The 57 Best Chapter Books For 6th Graders To Read (In %%currentyear%%)

One of the best things you can do for your 6th graders is to improve their brain diet. So, we’ve curated a list of books for 6th graders. They’re fun, diverse, age-appropriate, and thought-provoking. In short, they’re exactly what your students need in their transition from elementary to middle school, a period of growth and a dynamic school year.

1. Brown Girl Dreaming

“Brown Girl Dreaming” by Jacqueline Woodson is an award-winning autobiographical story, told in verse.

It recounts the author’s experience growing up as an African American child in Columbus, Ohio, during the Civil Rights era.

Also, she sheds light on her struggle with reading and her desire to write, which makes this book arguably perfect for young and aspiring writers.

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2. Bad Best Friend

About to start eighth grade, Niki and her best friend Ava have numerous plans for the new academic year. But they’re all thrown off when Ava starts seeking popularity. Now, Niki has to reconsider her friendships and interests.

Rachel Vail’s “Bad Best Friend” is a good pick for young readers who want to survive middle school and its friendship drama.

3. The Someday Birds

In Sally J. Pla’s “The Someday Birds,” Charlie has to move from California to Virginia with his seemingly crazy family, where his father is to be treated.

Invite your kids to follow Charlie on his road trip as he searches for birds with his father, a reminder (or hope) that everything will be fine.

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4. A Wrinkle In Time

Your middle school kid can join Meg, Charles, and Calvin in their extraordinary adventure to save Murry’s father.

If your kids love sci-fi, Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time” is one of the most popular books for 6th graders in that genre.

5. Anne Of Green Gables

We couldn’t possibly list the best middle-grade books without including L. M. Montgomery’s masterpiece.

“Anne of Green Gables” tells the story of Anne, an orphan who gets adopted by the Cuthberts.

Of course, your kids might already know and love her from the hit CBC-Netflix adaptation!

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6. Greenglass House

“Greenglass House” by Kate Milford is set at a smuggler’s inn where twelve-year-old Milo, the innkeeper’s adopted son, resides.

He plans to have a relaxing winter holiday. But, to his surprise, strange guests arrive at the inn with even stranger stories! Your sixth grade kid will love to go on this holiday adventure with Milo and Meggy, the cook’s daughter.

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7. El Deafo

At her new school, Cece’s hearing aid seems to keep everyone away, but it allows her to hear her teacher anywhere in the school, including the classroom, teacher’s lounge, and hallways!

In Cece Bell’s “El Deafo,” your students discover if this superpower will help her find a true friend or further alienate her from everyone.

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8. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid #1

“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney is one of the most famous books for 6th graders and preteens in general.

In book 1, young Greg Heffley maneuvers middle school and records it all in his diary (to your kids’ amusement).

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9. Goodbye, Stranger

“Goodbye, Stranger” by Rebecca Stead is a bittersweet story about friendship and social media.

Your young readers can enter seventh grade with our three main characters and grow up with them. Of course, their friendship gets strained, but do they remain best friends?

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10. Parked

In “Parked,” Danielle Svetcov encourages your tweens to discuss homelessness and reach out to those in need.

They’ll witness an unlikely bond between two totally different girls, Jeanne Ann and Cal. One lives in a van, and the another lives in a huge house. We love how the novel blends hope, humor, and honesty.

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11. Counting By 7s

Holly Goldberg Sloan’s “Counting by 7s” is the story of Willow, a twelve-year-old genius, who loves to count by 7s.

Her connection with her adoptive parents is all she has and needs. So, when they die in a car accident, she’s completely lonely. Your young reader will want to witness how Willow copes with her grief and finds a new family.

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12. Loving Vs. Virginia

“Loving vs. Virginia” is a significant work of historical fiction about the Loving vs. Virginia Supreme Court Case.

Teach your sixth graders how interracial marriages were legalized through Patricia Hruby Powell’s gorgeous writing and educate them about Richard and Mildred’s role in that.

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13. The Outsiders

E. Hinton’s “The Outsiders” is a classic middle grade novel depicting the rivalry between two gangs, the greasers and socs.

It focuses on Ponyboy Curtis, a greaser who feels like an outsider. When his friend kills a soc, everything falls out of place. If you aren’t one to shy away from heavy topics like violence, this is an insightful read for tweens.

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14. Little Women

Every young girl deserves to experience Louisa May Alcott’s world and decide which March sister she relates to the most.

“Little Women” is a classic coming-of-age story where we follow the four sisters as they grow up in New England during the civil war.

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15. The Watsons Go To Birmingham

In “The Watsons Go to Birmingham,” Christopher Paul Curtis takes us along with the Watson family for the summer of 1963.

Their normal life is never quite the same after they witness a church bombing. So, how do they cope with the trauma?

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16. Wringer

In “Wringer,” Jerry Spinelli displays the value of standing up for what you believe in rather than giving in to peer pressure.

When he turns ten, traditions dictate that Paul should become a “wringer.” But he hates the idea of wringing a bird’s neck, especially since he’s hiding one in his room. This is one of the chapter books that teach middle schoolers valuable lessons.

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17. The Green Glass Sea

We love how Ellen Klages approaches the Manhattan Project from the perspective of a young girl.

Unaware of the gravity of her mathematician father’s project, Dewey moves in with him for the summer and makes some neighborhood friends.

But what happens when the truth is revealed?

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18. A Night Divided

“A Night Divided” depicts the consequences of building the Berlin Wall, with Gerta’s family torn on either side of the wall.

In East Berlin, Gerta gathers that her father on the West side wants her and Fritz, her brother, to tunnel under the wall, but the mission is too risky. Jennifer Nielsen’s story will have its hold on the entire grade, even reluctant readers!

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19. Tuck Everlasting

“Tuck Everlasting” by Natalie Babbit is one of the most classic sixth grade books.

Your sixth graders can join Winnie Foster in her spring adventure on her family’s estate.

Common themes in this book are immortality, greed, and the power of choice.

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20. Absolutely Normal Chaos

If you’re reviewing a book list for 6th grade, you may come across “Absolutely Normal Chaos” by Sharon Creech. Its sequel, “Walk Two Moons,” gets listed for younger readers.

Our story starts with Mary Lou, who thinks her assignment of keeping a summer journal is boring.

Little does she know, summer is full of surprises.

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20. The Strange Case Of Origami Yoda

“The Strange Case of Origami Yoda” by Tom Angleberger is excellent for Star Wars fans and reluctant readers, thanks to its doodles and margin notes.

In it, Dwight, the weird kid, makes origami, the only thing about him that other children think is cool. When he makes a Yoda finger puppet, he realizes that it can predict the future, and that changes everything.

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21. Life As We Knew It

Science Fiction lovers will enjoy “Life As We Knew It” by Susan Beth Pfeffer.

Miranda lived a pretty ordinary life until an asteroid hit the moon, creating a domino effect of apocalyptic events.

Older kids can read her journal entries to see how these extreme circumstances unfold!

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22. Ghost

One of the best 6th grade books is “Ghost” by Jason Reynolds.

“Ghost” is the story of a super fast runner on an elite middle school track team who’s always running away from his problems.

Does he stand a chance at qualifying for the Junior Olympics?

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23. Out Of Left Field

If you’re looking for feminist 6th grade chapter books, “Out of Left Field” by Ellen Klages sheds light on female baseball players throughout history.

Katy Gordon, our main character, is the neighborhood’s best pitcher. But she can’t play in the Little League because she’s a girl, or can she? Her fight for equality is one impressionable minds can learn a lot from.

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24. When You Reach Me

Why not add a mystery thriller to your 6th grade reading list?

In “When You Reach Me,” Rebecca Stead captivates your students with the mystery of Miranda’s note-writer.

Strange occurrences take place, and she receives anonymous messages. Who is writing them, and how can they predict the future? Your kids will fly through this book to know!

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25. Out Of My Mind

“Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper is one of the best books for 6th graders that discuss disability.

Our main character, Melody, is wheelchair-bound and nonspeaking due to cerebral palsy. The world doesn’t know that she’s the smartest kid at her school and has a photographic memory. So, how does she show the world that she isn’t mentally challenged?

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26. Tiger Eyes

In “Tiger Eyes,” Judy Blume depicts grief and loss as experienced by Davey. When tragedy strikes, and she loses her father, Davey moves to live with family in Los Alamos, New Mexico. And it’s there that she meets a mysterious cute boy. This is a powerful story that’ll move your students.

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27. The Secret Garden

“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett is a popular classic you might find on a book list for 6th grade. Mary moves to her uncle’s estate in Yorkshire, England. But she quickly realizes that it’s a strange house with endless secrets and an abandoned garden.

Let your sixth graders join Mary in discovering the house’s secrets and reviving the garden.

28. Princess Academy

In Shannon Hale’s “Princess Academy,” the first book of her award-winning series, a fierce competition between the girls of a village takes place.

Miri and the girls head to this school, where they learn how to be princesses. And the winner will become the king’s bride! Imagine how much your girls will enjoy experiencing this world and inserting themselves into it.

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29. Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

Chris Grabenstein brings us a fantasy, award-winning book that’ll turn your sixth-graders into avid readers.

In “Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library,” a famous game designer creates the coolest library. A young boy, Kyle, is determined to be at the opening. Along with other kids, he realizes that getting out of the library is one big adventure!

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30. Awkward

In the graphic novel “Awkward,” Svetlana Chmakova tells the story of Peppi. She believes that she has to follow the unwritten middle school rules but breaks them right away.

Tweens will enjoy watching Peppi as she figures middle school out and reconsiders her priorities.

31. To Catch A Cheat

If you’re after a fast-paced heist book, Varian Johnson has you covered.

In “To Catch a Cheat,” we follow Jackson Green, who’s being blackmailed into stealing a copy of an exam. Will he give in to peer pressure or find a way out?

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32. The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book” is a fantasy horror novel by the famous Neil Gaiman that won multiple awards.

It tells the story of a boy who was raised by ghosts and lives in a graveyard. What happens when he visits the real world? Your young reader will want to know!

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33. Stargazing

“Stargazing” is, at its core, a graphic novel about friendship that Jen Wang bases on her childhood.

We follow two unlikely friends, Moon and Christine, who become best friends. Moon relies on Christine for everything until she gets sick. Your sixth grader can follow Moon’s attempts at being the friend Christine needs.

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34. New Kid

In Jerry Craft’s award-winning graphic novel “New Kid,” Jordan Banks loves drawing cartoons about his life.

He desperately wants to go to art school. However, his parents enroll him in a prestigious private school.

As one of the few kids of color at school, Jordan feels like he doesn’t belong there. But he feels the same way in his neighborhood as well. Your tween will learn a lot by understanding how he’ll find himself and handle the new school culture.

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35. Smile

Your sixth grade students will resonate with Raina Telgemeier’s “Smile,” a true coming-of-age story.

An injury causes Raina her two front teeth and leaves her with fake teeth, headgear, braces, and surgery. Undoubtedly, this accident throws off her plan to blend in at school.

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36. Invisible Emmie

Terri Libenson introduces us to the shy, artistic Emmie and famous, athletic Katie.

“Invisible Emmie” tells the story of how their lives unexpectedly intersect when an embarrassing note falls into the wrong hands.

Your tween will find the chaos and drama riveting!

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37. The Stonekeeper

Because some of the best sixth grade books are graphic novels, we’ve picked “The Stonekeeper” by Kazu Kibuishi.

Emily and Navin have lost their father. And, now, they’re about to lose their mother to strange creatures and an underground world. How far would they go to save her?

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38. Ways To Live Forever

What makes “Ways to Live Forever” one of the solid 6th grade chapter books is how Sally Nicholls discusses death in an honest yet uplifting way.

She introduces us to eleven-year-old Sam, who has Leukemia and so does research about death. Will he find the answers he’s looking for?

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39. Listen, Slowly

“Listen, Slowly” by Thanhha Lai is a beautiful story for children or grandchildren of immigrants.

Mai, a California girl at heart, reluctantly travels to Vietnam with her grandmother. The goal is to find out what happened to the grandmother’s husband during the war. This novel will help your students recognize the importance of knowing their roots.

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40. Wonder

You’ve probably heard of the #1 New York Times Bestseller “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio. Due to his facial disfigurement, August Pullman’s parents have homeschooled him his entire life. But he’s a fifth-grader now and wants nothing more than to be normal and go to public school.

By reading this novel, young readers will learn about the community’s perception of August and their lack of empathy.

41. See You In The Cosmos

If your sixth grader loves space, they’ll resonate with Alex Petroski from Jack Cheng’s debut, “See You in the Cosmos.”

This boy is so space-obsessed that he named his dog after the real-life astronomer, Carl Sagan.

Like how Sagan launched his Golden Record, Alex’s dream is to launch his golden iPod into space. So, he records his complicated world on the iPod for other lifeforms to see. Little does he know, Alex still has a lot to learn about the world, his long-dead dad, troubled mom, and mostly not around brother.

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42. Other Words For Home

In Jasmine Warga’s novel in verse, Jude has to flee Syria without her beloved older brother and father. She and her mother move to Cincinnati, and it’s nothing like she’d expected. The pace of life is too fast, and she’s only seen as “middle eastern.”

Your kid will learn a lot by seeing Jude adjust to life in America, make new friends, and even try out for a school musical!

43. Fablehaven

Brandon Mull’s “Fablehaven” is about this sanctuary for all mythical creatures.

When Kendra and Seth learn that their grandfather is Fablehaven’s caretaker, they enter a world of adventure, danger, and chaos!

44. Matilda

The famous Roald Dahl gave us the classic “Matilda,” a story that your kids might already know and love.

In it, we join Matilda, a young genius, as she learns about herself and deals with two terrible parents and a kid-hating headmistress, “The Trunchbull.”

45. The Little Prince

For ages, kids and adults have loved “The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. This translated fiction starts with a pilot crashing in the Sahara Desert. He meets a strange boy, the Little Prince, who has fascinating tales from his travels.

This timeless novella offers valuable insights into human nature and adult behavior.

46. The Girl Who Drank The Moon

“The Girl Who Drank The Moon” by Kelly Barnhill is a mystical story full of intrigue and witchcraft for kids with a vast imagination.

Every year, townspeople offer the forest’s witch a baby to appease her.

However, the witch is kind and finds homes for these abandoned babies. What happens when she accidentally feeds a baby moonlight on the journey to find it a new home?

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47. Heart Of A Samurai

In “Heart of a Samurai,” we follow fourteen-year-old Manjiro, who dreams of becoming a Samurai.

A Japanese fishing boat leaves him stranded on a small island with four others. Then, an American ship saves them, and they have to learn new customs and laws. Does this turn bring Manjiro closer or farther from his dream? There’s only one way to find out!

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48. Holes

“Holes” is an award-winning novel and one of the best books for sixth graders discussing redemption and self-discovery.

When he’s wrongly convicted of a crime, Stanley Yelnets goes to Camp Green Lake, a terrible correctional camp. Also, the way Louis Sachar weaves generations of Stanley’s family history into the story is simply stunning.

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49. Wolf Hollow

When Betty enters Annabelle’s middle grade class, all hell breaks loose. She bullies and manipulates the people that Annabelle cares about. So, will Annabelle be able to face Betty? Are kindness and courage enough? “Wolf Hollow” by Lauren Wolk is one of the best books for sixth grade book clubs.

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50. Anne Frank: The Diary Of A Young Girl

The wartime journal is a classic pick for a 6th grade reading list. Anne Frank, a 13-year-old Jew, is forced to hide with her family from the Nazis. They live in a secret annex of a warehouse.

Your tween can learn how these two years unfolded in her journal.

“Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl” is an intimate, witty, and terrifying depiction of a Jew’s inner life during Hitler’s regime.

51. Bridge To Terabithia

Another beloved classic is “Bridge to Terabithia.”

The novel depicts the growing friendship between Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke, which starts when Leslie beats him in a foot race.

The two fastest kids in fifth grade run into the woods, where they create a world of their imagination. Katherine Paterson’s realm is one of fantasy, excitement, tragedy, and grief.

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52. Roller Girl

Victoria Jamieson’s award-winning debut is a story about friendship, sports, and girl power.

Twelve-year-old Astrid has always done everything with her best friend, Nicole. She decides to go to derby camp because she loves roller derby, but Nicole decides dance camp is a better fit for her.

Your students will relate to Astrid’s struggles as she tries to keep up with other campers, make new friends, and avoid drifting apart from her best friend.

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53. Doll Bones

When you mix creepy ghost stories with coming-of-age stories, you get “Doll Bones” by Holly Black.

This is the story of three friends, called Zach, Alicia, and Poppy, who love acting out fantastical adventures with dolls. Now, they have to bury a porcelain doll because of the rumor that it’s made of the ashes of a dead girl.

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54. One Last Word: Wisdom From The Harlem Renaissance

The master poet, Nikki Grimes, combines her voice with that of Harlem Renaissance poets.

So, your kids can learn about Georgia Douglas Johnson, Langston Hughes, and Jean Toomer. Not to mention, they can get inspired by the art of today’s biggest black illustrators. This thought-provoking book will spark interesting debates in class.

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55. Real Friends

Shannon Hales’s graphic memoir “Real Friends” depicts the struggle of finding real friends.

We have Shannon who feels that she might lose her best friend Adrienne to “the Group.” This is the friend group with the most popular girl in class, Jen. Will Shannon and Adrienne stay friends, or will Adrienne completely lose herself to the allure of popularity?

Writer Shannon Hale, illustrator Leuyen Pham, and colorist Jane Poole join forces to give you this fresh and funny story.

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56. Peter Pan

If you’re after a classic with numerous adaptations, “Peter Pan” by J. M. Barrie might just be it.

Peter Pan is a mischievous boy who never grows old. He befriends Wendy, John, and Michael, the children of a proper middle class family. Peter Pan teaches them to fly, takes them to Neverland, introduces them to the Lost Boys, and introduces them to a world of adventure.

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57. Hello, Universe

In “Hello, Universe,” Erin Entrada Kelly teaches your tweens the value of friendship, kindness, and individuality.

The book depicts how four very different misfits come together in a time of crisis. When a bully’s prank sends poor Virgil to the bottom of a well, Valencia, Kaori, and Gen, Kaori’s little sister, unite to find and save him.

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Conclusion

Overall, we hope that our list of books for 6th graders has given you precisely what you need. We’ve rounded up fantasy, horror, mystery, historical fiction, and more. This way, you can find books that’ll grip your little readers’ attention and teach them a valuable lesson along the way.

Last Updated on May 19, 2022 by Emily

Emily/ author of the article

Emily is an active mother of two and a dedicated elementary school teacher. She believes the latest technology has made a huge impact on the quality of early learning and has worked hard to upgrade her classroom and her own children’s learning experience through technology.
She created this blog to make it easier for other teachers to take advantage of some of the best devices out there to upgrade their classrooms without having to do the research themselves. She loves to hear your tech-based problems and share her extensive experience :)

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