33 Read Alouds for 5th Graders

This post may contain affiliate links.

Looking for a good book to read aloud to your fifth grade readers, ages 10 and 11? I have so many good read alouds for 5th graders to share with you!

These are fabulous middle grade books that will teach things like reading strategies, literary devices, character arcs, and more while being engaging stories!

Don’t forget that you can integrate 5th grade read alouds that are historical and realistic fiction when you study current events and history!

Get the 5th Grade Read Aloud List!

    This form collects information we will use to send you book lists and news. We will not share or sell your personal information. You can unsubscribe at any time.

    More Read Aloud Book Lists:

    6th Grade
    5th Grade
    4th Grade
    3rd Grade
    2nd Grade
    1st Grade

    Read Alouds for 5th Graders

    Realistic Read Alouds for 5th Graders

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade
    Out of My Mind
    by Sharon Draper
    Narrated by Melody, a girl with cerebral palsy who can’t verbally speak or take care of herself. No one except her parents thinks that she’s smart. But she is smart. And one day, she gets a chance to prove it with adaptive technology. Not only that, she qualifies to be on the school’s quiz team but the team isn’t as welcome as you might think. Heartbreaking. Real. Inspiring. Beautifully written.

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade
    Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
    by Dusti Bowling
    Aven Green is used to making up creative stories for why she doesn’t have any arms. Especially now in Arizona where her parents are the new managers a rundown theme park. She befriends a boy at school who, like her, feels different and isolated from the other kids. His name is Connor and he has Tourette Syndrome. Together, he, another new friend named Zion, and Aven investigate a mysterious storage shed at the theme park which leads them to Aven’s biological past. This story is about restorative friendship, facing your fears, and discovering your true potential. What’s more, the physical and mental diversity is shown with strength and compassion.

    100 Best Books for 6th Graders (Age 11 – 12) FRONT DESK

    Front Desk by Kelly Yang
    Mia and her parents have struggled ever since moving to America from China. When her parents take a new live-in job at a motel, they end up working around the clock for very little pay. Mia helps out by working at the front desk. She befriends the weekly tenants and uses her English skills to write letters advocating for other people in tough spots— like her uncle whose sweatshop boss has taken his passport and weekly, Hank, who needs a letter of recommendation to get a job. This book is more than a memorable coming-of-age immigrant story, it’s also about tolerance, determination, and diversity.

    Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes
    This book is brilliantly written for so many reasons. First of all, because it addresses the very real issue of police violence against black children but it does not vilify or stereotype. Second of all, the author shows us the complexity of issues and the humanity of a police officer from the perspective of his daughter. After Jerome is unjustly shot, he becomes a ghost. Sarah, the police officer’s daughter, is the only one who can see and talk to him except for the other ghost boys who were also killed in racially motivated violence. It’s a well-written, fast-paced read about important current issues.

    The Fire, The Water, and Maudie McGinn by Sally J. Pla
    Maudie is an autistic girl staying with her father for the summer, but a California fire forces them from their cabin. She and her dad head south to where her dad grew up. A friend sets them up in an old camper at a campground near the beach. While her dad looks for work, Maudie works up her courage to ask an older surfer woman for lessons. She spends the summer worrying about her big secret and learning to surf, hoping to win the beginning surfer competition at the end of the summer. Maudie makes a new friend who is friendly and neurodiverse like her. All of these things help her consider that she is more than what her mom and her abusive stepdad think of her. This is a moving coming of age story of a girl who learns to thrive instead of survive.

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade
    Harbor Me
    by Jacqueline Woodson
    Harbor Me tackles very big issues including race, immigration, bullying, learning differences, friendship, and forgiveness. The story is about six diverse children with learning differences. They bond during a special group, kids-only time on Friday afternoons where they share their stories, many of which Haley records on a tape recorder. Even as she learns the others’ stories, Haley is reluctant to share how her own dad is in jail for the car accident killing her mother. Eventually, she shares and it’s beautiful to see how the other kids support her.

    How to Stay Invisible by Maggie C. Rudd
    Raymond’s parents abandon him, so he takes his dog Rosie, and they camp in the woods behind his middle school. He survives on his own, foraging in dumpsters and fishing for food while attending school. When a playful coyote hurts Rosie, he meets an old man who helps them both. Raymond doesn’t want to tell anyone, including the old man or his two friends at school, what he’s surviving, but the truth comes out when another boy discovers his campsite, and a snake bite almost kills him. HOW TO STAY INVISIBLE is a powerful story of grit, survival, and longing for family. 

    MORE Realistic Read Alouds

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade
    Nowhere Boy
    by Katherine Marsh
    Marsh writes a stunning novel about two young boys from very different backgrounds — one is a refugee from Syria while the other is an American who has just moved to Belgium. Interwoven in this timely, poignant story are the big issues of refugees, prejudice, fear, friendship, and kindness. To avoid the overcrowded refugee centers, Ahmed hides in the basement of the house where Max lives with his family. When he’s discovered by Max, the boys develop a friendship, he enrolls in school, and continues hiding. And it works. But it can’t last forever. Because a local policeman suspects something…

    Louder Than Hunger by John Schu
    After facing relentless bullying, middle schooler Jake’s mean Voice is the loudest thing he hears. Soon, Jake trusts the Voice and listens to it when it tells him he needs to be thinner, he shouldn’t eat, he shouldn’t trust anyone, and nobody loves him. His anorexia gets so bad that he’s hospitalized for weeks and months. And it isn’t an easy fix because the VOICE won’t stop pushing Jake to starve himself. Jake doesn’t find an easy answer or a quick fix, but he does find a glimmer of hope that things could be different. Written in verse, this powerful story will hook you and stay with you.

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade
    The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
    Basketball player and twin Josh narrates his life in quarters, just like the game he plays. He writes about missing his twin, Jordan who is distant now that he has a girlfriend, about getting in trouble when he hits Jordan in the face with a basketball, and about watching his father as his father’s heart fails. This is a relatable coming-of-age story in verse. Plus, sports-loving kids will love all the basketball.

    Farther Than the Moon by Lindsay Lackey
    Houston wants to find a way for his brother Robbie to go to space even though there’s never been an astronaut with CP. Houston leaves Robbie behind for space camp where he meets his astronaut grandfather for the first time –and is rejected. After a week of fighting with his fellow crewmates, Houston gets surprising advice from the person he least expects–about taking responsibility for his actions and putting the crew first. This middle-grade gem is filled with wisdom, heartfelt writing, and relatable and interesting characters.

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade
    by Gordon Korman
    Funny, sensitive, well-written, brilliantly paced, and relatable. The middle school assigns the worst teacher, Mr. Kermit, to the so-called worst kids –the class known as the unteachables. It’s clear to the students in this class that Mr. Kermit does not care even a little bit about teaching. Or disciplining. Or any of them. As we get to know the kids in this small class, something surprising happens. The teacher next door, the daughter of Mr. Kermit’s former fiance, gets Mr. Kermit to start caring. And that opens the doors to important classroom changes including the class’ unexpected and transformative field trips.

    The Bridge Home
    by Padma Venkatraman
    Set in India, Viji writes this story as letters to you, her little sister Rukku who has intellectual disabilities. Viji tells how the two of them ran away from an abusive father to the big city where they met two friendly brothers and lived with them under a bridge, scrabbling to survive by collecting trash. Their lives are hard but made easier by the two boys, their new “brothers.” When Rukku gets a terrible cough and fever, so does one of the brothers. And what happens next almost destroys Viji. She wonders how prayers and faith can coexist with misery and pain. Ultimately, it is the kindness of her new “family” that helps her to see more than misery in the world. 

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade
    Amal Unbound
     by Aisha Saeed
    Amal’s life is turned upside down when she offends a regional Pakistani overlord. She is forced to leave her home and school in order to work for the overlord in his home as a servant — indefinitely. Amal finds her inner strength and fights back, freeing herself and the other household slaves. The author skillfully sets the scene of rural Pakistan making you feel transported. In addition, you’ll feel the injustice and cheer for Amal’s bravery.

    Historical Fiction Read Alouds

    Max in the House of Spies: A Tale of World War II written by Adam Gitwitz
    Max in the House of Spies is exceptional with suspense, excitement, danger, and a dash of humor. Max is a super-smart Jewish boy sent from Germany to safety during WWII on the Kindertransport. He’s joined by two personality-filled (grumpy) mythical creatures, a dybbuk and a kobold, living on his shoulders. Once in England, Max’s sole focus is returning to Germany to help his parents. But first, he must stand up to the antisemitic bullies at school and convince the British to let him into spy training. But the mythical creatures DON’T want to return to Germany, so they try to thwart Max’s training efforts. 

    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 can’t recommend this book enough, it just touched my heart at such a deep level. Furthermore, the sequel, The War I Finally Won, is also an incredible, beautiful story.


    Indian No More
    by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell
    Indian No More is an emotional, important story about when the U.S. government arbitrarily made certain Native American tribes no longer tribes without reservations or legal rights. It also shows the historical landscape of prejudice and stereotypes towards people of color. But it also shows, and I love, a close-knit, loving family based on the author’s own life, a family who values each other and their survival. This book is a must-read and must-own for all schools and libraries and would make an excellent book club selection.

    A Place to Hang the Moon
    by Kate Albus
    An absolutely wonderful, heartwarming historical fiction story with close-knit siblings who stick together and eventually find their forever home. Evacuated from London during WWII these siblings need to find a new home. Unfortunately, their placements are horrid. It’s only the library and the kind librarian who help them survive the bullying and hunger. Unfortunately, the librarian is deemed “unsuitable” to be their foster mother since her missing husband is German. When things go from bad to worse in their latest home, can the children fight for a home with the librarian no matter what the town thinks?

    Refugee by Alan Gratz
    Follow three distinct, alternating stories about being displaced from your country, on the run, and in danger. First is a young Jewish boy who escapes from Nazi Germany on a ship to Cuba, only to be turned away from the Cuban port and sent back to Europe. Next is a Cuban girl in the 1990s who, with her family and neighbors, flees in a homemade raft to the United States at great peril. Finally, is a story about a Syrian boy whose home is bombed in a country at war. He and his family travel a great distance to find a country that will allow them shelter. Gatz skillfully connects all three stories with a satisfying, realistic conclusion.

    Once In a Blue Moon by Sharon G. Flake
    James Henry hasn’t left the house in months. His twin sister Hattie encourages him to start small so they can be ready for the upcoming blue moon and a visit to the Lighthouse. When James Henry eventually ventures outside to go to the lighthouse, their trip is fraught with dangers, including mean neighbor kids and racist men. Surprisingly, the perils draw James Henry farther and farther out of his shell, especially when his sister needs him, and we learn what happened that traumatized him. This lovingly written verse novel set in the historical South is a masterpiece of forgiveness, healing, and family bonds. 

    Mystery Read Alouds for 5th Graders

    Winterhouse by Ben Guterson, illustrated by Chloe Bristol
    Elizabeth, an orphan, is unexpectedly sent to a large, stately hotel with a kind, grandfatherly proprietor for Christmas vacation. There, she discovers a magical book, a sinister couple, a family mystery, and a new friend who loves puzzles as much as she does. The writing is mesmerizing, the mystery fascinating, and the characters, enchanting. This is a wonderful, atmospheric read.

    Framed! A T.O.A.S.T. Mystery by James Ponti
    Captivating from the first page, 12- year old Florian Bates uses his brilliant, observing brain to implement T.O.A.S.T. (the Theory of All Small Things) to notice things that others have missed. Including the FBI when there’s an art heist at the museum his mother works at. The FBI hires him to help unravel a mysterious art heist which he does with the help of his best friend, Margaret. Fast-paced and interesting.

    Ali Cross by James Patterson
    If you want an enthralling adventure & mystery that you can’t put down, read this one next. It’s Christmas Eve and Ali’s friend Gabe is missing, his FBI agent dad is falsely accused of murdering an old man, and someone broke into their house while they were at church and stole his dad’s service weapon. Ali knows he has to try to fix things, starting by finding his friend Gabe. Don’t miss book two, Like Father, Like Son.

    Fantasy Middle Grade Read Alouds for 5th Grade

    Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
    Fantastic fantasy world-building, excellent writing, a strong female heroine of color, and a surprise plot twist ending are just a few of the reasons you’ll love this book. On top of that, you’ll find an exciting action-packed, suspenseful story about Amari whose brother vanishes mysteriously. He sends her a message that she’s a magician and should attend a special school. There, she discovers she’s a magician with outlawed dark magic but she’s determined to stay in the school and find her brother.


    The Adventurers Guild by Zach Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
    Zed and Brock don’t want to be chosen for the Adventurers Guild. Nobody does. Unlike the mages or merchants guild, the adventurers must leave the safety of their walled city to fight the monsters who live on the outside. Unfortunately, Zed and Brock are picked as Adventurers. And before they can finish training, Zed, Brock, and others are sent outside the city on a fact-finding mission that uncovers treachery, fiendish beasts, and Zed’s untapped magic. Imaginative world-building, intriguing plot twists, and complex characters kept me enthralled from page one!

    Skyriders by Polly Holyoke
    Kie is a courier for the kingdom, riding on her skyrider, a small but fast winged horse. Her Uncle taught her the old ways of fighting the chimerae. Fearing a full chimarae invasion, her uncle sends Kie to the capital to convince the leaders to use the old ways of fighting. But she’s dismissed by the leaders who insist on their new ways — which will eventually get them killed. Meanwhile, Kie learns she can mindspeak to all skyrider steeds which helps when she and her friends (including the prince and princess) must save the city themselves. Readers will love this exciting story with an interesting plot and a brave but reluctant heroine. (I couldn’t put it down!)

    Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
    Charlie Hernández’s house burns down, his parents go missing, and he is sent to a foster home. But it’s when he grows HORNS, the WINGS, and meets the MYTHS in real life he’s really freaked out. Fortunately, a persistent classmate named Violet Rey helps Charlie follow the clues to find the truth about his parents and if he’s the prophesied Morphling meant to save the world. A perfect book series with a great balance of action, dialogue, & writing.

    Sci-Fi Read Alouds

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade
    A Wrinkle in Time
    by Madeline L’Engle
    I’ve read this book aloud so many times — and every time it’s just as fantastic. (That doesn’t always happen with books.) 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 missing scientist father who disappeared while researching tesseracts. They’ll be helped by three wise creatures, be tempted by evil, and eventually find that good does triumph over evil.

    Read Aloud Books for 5th Grade

    The Giver
    by Lois Lowry
    Set in a dystopian society, this Newbery medal winner grabs your attention and keeps it until the end. What is going on in this community? When Jonas is assigned his job as “Receiver of Memory,” he learns just how much is hidden and controlled. Ultimately, he’ll have to decide just what he’ll do with this horrifying information. Not only is this a thought-provoking story, but it will also introduce your 5th-grade readers to dystopian fiction.

    The Last Gate of the Emperor by Kwame Mbalia and Prince Joel Makonnen 
    Yared’s Uncle Moti moves them around frequently, so when Yared gives his real name during an augmented reality game, soldiers come after him. Everything he believed about his life turns out to be a lie…including his identity. Yared partners with another game player, the Ibis, to escape the troops and the giant monster and find the truth. The two clever, quick-witted kids face incredible danger, insurmountable odds, and a galaxy-spanning war but Yared has been trained for this and he is ready to fight. Set in a futuristic Ethiopian empire, this exciting adventure grabs your interest and keeps it through wild twists and turns that feature heroic main characters!

    Masterminds by Gordon Korman
    My kids and I love this series. Eli and his friends are riding bikes when they accidentally discover that some of them are physically prevented from leaving their utopia-type town. But there’s more. Then Eli discovers that his “father” is the leader of a group of scientists who are using the town and some of the kids, in a secret and unapproved science experiment. And you won’t believe what that experiment is!! (Hint: the title gives you a big clue.) Will the kids escape and will they be more than their DNA?

    5th grade read alouds


    best books in a series for 5th grade 10 year olds 5th graders

    Best Book Series for 5th Graders

    norse mythology

    Norse Mythology Books

    the best science fiction chapter books for kids

    Science Fiction Books

    coding classes, games, apps, books, and websites for kids

    Coding for Kids

    Similar Posts

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


    1. I love your list. You should read and then add Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart. It’s funny and will keep your readers engaged and begging for more.