Ships, Sea and More! Novels for Grades 5 and Up

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

I have to admit I have had these books sitting on my shelf for awhile. I keep meaning to review them and somehow other things jump in the way. Today I am finally going to share them with you! I am sharing three books today with you written for grades 5 and up. One is non-fiction from the Civil War time and the other two are novels. Are you ready to go on some adventures? We will definitely be on one with each of these books. The first book is Sinking the Sultana by Sally M. Walker. Have you heard of the Sultana? I hadn't but what an interesting and sad piece of history. 

The Civil War has ended. The North has won. Now it is time to get all the prisoners of war home. The South has awful camps it has been keeping the prisoners in and they are lucky to still be alive, but the survivors need to get home to the North. The Government is paying a good sum per head to get them back up North. Well the released prisoners could not wait to get home and the steamboat owners could not wait to get the money. The ships were often overcrowded and for the Sultana a disaster happened. It sunk and took with it around 1600 people. 

This amazing book shares with the reader about the war, the war camps and life in them as well as a bit of history of the boats on the Mississippi River. It goes into how the boats for the Mississippi are different than ones for the sea. It explains so much and makes the book interesting. This book shares the lives of some of the people who died on the Sultana. The view it gives of the Civil War is one I really hadn't heard before and then the story of the ship going down and killing so many people. It is intriguing as well as informative. It is the perfect book for any Civil War unit or for anyone who loves to read about history. This true story has it all--greed, bribery, bravery and more! I can see both males and females loving this one. Candlewick Press provides downloadable Discussion Questions and a Teacher's Guide for this book on their website. 

Our next book is Race to the Bottom of the Sea by Lindsay Eagar.  I have had the pleasure of reviewing Eagar's other book, Hour of the Bees, previously and loved it! This book does not disappoint either. Both books have a bit of magic and unrealistic things in them. In this story eleven-year-old Fidelia Quail is morning the loss of her parents who are great marine scientists, but then Fidelia gets kidnapped by a pirate who wants help retrieving his treasure from the ocean floor. There is mystery and intrigue and plenty of drama in this one. 

I love that Fidelia is a brave and intelligent young woman. She is a genius really (although in the most unrealistic ways). She is dealing with life lessons in a very different world than ours but has lessons that will be true here as well. This book draws the reader in and keeps them engaged. It is definitely worth the read. Candlewick Press provides a downloadable Discussion Guide on their website for this book. The recommended grades are three to seven for this one. 

Our final book for today is the final book in the Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard series. It is The Ship of the Dead by Rick Riordan. This series is based on Norse mythology. Therefore it is the world of gods and their children. Magnus Chase was once a homeless teen and is now one of Odin's chosen warriors. He discovered he is the son of Frey, god of peace.  In this installment Magnus and his crew are setting off to the farthest borders in pursuit of Asgard's greatest threat. He must find Loki and his ship of zombie warriors to save life as he knows it.

Talk about excitement and adventure. This book has it. Whether it is the fact that Magnus dies just about every day, but since he cannot die he comes back to life. Or the adventures of the children of the gods and their talents. Oh, and did I mention he is friends with the children of Greek gods as well, so there is a cross of mythology in the book. This book will get kids interested in learning more about mythology as well as just reading. I hope you will check out this great book.

So if you are looking for some books to inspire your middle schoolers be sure to check these out. They will not disappoint!