I've been impressed with the Who Is/Who Was books. They are pretty quick reads and are great for learning history. I learned quite a bit about these two.
I am also trying to find that first great read aloud for the year. I stumbled upon Among the Hidden, not realizing that it was published in 2000 and is part of a series. This is a great introduction to dystopian fiction and applying Notice and Note strategies.
Fly Away Home and The Wall are also great classics by Eve Bunting. The first touches upon homelessness and the second explores feelings of the survivors of war veterans.