Staff Picks 2022: Fiction for Grades 4-5

By Skokie Staff Youth Services

From magic to friend stories to humor, mystery, and folklore, this list is packed with great stories and characters.

  • Dream, Annie, Dream

    2022 by Brown, Waka T.

    I rooted for Annie right from the start. I loved how she navigated the highs and lows of middle school and friendship and never gave up on her dreams, despite other people's bigotry. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Golden Girl

    2022 by Faruqi, Reem

    I loved Aafiyah: even though she is not perfect and makes mistakes, she has good intentions. This is a story about family, friendship, change, and hope. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Midnight Children

    2022 by Gemeinhart, Dan

    This book defied all of my expectations, over and over. Steeped in what feels like slightly dangerous kid magic, this book reminded me of reading Tuck Everlasting or Bridge to Terabithia for the first time. A great, engaging story. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Nura and the Immortal Palace

    2022 by Khan, M. T.

    I really enjoyed this action-packed fantasy that takes place in a fictional city in Pakistan. I really appreciated that it does not shy away from some serious real-life issues too. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • In the Beautiful Country

    2022 by Kuo, Jane

    I love that this novel in verse gave me a lot to think about. Can something be beautiful and ugly at the same time? Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Aviva vs. the Dybbuk

    2022 by Lowe, Mari

    This is a mind-melter of a book. Part mystery, part realistic fiction, part supernatural/psychological thriller with a good, strong emotional core--there is so much to love about this one. I can't wait to reread it! Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Sofía Acosta Makes a Scene

    2022 by Otheguy, Emma

    I could relate to Sofia on so many levels, and I empathized with her trying to meet her parents' expectations. I cheered when she was able to find her own path and her own voice, while learning how one person can make a big difference. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Black Bird, Blue Road

    2022 by Pasternack, Sofiya

    I found this historical fantasy set in the Khazaria, a Jewish medieval empire, to be an engrossing and touching tale combining Jewish traditions and mythology. Suggested by Maria.

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  • The Secret Battle of Evan Pao

    2022 by Shang, Wendy Wan Long

    This book gave me a lot to think about, and I really loved it. The characters are complex and endearing, and I learned about some parts of history that I hadn't known before. An excellent book for those who like realistic fiction. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • A Comb of Wishes

    2022 by Stringfellow, Lisa

    Everything about this book is fun to read. The call-and-response nod to oral folklore pulls the reader right into the story and gives us a front row seat to the edgy action. Perfect for those of us who like our wishes and our mermaids a little dangerous. Suggested by Caitlin.

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  • Eden's Everdark

    2022 by Strong, Karen

    This story had me hooked from the first page; it started out one way and then turned into a spooky, haunting tale. Suggested by Meleesa.

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  • The Language of Seabirds

    2022 by Taylor, Will

    I thought this book was a beautiful story of two boys who develop a friendship and their own secret language of seabirds to describe their big feelings. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Maizy Chen's Last Chance

    2022 by Yee, Lisa

    I love Lisa Yee's books and there's a reason this one is a National Book Award nominee. It combines humor and history as well as family drama and mystery to tell an intergenerational story that left me thinking about my own history. I'm hoping this one makes it on our 2023 Cool Summer Reads list! Suggested by Mandy.

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