There are so many amazing novels and chapter books for upper elementary students! Here are a few that you might not be familiar with but should add to your classroom library right away:
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
This is a thrilling and mysterious book that keeps readers on the edge of their seats. The story follows two orphaned siblings, Molly and Kip, who go to work at a creepy Victorian mansion and soon realize things are not what they seem.
The children uncover the secrets of an ancient curse and a ghost who tends to a tree that can grant your every wish. The book explores themes of courage, friendship, and the power of facing one's fears. Lots of adventure and suspense in this one, plus a moral at the end!
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix
The is a dystopian novel (one of my favorite genres for middle grades) set in a future society where families are only allowed to have two children. Luke, a third child, lives hidden away in his family's farmhouse, unable to leave or interact with the outside world.
However, his life changes when he discovers another hidden child and they join forces to challenge the oppressive regime. I like dystopian fiction for upper elementary because they're a fun way to prompt discussions about societal issues and fairness.
Wildfire: A Novel - Rodman Philbrick
This is a lesser-known book by the same author as Freak the Mighty, but it's quite exciting and suspenseful!
The main character, Sam, is at summer camp in Maine when wildfires break out, As the camp is evacuated, Sam runs back to get his phone and the bus leaves without him. Trapped in a forest that is rapidly being engulfed by the flames, he goes on the run to survive. Sam eventually encounters another camper who was left behind as well and they join together in a bid to survive.
This is a quick read at only 202 pages, but is action-packed the whole way through. It will have your students eagerly anticipating the next chapter.
Get more book recommendation like these: 35 Best 5th Grade Read Alouds: Books for Upper Elementary