know in the comments so I can make that for you.
High Interest, Lower Comprehension Book List for 5th Graders (10-Year Olds)
The Books of Elsewhere: The Shadows by Jacqueline West FANTASY
My daughter introduced me to this awesome book series about a house that seems to be haunted; with paintings that lead to other worlds, and mysteriously cryptic, talking cats. Olive soon learns that the previous owners trapped many people in the paintings, including a boy Olive befriends who is now a 2D painting. The plot’s twistings kept me wondering what was happening, and I loved the main character’s gumption and her supportive side-kick cats.
Rapunzel’s Revenge by Shannon Hale & Dale Hale FAIRY TALE
One of my favorite books, not just graphic novels, EVER! This Rapunzel is set in the wild west — she uses her braids to lasso bad guys while searching for her mother with her sidekick Jack.
Narrated by one gorilla named Ivan, this powerful story will immediately grab your heart — it’s sad but keep reading, it’s an amazing story. Making it even more compelling, it’s a true story! Ivan is kept in a cage in a run-down mall for 27 years without seeing another gorilla, only the stray dog, Bob, who sleeps with him, Stella the Elephant, and Ruby, a newly purchased baby elephant. Before she dies, Stella begs Ivan to find Ruby a home with other elephants – and Ivan agrees, but it won’t be easy.
Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George FANTASY
Every Tuesday, the castle where Princess Celie and her family live, adds on a new room, or turret, or wing. Celie loves her castle, and it’s living ways. So, when robbers attack her parents carriage, and they are never seen again, Celie takes comfort that their room is exactly the same, hoping the castle knows they are still alive. But, can the castle and Celie stop the Royal Council and the foreign prince from taking over the kingdom? LOVE this series!
Liberty Porter, First Daughter by Julia DeVillers REALISTIC
This is a light-hearted series about a girl whose dad becomes the President. We follow along as she adjusts to living in the White House, having a bodyguard, and experiences being the First Daughter.
Unicorn on a Roll by Dana Simpson HUMOR
Remember the vain unicorn Marigold Heavenly Nostrils from the book, Phoebe and Her Unicorn? The two friends are back in this hilarious sequel with more funniness and fantastic growing-up poignant life lessons. My kids and I adore these characters and love this new book. It’s one we’ll read over and over again.
The Sasquatch Escape by Suzanne Selfors FANTASY
Ben doesn’t think his summer could be any more boring. Until the baby dragon. When Ben and Pearl Petal discover a veterinarian for imaginary creatures, instead of helping the dragon, they accidentally let a sasquatch escape. Big whoops. Now the pair must lure him back to the vets. (Easier said than done.) Lots of fun!
Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler FANTASY
For as long as she can remember, twelve-year-old Emily Windsnap has lived on a boat. And, oddly enough, for just as long, her mother has seemed anxious to keep her away from the water. But when Mom finally agrees to let her take swimming lessons, Emily makes a startling discovery – about her own identity, the mysterious father she’s never met, and the thrilling possibilities and perils shimmering deep below the water’s surface.
Big Nate Welcome to My World by Lincoln Peirce GRAPHIC NOVEL HUMOR
I think the Big Nate comics are even better than the novels — they are just so stinking funny! Lincoln Peirce “gets” kids and their struggles — the episodes will keep both you and your kids cracking up.
Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis HUMOR
Timmy is a clueless detective with a polar bear sidekick and his adventures will crack you up!
Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo MAGICAL REALISM
Quirky and delightful, this is the tale of a girl named Flora who rescues a squirrel and keeps it as a friend. Together they experience the world in a unique, funny, and wonderful way, and straighten it out, too — especially Flora’s mother.
Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman ADVENTURE
Aidan and Meg Falconer are their parents’ only hope. The Falconers 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. Until they escape one night — and find themselves on the run, both from the authorities and from a sinister attacker t 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 would be perfect for reluctant readers as the text is not too challenging.
The Sisters Club by Megan McDonald REALISTIC
Meet the Sisters Club: twelve-year-old Alex, aspiring actress and born drama queen; eight-year-old Joey, homework lover and pioneer wannabe; and smack in the middle, ten-year-old Stevie, the glue that holds them together — through dinner disasters, disputes over stolen lucky sweaters, and Alex’s going gaga over her leading man.
The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee (Origami Yoda #3) by Tom Angleberger HUMOR
I love this book – it’s a funny but poignant story of middle-school angst and discovery. If you haven’t read the first two, you can read this independently. You’ll need to know that Dwight can make origami Star Wars characters who have powers to give advice. In this story, it’s a Wookiee. A must-read for 9 year olds, especially boys.
Race the Wild series by Kristin Earhart ADVENTURE
Starting with #1 Rain Forest Relay and now with the latest, #4 Savanna Showdown, this adventure series is quick to read and constant action. Plus, each book is filled with interesting facts about the ecosystem the the creatures who live there. Savanna Showdown ends the reality adventure race with Team Red winning on the last leg in Africa.
Fable Comics edited by Chris Duffy MYTH / FABLE
My kids and I ADORE this book — as well as the series’ previously published books, Nursery Rhyme Comics and Fairy Tale Comics. We love that 17 different cartoonists created one or more of the 28 illustrated fables, sometimes retelling a traditional, often unknown fable, and sometimes retelling with their own twist. The neat thing about this diversity in cartoonists, is seeing what the artist envisions for the style and tone of the art for each story. (That concept could be an entire lesson in itself!) I highly recommend this book not just for all kids but for kids with short attention spans, or reluctant readers, since the stories are short and fairly different. It holds your attention and you can stop and start anywhere in the book.
The Genius Files Mission Unstoppable by Dan Gutman Realistic(ish) / Adventure
Coke and Pepsi McDonald didn’t want to jump off a cliff. They didn’t want to get hit by poisoned darts from blowguns either. And they certainly don’t want to get locked in their burning school, thrown into a pit at the top of a sand dune, or drowned in a vat of liquified SPAM. But what are you supposed to do when you’re being chased across the country by your insane health teacher and two guys in bowler hats who are trying to kill you? One thing’s for sure, it’ll be a snap for Coke and Pep to write their essays on “How I Spent My Summer Vacation.”
Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson ADVENTURE
I thought this was not just a great story but I loved that the main character (the ninja) was a girl! And it’s written in combo of text and comics.
The Curse of the Were-Hyena (A Monstertown Mystery) by Bruce Hale FANTASY
Your kids will love this new action-packed fantasy adventure series from the talented Bruce Hale. In this first book, that comes out in July 2016, Carlos and Benny notice strange behaviors from their favorite teacher. They’re convinced he is changing into a were-something-or-other. Using their comic book store owner friend, brains, and courage to save their teacher, they must must stop the original were-hyena from making more, before it’s too late. Absolutely fantastic and funny, this is a new must-read book.
Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka HUMOR
If you haven’t read these addictive and hilarious graphic novels, they are a must — anyone who has eaten lunch in school will appreciate the humor, even parents love these books.
Of Giants and Ice by Shelby Bach FANTASY
When Rory finds out that her new after school club, Ever After School, is a fairy tale training school for characters. In fact, her first day she fights a real dragon! We learn that all the kids will be assigned their own character in a familiar tale – and the chance to prove themselves. It’s also the beginning of acceptance for Rory – finding friends for the first time, and learning about herself. Love it. (First in a series.)
Mighty Jack by Ben Hatke FANTASY / FAIRY TALE
My 11-year old and I devoured this book by one of our favorite graphic novelists only to discover IT HAS A CLIFF-HANGER! (We only rage because we love.) While Jack’s single mom works, Jack takes care of his his little sister, Maddy. And like the other Jack, this Jack, at the prompting of his sister who doesn’t talk, also trades the family’s one valuable thing, his mom’s car, for seeds. It all goes downhill from there: The seeds turn in to a freaky, monster-growing garden which attack; their neighbor friend secretly steals some 0f the seeds; a dragon appears with a dire warning; and, Maddy is kidnapped by one of the monsters! Action, adventure, intrigue, . . . I almost forgive the cliff-hanger.
Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe’s Wiener Getaway by Max Brallier, illustrated by Rachel Maguire and Nichole Kelley HUMOR / SCI-FI
I resisted reading this for awhile but after seeing so many kids LOVING it, talk about high interest. Now I know what the fuss is all about — it’s got non-stop action and danger, potty humor, space adventures, zombie aliens, mutant worm wrestling, a misunderstood evil princess, good friends, video games, and a diabolical, hunting-them-down evil queen. Not to mention the loads of cartoon illustrations throughout and hilarious writing with a kazillion exclamation marks!!!! I see what kids are loving now — and recommend this book for a good lower comprehension story to read. (Book 2, The Weiner Strikes Back is also out now.)