Laura Shovan’s engaging, big-hearted debut is a time capsule of one class’s poems during a transformative school year. 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.

“This entertaining debut novel in verse follows the fifth graders at Emerson Elementary as they attempt to save their “run-down” school, which is danger of closing. In an ethnically diverse class… characters …will inspire readers.” ~ Publisher’s Weekly


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.




Advance Praise for
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

“Eighteen kids. Eighteen stories. An original idea, artfully and heartfully rendered. What a treat!”

– Eileen Spinelli, author of Another Day as Emily and other books

“Sure to inspire the poet in all of us, young and old.”

– Mark Goldblatt, author of Twerp

“A delightful book, with an endearing cast of characters who can help teach the craft of poetry while sharing their own diverse personal stories.”

– Margarita Engle, Newbery Honor winning author of The Surrender Tree

Visit Random House Children’s Books online for the Free Educator’s Guide.