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Sunshine State Readers Awards: Elementary Grades 3 – 5 Books

Sunshine State Readers Awards: Grades 3 - 5 Books

The Sunshine State Readers Award (SSYRA) books are here for the 2024-2025 school year for grades 3-5 in Elementary School. Discover each book and check them out from our catalog.

Sunshine State Readers Award (SSYRA) Grades 3-5


The aquanaut

Dan Santat

Ever since her father was lost at sea, Sophia has been moping around Aqualand, a marine theme park. But Sophia’s world is turned upside-down when an “aquanaut” breaks into the park’s research lab. To her amazement, Sophia discovers that the aquanaut is not what it seems: inside lives a band of goofy sea creatures! And when they all realize that Aqualand is more sinister than advertised, Sophia is determined to help the aquanaut crew free the park’s captive marine life before it’s too late.


The big sting

Rachelle Delaney

A visit to Leo’s grandfather’s farm turns upside down when his grandmother’s bee hives are stolen. Infuriated, Grandpa vows to track down the sticky-fingered thieves himself . . . with risk-averse Leo and danger-loving Lizzie (plus a kitten named Mayhem) in tow.


Bound for home

Meika Hashimoto

Max the puppy has fallen in love. From the moment Emi walks into the shelter with her long black hair and bright smile, he knows she’s meant to be his forever person. Emi’s family has just moved to Maine from Japan, and he can tell that she is in desperate need of a friend like Max. After Emi adopts him, Max goes to live with her high up on a mountain homestead where he explores his new world and spends his days annoying the other family pet, a Maine coon cat named Red. So when Emi goes missing, Max knows that it’s up to him to find her, no matter where in the Maine woods she may be. Accompanied by Red, Max takes off on a journey that will challenge him with wild animals, hunger, and an impossible trail to track — but he’ll never give up until his girl is safe.


The cursed moon

Angela Cervantes

Rafael Fuentes isn’t easily scared. He loves writing ghost stories, reading scary books, and entertaining his friends with terrifying tales. Rafa’s incarcerated mom is being released from jail soon, and will be coming to live with him, his sister, and their grandparents. For the first time in a while, Rafa feels a pit of fear growing in his stomach. To take his mind off his mom’s return, Rafa spends an evening crafting the scariest ghost story he’s ever told. As an eerie blood moon hangs in the sky, Rafa tells a group of friends about The Caretaker. The Caretaker is an evil ghost who lures unsuspecting kids into the neighborhood pond. . . and they don’t ever come out. Rafa is really proud of his latest creation, until strange things start to happen around him. With a sinking feeling, Rafa realizes the Caretaker is real. Rafa has brought the ghost to life–and only he can stop him.


Finally seen

Kelly Yang

When ten-year-old Lina Gao leaves China to live with her parents and sister, after five years apart, she must reckon with her hurt, anger, and curiosity and find a way to get her bearings in this new country–and the almost-new family that comes along with it.


The Girl Who Built a Spider

George Brewington

When Theresa Brown wins the Charleston County Middle School Science Fair, she receives the opportunity of a lifetime—an invitation to celebrated scientist Dr. Flax’s laboratory and a summer spent building the invention of her dreams. Along with the second- and third-place finishers of the science fair, Theresa is whisked off to a world of robots, excitement, and danger. Dr. Flax claims his inventions are going to help stop climate change and make the world a better, safer place, but is that true? And can Theresa and her friends get to the bottom of the mysteries of his laboratory?


The grip

Marcus Stroman

Marcus, a young baseball pitcher, learns that perfect games only come with a lot of practice–and some strikeouts.


Home away from home

Cynthia Lord

Mia is spending her summer with her grandmother in a small Maine town, expecting it to be an oasis of stability in her changing life, but there is a new know-it-all boy next door, and soon she finds herself competing with Cayman in identifying an injured bird of prey–and pretty much everything else.


Manatee summer

Evan Griffith

Peter and his best friend, Tommy, have a goal for their last summer before middle school: finish their Discovery Journal, a catalog of the wildlife around their Florida town. When they spot a manatee in a canal, Peter knows they’ve found something special–and when the manatee is injured by a boat, something to protect! As Peter joins the fight to save Florida manatees, he also finds himself taking care of his ailing grandfather and facing an unwelcome surprise that jeopardizes his friendship with Tommy. Soon Peter is adrift, navigating shifting tides and realizing that he has as much to discover about himself as he does about the world around him.


Penny draws a best friend

Sara Shepard

Fifth grader Penny, who doodles to cope with anxiety, worries that her best friend is drifting away.


Race to Fire Mountain

Remi Blackwood

Jarell has never quite known where he belongs. He’s ignored at home and teased at school for wanting to draw instead of playing sports with the other boys. The only place he’s ever felt truly at ease is his local barbershop where the owner hangs Jarell’s art up on the walls. When Jarell discovers a hidden portal in the barbershop, he’s transported to a magical world that’s unlike anything he’s seen before. But it’s not just the powerful gods and dangerous creatures that makes this world different–it’s that everyone believes Jarell is the hero they’ve been waiting for.


The shelterlings

Sarah Beth Durst

Holly, a grey squirrel, and her animal friends have accepted that they will never be wizards’ familiars. Though they are each magical, their powers are so offbeat–that no professional magic-worker would choose any of them. So instead of going on adventures, they languish at the Shelter for Rejected Familiars, where they are known as ‘shelterlings.’ When an old friend appears with a plan for curing the shelterlings’ defective magic, everyone is on board. But when they learn that his offer is not what it seems, Holly and the shelterlings must fight to defend their magic.


Treasure in the Lake

Jason Pamment

Grand adventure stories often begin where you least expect, Iris knows this because she’s read them all. However, as a thirteen-year-old stuck in the tiny country town of Bugden, real adventure seems a distant dream. That doesn’t bother Sam, Iris’ best friend. For him, catching bugs and swimming in the lake is exciting enough. But when Iris and Sam stumble upon an unusually dry river on the outskirts of town, they’re led to a discovery beyond anything Iris has read about: a hidden city, lost in time and shrouded in mystery. As they explore this once flooded relic, the two unearth a forgotten tale of friendship and disaster that seems curiously familiar. Storm clouds gather as secrets begin to surface. Can Iris and Sam uncover the truth in time to keep their friendship afloat, or will history repeat and pull them apart forever?


The ultimate goal

Tom Greenwald

Ten-year-old Ben Cutler loves soccer, and he like to have fun while playing too, but when he joins a travel team that takes winning very seriously, he starts to wonder if there is more to the game than just getting a W.


When sea becomes sky

Gillian McDunn

As Pelican Island’s history-making drought wears on, the water level on Bex and Davey’s beloved marsh reveals the hand of a statue that has been underneath the water for who knows how long, and the siblings are determined to find out more.

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