One of the first books I shared with my students was "Canoe Days by Gary Paulsen (1999). The illustrations Ruth Wright Paulsen add depth to the wonderful prose. The pictures portray the vivid descriptions. Great example of taking a memorable day and melding it with exquisite words.
Before reading this book aloud - I selected approximately 20 words from the selection and broke them into 4 groups. I wrote the groups on the board and had my 4th & 5th graders use them for an alphabetizing activity. Once I started reading the story I could see the students' eyes light up as they made the connection to the vocabulary on the board and the selection I was reading.