Anyone, including those who are dealing with the complexity of adult life now, must have remembered the time when they were in their pre-teens phase. The awkwardness and cluelessness mixed with great curiosity can make the 6th grade a scary phase to go through. And even when adults can now laugh at their own experiences, for 6th graders, the struggles are real. Not to mention the anxiety of going to middle school soon, which seems even scarier for them.
During those awkward phases, books can serve as great companions to broaden their vision as well as prepare them with the knowledge they need for their next life phase. Hence we’ve compiled a list of the best books for 6th graders.
Whether you are adults looking for the best books for 6th graders or you are a 6th grader yourself looking for some clues, the following list will help you to get the most inspiring and fun books to get.
Stargazing is a heartwarming middle-grade graphic novel from New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Jen Wang. In this book, Jen Wang draws on her childhood to paint a deeply personal yet wholly relatable friendship story that’s at turns joyful, heart-wrenching, and full of hope. The friendship dynamic in different cultural backgrounds can be relatable and provide a positive message for young readers in overcoming differences.
2. New Kid
New Kid is an honest graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real. This book tells a story about Jordan, a new kid who finds himself torn between two worlds and not really fitting into either one. The struggles of balancing between adapting to the new school culture and his neighborhood friends while keeping true to himself makes this book highly relatable for 6th graders.
3. Smile: A Graphic Novel
This book tells the story of young Raina when she just wanted to be a normal 6 grader. But when you are in 6th grade, nothing seems to be normal. In Raina’s experience, she had to deal with on-again, off-again braces, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached. Even though not every child has to wear braces, this book is still the best book for 6th graders to read as it shares the same struggle for self confidence.
4. Invisible Emmie (Emmie & Friends)
Invisible Emmie is a humorous and surprising debut graphic novel by Terri Libenson. This book tells the story of two totally different girls. Quiet, shy, artistic Emmie, and popular, outgoing, athletic Katie, and how their lives unexpectedly intersect one day. It features the typical boredom and humiliation that is light and easy to digest, making it the best book for 6th graders to prepare them for the upcoming middle school drama.
5. Real Friends
For 6th graders, everyday can be a roller coaster and it is perfectly portrayed in this book. It captured the typical friendship story in schools where a friends group plays a major role in the social hierarchy. This is the best book for 6th graders to help them navigate what real friends actually mean and prepare them for the hard truth that sometimes, best friends are not forever.
Middle school is full of silly ‘rules’ everyone believes and follows in order to survive. But everytime pre-teens try to do things to save themselves, unexpected things always happen and work against their initial goal. This book portrayed how awkward friendship in schools can be and it can be an eye-opening reminder that in most circumstances, the rules don’t apply.
7. The Stonekeeper: A Graphic Novel
This first book of the Amulet series introduces the readers with the adventure of Em and Navin in a fantastical world inhabited by robots, mysterious plants, and talking animals. Fantasy genre is always a great option when you are looking for the best book for 6th graders since it opens up a new world we have not yet discovered and inspires us with courageous actions we often need to take.
8. The Inexplicable Logic Of My Life
A humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions that leads to inner discovery. This book brings up the most fundamental question we should answer in our entire life: who are we? It not only takes us through the journey of its character understanding relationships with their friends and family, but also makes a nice introduction to a more diverse culture and sexuality. A best book for 6th graders to prepare for their self-discovery journey.
When Coraline steps through a door to find another house strangely similar to her own, but better. But the other mother and father want to change her, making her have to fight to get back to her ordinary family. This story is relatable on so many levels since pre-teens often find that the grass is kinda look greener on the other side and oftentimes, they wish they can just get a slightly better life. This book teaches children to be grateful with what they have in a non- patronizing way.
10. Investing for Kids
While it is important for 6th graders to understand the turmoils of social interaction, financial education is also important to be introduced at early ages. Investing for Kids is a great way to introduce kids with ways to earn money, start saving plans, and how to make them grow. With its kid-friendly focus, this book can help them have a great financial knowledge base that will be very useful for them in the future.
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11. The Tinker King
With rebellion brewing in the far-off city of Scientia and dark Elementals plotting war in the ruins of New London, a group of friends are plunged into a new swamp of intrigue, deception, and magic. Science and magic lead to danger in this entertaining mix of steampunk and fantasy making it the best book for 6th graders to read in their spare time.
12. Cat Kid Comic Club: On Purpose
An inspiring story of the comic club who have to face rejections making them have to try and try again to stay true to their vision. The various techniques of art styles, paired with Pilkey’s trademark storytelling and humor, fosters creativity, collaboration, independence, and empathy. Readers of all ages including 6th graders will enjoy this fun, exciting, and purposeful graphic novel adventure.
13. Wings of Fire: The Brightest Night
Whether they want to take a break from studying or just want to escape to a magical fantasy realm, this book offers an uplifting story of adventure. It holds some life lessons including how to speak up and how to deal if no one listens to your ideas and opinion. The best book for 6th graders to read for when they need some encouragement.
14. The Last Kids on Earth
Ever since the monster apocalypse hit town, average thirteen year old Jack Sullivan has been living in his tree house. Realizing that he cannot win the battle against the monster alone he teams up with other kids and together, they face the challenge. This is a story about friendship and teamwork that will inspire any kid who’s ever dreamed of starring in their own comic book or video game.
15. The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Locker Hero
The Misadventures of Max Crumbly tells realistic stories of the scariest world a kid can ever get themselves into: middle school. It tells a story about the dread of being the new kid, encountering the bullies, while looking for opportunities to be a hero. This book can be the best book for 6th graders in terms of preparing them for the next phase of their lives and to help them understand that they are not the only ones facing such fright.
16. The Mermaid Atlas
This beautifully illustrated atlas weaves folklore from around the world with kid-friendly retellings of classic mermaid-related tales, from the selkies of Scotland to the Iara of Brazil. This can be the best book for 6th graders since they can plunge deep into their imagination as they learn all there is to know about the mysterious mermaid.
17. Real Insect Superpowers
We are all familiar with superhero backstories that often involve animals including insects. Those stories were generated based on insects’ special powers or we can say, superpowers. This book combines comic and nature encyclopedia and explores the secret lives of bugs through illustrations and incredible facts making it the best book for 6th graders who are interested in both superheroes comics and insects.
18. High-Five to the Hero
In this lively anthology, fifteen classic fairy tales are turned upside down and retold focusing on advocacy, disability, confidence, friendship, and self-image. High-Five to the Hero puts a modern twist on the timeless tales of Pinocchio, Prince Charming, and more, challenging young readers to think of heroes in terms of the size of their hearts instead of their swords.
19. illuminightmare Spooky Hidden History Book
This book features incredible illustrations that reveal the history and spooky secrets of ten of the most mysterious places in the world, from vampire bite-worthy Bran Castle in Romania to bewitching Salem in Massachusetts. This interactive book comes with three colored lenses to reveal different aspects of the illustrations including hidden horrors, supernatural sights, and specters thought to haunt the place. The best book for 6th graders who are interested in mystery and supernatural horror stories.
20. The ABC’s of Black History
If you think ABCs are only for kindergarteners, then wait until you get your hands on this book. In just 26 entries, this book takes young readers on an inspiring journey of triumph, creativity, and joy. Its vibrant illustrations and rhyming text make for an engaging way to teach children about the fundamentals of Black history. Letter by letter, they’ll learn about luminaries as well as concepts like diaspora and power. The best book for 6th graders that will teach them more about diversity.
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21. Ways To Live Forever
This book brilliantly displayed emotions in an engaging storyline making it not only the best book for 6th graders, but readers of all ages. It touches our deepest emotions and might tear us up as we follow the profoundly moving portrait of how a boy lives when he knows his time is almost up.
22. Middle School Queen
Middle School Queen is a thoughtful exploration of how we contain the multidimensional side of ourselves. This novel shows our potential and how we can channel the inner star that we are if we’re brave enough. You’ll cheer and root for Martin as he figures out how to celebrate all the parts of who he is. This book will leave you feeling braver and motivated as we follow Martin’s journey.
23. Aesop’s Fables
This exclusive Signet Classic edition contains 203 of Aesop’s most enduring and popular fables, translated into readable, modern American English and beautifully illustrated with classic woodcuts by the great French artist J. J. Grandville. It is impressive and extraordinary that so much of the richness of our language and our moral education still owe a massive debt to an enslaved Greek who was executed more than two thousand years ago.
24. The Chronicles of Narnia
We cannot leave a list of the best books for 6th graders without including The Chronicles of Narnia. The journeys into magical realms, battles between good and evil, and talking creatures open up our insights towards a broader imagination making it a great reading material for young readers that can inspire them to be courageous and do good deeds.
25. Harry Potter
If someone asks what is the greatest book of all time, the answer would be the Harry Potter series. Not only does it tell an enticing story in the wizarding world, it is also packed with fantasy narrative and life lessons about bravery, friendship, competitions, and includes the awkwardness within school friends’ relationships. The best book for 6th graders to pick if they haven’t already.
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What books should 6th graders be reading?
There are so many options available out there from comics, graphic novels, encyclopedias, to self-help books. The 6th graders should pick the ones with themes and genres of their interest as it can enhance their knowledge on the related topics. If you are an adult looking for the best book for 6th graders, you can observe what they are interested in the most.
What is reading at a 6th grade level?
Sixth grade reading entails understanding plot structures, narrative voices, character developments, and the use of language. 6th graders can also compare and contrast themes in articles and stories. At this level, they should be able to read novels and encyclopedic materials well as long as the materials are not too heavy.
How many books should a 6th grader read in a year?
It depends on whether they are avid readers or not. An avid reader, age 6-11, reads about 44 books per year, while an infrequent reader reads only around 22. And that difference increases substantially as kids get older. Infrequent readers, age 12-17, only read 4.7 books a year, but ideally 6th graders should read at least one book each month.
Is 6th grade easy?
It can be easy, but not always. There are so many things that can happen and it is different for every kid. Some kids may go through the 6th grade relatively easily both academically and socially, while others might have to struggle to make it through. However, 6th grade is not as scary as you might think.