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9 New Back to School Books for 5th Grade

Looking for the best back to school books for 5th grade? These are back to school books 5th grade students will love and are great for the first day of school, learning names, teaching classroom rules and expectations and more! Picture books chosen for fifth graders with lesson plans and activities linked for teachers and librarians. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Each kindness makes the world a little better

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down.

Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she’d shown a little kindness toward Maya.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Each Kindness HERE

Looking for the best back to school books for 5th grade? These are back to school books 5th grade students will love and are great for the first day of school, learning names, teaching classroom rules and expectations and more! Picture books chosen for fifth graders with lesson plans and activities linked for teachers and librarians. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!
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All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold

In our classroom safe and sound.
Fears are lost and hope is found.

Discover a school where all young children have a place, have a space, and are loved and appreciated.

Readers will follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms. A school where students from all backgrounds learn from and celebrate each other’s traditions. A school that shows the world as we will make it to be. As students come back to school, they need to know that they’re safe, making this another one of my favorite September read alouds!

Do Unto Otters by Laurie Keller

Mr. Rabbit’s new neighbors are Otters.
OTTERS!
But he doesn’t know anything about otters. Will they get along? Will they be friends?
Just treat otters the same way you’d like them to treat you, advises Mr. Owl.

What If Everybody Said That? by Ellen Javernick

What if everybody chose to be kind?

If you tell someone that they can’t play with you, there’s no harm done, right? But what if everybody said that? What if everybody forgot to be kind―and made fun of other kids’ artwork at school, or told a fib, or refused to share with a person in need? The world wouldn’t be a very nice place to live. But what if everybody thought before they spoke, so the world would be a kinder place? Kids need to learn to be kind to each other which is why this is one of the first September read alouds I do during social emotional learning time!

You Are Special by Max Lucado

In the town of Wemmickville there lives a Wemmick named Punchinello. Each day the residents award stickers―gold stars for the talented, smart, and attractive Wemmicks, and gray dots for those who make mistakes or are just plain ordinary. Punchinello, covered in gray dots, begins to feel worthless. Then one day he visits Eli the woodcarver, his creator, and he learns that his worth comes from a different source.

Get the lesson plan and activities for You Are Special HERE

What Do You Do With A Problem? by Kobi Yamada

This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn’t so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than it appeared.

What Do You Do With a Problem? is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It’s a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it’s here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem… and yourself.

Get the lesson plan and activities for What Do You Do With A Problem? HERE

Teach Us Your Name by Huda Essa

Embracing the diversity of our names is one of the first steps we can take to show our appreciation of diversity and inclusion. Everyone has a name and every name has a story. Teach Us Your Name focuses on the many stories and ways we can all connect by helping children take pride in their many identities and to utilize the opportunity to learn from others. This book lends itself to countless invaluable discussions about cultural norms, languages, unconscious bias, and much more. Most of all, Teach Us Your Name is focused on showing respect for ourselves and all others.

Get the lesson plan and activities for Teach Us Your Name HERE

My Name Is Bilal by Asma Mobin-Uddin

A young boy wrestles with his Muslim identity until a compassionate teacher helps him to understand more about his heritage.

After a family move, Bilal and his sister Ayesha attend a new school where they find out that they may be the only Muslim students there. Bilal sees his sister bullied on their first day, so he worries about being teased himself, thinking it might be best if his classmates didn’t know that he is Muslim. Maybe if he tells kids his name is Bill, rather than Bilal, then they will eave him alone. But when Bilal’s teacher Mr. Ali, who is also Muslim, sees how Bilal is struggling. He gives Bilal a book about the first person to give the call to prayer during the time of the Prophet Muhammad. That person was another Bilal: Bilal Ibn Rabah. What Bilal learns from the book forms the compelling story of a young boy grappling with his identity.

Get the lesson plan and activities for My Name Is Bilal HERE

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi

A heartwarming story about the new girl in school, and how she learns to appreciate her Korean name.

Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what happens when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious about fitting in. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she decides to choose an American name from a glass jar. But while Unhei thinks of being a Suzy, Laura, or Amanda, nothing feels right. With the help of a new friend, Unhei will learn that the best name is her own.

Best Back to School Books for 5th Grade

What are some of your favorite back to school books for 5th grade? Are there any must read back to school books for 5th grade that I left out? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll add it!

If you’re a member of the Picture Book Brain Trust Community, you already have access to EVERY lesson plan and activity for these books! Just click on the Lesson Plans button in the menu!

Looking for the best back to school books for 5th grade? These are back to school books 5th grade students will love and are great for the first day of school, learning names, teaching classroom rules and expectations and more! Picture books chosen for fifth graders with lesson plans and activities linked for teachers and librarians. Your students will delight in these classic and brand new books!
PIN ME!

Other Great 5th Grade Read Aloud Stories

Looking for other great 5th grade read alouds? Here are a few more to explore:

30 Best 5th Grade Read Alouds

40 Narrative Nonfiction Books For 5th Grade

27 Black History Month 5th Grade Books

32 Picture Books for 5th Graders

Summer Reading List for 5th Grade

Books for 5th Grade Reading

Realistic Fiction Books For 5th Graders

20 Earth Day Projects For 5th Graders

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Hey there! I’m Josh from Picture Book Brain here to share only the best literature for you to use with your students. If you are looking for a specific book, use the search bar below to check my archives. Glad you’re here, and glad to help you!

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