The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon Draper

outofmymindReviewed by Ava

Have you ever imagined not being able to talk, no way to communicate with anyone, not being able to say “Mom, can we go there and eat instead of here?” or “Dad, I don’t like that shirt because it’s hot pink.”
Melody couldn’t say any of those things in fact she couldn’t even act it out! She couldn’t walk, she couldn’t talk, she could somewhat kick and scream but besides that she couldn’t do anything for herself, like feed herself, dress herself or pick herself up if she fell.
Melody is almost 11 years old, she has straight brown hair, a bright pink wheelchair and she was born with Cerebral Palsy. She is a determined character who is strong, smart, brave and who wants to be heard! At first Melody communicated with a board that had words and letters that allowed her to spell as well. Read this book to find out how Melody found a special new way to communicate. It’s a must read!

I really enjoyed the book, it was a smooth read, the descriptive text let me imagine and picture what the characters and scenes looked like. Melody is a character that mostly anyone can relate to or understand because we all want to be understood. Melody’s disability made me wonder how I would feel if I were her.

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park

Reviewed by Adedayo

The war in Sudan is raging. People can’t find water. There are two enemy groups in Sudan. These groups are called the Nuer and Dinka. They have fought for many years, but the war coming will bring much more. The author makes two storylines for this book. A Dinka boy named Salva is running far from his home to escape the war. Nya, a Nuer girl, is worried because they are running out of water, and the water they have now is not clean. The whole AMAZING book is about their two AMAZING journeys. Will Salva survive? Will Nya find clean water?

This book is very dramatic and I think you would like it if you like books that start piling on action right away. This is also a depressing book, but it can also bring hope to your heart. The characters really come to life in all of the suspense! I think any reader who loves those qualities will love this book.

Thank you, Adedayo! Readers, this AMAZING story is based on the real life and work of Salva Dut. You can read more about him and his organization, Water for South Sudan, online.

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: MASTERPIECE by Elise Broach

masterpieceReviewed by Cameron and Eoin

MASTERPIECE is about a friendship between a boy and a beetle, the boy’s parents are divorced, his mom is a client, his dad is an artist, his dad isn’t able to see him much and his mom doesn’t have much time for him between his baby brother and her work. The beetle lives under the sink in the boy’s mother’s house, he lives with his family and is able to swim (even is he has to use a peanut shell as a floaty.) The beetle draws a picture of the landscape behind the boy’s house using the boy’s birthday present from his dad, his father sees the picture and thinks his son is the one who drew it. This launches them into an art heist from a museum, will they solve the heist or will the thief get away?

I thought the author did a great job describing the artwork, even without the pictures, it felt as if I was only inches away from the artwork myself. I thought this was a wonderful book full of friendship, mystery and art and I would recommend this book to you for sure.


Masterpiece. That is what brings the two main characters together. A human boy named James meets a beetle named Marvin over Marvin’s beautiful picture, the first in his extraordinary series of masterpieces. This book, by Elise Broach, is a thrilling adventure, if a little too sweet at times, and a really enjoyable book to read. Like The Borrowers, who are tiny people living with larger people and borrowing their also tiny things, this tiny talented beetle and his family are living with a lonely 11-year-old boy and his family, that are not beetles. The boy and the beetle turn out to be a good pair and good friends, even though the insect cannot speak to the boy.

Marvin’s pictures turn out to be a major part of a staged theft for the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Marvin did his first artwork for James’s birthday and left it on his desk for him to find, but then the confusion begins. Alas, James’s family and Met Museum workers don’t think, or know, that the pictures are Marvin’s. They believe that they are James’s talented pictures! This, as you can image, leads to some complications.

The style of this book is usually fast paced and Elise Broach gives the beetle an abundance of problems to cope with, but as Marvin survives and gets out of tight spots his family (or so it seemed to me) worships him. His family does not seem very realistic, either for a beetle or a kid. But to say more would make spoilers!

All in all, I would be lying if I gave this book the highest recommendation possible, but I would definitely say that it is a good read!


Wondering what kind of drawing a beetle might do? What about what it feels like to have a worshipful family? Check out MASTERPIECE today!

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: Julia Gillian and The Art of Knowing by Alison McGhee

juliagillliancover Reviewed by Mikala

“When Julia looked at the green book, which stood o the shelves next to her bed, she felt frightened. The words were still there. They could be read any time.”

Julia Gillian and The Art of Knowing is about a girl named Julia who can’t find a book she enjoys. One day Julia finds a book she wants to read, and her father is very excited. She flips through the book and she sees the words “dog is broken.” Julia has a dog who is one year younger than the dog in her book, so she’s afraid her dog will die soon. After she reads the words “dog is broken” it makes her not read the book because the book scares her. Her parents are also going to summer school to become better teachers. As a result, she hasn’t gone to places she normally goes to over the summer. There are even more things in her life that are changing.

If you are facing many life changes this book might appeal to you. If you don’t like reading or if a book you started to read scares you, you might also like this book.

I enjoyed this book a lot. I think the author did a good job describing things and the story was very relatable to me because there were so many little moments where I knew that I had felt the same way as Julia. I think this book would appeal to many different people.

Thank you, Mikala! This is the first in a series, and if you read all three, we think you’ll realize that there’s at master storyteller at work. So what are you waiting for?

5th Grade Review Club Presents: BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu

BreadcrumbsReviewed by Esmé

This book by Anne Ursu was definitely a must-read. It was a great book. BREADCRUMBS had everything that a reader would want in a book, humor, images, descriptive writing and much more. Like the other book I reviewed, there were many different adventures that led up to a conclusion. Anne wrote it so well that you feel like you are in the book. It takes place in a small town with a nice school. The main characters in this book are a girl named Hazel and a boy named Jack. Something very mysterious has happened…and will Hazel try to figure it out? Will Hazel regret all she has done? Hazel is a brave, kind, caring girl who cares for people. Jack is a boy who is nice at first and then something happens, Jack forgets all and doesn’t even remember his best friend, Hazel.

In a way this book reminded me of the classic book The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Hazel goes through a place that she doesn’t know of and is trying to find someone, she pretends that her name is Rosy, a daughter of a couple that live in a very, very, very small town, until she finds out that they’re bad.

Readers who enjoy adventure must read this book!

The 5th Grade Review Club Presents: VANISHED by Sheela Chari

vanishedcoverReviewed by Eoin

Vanished. That’s the only way I can describe the plot at the beginning of this book. There was not one to be found. The writing was descriptive and detailed, and there were hints about what the story might be, but it was hard to find as the book was starting. But towards the middle of the book, it started to reveal itself, just as Neela starts to find clues to the location of her missing instrument. As the book got developed, it got very good. Neela’s character really came out and that was more interesting.

This mystery, VANISHED, by Sheela Chari, tells the story of a girl named Neela and her search for her missing veena, her traditional Indian instrument. Neela’s grandmother gave her the instrument that she prized for many years. Although that seems very normal to pass along a valued heirloom, this veena is much more complicated than that. It is not just an ordinary piece, it brings with it curses, thieves, and a series of suspicions.

SVG image of a Veena created in Inkscape from an old photograph from personal collection. Source: Wikipedia Author: Sreejithk2000
SVG image of a Veena created in Inkscape from an old photograph from personal collection.
Source: Wikipedia
Author: Sreejithk2000

The only criticism that I have is that initially the plot was like a triangle. The point is the opening of the book — not much there. Narrow and small. I could not really relate to Neela. Neela is 11 years old, just like me. You know how you are not supposed to go off with strangers? Your parents or an adult (or your own common sense!) warn you about them. Well, Neela follows a stranger into a church! Even though that is where she picks up the trail towards her veena, I still think it makes no sense in the real world. Would you do that?

But then, like a triangle gets wider and takes up more space, as the book went on, it got more depth. The mysteries, the clues, the characters–everything got more three-dimensional. In the end, I was really pulled into Neela herself and her search and really liked the book.

I would definitely recommend it, if you are willing to give it a chance to warm up.

Ready to give this unusual mystery chance?

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