Picture Book: Black and White by David Macaulay (Houghton Mifflin 1990)
This Caldecott Medal winner is a book that can be peeled like an onion to reveal a multitude of layers. There are different panels on each page that seem to be telling different stories, but the careful reader will realize that the stories are actually all woven together. While this might be a difficult book to read aloud because of the panels, it is worth the effort because it will spark great discussion with your students. Try projecting the pages on a screen so that all students can see the details and discuss the hidden connections.
Novel: The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Puffin 1978)
I know, I know, this book is a Newbery Medal winner–who could forget it? It’s pretty old, though, so I want to make sure that this amazing mystery is not forgotten. I have never recommended this book to a student and had them feel anything less than absolute adoration for it. The book has all of the makings of a great mystery: a mysterious death, clues that the reader can follow, twists and turns, and an eccentric cast of characters. Students love that they are actually given enough clues to figure out the mystery themselves. Super as a read-aloud or read-alone, recommend this to upper elementary boys and girls alike.