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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The Wolf Wilder

By Katherine Rundell

Feo and her mother, Marina, teach wolves that have been domesticated and abandoned by the Russian aristocracy to live in the wild and to distrust humans.  Some people want the wolves to be killed instead of trained by the wilders.  Feo must decide how far she will go to protect her mother, 3 wolves, and ultimately the people of Russia.  If you like historical fiction, you will love this beautiful story of love, courage, and loyalty.

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Wonder

By R. J. Palacio

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August Pullman, Auggie to his family and friends, was born with a genetic disorder caused him to be physically disfigured.  Previously homeschooled, Auggie starts school at Beecher Prep, and Wonder is the story of his first year there.  This rich story provides the grounds for authentic discussions about friendship, bullying, acceptance, forgiveness, and the strength of the human spirit.  If you enjoyed Wonder already, look into The Julian Chapter or Pluto.