Best Books for Sixth-Graders

As tweens start figuring out the world and their place in it, well-told stories can help them explore different places, feelings, issues, and eras. Our list of engaging books for 11- and 12-year-olds has it all, from nonfiction and science fiction to exciting fantasy epics and gritty urban tales inspired by the headlines. And for more great books, check out our lists of the Best Book Series for Tweens and Books Tweens and Teens Recommend to Friends.

Browse Best Books for Sixth-Graders

Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Boy stands up for autistic sister in compassionate tale.
By Gennifer Choldenko
(2005)
(2005)
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Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Book Poster Image
Inspiring wartime journal reveals teen's inner life.
By Anne Frank
(2011)
(1947)
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The Apothecary Book Poster Image
Cold War kids use magic to save world in brilliant novel.
By Maile Meloy
(2011)
(2011)
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Echo Book Poster Image
Tales of injustice masterfully blend with a dash of magic.
By Pam Munoz Ryan
(2015)
(2015)
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Goodbye Stranger Book Poster Image
Bittersweet, lovely story of friendship and social media.
By Rebecca Stead
(2015)
(2015)
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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince Book Poster Image
Powerful penultimate book mines Voldemort's past.
By J. K. Rowling
(2005)
(2005)
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Hatchet Book Poster Image
Hold on tight for an intense tale of survival.
By Gary Paulsen
(2006)
(1987)
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A Long Walk to Water Book Poster Image
Touching take on Lost Boys of Sudan, based on true story.
By Linda Sue Park
(2013)
(2010)
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One Crazy Summer Book Poster Image
A gem, with strong girl characters, '60s black history.
By Rita Williams-Garcia
(2010)
(2010)
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The Ruins of Gorlan: The Ranger's Apprentice, Book 1 Book Poster Image
1st in popular series has positive characters, some battles.
By John Flanagan
(2010)
(2006)
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The Thickety: A Path Begins Book Poster Image
Thrilling, brilliant witch tale is vividly violent, scary.
By J.A. White
(2014)
(2014)
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Well, That Was Awkward Book Poster Image
Friendships tested in clever tween-texting romcom.
By Rachel Vail
(2017)
(2017)
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Wonder Book Poster Image
Moving tale of facially different boy with inner beauty.
By R.J. Palacio
(2012)
(2012)
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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Book Poster Image
Twain's classic is full of humor and suspense.
By Mark Twain
(2010)
(1876)
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All American Boys Book Poster Image
Haunting tale of two boys' lives changed by police assault.
By Jason Reynolds, Brendan Kiely
(2015)
(2015)
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Bomb: The Race to Build -- and Steal -- the World's Most Dangerous Weapon Book Poster Image
Complex, suspenseful story of developing The Bomb.
By Steve Sheinkin
(2013)
(2012)
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The Bone Witch Book Poster Image
Tale of dead-raising witch more coming-of-age than morbid.
By Rin Chupeco
(2017)
(2017)
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Ender's Game Book Poster Image
Boy genius trains to crush alien invasion in sci-fi classic.
By Orson Scott Card
(2005)
(2005)
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The Family Romanov:  Murder, Rebellion & the Fall of Imperial Russia Book Poster Image
Vivid, sometimes violent tale of Russia's last royal family.
By Candace Fleming
(2014)
(2014)
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The Fellowship of the Ring Book Poster Image
Spectacular fantasy classic is where Frodo's journey begins.
By J.R.R. Tolkien
(2003)
(1954)
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The Hunger Games, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Exciting, provocative tale of lethal reality show.
By Suzanne Collins
(2008)
(2008)
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Legend, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Stylish dystopian thriller in a not-so-future Los Angeles.
By Marie Lu
(2012)
(2011)
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Love and First Sight Book Poster Image
Blind teen finds love and more in engaging coming-of-ager.
By Josh Sundquist
(2017)
(2017)
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Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case Book Poster Image
Powerful true tale of mixed-race couple's fight for justice.
By Patricia Hruby Powell
(2017)
(2017)
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Lord of the Flies Book Poster Image
Gripping story of marooned schoolboys and their savagery.
By William Golding
(2011)
(1954)
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March: Book One Book Poster Image
Powerful graphic novel captures spirit of desegregation.
By John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, Nate Powell
(2013)
(2013)
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My Name Is Not Easy Book Poster Image
Fascinating story of Alaskan kids growing up in the 1960s.
By Debby Dahl Edwardson
(2011)
(2011)
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Okay for Now Book Poster Image
A troubled boy discovers his self-worth through art.
By Gary D. Schmidt
(2011)
(2013)
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The Outsiders Book Poster Image
Story of ostracized kid a timeless fave of teens, preteens.
By S. E. Hinton
(2003)
(1967)
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Scythe: Arc of a Scythe, Book 1 Book Poster Image
Chilling concept fuels sci-fi thriller about life and death.
By Neal Shusterman
(2016)
(2016)
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Strange the Dreamer Book Poster Image
Fiercely imaginative, lushly told fantasy for mature teens.
By Laini Taylor
(2017)
(2017)
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Survivors Club: The True Story of a Very Young Prisoner of Auschwitz Book Poster Image
Unforgettable true story of boy sent to death camp at age 4.
By Michael Bornstein, Debbie Bornstein Holinstat
(2017)
(2017)
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The Tequila Worm Book Poster Image
Moving tale of Latina going to white boarding school.
By Viola Canales
(2006)
(2006)
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Under Rose-Tainted Skies Book Poster Image
Mental health issues meet romance in witty, touching story.
By Louise Gornall
(2017)
(2017)
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Under the Mesquite Book Poster Image
Latina teen faces mom's cancer in award-winning verse novel.
By Guadalupe Garcia McCall
(2012)
(2011)
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The Valiant Book Poster Image
Female gladiator brings it in violent, exciting tale.
By Lesley Livingston
(2017)
(2017)
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Wait for Me Book Poster Image
Sweet World War II romance between Scot girl and German POW.
By Caroline Leech
(2017)
(2017)
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Wires and Nerve: The Lunar Chronicles Series, Vol. 1 Book Poster Image
Tough female droid fuels fun Lunar Chronicles graphic novel.
By Marissa Meyer
(2017)
(2017)
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