The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary
The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary

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.

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.

FREE Educator’s Guide available for download at Random House Children’s Books. Find the PDF here.

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Arnold Adoff Poetry Award for New Voices Honor Book
Cybils Award in Poetry
An NCTE Notable Verse Novel
Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year
ILA-CBC Choices Reading Lists, Children’s Choices
SCBWI Crystal Kite Finalist, Midatlantic Region
Lectio Book Award Finalist
Nerdy Book Club Award — Poetry and Novels in Verse

Nominated for:
Massachusetts Children’s Book Award
New Hampshire Great Stone Face Book Award
Pennsylvania Young Reader’s Choice Awards
Rhode Island Children’s Book Award
Wisconsin State Reading Association Children’s Book Awards


“The poems are easy to read, in authentic-sounding language that captures the poets’ personalities; avatar-like illustrations accompany each piece to remind readers of who’s who. A helpful guide to poetic forms appears at the end of the book.” —The Horn Book

“Entertaining . . . Shovan skillfully employs different poetic forms and styles…Characters… will inspire readers as they find the courage to save their school and make their voices heard, both as a united front and as capable, valuable individuals.” —Publishers Weekly

“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

“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, United States Young People’s Poet Laureate, Newbery Honor-winning author of The Surrender Tree