Core Curriculum - Fifth Grade

Beginning of the 20th Century/Our Nation Today - The Great Depression

Children of the Dust Bowl-The True Story of the School at Weedpatch Camp
by Jerry Stanley, ISBN: 0517880946, Crown Publishers, Inc.
The complete story of what the Dust Bowl was, where it was located, and what happened to the people who were living in the area and moved to Californ-I-A to get a better life. Pictures are included to punctuate the story. The Weedpatch school was a school that was set up for the Okie children who were living in the poor camps of California.

Note: A teacher resource book.

Out of the Dust
by Karen Hesse, ISBN: 0590371258, Scholastic
Dust storms are devastating the family farm and all the farms nearby. While others flee from the dust bowl, Billie Jo is left to find peace in the bleak landscape of OklahomaBand in the surprising landscape of her own heart. This is a story of a girl who has to deal with the death of her mother, living with the pain that she caused the accident that killed her mother, guilt, and a father who would not talk about the accident and deal with his depression. It is a story of growing up under the harshest of circumstances.

Note: A teacher resource book or read aloud portions of the book.  Written in poetry form.

Our Nation Today

Maniac Magee
by Jerry Spinelli
The plight of the homeless, as well as racial differences, is seen through the eyes of Jeffrey (Maniac) Magee. After his parents were killed in an accident, and being miserable at his uncle's home, Jeffrey began to run and kept on going. He adopted families, and they adopted him. Through it all he discovered that there were people who cared that he was white, and others who looked beyond his skin color and found him. A true survivor, Maniac shouts AMEN when Grayson, an old man who rescued him, reads his first book, after Maniac taught him how to read. One cheered when he found ways to get Russell and Piper to stay in school, and cried when Grayson died five days after Maniac's happiest Christmas. Through his life of not feeling like he even had an address, Maniac spent his life quietly loving others, black or white, homeless or not. A touching Newbery Medal winner.

100 Years in Photographs
by George Sullivan
This is a photographic collection of over two hundred pictures and brings the twentieth century to life for the reader. The text and photographs cover the century by decades, touching on wars, theater and cinema, as well as music, including groups like the Beatles. A good classroom book to have while discussing U.S. history.

North American Neighbors

Spirit of the Maya
by Guy Garcia Kin
A twelve-year-old Lacandon Indian boy, is a direct descendant of the ancient Maya. He goes to school and plays soccer just like other Mexican boys but wonders about his people's traditional ways. He goes on a quest to find out about the Ancient Maya by visiting the majestic stone temples and pyramids nearby. These great structures were built for King Pacal, who was only twelve himself when he first began to rule the city. As he goes through the ruins he feels the stirrings of a pride in his roots.

Note: Photographs of the ancient ruins make this book feel like you are there.

The Red Comb
by Fernando Pico illustrated by Maria Antonia Ordonez, ISBN: 0816735409, Troll Medallion
In this award-winning classic, set in 19th century Puerto Rico, two women - one old and one young - plot to save a runaway slave. The story is a fictional creation of Fernando Pico, but it is based on true facts and real people carefully documented in historical sources. It is an excellent addition to multicultural collections. Family Pictures by Carmen Lomas Garza In this award winning book the story is told of the memories of growing up in Kingsville, Texas, near the border with Mexico. It is written in both English and Spanish and draws a fascinating picture of a culture that is deeply imbedded in the southwestern United States. Los cuadros de este libro los pinte de los recuerdos de mi ninez en Kingsville, Texas, cerca de la frontera con Mexico.

Famous Americans

Happy Birthday Martin Luther King (picture book)
by Jean Marzollo and illustrated by J. Brian Pinkney
This is a marvelous picture book about the life of Martin Luther King. Dr. King wanted people to be able to go places together, share food together, and love one another in peace. Because he worked so hard for freedom and helped so many people to gain it, we honor him every year with a special day.