Social Activism Books for Fifth Grade

Books can encourage kids of all ages to enact change in their communities. Because it’s never too early to make a difference, we’ll be sharing a list of social activism books for each grade level. Check out our social activism book roundup for fifth grade below and for more social activism titles, check out our full printable Social Activism Diverse Reading List!

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh
written by Uma Krishnaswami

While her parents and neighbors are struggling through World War II, working for India’s independence, and trying to stay on their farmland, nine-year-old Maria Singh learns to play softball just like her heroes in the All-American Girls’ League.

Find the Teacher’s Guide here.

Game Set Match

Game, Set, Match, Champion Arthur Ashe
written by Crystal Hubbard, illus. by Kevin Belford

Arthur Ashe began playing tennis on the segregated courts of Virginia–but he went on to conquer the world.

Find the Teacher’s Guide here.

The Bus Ride

The Bus Ride
written by William Miller, illus. by John Ward

An African American girl discovers how one child can make a difference when she refuses to sit in the back of a bus. Includes an introduction by Rosa Parks.

Find the Teacher’s Guide here.

The Mangrove Tree

The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families
written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, illus. by Susan L. Roth

With alternating verse and prose passages, readers discover how Dr. Gordon Sato’s mangrove-tree planting project transformed an impoverished village in Eritrea into a self-sufficient community.

Find the Teacher’s Guide here.

Marti's Song for Freedom

Martí’s Song for Freedom/ Martí y sus versos por la libertad
written by Emma Otheguy, illus. by Beatriz Vidal

José Martí dedicated his life to the promotion of liberty: the abolishment of slavery, political independence from colonialism for all Latinos. This bilingual biography is written in verse with excerpts from Martí’s seminal work, Versos sencillos.

Find the Teacher’s Guide here.

Brothers in Hope

Brothers in Hope: The Story of The Lost Boys of Sudan
written by Mary Williams, illus. by R. Gregory Christie

After war destroys his village in southern Sudan, a young boy unites with thousands of other orphans to walk to safety in a refugee camp. This powerful story of survival and brotherhood is based on true events.

Find the Teacher’s Guide here.

More in this series:

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Additional resources about Social Activism work with students:

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