I personally have so many favourites. I'll list a few with links, based on ill defined and personal categories...
1) my own youth -- The Secret Garden. This book made me a READER. It was big and intimidating but just kept me reading and reading when I was in Grade 4....the book, years later, was awesome. Ancient , timeless classic.
2) necessary reading - Hana's Suitcase. I read this when it first came out and heard the author speak at the Japanese Canadian Cultural Center where I taught new immigrants. Since then, with every grade, I snuck it in. NECESSARY, personal and not a kid that wasn't impacted.
3) Most creative : The true story of the 3 little pigs -- this makes every kid want to tell a story! Great motivator and greatly creative...Sciezska really did as Eco would say, "gavte la nata" -- took out the cork.
4) With Voice -- Freak the Mighty. I had read Catcher in the Rye when about 13 and waited 30 years for a book with as much authenticity and voice....Wonderful and every word is like a dagger. Inspiring.
Anything by Lois Lowry. We read Number the Stars and do a holocaust unit. Then I read to them The Giver. My kids love them both. Other books not by Lois Lowry- Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, Sea Legs,
Dear Mr. Henshaw, Where the Red Fern Grows.
Anything by Andrew Clements! The students can really relate to his writing and the characters (typically 5th graders, the same age as my students) are so authentic. this past year they loved No Talking.
My daughter really enjoyed A.Clements when she was in 4th & 5th grade. Couldn't get enough and read everything he had at that time. I'll have to ask if she's read No Talking yet or not.
My 5th graders last year were SO into fantasy, I had a difficult time pushing some of them to read any other genre. I'm hoping that was just a one year fluke. I hate to see my basket of Clements' books getting dusty!
As long as we're on chapter books, have any of you read Rules by Cynthia Lord? I read it aloud last year--difficult to do as the language of one autistic character and another mute character that uses word cards to communicate, but well worth the struggle.
I just read Rules last week. It is on NC's 5th grade Battle of the Books list for the upcoming school year. Battle is a competition that is based on "comprehension" questions, but really it is about remembering details.
Anyway, I LOVED this book. It was very well written, although I was not surprised by the movement of the plot or the ending. It would be great for discussion. Lots of kids have things going on at home that they don't want to share with their friends.Characters were natural and relatable.
I totally agree. I read this book as it was offered by a book fair at our school. It has life lessons in it that many students can relate to. I did not read it aloud, but offered it to my students to read.
I second The Hundred Dresses! Great story and a quick read!
And anything done by Patricia Polacco is wonderful. My FAVORITE of hers is called My Rotten Red-Headed Older Brother. You can go to a web site called "Storyline Online" and see a video of Melissa Gilbert (Little House on the Prarie) read it--LOVE THAT!
I have a link to that site (and lots more) on my "teacher links" page at www.mrstg.com/teacher_links.htm
Hmmm... maybe another thread for discussion on that topic.