Too-Good-to-Miss Books: 6th Grade

Staff recommendations for children at a sixth grade reading level.

Compiled by:
Children's Services Staff
Amulet. Book 1, The Stonekeeper

Kazu Kibuishi
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Kibuish)
Series: Amulet. Book 1.

After their father's death, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the house of her deceased great-grandfather. Before long, a sinister creature lures their mother through a door in the basement. Desperate, the children follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Bomb : the Race to Build and Steal the World's Most Dangerous Weapon

Steve Sheinkin
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 623.45119 She)

Recounts the scientific discoveries that enabled atom splitting, the military intelligence operations that occurred in rival countries, and the work of brilliant scientists hidden at Los Alamos.


Kwame Alexander
(Juvenile Fiction - J Alexand)

Twelve-year-old Nick loves soccer and hates books, but soon learns the power of words as he wrestles with problems at home, stands up to a bully, and tries to impress the girl of his dreams.

Courage for Beginners

Karen Harrington
(Juvenile Fiction - J Harring)

Wishing she were more like a fictional hero who always knows how to handle such challenges as a best friend's abandonment, her father's hospitalization and a painful family secret, seventh-grader Mysti taps her inner courage with the help of a new friend and a hot-air balloon.

Doll Bones

Holly Black
(Juvenile Fiction - J Black)

Zach, Alice, and Poppy, friends from a Pennsylvania middle school who have long enjoyed acting out imaginary adventures with dolls and action figures, embark on a real-life quest to Ohio to bury a doll made from the ashes of a dead girl.

Elijah of Buxton

Christopher Paul Curtis
(Juvenile Fiction - J Curtis)

In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American South, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.

Esperanza Rising

Pam Munoz Ryan
(Juvenile Fiction - J Ryan)

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

The Girl Who Could Fly

Victoria Forester
(Juvenile Fiction - J Foreste)

When homeschooled farm girl Piper McCloud reveals her ability to fly, she is quickly taken to a secret government facility to be trained with other exceptional children, but she soon realizes that something is very wrong and begins working with brilliant and wealthy Conrad to escape.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon

Kelly Regan Barnhill
(Juvenile Fiction - J Barnhil)

Luna, whose magical abilities are emerging, was raised in the forest by a witch, a swamp monster, and a dragon, but when a young man from the Protectorate is determined to kill the witch, Luna must use her magic to protect her family.

The Graveyard Book

Neil Gaiman
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gaiman)

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

Half-Minute Horrors
(Juvenile Fiction - J Half)

An anthology of very short, scary stories by an assortment of authors and illustrators including Chris Raschka, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, and Lane Smith.


Gary Paulsen
(Juvenile Fiction - J Paulsen)

After a plane crash, Brian spends 54 days in the wilderness learning to survive with only a hatchet given him by his mother. Read more in The River, Brian's Winter, Brian's Return, and Brian's Hunt.


Carl Hiaasen
(Juvenile Fiction - J Hiaasen)

Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's daring and often hilarious attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. If you like this book, you might enjoy Flush and Scat by the same author.


Cornelia Funke
(Juvenile Fiction - J Funke)

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can read fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service. The magic continues in Inkspell.

The Inquisitor's Tale, or, The Three Magical Children and their Holy Dog

Adam Gidwitz
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gidwitz)

Crossing paths at an inn, thirteenth-century travelers impart the tales of a monastery oblate, a Jewish refugee, and a psychic peasant girl with a loyal greyhound, the three of whom join forces on a chase through France to escape persecution.

Lumberjanes. Volume 1, Beware the Kitten Holy.

Noelle Stevenson
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Stevens)
Series: Lumberjanes

Best friends Jo, April, Mal, Molly, and Ripley spend a fun summer at Lumberjane scout camp where they encounter yetis, three-eyed wolves, and giant falcons while solving a mystery that holds the fate of the world in the balance.

A Million Ways Home

Dianna Dorisi-Winget
(Juvenile Fiction - J Dorisiw)

Forced to go into witness protection after she witnesses an armed robbery, Poppy Parker finds it hard to believe she will ever find a way home, let alone save Gunner, a beautiful German shepherd with an uncertain future.


Vince Vawter
(Juvenile Fiction - J Vawter)

When an eleven-year-old boy takes over a friend's newspaper route in July, 1959, in Memphis, his debilitating stutter makes for a memorable month.

Rain Reign

Ann M. Martin
(Juvenile Fiction - J Martin)

Struggling with Asperger's, Rose shares a bond with her beloved dog, but when the dog goes missing during a storm, Rose is forced to confront the limits of her comfort levels, even if it means leaving her routines in order to search for her pet.


Ingrid Law
(Juvenile Fiction - J Law)

Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her father is injured in a terrible accident.

Small Steps

Louis Sachar
(Juvenile Fiction - J Sa)

Three years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is trying hard to keep his life on track; but when his old pal X-Ray shows up with a tempting plan to make some easy money scalping concert tickets, Armpit reluctantly goes along. (This is a companion novel to Holes, the 1999 Newbery Medal winner.)


Raina Telgemeier
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Telgeme)

From sixth grade through tenth, Raina copes with a variety of dental problems that affect her appearance and how she feels about herself.


Jerry Spinelli
(Juvenile Fiction - J Sp)

In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster

Deborah Hopkinson
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 910.91634 Hop)

Tells the tale of the sinking of the Titanic using the narratives of the witnesses and survivors to the disaster.


Roderick Gordon
(Juvenile Fiction - J Gordon)
Series: Tunnels; 1

When Will Burrows and his friend Chester embark on a quest to find Will's archaeologist father, who has inexplicably disappeared, they are led to a labyrinthine world underneath London, full of sinister inhabitants with evil intentions toward "Topsoilers" like Will and his father.

Turtle in Paradise

Jennifer L. Holm
(Juvenile Fiction - J Holm)

In 1935, when her mother gets a job housekeeping for a woman who does not like children, eleven-year-old Turtle is sent to stay with relatives she has never met in far away Key West, Florida.

The Underneath

Kathi Appelt
(Juvenile Fiction - J Appelt)

An old hound that has been chained up at his hateful owner's run-down shack, and two kittens born underneath the house, endure separation, danger, and many other tribulations in their quest to be reunited and free.

We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Adolf Hitler

Russell Freedman
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 943.086 Fre)

A carefully researched portrait of Hans and Sophie Scholl describes how they questioned the beliefs of Austria's Hitler Youth and risked their freedom and lives to organize a resistance campaign with other students.

The Wednesday Wars

Gary D. Schmidt
(Juvenile Fiction - J Schmidt)

During the 1967 school year, all of Holling Hoodhood's seventh-grade classmates go either to Catechism or Hebrew School on Wednesday afternoons. Holling stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom reading the plays of William Shakespeare and learning much of value about the world he lives in.


Cynthia Kadohata
(Juvenile Fiction - J Kadohat)

After twelve-year-old Sumiko and her Japanese-American family are relocated from their flower farm in southern California to an internment camp on a Mojave Indian reservation in Arizona, she helps her family and neighbors, and tries to hold on to her dream of owning a flower shop.