Books for grade 6 – this list of suggested reading books for grade 6 students includes a range of exciting and thought-provoking books to suit all abilities, including easy readers, gripping series and more difficult texts for children aged 11-12. This list of 6th grade reading recommendations contains titles by Sharon Creech, Anna Sewell, Louis Sachar, Jacqueline Woodson, Anna Sewell, Shannon Hale and Jason Reynolds.
Books for Grade 6 – our recommendations
Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone by Tae Keller
When Jennifer runs away, her friends wonder why. Was it because she believes in aliens, or was it something her friend Mallory said? Mallory digs in deeper and reads Jennifer’s private journals in this compelling mystery of friendship, bullying, alienation, middle school life and not always fitting in.
Bullying | Diverse
The Doorman’s Repose by Chris Raschka
Each of the 10 short stories in this exceptional collection offers a glimpse into the different lives of those who live in a New York apartment building. From the baseball fan doorman to the secrets heard by an elevator; and the unseen mice within the walls to a resident opera singer. The experiences, feelings and thoughts are cleverly illustrated in this memorable book. Highly recommended.
The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander
11-year-old Kofi finds himself fighting for survival across land and sea, many miles from his home in Ghana. Kwame Alexander’s gritty verse story of slavery conveys the power of family, determination and traditional wisdom. Highly emotive ad accessible, The Door of No Return is perfect for book group discussion. This outstanding work is a “Roots” for Gen Alpha.
Verse story | Diverse | LGBT
The Last Cuentista by Donna Barba Higuera
Petra’s dreams of being a storyteller are seemingly dashed when a comet threatens to wipe out life on Earth. But Petra and her family are some of the chosen few to travel to a new life and new planet. But when she wakes up, Petra finds she is the only person who can remember humanity. Will she be able to cope with this huge responsibility? This thought-provoking and award-winning middle-grade novel is highly recommended.
Fantasy | Science fiction
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Sixth-grader Miranda is living an ordinary life until odd things begin to happen. Her friend is attacked, a key goes missing and then the messages start to arrive. Who are they from and how can they predict her future? Will she find out before it’s too late? A thrilling novel.
Small Spaces by Katherine Arden
A classic spooky ghost story that will appeal to middle-grade readers. 11-year-old Ollie loves reading and uses books as an escape from the real world. Finding a ghost story, she is hooked. However, on a school outing, the story she’s reading turns into reality and a nightmare begins.
Mystery | Horror
The Call Of The Wild by Jack London
An epic American story of dreams and adversity. Set in the turn of the century gold rush, Buck’s world changes when he’s wrenched from his life as a house dog in California and find himself fending for himself as part of a brutal sled pack in harsh Alaska.
Holes by Louis Sachar
A captivating novel about teen Stanley Yelnets who is sent to Camp Green Lake for a crime he didn’t commit. Generations of seemingly unconnected family histories are woven into a stunning plot set in a barren desert which certainly isn’t summer camp. A great story of redemption and a must-read for 6th graders.
Mystery | Middle grade novel
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
The powerful story of Salamanca Tree Hiddle, who invents outlandish stories for her grandparents on a long road trip. She invents Phoebe, a girls whose mother disappeared in strange circumstances and who she longs for – just as Salamanca longs for her mother. Cleverly woven stories and an unforgettable, bittersweet ending.
Family | Middle grade novel
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
A horse enjoys an idyllic existence in the countryside until he is unexpectedly sold into a completely different world of hardship in the city. A moving account from the horse’s point of view, this book inspired campaigns for improved animal welfare. A timeless classic for 6th grade class libraries.
Classic | Animal story
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
In this gripping mystery sci-fi adventure, Dash thinks the lunar base commander has been murdered. No one believes him until he discovers a shocking secret that changes everything.
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Sam hates his life in urban New York and decides to run away from the cramped apartment where his family lives. He heads for the mountains and an unforgettable story of challenge, self-reliance and resilience. A compelling read for grade 6 students.
Adventure | Classic
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
6th grader Melody is wheelchair-bound and unable to speak due to her cerebral palsy. But she has a secret – she’s the smartest kid in the school – by a mile – if only she could find a way to let the world know. When she does, her world changes completely. Moving and life-affirming, this book is ideal to use to discuss disability and inclusion.
Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
Davey has been uprooted to live with family in Los Alamos, New Mexico after the death of her father in a shooting. Confused and angry, she meets the mysterious Wolf, possibly the only person in the world who can understand her. Haunting and moving this is a powerful story about loss and moving on.
Family | Middle grade novel
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodson Burnett
Classic children’s fiction set in Yorkshire, England. Mary Lennox is sent to live in a strange house on the moors with her uncle. In the grounds, there is an overgrown garden surrounded by high walls. Once she finds her way in Mary is determined to bring the garden back to life in this enchanting story.
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
A spell-binding trilogy of books of which this is the first. Will Stanton is no ordinary 11-year-old. He is the last of an old order, one of the ‘Old Ones’ – with magical powers that mean he can live forever to fight dark forces. Can he find the six signs and stops evil taking over the world?
Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
The first book in this award-winning series about Miri, whose school is an academy set up by the king, and every girl who attends learns how to be a princess. At the end of the year there is a competition which every girl wants to win, since the winner becomes a princess.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
A gripping historical novel telling the story of Karana, an Indian girl who has to fight for her own existence against wild dogs, hunters, and a shortage of food on the remote island which is her home.
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Chester the Cricket follows enticing smells from a picnic and is transported to the big city in a basket. There, he meets Tucker, a mouse, who guides him through adventure and scrapes with danger. Great fun and ideal for 6th grade reluctant readers.
I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This by Jacqueline Woodson
A startling and edgy early teen novel about two girls from very different backgrounds who form a strong, but unlikely friendship at school. For more advanced readers, this book explores social tension, dark secrets, and role reversal.
School story | Middle grade novel
Escape from Mr Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
When a world-famous game designer remodels the town library, Kyle is keen to be there. But the opening isn’t an event to get into, but a mystery adventure where the prize is to solve puzzles and find the secret way out once the doors have been locked. Award-winning, funny and highly imaginative, this book is ideal for reluctant readers in the sixth grade.
Humor | Mystery
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson
A gripping historical novel set during the American Revolution. When Isobel and her sister Ruth’s owner dies, and with it a promise for freedom, Isobel realizes their best hope now lies in a dangerous world of spying. A more challenging read for 6th-grade students.
Diverse | Historical
Midnight Without a Moon by Linda Williams Jackson
Rose Lee Carter’s heart is set on moving away from segregation in 1950s Mississippi, but a local court case changes her mind and she vows to stay and help the movement for change. Ideal for social studies topics – this book will appeal to grade 6 book clubs.
Historical | Diverse
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
This award-winning book of poetry explores life growing up during the 1960s and 1970s civil rights movement as an African American child. Moving and written in a way that will resonate with and appeal to children and younger teens.
Historical | Diverse
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Castle Crenshaw is always running away from his problems – whether it’s from his difficult home life, bullies, or danger. That’s until he meets Coach, an ex-track star who inspires him to use his talents in new and positive ways. It’s an uplifting and transformational story that’s ideal for grade 6 children.
Divserse | Middle-grade novel
Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova
Penelope Peppi Torres is convinced she will only survive middle school by following the unwritten rules of social acceptance. But when she breaks them almost immediately she finds herself branded a nerd. Slowly, she realises rules are there to be broken and she learns to be herself. Funny, yet true to life, this graphic novel will appeal to reluctant readers.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D Taylor
A modern classic, this story follows the determined and resilient Logan family surviving in the South during the depression era, through the eyes of nine-year-old Cassie.
Historical | Classic
To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
Jackson Green finds himself caught up in a scam and the only way out is to pull off his biggest heist yet – to steal a school exam and hand it over to a gang of blackmailers. This fast-paced coming of age adventure book is ideal for students in grade 6.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
A multi-award-winning book about ‘Bod’, a boy raised by ghosts who lives in a graveyard. He wants to visit the real world, but if he does, danger lurks in the form of Jack – who killed Bod’s family. A masterpiece of storytelling, this fantasy horror will grip younger readers.
Fantasy | Horror
The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
When a brother and sister set up competing lemonade stands, neither would have predicted the war which results. Evan possesses savvy and entrepreneurship, whereas his sister Jessie is a math genius. This book is ideal for reluctant readers in grade 6, and also useful for discussions about sibling rivalries and problem-solving.
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk
Annabelle’s comfortable safe life changes when Betty joins her middle grade class. Betty’s bullying and manipulation turns everything upside down and only Annabelle’s relentless kindness and courage can put things right. This novel is deal for Grade 6 book clubs.
The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger
This is the third story in the Origami Yoda series, which is ideal for reluctant readers. The pupils in McQuarrie Middle School receive help from a strange source in the form of Chewbacca, a Fortune Wookiee origami who offers invaluable ideas and advice for all their romantic problems. A fun chapter book for 6th-grade students.
School story | Humor
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
An incredible story of survival, adventure and social acceptance. When young teen Matt is left in charge of a remote cabin, things go wrong fast. Matt quickly realises the only way to survive will be to break with his bigoted upbringing and befriend a Native American boy, Attean.
The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan
A stunning oversized hardback book packed with colorfully illustrated pages crammed with exciting and unusual facts about each of the 50 states. Perfect for reluctant readers who prefer fact books to fiction chapter books.
Beetle Boy by MG Leonard
A fast-paced and crazy plot that is perfect for 6th grade fans of Roald Dahl. When Darkus Cuttle’s dad goes missing he’s sent to live with his uncle and moves to a horrible new school. However, his life changes when he meets Baxter, a beetle with superpowers. An easier reader for 6th graders.
Mystery | Fantasy
Merriam-Webster’s Intermediate Dictionary
Written specifically for students in grades 6-8, this dictionary includes nearly 70,000 words and includes up-to-date STEM, popular culture and social media vocabulary. Including thousands of illustrations, etymology and synonyms, it’s the ideal middle school dictionary.
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