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 science fiction and exciting fantasy epics to funny middle school chronicles and gritty contemporary tales inspired by the headlines. It also has nonfiction books for kids who want their stories fact-filled. For more great books to help kids get hooked on reading, check out our lists of the Best Book Series for Tweens and Books Tweens and Teens Recommend to Friends.

Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

Al Capone Does My Shirts: A Tale from Alcatraz, Book 1

age 11+

Boy stands up for sister with autism in compassionate tale.

By: Gennifer Choldenko (2005)
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Allies Poster Image
BOOK

Allies

age 11+

Gripping, must-read novel follows young soldiers on D-Day.

By: Alan Gratz (2019)
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Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl Poster Image
BOOK

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

age 11+

Inspiring wartime journal reveals teen's inner life.

By: Anne Frank (1947)
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The Apothecary, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

The Apothecary, Book 1

age 11+

Cold War kids use magic to save world in brilliant novel.

By: Maile Meloy (2011)
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Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Rise of Kyoshi: The Kyoshi Novels, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

Avatar, The Last Airbender: The Rise of Kyoshi: The Kyoshi Novels, Book 1

age 12+

Servant girl becomes mystical hero in fast-paced fantasy.

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Bad Best Friend Poster Image
BOOK

Bad Best Friend

age 11+

Eighth grader withstands friend rejection in funny story.

By: Rachel Vail (2020)
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Better Off Friends Poster Image
BOOK

Better Off Friends

age 11+

Sweet, funny When Harry Met Sally romance for tweens.

By: Elizabeth Eulberg (2014)
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The Boy on the Wooden Box Poster Image
BOOK

The Boy on the Wooden Box

age 11+

Moving memoir of boy Holocaust survivor on Schindler's list.

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Chains: The Seeds of America Trilogy, Book 1 Poster Image
BOOK

Chains: The Seeds of America Trilogy, Book 1

age 11+

Powerful story of slavery in 1776 New York.

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Echo Poster Image
BOOK

Echo

age 11+

Tales of injustice masterfully blend with a dash of magic.

By: Pam Munoz Ryan (2015)
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Everything Sad Is Untrue: (A True Story) Poster Image
BOOK

Everything Sad Is Untrue: (A True Story)

age 11+

Young refugee's story is told in memories, myths, fables.

By: Daniel Nayeri (2020)
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Goodbye Stranger Poster Image
BOOK

Goodbye Stranger

age 11+

Bittersweet, lovely story of friendship and social media.

By: Rebecca Stead (2015)
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The Green Bicycle Poster Image
BOOK

The Green Bicycle

age 11+

Funny, poignant, cheer-worthy tale of spirited Saudi girl.

By: Haifaa al Mansour (2015)
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Grenade Poster Image
BOOK

Grenade

age 11+

Tense, gripping WWII drama has powerful cost-of-war message.

By: Alan Gratz (2018)
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Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Harry Potter, Book 6 Poster Image
BOOK

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince: Harry Potter, Book 6

age 11+

Emotionally powerful volume book mines Voldemort's past.

By: J. K. Rowling (2005)
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Hatchet Poster Image
BOOK

Hatchet

age 11+

Hold on tight for an intense tale of survival.

By: Gary Paulsen (1987)
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It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Poster Image
BOOK

It's Trevor Noah: Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood

age 11+

Comic's engaging memoir of growing up under Apartheid.

By: Trevor Noah (2019)
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A Long Walk to Water Poster Image
BOOK

A Long Walk to Water

age 11+

Touching take on Lost Boys of Sudan, based on true story.

By: Linda Sue Park (2010)
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March Forward Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine Poster Image
BOOK

March Forward Girl: From Young Warrior to Little Rock Nine

age 11+

Must-read memoir of a childhood in the segregated South.

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One Crazy Summer Poster Image
BOOK

One Crazy Summer

age 11+

A gem, with strong girl characters, '60s black history.

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