Sixth Graders’ Book Recommendations
Booked by Kwame Alexander
Nicholas Hall loves to play soccer. Things at home are not as good as they are on the field. His mom is leaving to train racehorses. His father tries to connect by working to improve Nicholas’ vocabulary and by having him read the dictionary. Then at school, there are bullies, a miserable dancing class, and his very best friend, the rapping school librarian.
The Tree House Series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
This series is a set of very funny books about two boys, Andy and Terry, who live in a 13-story treehouse. In every book, there are always 13 more stories than before. The treehouse has some fabulous features including a see-through swimming pool, a bowling alley, and a fantastic marshmallow machine. Flying cats and enormous gorillas are only a few of the problems the boys encounter as they try to finish their book projects.
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
This frightening page-turner takes you into the world of a group of boys on a remote island. When their plane crashes, with no grownups alive, they have to work together to try to survive. Unfortunately the situation brings out the very worst in the group rather than the best.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
Castle “Ghost” Cranshaw, a boy who is too poor to even afford a good pair of running shoes, is invited to join a competitive running team. Ghost’s father has been in jail for three years for pulling a gun on the family. Ghost slowly learns to train hard and becomes a stand-out team member.
You Go First by Erin Entrada Kelly
Ben Boxer is a lonely boy with no friends, and his parents are getting a divorce. Charlotte Lockard’s dad is in the hospital, and she also has no real friends. They are a thousand miles apart and are both suffering in their family life, as well as in middle school. The only way they relate is that they play Scrabble on their phones together. Will they find friends or suffer alone?
Snakes and Stones by Lisa Fowler
Chestnut Hill’s dad stole her and the triplets from their mama, or at least that is what she believes. They are the outcasts, part of a traveling show where Chestnut’s dad sells fake elixir. Chestnut just wants her mama back, to protect the triplets and to figure out where her dad goes at night in each town they visit. Will she solve the mystery of her dad’s secret life and find her mama?
Tangerine by Edward Bloor
Paul Fisher is an eighth grader who wears big, thick glasses. His brother Erik is a talented football player, and his parents focus most of their love and attention on Erik. The family recently moved to Florida. Paul is told that he needed glasses because he saw a solar eclipse without protection, but he knows it was something else. Will he figure out what really happened? Will he find new friends? Will his family learn to appreciate him?
George by Alex Gino
Nowadays, many people are “coming out” saying that they feel like a different gender than the one they were assigned at birth. George is bullied at school, and loves to look at magazines. He also feels like a girl. He tried to tell his mom, but she just said he was being silly. In the school play, “Charlotte’s Web,” he would love to play Charlotte and prove to his family, school, and even to himself that he should be a girl, but his teacher tells him he can’t be Charlotte. Will he find a way?
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
A lightning strike gave her special powers, but even math genius Lucy Callahan can’t solve middle school. Lucy is only 12 but is smart enough to go to college. Yet her grandma insists she go to a year of middle school. After being homeschooled for most of her life, she’ll have to adapt to the struggles of middle school while dealing with the issues she already has at home.
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
After the mysterious death of a business tycoon, his chosen heirs compete to find his murderer using clues from his will. The winner will receive all the assets of the late millionaire, Samuel Westing. Containing many unexpected plot twists and mind games, this book will have readers on the edge of their seats until the very end.
Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart
Slabhenge, a reformatory school for troubled boys, exists on an island being torn apart by the ocean. The school is really more like a prison where the boys are forced to do labor. The newest member is Jonathan Grisby, who knows that he truly deserves his punishment because he has committed a horrifying felony. A disaster occurs, and the boys are left by themselves on the island without any rules. The boys are free, but freedom comes with consequences. There is a fight for power, and if Jonathan can’t come up with a solution to lead the boys to safety, then there isn’t much hope for them.
Me and Marvin Gardens by Amy Sarig King
Young Obe lives with his family on a tiny parcel of land. However, everything changes when he finds a creature called Marvin Gardens who has a rather peculiar diet. The two soon become secretly inseparable friends, while Young Obe’s human friends abandon him. Stuck in this awful situation, Obe must grow up, confront his problems, and along the way, learn to be honest, do what’s right, and protect his beloved Marvin.
Masterminds by Gordon Korman
Eli Frieden and his pals live in Serenity, New Mexico, a tiny community where crime is nonexistent, and employment is universal. But when a friend of theirs mysteriously vanishes, the kids start to realize that things aren’t as they seem. This leads Eli and friends to embark on a quest for the truth and to uncover Serenity’s deepest, darkest secrets. And in this quest, they discover something that will change their lives forever.
Walls Within Walls by Maureen Sherry
CJ, Brid, and Patrick live in a Fifth Avenue apartment with a mystery embedded inside. The previous owner who died, Mr. Post, a multimillionaire and a puzzle builder, had long ago turned the apartment into a giant puzzle containing a mysterious book. The book contains clues to Mr. Post’s fortune. The children travel all over Manhattan to solve the puzzle of the missing money.
Famous Phonies by Brianna DuMont
Over the centuries, legends have spread about historical figures such as Homer, Confucius, and Pythagoras to the point that many of the things we now “know” about them are actually not true. This book exposes these falsehoods and establishes the often less dramatic truth in an interesting and engaging way.
It Ain’t So Awful Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
“Cindy” is a new kid in her neighborhood. She grew up in Iran, and her real name is Zomorod Yousefzadeh. She has moved way too much in her opinion. It’s the 1970s, and Iran is appearing almost every day in the headlines of the news. She is trying to fit in but it is getting harder as more anti-Iran people and statements pop up. How long she can keep this act up?
The Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
This is a true Holocaust survivor story of a young Jewish girl, Syvia, and her family, who live in the Lodz ghetto in 1939. Syvia’s story starts out when she is turning five. Syvia and her family face many challenges and are forced out of their home, but Syvia does not understand what is happening or why. While Syvia’s family and 6 million other Jews are fighting for their lives, we hear Syvia’s perspective during her displacement to when she is finally free.
Slider by Pete Hautman
David can eat a 16-inch pizza in a insanely fast time but he is determined to do better. He is going to compete in a pizza-eating contest against some of the best and fastest pizza eaters. David needs the prize money because he spent $2,000 using his mom’s credit card. He also needs to take care of his little brother Mal. If his family “believed in labels,” Mal would be labeled autistic. If David wins he can help his little brother Mal and win his parents’ forgiveness.
The Gideon Trilogy by Linda Buckley-Archer
Kate Dyer and Peter Schock are able to travel through time. Kate’s father and his friend at NASA discover how to build a time machine which accidentally catapults Kate and Peter into the eighteenth century. As they travel throughout London, a detective, Inspector Wheeler, is on their case, hot on the trail of no clues at all. Throughout the series, Kate and Peter make allies and enemies. In 1763 they work to race against time to defeat their greatest enemies: the Tar Man and his employer Lord Luxon.
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
Caleb and his brother Bobby Gene are having one of the most boring summers of their lives in their ordinary hometown of Sutton, which they are not allowed to leave. Their lives take a turn for the better when they meet 16-year-old Styx Malone. Caleb feels he is ordinary and sees hanging out with Styx as an opportunity to become extraordinary.
The Zodiac Legacy by Stan Lee
Steven Lee’s school trip to China doesn’t exactly go as planned. His classmates expect him to feel at home because he is Chinese American, but he feels lonely. Then he accidentally stumbles upon ancient pools filled with powers connected to the Chinese zodiac. He gets zodiac tiger powers that he has to master. The Vanguard, a evil organization, wants to take Steven’s zodiac power. He will have to use his newfound powers against the dark forces.
Benjamin Franklin, An American Life by Walter Isaacson
It might be a really long book, it might look boring, and you might be asking, “Why should I read this, it’ll take me decades?!” It is around 700 pages, but be sure to read them all. The book details Franklin’s success from Boston to Philadelphia to London and then in the American Revolution. The triumph of Ben Franklin got us the $100 bill, bifocals, volunteer fire departments, public libraries, and the Declaration of Independence. Benjamin Franklin is, was, and always will be a genius of all time, a founding father, and America’s first player.