Tuesday, January 20, 2015

3 Books I'd Have in My Classroom Library if I Taught 5th Grade

I have been reading lots of books lately that I would so love to have in my classroom library. But they just aren't a great match for 3rd graders. They are books that would be perfect if I taught 5th grade. That always tends to happen around Newbery time. I try to catch up on all of the books that I've had on my stack all year and so many of the good ones seem to be more 4th-6th grade books.  This month I read a few good ones.

The Blossoming Universe of Violet Diamond by Brenda Woods was a great story about an eleven year old character who I fell in love with immediately.  The book blurb states, "Violet is a smart, funny, brown-eyed, brown-haired girl in a family of blonds."  Violet's mother is white and her father is black. But her father died before she was born and she is struggling with not knowing about that side of her family.  This is a great story about family and identity and love. It hits on issues of race in ways that are honest and accessible to 10-12 year olds.  I loved this character so much--she is spunky and smart and strong. She is definitely a character that will stay with me for a while.

I am embarrassed to say that I don't remember whether or not I read Elijah of
 Buxton.  I feel like I did but I can't be sure.  When I heard about The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis, I heard that although it was connected to Elijah, it definitely stood on its own. So I gave it a try. Honestly, I didn't intend to love the book-nothing about it seemed like the kind of things I love about a book. But, around page 50, I realized that I had fallen in love with the characters and the story.  This is definitely a book for 5th grade and above. Not  because the content is a problem but because it is more complex than I think younger kids can handle. The characters are amazing.  The story is quite the adventure. It is really perfect in every way.  If I were teaching 5th grade, this might be a read aloud or I might get a group of readers together to discuss this one.  

The Angel Tree by Daphne Benedis-Grab is a sweet story that would be good in a 5th grade classroom. It would also be good in a 3rd grade classroom. It is the story of a town that has an Angel Tree put up secretly each year. The tree invites people to hang wishes and other community members help to make the wishes come true. This book is about 4 kids impacted by The Angel Tree.  This is a simple story with a very obvious theme.  It is good for kids who like a predictable story with a theme that is very accessible to readers. I don't have many holiday books in my rooms but this one is more about a community coming together for each other.  


  1. Thanks for the recommendations, I haven't read any of those but they all sound wonderful!

  2. I read the Angel Tree over Christmas break and really enjoyed it. I have Piney Woods in my TBR pile...hoping to get it read before the Newbery announcements. I have Violet on the way from Scholastic. Thanks for the suggestions!

  3. Thanks for the recommendations! I might have to read The Angel Tree next year!
    The Disneyfied Teacher


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