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Novels for ESL Students: Novels for Grades 1 - 5

This guide lists novels available in the Spokane Community College Library that are appropriate for English as a Second Language students

Novels for Grades 1 - 5

These books are in order by reading grade level.


The library call number (example: 813.54 ALEXIE) is shown after the book title.  The call number will indicate where to find the book in the library.  Ask a librarian if you need help locating a book.

Alexie, Sherman, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, 813.54 ALEXIE, 229 pages, grade level 3.4

Budding cartoonist Junior leaves his troubled school on the Spokane Indian Reservation to attend an all-white farm town school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. 

White, E.B., Charlotte’s Web, 813.52 WHITE, 282 pages, grade level 4.4

Wilbur, the pig, is desolate when he discovers that he is destined to be the farmer's Christmas dinner until his spider friend, Charlotte decides to help him.

Cisneros, Sandra, The House on Mango Street, 813.54 CISNEROS, 110 pages, grade level 4.5

Esperanza Cordero, a girl coming of age in the Hispanic quarter of Chicago, uses poems and stories to express thoughts and emotions about her oppressive environment. 

L’Engle, Madeleine, A Wrinkle in Time, 813.54 LENGLE, 211 pages, grade level 4.7

When an atomic physicist disappears on a secret mission, his son, daughter and their friend search for him, going on an interplanetary journey through time and space. 


Hinton, S.E., The Outsiders, 813.54 HINTON, 218 pages, grade level 5.1

Greasers, Rockers, different place, different name - but wherever they are, they're outsiders; the rough, tough, long-haired boys from the other side of town, with little hope of Mustangs, madras shirts and the good things of American life in the Sixties. Their story is told by Ponyboy, a greaser with good reason to rear the lucky boys in Mustangs, and a witness to the savage baiting that leads his best friend to manslaughter. More than a story of hatred and violence, also a story of loyalty and friendship as teenagers of the urban slums search for personal dignity and a place in the world. 


Collins, Suzanne, The Hunger Games, 813.54 COLLINS, 374 pages, grade level 5.3

In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place. 

Collins, Suzanne, Catching Fire, 813.54 COLLINS, 391 pages, grade level 5.3

By winning the annual Hunger Games, District 12 tributes Katniss Everdeen and Peeta Mellark have secured a life of safety and plenty for themselves and their families, but because they won by defying the rules, they unwittingly become the faces of an impending rebellion. 


Collins, Suzanne, Mockingjay, 813.54 COLLINS, 390 pages, grade level 5.3

Katniss Everdeen's having survived the Hunger games twice makes her a target of the Capitol and President Snow, as well as a hero to the rebels who will succeed only if Katniss is willing to put aside her personal feelings and serve as their pawn. 


Steinbeck, John, The Pearl, 813.52 STEINEBE, 90 pages, grade level 5.4

In this short book illuminated by a deep understanding and love of humanity, John Steinbeck retells an old Mexican folk tale: the story of the great pearl, how it was found, and how it was lost. For the diver Kino, finding a magnificent pearl means the promise of a better life for his impoverished family. His dream blinds him to the greed and suspicions the pearl arouses in him and his neighbors, and even his loving wife cannot temper his obsession or stem the events leading to the tragedy. 

Lewis, C.S., The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, 823.912 LEWIS, 248 pages, grade level 5.5

Lucy and Edmund, accompanied by their peevish cousin Eustace, sail to the land of Narnia where Eustace is temporarily transformed into a green dragon because of his selfish behavior and skepticism. 


Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 823.914 ROWLING, 309 pages, grade level 5.5

Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

Lewis, C.S., The Chronicles of Narnia: The Magician’s Nephew, 823.912 LEWIS, 202 pages, grade level 5.6

In the first book of The Chronicles of Narnia, C.S. Lewis shows us how it all began -- the glorious birth of Narnia at the hand of its unforgettable King. It is followed by six more books that collectively tell the history of a world that has become as real as our own. 

Lewis, C.S., The Chronicles of Narnia: The Prince Caspian: The Return to Narnia, 823.912 LEWIS, 223 pages, grade level 5.6

Four children help Prince Caspian and his army of Talking Beasts to free Narnia from evil. Troubled times have come to Narnia as it is gripped by civil war. Prince Caspian is forced to blow The Great Horn of Narnia, summoning the help of past hero Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. Now they must overthrow Caspian's uncle, King Miraz, to restore peace to Narnia. 

Schaefer, Jack, Shane, 813.54 SCHAEFE, 214 pages, grade level 5.6

Shane, a stranger the Starretts take into their home in Wyoming in 1889, becomes involved in a feud between the cattle ranger and the local homesteaders. 

Lewis, C.S., The Chronicles of Narnia: The Silver Chair, 823.912 LEWIS, 243 pages, grade level 5.7

Two English children undergo hair-raising adventures as they go on a search and rescue mission for the missing Prince Rilian, who is held captive in the underground kingdom of the Emerald Witch. 

Lewis, C.S., The Chronicles of Narnia: The Horse and His Boy, 823.912 LEWIS, 224 pages, grade level 5.8

A boy and a talking horse share an adventurous and dangerous journey to Narnia to warn of invading barbarians. 

Lewis, C.S., The Chronicles of Narnia: The Last Battle, 823.912 LEWIS, 211 pages, grade level 5.8

When evil comes to Narnia, Jill and Eustace help fight the great last battle and Aslan leads his people to a glorious new paradise. 

Soto, Gary, Baseball in April, 813.54 SOTO, 111 pages, grade level 5.8

A collection of eleven short stories focusing on the everyday adventures of Hispanic young people growing up in Fresno, California. In this unique collection of short stories, the small events of daily life reveal big themes-love and friendship, youth and growing up, success and failure. Calling on his own experiences of growing up in California's Central Valley, poet Gary Soto brings to life the joys and pains of young people everywhere. The smart, tough, vulnerable kids in these stories are Latino, but their dreams and desires belong to all of us. 

Montgomery, Lucy Maud, Anne of Green Gables, 813.54 MONTGOM, 287 pages, grade level 5.9

Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her. 

Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, 823.914 ROWLING, 870 pages, grade level 5.9

When the government of the magic world and authorities at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry refuse to believe in the growing threat of a freshly revived Lord Voldemort, fifteen-year-old Harry Potter finds support from his loyal friends in facing the evil wizard and other new terrors. 

Rowling, J.K., Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, 823.914 ROWLING, 341 pages, grade level 5.9

For Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor and a spirit who haunts the girls' bathroom. But then real trouble begins--someone is turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects ... Harry Potter himself? 

Twain, Mark, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, 813.4 TWAIN, 281 pages, grade level 5.9

Climb aboard the raft with Huck and Jim and drift away from the "sivilized" life and into a world of adventure, excitement, danger, and self-discovery. Huck's shrewd and humorous narrative is complemented by lyrical descriptions of the Mississippi valley and a sparkling cast of memorable characters. 

Twain, Mark, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, 813.4 TWAIN, 717 pages, grade level 5.9

The adventures of a boy growing up in a nineteenth-century Mississippi River town as he plays hookey on an island, witnesses a crime, hunts for the pirates treasure, and becomes lost in a cave.