Mr. Feldman's Summer Reading Recommendations

When asked to make book recommendations, Daniel offered 5 titles along with how and why he finds these texts valuable. We hope you will read them for your own enjoyment and perhaps find ways to share with the young readers in your life! 

Recommendation 1: Make Your Bed by Admiral William H. McRaven (Retired)

Though I do not teach this book with my 5th graders, I am sure to read it to them every year.  Admiral McRaven captures wonderful life lessons in succinct stories that inspire.  I have found that many students respond to the book with genuine interest in its teachings.  In the past this has sparked wonderful conversations about the power of positive attitudes and growth mindsets, balancing hard work with future rewards, and how little changes to everyday behavior can amount to big outcomes in our lives.  A must read with our children today, and a wonderful conversation starter around the dinner-table.

 Make Your Bed        The Three Questions 

Recommendation 2: The Three Questions by Jon J Muth

I use this book every year to establish expectations in my classroom.  A retelling of the classic tale by Leo Tolstoy, The Three Questions is a picture book that captures excellent life lessons for our young learners today.  By asking ourselves "who is the most important one?", "when is the right time to do things?", and "what is the right thing to do?", we can all learn to navigate tough moral decisions, and work together to promote a brighter, more selfless future.

Recommendation 3: The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde Illus. by S. Saelig Gallagher

This is another book I teach each year with my fifth-grade class.  Though it is not a novel, it is a vital part of our start-of-the-year tone-set.  Through the wonderful imagination of Oscar Wilde, children learn about the importance of giving of ourselves, and the power of right action.  This is a powerful piece that brings a tear to my eye each time I revisit it.

 The Selfish Giant.     Watsons 

Recommendation 4: The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

This book is my favorite novel unit of the year, and it is often a favorite of my students as well!  Though it is the last book we read together in 5th grade, The Watsons Go to Birmingham - 1963 is one that I hear the most positive feedback for from my former students after returning in the fall.  It tells the story of Kenny, a 10 year-old boy, as he navigates school, sibling relationships, and the events that took place in Alabama in 1963.  Families should be prepared to discuss name-calling, profanity, Jim Crow laws, and the fight for Civil Rights if their child reads this book.  Though it addresses challenging topics, it does so with a touching humor, and I have found that it resonates deeply with my students each year.

Recommendation 5: We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson

We are the Ship tells the story of Negro League Baseball at a time when America's pastime was still divided by color.  Though I do not teach the book per se, I have read it to my classes in the past as an after-recess cooldown.  Students often engage with the history and listen well to the lessons of overcoming hardship, and the importance of teamwork.  Kadir Nelson is a masterful artist and gifted storyteller, and this masterwork succeeds at immersing young readers in American history through its powerful storytelling and incredible painted illustrations.

We are the ship