Picture Book: Oma’s Quilt by Paulette Bourgeois (Kids Can Press 2001)
This book is a lovely tribute to the older people in our lives. Young Emily narrates as her Oma (grandmother) navigates the transition from living on her own to living in a retirement home. The change is hard, but Emily is able to come up with a way to make things a little easier for her grandma. This book would be a great read aloud and a starter for a discussion about the challenges that people face at different stages in their lives.
Novel: Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald (Harper Collins 1994, first published 1947)
One of my favorites from when I was a kid, this book is about a kindly woman named Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle who helps to cure the children in her town of their nasty and annoying habits. Each chapter focuses on a different child and how Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle solves his/her problem. The solutions often involve cleverly “tricking” the children into seeing the error of their ways. Although the book is quite old and does include some phrasing and situations that will be foreign to today’s readers, the stories are very funny and students will still be able to relate to the children. The book is appropriate for independent reading by fifth graders, but would also make an excellent read-aloud. There are several other books about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle that you can recommend to students who enjoy this one.