New Books for 5th Graders

Jeremy Bender vs. the Cupcake Cadets by Eric Luper

Reading Level: Grade 4-6

Jeremy Bender wants, wants, wants to drive his father's boat...the one he is not allowed to touch. Jeremy has been secretly working on the engine of the boat, an antique Chris-Craft, sure that once his father discovers the boat all ready to run in the spring he will let Jeremy take it out on the lake by himself.

Disaster strikes when a grape soda spill and an accidental green paint spray (his pal Slater's fault) ruins the engine. The boys have to raise $470 so they can secretly repair the engine before spring. How can two 6th grade boys earn that kind of money in a couple of months? Jeremy finds the answer on the library bulletin board, the Cupcake Cadets annual model boat race. First prize is $500.

There is one catch...only girls can be Cupcake Cadets. Armed with two of his older sister's used cadet uniforms and a wig for himself (Slater has long hair), Jeremy and Slater disguise themselves as home-schooled twin sisters and join the cadet troop. The $500 is as good as theirs. How hard could it be to earn three merit badges (the entrance requirement) and beat a bunch of girls?

Check availability of this book

More books by Eric Luper

Additional tales of the view from the other side include:

The day Joanie Frankenhauser Became a Boy by Francess Lin Lantz

Gender Blender by Blake Nelson and

Boy2Girl by Terence Blacker

Drawing From Memory by Allen Say

Reading Level: Grade 5-7

Caldecott Medal winner Allen Say 's memoir of his improbable childhood is told in an equally unique manner. The book is part graphic novel with sketches, classic Japanese comics and original photographs.

Allen knew from an early age that he wanted to become a cartoonist, but his father didn't think this was a profession for a proper Japaese boy. The war changed things for Allen and he was able to work at his art. At the age of twelve, he approached Noro Shinpei, the most famous cartoonist in Japan. Shinpei became his sensei, which means "teacher" or "master." It was a relationship that would change Allen's life.

Check availability of this book

More books by Allen Say


The Boy Who Bit Picasso by Antony Penrose

Reading Level: Age 6 - 10

Most children bite someone when they are little. Tony Penrose bit the world famous artist, Pablo Picasso (who bit him back.) Now grown Antony shares his memories of a close family friend. Tony's parents are photographer, Lee Miller, and artist, Roland Penrose which explains the close connectin between the Penrose and Picasso families. The book is filled with artworks by Picasso, old photographs by Tony's mother, and drawings by modern day children.

One the the great joys of this book is seeing the original subject and then Picasso's Interpretation of that subject. The reader can compare pictures of William, the Penrose family bull, Picasso's wife and his two youngest children, and, best of all, Tony's mother with the Picasso's paintings. See if you agree or disagree with Tony's friends at school.

Check availability of this book

More books by Amy Axelrod