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2014 Grade 5 & 6 Summer Reading List

This list was compiled by Linda Williams for the Connecticut State Department of Education. Some of the titles selected are loosely connected to Connecticut’s statewide summer reading theme, SCIENCE or are written or illustrated by Connecticut residents. Many listed titles have been selected as exemplary books by at least one of the following: American Library Association (ALA) the International Reading Association (IRA), the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS), the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), the National Science Teachers Assocation (NSTA) or the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY). (Download a .pdf of the list).


The 5,000-Year-Old Puzzle by Claudia Logan
An account of Dr. George Reisner’s 1925 discovery and excavation of a secret tomb in Giza, Egypt, based on archival documents and records, but told through the fictionalized experiences of a young boy who accompanies his father on the dig. Lexile: 900


One White Dolphin by Gill Lewis
When a baby albino dolphin caught in old fishing netting washes ashore, Paralympics sailing hopeful Felix and English school girl Kara work with veterinarians and specialists to save and reunite the dolphin with her mother, setting off a chain of events that might just save the reef from the environmental effects of proposed dredging. Lexile: 620

Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park
While working on a project for an after-school club, Julia, a Korean American girl, and her friend Patrick learn not just about silkworms, but also about tolerance, prejudice, friendship, patience, and more. Between the chapters are short dialogues between the author and main character about the writing of the book. Lexile: 690
Nutmeg Nominee 2008,


Whales on Stilts! by M. T. Anderson
Racing against the clock, shy middle-school student Lily and her best friends, Katie and Jasper, must foil the plot of her father’s conniving boss to conquer the world using an army of whales. Lexile: 760

Science Fair: A Story of Mystery, Danger, International Suspense, and a Very Nervous Frog by Dave Barry & Ridley Pearson
The president of Kprshtskan is plotting to infiltrate the science fair at Hubble Middle School in Maryland in order to take over the United States government, but when Toby Harbinger, an ordinary student, makes up his mind finally to win the fair, the terrorists’ plans go awry. Lexile: 770

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
In the year 241, twelve-year-old Lina trades jobs on Assignment Day to be a Messenger to run to new places in her decaying but beloved city, perhaps even to glimpse Unknown Regions. Lexile: 680. Or read The City of Ember: The Graphic Novel, adapted by Dallas Middaugh.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Meg Murry and her friends become involved with unearthly strangers and a search for Meg’s father, who has disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government. Lexile: . Or A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel adapted by Hope Larson.

Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner
Ebook available. Jaden’s summer visit with her meteorologist father, who has just returned from spending four years in Russia conducting weather experiments not permitted in the United States, fills her with apprehension and fear as she discovers that living at her father’s planned community, Placid Meadows, is anything but placid. Lexile: 740
NSTA, Nutmeg Nominee 2015,

Herbert’s Wormhole by Peter Nelson
When almost-sixth-grader Alex, a video game fanatic, is forced on a “playdate” with his neighbor Herbert, an inventor, the two travel to the twenty-second century and face off against aliens, who are not as beneficent as most people think. Lexile: 780
Nutmeg Nominee 2012,

Tesla’s Attic by Neal Shusterman & Eric Elfman
With a plot combining science and the supernatural, four kids are caught up in a dangerous plan concocted by the eccentric inventor, Nikola Tesla.


The Secret Science Alliance and the Copycat Crook by Eleanor Davis
Eleven-year-old Julian Calendar thought changing schools would mean leaving his “nerdy” persona behind, but instead he forms an alliance with fellow inventors Greta and Ben and works with them to prevent an adult from using one of their gadgets for nefarious purposes. Lexile: 470

Robot Dreams by Sara Varon
The enduring friendship between a dog and a robot is portrayed in this wordless graphic novel. Lexile:


At the Sea Floor Cafe: Odd Ocean Critter Poems by Leslie Bulion
An illustrated collection of poems that provides information about some of the creatures that live in the sea. Includes a glossary of scientific terms. Lexile: 1130
Connecticut Author,

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman
Poems and factual information about some of the creatures that live on Planet Earth. Lexile: 1300


When Fish Got Feet, Sharks Got Teeth, and Bugs Began to Swarm by Hannah Bonner
Describes life on Earth approximately 430 million years ago. Lexile:

Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of Scientific Discovery from Your Own Backyard by Loree Griffin Burns
Anyone can get involved in gathering data for ongoing, actual scientific studies such as the Audubon Bird Count and FrogWatch USA. Just get out into a field, urban park, or your own backyard. You can put your nose to a monarch pupa or listen for raucous frog calls. You can tally woodpeckers or sweep the grass for ladybugs. This book, full of engaging photos and useful tips, will show you how. Lexile: 1050

The Book of Blood: From Legends and Leeches to Vampires and Veins by H. P. Newquist
A thrilling and lively tour of the world of blood, from ancient history to modern science, to dark and often gruesome legends of vampires and plague, this book informs readers about the most important tissue in the body. (Publisher) Lexile:


Electric Ben: The Amazing Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin by Robert Byrd
Learn all about the life of Benjamin Franklin, from his childhood to his golden years, in this beautifully illustrated, thoughtful, and thorough book. Lexile: 1050

Lives of the Scientists: Experiments, Explosions (And What the Neighbors Thought) by Kathleen Krull
Profiles 18 of history’s most noteworthy scientists, from Zhang Heng and Isaac Newton to Albert Einstein and Barbara McClintock, sharing lesser-known facts about their favorite activities, relationships, and eccentricities. Lexile: 1120

Temple Grandin: How the Girl Who Loved Cows Embraced Autism and Changed the World by Sy Montgomery
An authorized portrait about Grandin’s life with autism and her groundbreaking work as a scientist and designer of cruelty-free livestock facilities describes how she overcame key disabilities through education and the support of her mother. Lexile: 960

Favorites & Classics


The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A ten-year-old orphan comes to live in a lonely house on the Yorkshire moors where she discovers an invalid cousin and the mysteries of a locked garden. Lexile: 970

The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
A Siamese cat, an old bull terrier, and a young Labrador retriever travel together 250 miles through the Canadian wilderness to find their family. Lexile: 1320

The Watsons Go To Birmingham – 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watsons, an African American family living in Flint,
Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama in the summer of 1963. Lexile: 1000

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich
Omakayas, a seven-year-old Native American girl of the Ojibwa tribe, lives through the joys of summer and the
perils of winter on an island in Lake Superior in 1847. Lexile: 970

The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer
In 2194 in Zimbabwe, General Matsika’s three children are kidnapped and put to work in a plastic mine, while three mutant detectives use their special powers to search for them. Lexile: 660

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Eleven year old Harriet, who is a spy and plans to be an author keeps a secret notebook filled with thoughts and notes on her schoolmates and people she observes on her afterschool spy route, but when some of her classmates read the notebook, they seek revenge. Lexile: 760

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
Four English schoolchildren find their way through the back of a wardrobe into the magic land of Narnia and assist Aslan, the golden lion, to triumph over the White Witch, who has cursed the land with eternal winter. Lexile: 940

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry
In 1943, during the German occupation of Denmark, tenyear-old Annemarie learns how to be brave and courageous when she helps shelter her Jewish friend from the Nazis. Lexile: 670

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her. Lexile: 850

The Borrowers by Mary Norton
Miniature people who live in an old country house by borrowing things from the humans are forced to emigrate from their home under the clock. Lexile: 780

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
The life of a ten-year-old boy in rural Virginia expands when he becomes friends with a newcomer who
subsequently meets an untimely death trying to reach their hideaway, Terabithia, during a storm. Lexile: 810

Tom’s Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce
While staying with his aunt and uncle, Tom discovers a beautiful garden that is visible only at night and meets a little girl from the Victorian era with whom he travels back in time. Lexile: 860


Poppy series by Avi
John Bellairs Mysteries by John Bellairs
The Penderwicks series by Jeanne Birdsall
The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper
The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes
Shadow Children by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Dog Friday trilogy by Hilary McKay
Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan
Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage
Enola Holmes Mysteries by Nancy Springer
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
Sammy Keyes series by Wendelin Van Draanen
Dear America series by various authors

Categories: Summer Reading Lists
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