Realistic Fiction (Grades 4-6)

Allen, Crystal.  Spirit Week Showdow.  J FIC Allen
Nine-year-old Mya is excited about participating in School Spirit Week, even making a pinky promise with her best friend Naomi to be her partner, but when she accidentally gets paired with the biggest bully in school, Mean Connie, Naomi is mad at Mya for breaking her promise, so she must learn to work with Mean Connie and try and get her friend back.

Altebrando, Tara.  My Life in Dioramas.  J FIC Altebrando
Twelve-year-old works through her feelings about moving from the only home she’s ever known by creating dioramas of each room.

Anderson, John David.  Ms. Bixby’s Last Day.  J FIC Anderson
Loving their gifted teacher, who makes them feel like the indignity of school is somehow worthwhile, three boys are dismayed when the teacher falls ill and leaves for the rest of the school year, a situation that compels them to share their stories while cutting class and journeying across town together on a fateful day.

Applegate, Katherine.  Home of the Brave.  JPB A
Kek, an African refugee, is confronted by many strange things at the Minneapolis home of his aunt and cousin, as well as in his fifth grade classroom, and longs for his missing mother, but finds comfort in the company of a cow and her owner.

Armstrong, William.  Sounder.  J FIC Armstrong // JPB A
A black farmer in the South is jailed for a minor infraction. His family, and their wounded dog, Sounder, must cope on their own.

Arnold, Elana K.  The Question of Miracles.  J FIC Arnold
Unhappy about moving from sunny California to rainy Corvallis, Oregon, and grieving over the death of her best friend, sixth-grader Iris looks for a miracle and may find one in new friend Boris. 

Avi.  Blue Heron.  Y FIC Avi
While spending the month of August on the Massachusetts shore with her father, stepmother, and their new baby, almost thirteen-year-old Maggie finds beauty in and draws strength from a great blue heron, even as the family around her unravels.

Baskin, Nora Releigh.  Ruby on the Outside.  J FIC Baskin
Eleven-year-old Ruby Danes has a real best friend for the first time ever, but agonizes over whether or not to tell her a secret she has never shared with anyone–that her mother has been in prison since Ruby was five–and over whether to express her anger to her mother.

Bildner, Phil.  A Whole New Ballgame.  J FIC Bildner
From the first morning with their odd new teacher fifth grade is full of shocking surprises for best friends Rip and Red.

Birdseye, Tom.  Just Call Me Stupid.  J FIC Birdseye
Terrified of failing and believing that he is stupid, a fifth grader who has never learned to read begins to believe in himself with the help of an outgoing new girl next door.

Bishop, Jenn.  The Distance to Home.  J FIC Bishop
Baseball player and superfan Quinnen must struggle to deal with her older sister’s death in a story that unfolds between two summers.

Byars, Betsy.  The Pinballs.  J PB B // J Fic Byars
Three neglected children from different families come to live in a foster home. As they band together, they solve immediate problems and begin to recover from their sad pasts.

Cervantes, Angela.  Allie, First At Last.  J FIC Cervantes
Born into a family of over-achievers, fifth-grader Allie Velasco has never finished first in anything, and lately things have been going badly: her science project is ruined by a well-meaning student, her former best friend is hanging out with another girl–but now she is determined to win the Trailblazer contest with a photographic presentation about her great grandfather, the first Congressional Medal of Honor winner from their town.

Cleary, Beverly.  Strider.  J FIC Cleary
In a series of diary entries, Leigh tells how he comes to terms with his parents’ divorce, acquires joint custody of an abandoned dog, and joins the track team at school.

Cohen, Barbara.  Thank You, Jackie Robinson.  J PB C
A 10-year-old boy and a 60-year-old African-American chef form a friendship based on their enthusiasm for baseball.

Connor, Leslie.  All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook.  J FIC Connor
Born and raised in a prison where is mother is incarcerated, Perry T. Cook is taken to live with a foster family, where he feels trapped and out of place, and works to find a way to be reunited with his mother.

Creech, Sharon.  The Boy on the Porch.  J FIC Creech
Discovering a speech-disabled boy asleep on their porch, young couple John and Marta forge a loving bond with the child and come to think of him as their own while wondering about his mysterious past and enjoying the world through his eyes.

Danziger, Paula.  P.S. Longer Letter Later.  Y FIC Danziger
Twelve-year-old best friends Elizabeth and Tara-Starr continue their friendship through letter-writing after Tara-Starr’s family moves to another state.

Draper, Sharon.  Out Of My Mind.  J FIC Draper
Considered by many to be mentally retarded, a brilliant, impatient fifth-grader with cerebral palsy discovers a technological device that will allow her to speak for the first time.

Erskine, Kathryn.  Mockingbird.  J FIC Erskine
Ten-year-old Caitlin, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, struggles to understand emotions, show empathy, and make friends at school, while at home she seeks closure by working on a project with her father.

George, Jean Craighead.  My Side of the Mountain.   J FIC George // J PB G
A boy builds a tree house in the Catskill Mountains and learns to survive alone for a year.

Graff, Keir.  The Other Felix.  J FIC Graff
Worrying about his father losing his job and the bully at school, fourth-grader Felix has terrifying dreams of the same monster-filled place every night until he meets someone there who looks and sounds strangely familiar.

Graff, Lisa.  Absolutely Almost.  J FIC Graff
Ten-year-old Albie has never been the smartest, tallest, best at gym, greatest artist, or most musical in his class, as his parents keep reminding him, but new nanny Calista helps him uncover his strengths and take pride in himself.

Graff, Lisa.  Double Dog Dare.  J FIC Graff
When Kansas Bloom moves to California and joins the Media Club at school, he soon finds himself trying to outdo one of the other fourth-grade students in a “dare war” while vying for the job of on-air video homeroom announcer.

Herrera, Robin.  Hope is a Ferris Wheel.  J FIC Herrera After moving from Oregon to a trailer park in California, ten-year-old Star participates in a poetry club, where she learns some important lessons about herself and her own hopes and dreams for the future.

Holt, Kimberly Willis.  Dear Hank Williams.  J FIC Holt In Rippling Creek,
Louisiana, in 1948, eleven-year-old Tate writes letters to her favorite country singer, sharing her dreams of becoming a singer and revealing that her mother is in prison

Hunt, Lynda Mullaly.  Fish in a Tree.  J FIC Mullaly
Ally’s greatest fear is that everyone will find out she is as dumb as they think she is because she still doesn’t know how to read.

Korman, Gordon.  Slacker.  J FIC Korman
When eighth-grader Cameron Boxer creates the Positive Action Group at school he intends it as a diversion to fool his parents, teachers, and sister into letting him continue to concentrate on his video-gaming–but before he knows it other kids are taking it seriously, and soon he finds himself president of the P.A.G., and involved in community service, so the boy who never cared about anything is now the center of everything, whether he likes it or not.

Lord, Cynthia.  A Handful of Stars.  J FIC Lord
When her blind dog slips his collar, twelve-year old Lily meets Salma Santiago, a young Hispanic girl whose migrant family are in Maine for the blueberry-picking season, and, based partly on their mutual love of dogs, the two forge a friendship.

Lord, Cynthia.  Rules.  J FIC Lord // Y FIC Lord
Frustrated at life with an autistic brother, twelve-year-old Catherine longs for a normal existence but her world is further complicated by a friendship with an young paraplegic

Lowry, Lois.  Number the Stars.  J FIC Lowry  //  J PB L
A ten-year-old girl becomes part of the Danish Resistance during World War II and helps her friend escape the Holocaust. The story is based on actual events.

Martin, Ann M.  Rain Reign.  J FIC Martin
Struggling with Asperger’s, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.

Palacio, R.J.  Wonder.  J FIC Palacio  (SUMMER READING)
Ten-year-old Auggie Pullman, who was born with extreme facial abnormalities and was not expected to survive, goes from being home-schooled to entering fifth grade at a private middle school in Manhattan, which entails enduring the taunting and fear of his classmates as he struggles to be seen as just another student.

Paterson, Katherine.  The Great Gilly Hopkins.  J PB P
An eleven-year-old foster child tries to cope with her longings and fears as she schemes against everyone who tries to be friendly.

Patrick, Denise Lewis.  Finding Someplace.  J FIC Patrick
The weekend she turns thirteen, aspiring clothing designer Teresa “Reesie” Boone is separated from her family by Hurricane Katrina but, during the horrific storm and its aftermath, begins to find strength in herself.

Patterson, James.  Jacky Ha-Ha.  J FIC Patterson
Twelve-year-old Jacky “Ha-Ha” Hart is a class clown with a penchant for pranking–and when she’s required to act in the school play to appease her frustrated teachers, she must conquer her stutter.

Philbrick, W. R.  Zane and the Hurricane: A Story of Katrina.  J FIC Philbrick
A twelve-year-old boy and his dog become trapped in New Orleans during the horrors of Hurricane Katrina.

Skolsky, Mindy Warshaw.  Love from Your Friend, Hannah : A Novel.  J FIC Skolsky
From her home in back of the Grand View Restaurant in rural New York, Hannah writes letters to her best friend, a pen pal, and even to President and Mrs. Roosevelt.

Sovern, Megan Jean.  The Meaning of Maggie.  J FIC Sovern
Eleven-year-old Maggie Mayfield is an A-plus student with big plans for herself, but at this moment she is also facing a lot of problems–like starting middle school and figuring out how to help her father who is out of work and in a wheelchair.

Speare, Elizabeth George.  The Sign of the Beaver.  J FIC Speare
Left alone in the Maine wilderness, Matt makes friends with Attean, a Native American boy, who shows him how to survive on his own.

Sperry, Armstrong.  Call It Courage.  J FIC Sperry
The son of a Polynesian chief overcomes his fear of the sea by going it alone in a canoe, with only his tamed albatross to guide him.

Tolan, Stephanie S.  Applewhites At Wit’s End.  J FIC Tolan
Great changes are in store for the highly creative and somewhat eccentric Applewhite family when money problems force them to open a summer camp for gifted children, who almost immediately begin to rebel, while a mysterious interloper watches from the woods.

Turner, Amber McRee.  Sway.  J FIC Turner
Ten-year-old Cass’s attitude changes after her mother, whom she idolizes, leaves her behind, and her father who previously seemed boring and practical, takes her on a summer road trip in which he shows her the creative, magical side of himself

Uchida, Yoshiko.  Journey Home.  J FIC
Uchida Yuki and her Japanese-American family attempt to get settled in California again after their internment in a Utah concentration camp during World War II.

Warner, Sally.  It’s Only Temporary.  J FIC Warner
When Skye’s older brother comes home after a devastating accident, she moves from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to California to live with her grandmother and attend middle school, where she somewhat reluctantly makes new friends, learns to stand up for herself and those she cares about, and begins to craft a new relationship with her changed brother.

Weeks, Sarah.  Save Me a Seat.  J FIC Weeks
Ravi has just moved to the United States from India and has always been at the top of his class; Joe has lived in the same town his whole life and has learning problems–but when their lives intersect in the first week of fifth grade they are brought together by a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and the need to take control of their lives.

Posted in Grades 4-6, Reading Lists and tagged , , , , .