Each Kindness

By Jacqueline Woodson

Chloe will not talk to or include the new girl, Maya. Maya doesn’t wear new clothes or look like Chloe’s friends. One day, the teacher talks to the class about how important each act of kindness is and how it has a ripple effect into people’s lives. Chloe wants to make things right, but she never has her chance. This is a beautiful story that reminds us all that each action we take or don’t take affects those around us.

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How to Swallow a Pig: Step-by-Step Advice from the Animal Kingdom

By Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Do you want to learn how to build a nest, catch your dinner, or battle a mountain sheep? This book gives step-by-step directions on everything from sewing a nest like a tailor bird to repelling insects like a Capuchin to swallowing a pig whole like a python. I think this is a creative way to expand kids’ animal knowledge, and I think that many students will enjoy learning from it.

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Out of My Mind

By Sharon M. Draper

           Melody is not like other 5th grade students.  She cannot feed herself, dress herself, or speak, but that doesn’t mean that she has nothing to offer her classmates and nothing to teach.   As a result of cerebral palsy, she has not physically developed the same as her peers, and for many years, only her parents believe that she is mentally capable.  With the introduction of a new Medi-Talker (that Melody names Elvira), Melody begins to communicate and show the world her amazing abilities.  I highly recommend this book for any 5th-8th graders, as it tackles issues of friendship, fitting in, differences, and struggles beautifully.

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