5th Grade Picture Book Recommendation: Nightsong

The picture book advent calendar that I introduced at the beginning of December has been a huge success. Each day, my students are (collectively) so excited to unwrap another book and read. I’m seeing such value in utilizing picture books in fifth grade, and through this December activity I’m seeing opportunities to incorporate picture books throughout the year.

While students have enjoyed all of the books, some definitely stand out as favorites. It’s been interesting, as I’ve been surprised by a few that have completely captivated them. Today, one such book was Nightsong by Ari Berk.


Nightsong is a beautifully written book about a young bat who learns to navigate his surroundings. It’s a sweet story, and my students were engrossed in the illustrations. My entire class just adored the cuteness of Chiro, the little bat. Although most of the pictures are dark, the illustrator manages to include detail in the shadows. My students ooo’d and ahhh’d at nearly every picture. Well, I’m rambling. My point is that the pictures were captivating to a 5th grade audience.

Why should 5th grade teachers use this book in the classroom? FIGURATIVE LANGUAGE. This book contains one example after another of personification. My students had fun quietly identifying all the examples as we went along. The opening lines are, “The sun had set, and the shadows clinging to the walls of the cave began to wake and whisper.” Bam. Sold.

This book can also be used to teach echolocation. I see it as a great accompaniment to the novel Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel, which is a great class novel study by the way.

I’ll post about a few more picture book successes shortly. Do you have any that are huge hits in your classroom?

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