10 more Picturebooks for Year 5 (List 2)…#PicturebookPage

So here are 10 more books that would work brilliantly in year 5. Hope it’s helpful…

Manhattan: Mapping the story of an island by Jennifer Thermes

“An innovative look back through time, Manhattan Maps follows the history of Manhattan Island from its natural formation to the bustling city today. It explores the ways in which nature and people are connected, tracking the people who lived on Manhattan from the Lenape Indians to Dutch settlers hunting for beaver pelts to early Americans and beyond, and how they’ve (literally) shaped the island (and vice versa). Jen Thermes highlights watershed moments where nature demanded action of New Yorkers–the Great Fire of 1835, the Great Blizzard of 1888, and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. In special sidebars, she closely traces specific threads of history and their lasting impact today–New York as a hub for immigration and the slave trade, for example. An epic volume that chronicles the rise of Manhattan through the lenses of geography, city planning, sociology, historiography, and more, Manhattan Maps is a groundbreaking format that will fascinate curious readers of all ages”

Do I need to say more than what is said above. It is a completely brilliant, gorgeous to look at and full of amazing information that sparks, discussion. As it says it’s totally epic, and is perfect for any discussion of place and habitation, just perfect for helping children understand how places change and what causes that change. I’d pair it with River by Elisha Cooper which is a more personal exploration of change. Both are amazing

Bonus book

River by Elisha Cooper

Caldecott Honor winner Elisha Cooper invites readers to grab their oars and board a canoe down a river exploration filled with adventure and beauty.

In Cooper’s flowing prose and stunning watercolor scenes, readers can follow a traveler’s trek down the Hudson River as she and her canoe explore the wildlife, flora and fauna, and urban landscape at the river’s edge. Through perilous weather and river rushes, the canoe and her captain survive and maneuver their way down the river back home.

River is an outstanding introduction to seeing the world through the eyes of a young explorer and a great picture book for the STEAM curriculum.

Maps and information about the Hudson River and famous landmarks are included in the back of the book.


2. Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog including Instruction Manual by Kate Samworth

Since 2031, Aviary Wonders Inc. has offered bird lovers a unique opportunity: Assemble your own bird from stunningly beautiful and carefully hand-crafted parts. The birds can even be taught to fly and to sing! This slyly satirical crafter’s delight is offered as the perfect antidote to extinction of birds in the wild.

Brilliantly illustrated with oil paintings and filled with laugh-aloud asides as well as sobering facts about extinct species, this mock catalog is a clever send-up of contemporary sales spin and a thought-provoking look into an all-too-possible future.

Utterly bonkers but a totally brilliant satirical take on the extinction of different species. This book is a brilliant way to get children thinking and questioning our actions and the impact we have on our planet. Possibly a bit out-there for some but if you like it you love it.


3. Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka, Mac Barnett and Matt Myers

Encourage creativity with this wildly entertaining picture book mash-up from the minds of Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett.

Alex has been given a saccharine, sappy, silly-sweet picture book about Birthday Bunny that his grandma found at a garage sale. Alex isn’t interested – until he decides to make the book something he’d actually like to read. So he takes out his pencil, sharpens his creativity, and totally transforms the story!

Birthday Bunny becomes Battle Bunny, and the rabbit’s innocent journey through the forest morphs into a supersecret mission to unleash an evil plan – a plan that only Alex can stop.

Featuring layered, original artwork that emphasizes Alex’s additions, this dynamic exploration of creative storytelling is sure to engage and inspire

Utter creative genius. Great messages about creativity and telling the stories you want to read. More than anything we found it unleashed creative monsters in our children that had previously lain dormant, their wildest ideas were set free when we used this book, they also learnt how hard it is to rein those ideas in and keep it coherent and tell the story. It helps children see that stories are alive and sometimes we need to control them as well. A brilliant book, and an utterly fantastic writing lesson for the children.

Here is link to ‘Birthday Bunny’ so your children can make their own Battle Bunny or whatever stories.

Link to Birthday Bunny PDF for children to create their own books.

4. The Pilot and the Little Prince: The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupery by Peter Sis

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in France in 1900, when airplanes were just being invented. Antoine dreamed of flying and grew up to be a pilot—and that was when his adventures began. He found a job delivering mail by plane, which had never been done before. He and his fellow pilots traveled to faraway places and discovered new ways of getting from one place to the next. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts. He battled winds and storms. He tried to break aviation records, and sometimes he even crashed. From his plane, Antoine looked down on the earth and was inspired to write about his life and his pilot-hero friends in memoirs and in fiction. Peter Sís’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the most beloved books in the world.

A fantastic picturebook biography, rich in art and detail, it can be a little tricky to navigate but I feel that is part of the point.. Wonderfully detailed spread require exploration and that is why it is a year 5 text, it’s a book that inspires discussion and exploration and equally shows us an extraordinary life to boot.

I’d read it alongside the wonderful  “The Little Prince”

5. Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford and Kadir Nelson

Born into slavery, Harriet Tubman hears these words from God one summer night and decides to leave her husband and family behind and escape. Taking with her only her faith, she must creep through the woods with hounds at her feet, sleep for days in a potato hole, and trust people who could have easily turned her in.

But she was never alone.

In lyrical text, Carole Boston Weatherford describes Tubman’s spiritual journey as she hears the voice of God guiding her north to freedom on that very first trip to escape the brutal practice of forced servitude. Tubman would make nineteen subsequent trips back south, never being caught, but none as profound as this first one. Courageous, compassionate, and deeply religious, Harriet Tubman, with her bravery and relentless pursuit of freedom, is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

This is a unique and moving portrait of one of the most inspiring figures of the Underground Railroad. Kadir Nelson’s emotionally charged paintings embody strength, healing, and hope.

This picture book is a beautiful account of Harriet Tubman’s escape of slavery. Carole Boston Weatherford’s fictionalized story includes many historical facts.  Whilst the talking to god may put some people off the book, for me it enhanced my understanding of Harriet Tubman.

The author does an amazing job of spotlighting the feelings and struggles Harriet Tubman had along the journey. Kadie Nelson’s art zings and every image could be used to start a conversation about the challenges that she had to overcome. Powerful, challenging and a great story.

6. You are Stardust by Elin Kelsey and Soyeon Kim

You Are Stardust begins by introducing the idea that every tiny atom in our bodies came from a star that exploded long before we were born. From its opening pages, the book suggests that we are intimately connected to the natural world; it compares the way we learn to speak to the way baby birds learn to sing, and the growth of human bodies to the growth of forests. Award-winning author Elin Kelsey — along with a number of concerned parents and educators around the world — believes children are losing touch with nature. This innovative picture book aims to reintroduce children to their innate relationship with the world around them by sharing many of the surprising ways that we are all connected to the natural world.

Grounded in current science, this extraordinary picture book provides opportunities for children to use their imaginations and wonder about some big ideas. Soyeon Kim’s incredible diorama art enhances the poetic text, and her creative process is explored in full on the reverse side of the book’s jacket, which features comments from the artist. Young readers will want to pore over each page of this book, exploring the detailed artwork and pondering the message of the text, excited to find out just how connected to the Earth they really are.

A stunning picture book that explains how we are part of a natural world. Great science and stunning art make it an absolute treat. The Diorama art is a great thing to replicate as well. Eloquent and profound. A top drawer picturebook that sparks loads of question.

Similar in theme and stunning art is this below… This is more poetic…

Bonus Book

Child of the universe by Ray Jayawardhana and Raul Colon

Just like the sun gives shine to the moon,
you light up the world beyond this room . . .
You are grand and marvelous, strong and mysterious.
The history of the world is in your fingertips.

A meditation on the preciousness of one child and the vastness of the universe, this picture book shares the measure of a parent’s love along with the message that we are all connected to the broader cosmos.

7. Freedom we Sing by Amyra Leon and Molly Mendoza

I wonder, then, what freedom is. Is it a place? Is it a thought? Can it be stolen? Can it be bought?

As powerful as it is beautiful, Freedom, We Sing is a lyrical picture book designed to inspire and give hope to readers around the world. Molly Mendoza’s immersive, lush illustrations invite kids into the text, to ask themselves what it means to be free, while lyrical and emotive text is provided by musician Amyra León.

Powerful, beautiful and emotive. This is a book for all our classrooms, and should be used to spark the important conversations we need to have. Stunning poetic language and emotive vibrant art combine to create a powerhouse of a book. This is a book for now and the future.

8. Because by Mo Willems and Amber Ren

Mo Willems, a number one New York Times best-selling author and illustrator, composes a powerful symphony of chance, discovery, persistence, and magic in this moving tale of a young girl’s journey to center stage. Illustrator Amber Ren brings Willems’ music to life, conducting a stunning picture-book debut.

You may be detecting a theme. This is a book about artistic expression and how through education we open doorways to what is possible. This time this one is about music and how experiences can be formative and set things in motion that can’t be stopped. Part of our role as schools is to open doorways to our young people. Education should never act as a barrier. This is a perfect year 5 book (or probably Year 4 or Year 3 or actually across the whole school). I would tie it tightly to the music curriculum and see where it can take you.

9. Stone for Sacha by Aaron Becker

A girl grieves the loss of her dog in an achingly beautiful wordless epic from the Caldecott Honor–winning creator of Journey.

This year’s summer vacation will be very different for a young girl and her family without Sascha, the beloved family dog, along for the ride. But a wistful walk along the beach to gather cool, polished stones becomes a brilliant turning point in the girl’s grief. There, at the edge of a vast ocean beneath an infinite sky, she uncovers, alongside the reader, a profound and joyous truth. In his first picture book following the conclusion of his best-selling Journey trilogy, Aaron Becker achieves a tremendous feat, connecting the private, personal loss of one child to a cycle spanning millennia — and delivering a stunningly layered tale that demands to be pored over again and again.

Becker is a master of the wordless art. His journey trilogy are just amazing and are very popular. This for me however is his master-piece. This is essentially the history of the world in a wordless picturebook. It is a stunning achievement but possibly the story telling is too dense and complex. It requires a fair bit of knowledge to get the best out of it.

We used it alongside selected bits of this…



10. A Song for Will and the lost Gardeners of Heligan by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey

When World War 1 is declared on 4th August 1914, errand boy, Alfie, is disappointed that he is too young to sign up. But his frustration turns to despair as he begins to realise the brutal consequences of battle. During the four year conflict, Alfie’s exchange of letters with Heligan stone mason, Fred Paynter, and the visits home of gardener, William Guy, paint a poignant picture of life at the front. Reading them in a peaceful corner of England, the sanctuary of Heligan, Alfie realises just how different his life could have been. Can Fred and Will survive the horrors of the Somme in 1916? And what worrying news might Alfie receive about other battles? Published in partnership with the Lost Gardens of Heligan and drawing on facts from their archives ‘A Song For Will’ is a beautiful story of longing and loss, of discovery and hope.

A fantastic World War 1 story told in heartfelt emotional letters back home, based on a true story. The letters are complimented by Impey’s art that still manages to convey the horrors of war even though this is aimed at children. This is my favourite Robinson/Impey WW1 book and that is saying something because they are all fantastic.

I’d also like to shout about Martin Impey’s version of Wilfred Owen’s Dulce Decorum Est which is just astounding. We used little bits of but it would be perfect in KS3 in bringing the words of the poem  and the horrors of war to stark, vivid life.

Links to other picturebook lists…

More Picturebooks for Year 6 (list 2) …#PictureBookPage

Booklists (picturebooks)

Find the space to talk… 10 picturebooks for Year 5 #picturebookpage

3 thoughts on “10 more Picturebooks for Year 5 (List 2)…#PicturebookPage

  1. Thank you! More inspiration. After seeing you for the first time on the Renaissance Learning webinar I am now a super fan! And have a renewed love of picture books (spent a fortune!)


  2. Pingback: 10 more picturebooks for Year 3…#PicturebookPage | Being Brave! a first time headteachers blog.

  3. Pingback: Year 1-Year 6 Picturebook lists so far… (links) | Being Brave! a first time headteachers blog.

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