The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

Book - 2018
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An award-winning, big-hearted time capsule of one class's poems during a transformative school year. A great pick for fans of Margarita Engle and Eileen Spinelli.

Eighteen kids,
one year of poems,
one school set to close.
Two yellow bulldozers
crouched outside,
ready to eat the building
in one greedy gulp.

But look out, bulldozers.
Ms. Hill's fifth-grade class
has plans for you.
They're going to speak up
and work together
to save their school.

Families change and new friendships form as these terrific kids grow up and move on in this whimsical novel-in-verse about finding your voice and making sure others hear it.

Honors and Praise:

Winner of a Cybils Award in Poetry

Winner of an Arnold Adoff Poetry Honor Award for New Voices

An NCTE Notable Verse Novel

A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year

An ILA-CBC Children's Choice

Nominated for the Pennsylvania Young Reader's Choice Award, the Wisconsin State Reading Association Children's Book Award, the Rhode Island Children's Book Award, and the Great Stone Face Award (New Hampshire), Lectio Book Award Master List

"This gently evocative study of change in all its glory and terror would make a terrific read-aloud or introduction to a poetry unit. A most impressive debut." -- School Library Journal

"Sure to inspire the poet in all of us, young and old." --Mark Goldblatt, author of Twerp

Audience: 008-012.
Publisher: New York : Yearling, 2018.
ISBN: 9780553521405
Branch Call Number: J FIC Shova
Characteristics: 246 pages ; 19 cm


From the critics

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JCLChrisK Jan 31, 2017

A surprisingly skillful, evocative, and engaging book.

The unwieldy title didn't hold much appeal for me going in and the central concern--a class protesting the Board of Education's plans to tear down their school and replace it with a supermarket--doesn't seem like one that would get fifth graders all that riled up. Yet Shovan finds a way to for that concern to have realistic impact on each of the 18 students, often as a metaphor for bigger, more personal changes--or desire for changes--they're dealing with. The building change is the conceit, yet through it each character finds ways to express their lives and personalities with a minimum of words.

And that's what I found particularly impressive: each of the 18 students is distinct. Each page or spread is a poem by one of them, alternating between them over the course of a school year. The poetry forms and styles vary, with each character trying out different ones based on their moods and needs. Even so, their personalities show through. And the poems seem like ones that fifth graders might produce. Middle grade readers should find it accessible and the characters relatable.

The book ends with a nice appendix that briefly describes the poetry forms and topic prompts used, with references to examples from the book for each. That adds to the pleasurable reading an inviting opportunity for readers to explore their own poetry voices.

Nov 18, 2016

Freedom Writers for elementary. Each child shares a piece of what's going on in their life or school. It is easy to track who's who. The pictures at the top and the variety is a good choice to add distinction. You read it and you're not sure if you should root for the school to be replaced or not. Good variety with the types of poems and excellent explanation in the back of the styles.

When I got to page 60 and realized it was only the "first quarter" of school, I stopped. I literally went thru the same thing, where they ripped down the school and we were bused elsewhere. It wasn't a big deal for the kids, they just were going to different place. Teachers did because that was their job and they were worried for their students. Parents cared because they now had to find either a new school or else accept the alternate with transportation issues. Zero kids cared then and I can't see this being a worry today. If this book is for kids, I dont see the appeal. DNF

Jul 10, 2016

This was an amazing book but it wasn't like a normal book it was in rymes and poems! It was so cool!!!!! I love this book!

cmlibrary_rkimray May 02, 2016

A unique novel-journal-poetry collection. Each of the 18 student writers offers a unique voice and perspective as their 5th grade year progresses. Because of the format, the story progresses quickly, making for a fast read. The author even includes poetry prompts to get your own creative juices flowing!

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cmlibrary_rkimray May 02, 2016

cmlibrary_rkimray thinks this title is suitable for between the ages of 8 and 12


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