Too-Good-to-Miss Books: Sixth 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)
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.

Chicken Boy

Frances O'Roark Dowell
(Juvenile Fiction - J Dowell)

Since the death of his mother, Tobin's family and school life have been in disarray. After he starts raising chickens with seventh-grade classmate Henry, everything starts to fall into place.

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.


Doug TenNapel
(Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Tennape)

Garth Hale is as good as dead...The only problem is he's still alive. When Garth Hale is accidentally zapped into the ghost world by Frank Gallows, a washed-up ghost wrangler, he discovers that he has special powers.

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.

One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship

Mary Pope Osborne
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 200 Osb)

An illustrated introduction to comparative religion, discussing Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.


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.

Red Kayak

Priscilla Cummings
(Juvenile Fiction - J Cumming)

Living near the water on Maryland's Eastern Shore, thirteen-year-old Brady and his best friends become entangled in a tragedy that tests their friendship and their ideas about right and wrong.

Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex

Nathaniel Philbrick
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 910.9164 Phi)

Recounts the 1820 sinking of the whaleship "Essex" by an enraged sperm whale and how the crew of young men survived against impossible odds. Based on the author's adult book In the Heart of the Sea.


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.

Secret Letters from 0 to 10

Susie Morgenstern
(Juvenile Fiction - J Morgens)

Ten-year-old Ernest lives a boring existence in Paris with his grandmother until a lively girl named Victory enters his class at school.

Sixth-Grade Glommers, Norks, and Me

Lisa Papademetriou
(Juvenile Fiction - J Pa)

Allie Kimball learns that middle school is populated with three kinds of people: "glommers," "norks," and worst of all, "squashes"--crushes that make you feel like your heart has been stepped on. Allie copes with the help of her soccer team and new friends.

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.

The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours

Jane Goodall
(Juvenile Nonfiction - J 599.885 Goo)

An intense, personal story by a pioneer in scientific field observation. Goodall presents her long involvement with the chimpanzees of Gombe, describing the amazing discoveries she has made over 40 years.

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 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.

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.

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.

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)
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.


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.