Teacher Picks: Best Children's Books

With the school year starting, I was curious about what books teachers were planning on using in their classrooms. So, I reached out to my sister Brittany and asked her to talk about her favorite children’s books to read in the classroom and why. It should be noted that the books she recommended are for grades 5 and 6. Here is a list of books she mentioned along with why she enjoys them:

Grace for President by Kelly DiPucchio

“This book is one of my favorites because it displays a young African American female as the main character. It places her in a position of power that she worked hard for. This is not always the norm in children’s books, so it felt good to see a positive story with a minority as the lead.”

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

“This is a chapter book typically read in the 5th grade. I think this book is so powerful in many ways. It highlights Miep Gies, the woman who helped hide Anne Frank and other Jewish people. Her courage to do what was right in a time where she could have been killed for it will inspire 5th graders to also be courageous. I think this book shows students the importance of freedom regardless of religion or race and the battles that so many have had to fight through.”

Tucky Jo and Little Heart by Patricia Polacco

“This book is based on a true story from the World War II era. Tucky Jo is a soldier in the South Pacific. He ends up saving Little Heart and her family from an airstrike. While Tucky Jo does not speak the same language as Little Heart, they both communicate through kindness to one another. Later in the book, it is revealed that Little Heart becomes a healthcare professional and coincidentally ends up taking care of Tucky Jo in his old age. This book shows that cultural and linguistic differences do not have to cloud your judgement when you meet those who are different from you.”

Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

“This book is about a mouse named Chrysanthemum who loves her name until some classmates make fun of how long it is. It makes her feel ashamed to have a long name. Chrysanthemum’s teacher defends her name and says some of the best names are long. The teacher ends up giving birth to a daughter and names her Chrysanthemum after her student. I think this book will teach confidence to students. It shows them that different does not mean weird or wrong. Different is beautiful and unique.”

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

“This novel has become increasingly popular over the years and was even made into a movie. I personally think there are so many amazing messages for young people and adults in this book. It highlights the struggles of physical disabilities as a child experiencing it and his family members learning to navigate it as well. It is authentic and shows that being kind is not always the easy choice when surrounded by unkind people. I feel this book can be relatable for so many students because it touches upon numerous sensitive topics that many kids deal with.”


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