What are the best 6th grade books to read for summer that will keep your 6th grader (age 11-12) reading all summer long? The best way is to make sure they have a lot of excellent book choices — like the middle grade books on this list!
I’ve debated forever and finally chosen a selection of fantastic books in a variety of genres that your soon-to-be 6th graders will love.
The 6th grade books to read below are my top picks. This list of books for kids ages 11 and 12 are all books I’ve personally read and recommend. If you want to read the reviews for each book, visit this post of all the books for 6th graders.
But,…let’s talk about motivation. it’s not always as easy to get 6th grade kids to read simply by having a good book. Kids are distracted by technology and activities and life and on and on.
What else can help motivate 6th grade kids to read?
Let kids pick their own 6th grade books to read for summer reading. Even if it’s a choice within certain guidelines, it’s still a choice. No one likes to be forced to do anything, so the more autonomy kids can have, the better.
If I didn’t require a certain amount of time reading, it wouldn’t happen with my tween. Even though she loves reading. Last summer, my kids tracked minutes reading to earn minutes on screen time. However you plan it, make sure you’re checking in on the reading, so it doesn’t get forgotten.
Think outside the traditional book here. Try ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, or blogs.
Get a new beanbag pillow just for reading. Read with headlamps in the dark. Whatever your kids like, see if you can pair it with reading.
I have the lists organized by genre. Consider picking one book from each genre to read this summer. That way, your almost 6th grade reader gets exposed to a wide variety of fiction.
Download the free printable of this summer reading list. NOTE: If you don’t see the printable sign-up below, please clear your cache and try again.
Want to help your child be accountable for their reading? Get this summer reading packet with goal setting, a genre graph, & book tracker.
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Summer Reading: Engaging 6th Grade Books to Read
6th Grade Books for Summer Reading: GRAPHIC NOVELS
- Primer by Jennifer Muro and Thomas Krajewski
- Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez
- The Aquanaut by Dan Santat
- Cucumber Quest 1: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G.
- Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas
- Class Act by Jerry Craft
- Act by Kyla Miller
- Brave by Svetlana Chmakova
6th Grade Books for Summer Reading List: FANTASY and SCI-FI
- Lightcasters by Janelle McCurdy
- Hither and Nigh by Ellen Potter
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
- Shinji Takahashi and the Mark of the Coatl by Julie Kagawa
- Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston
- Legend of the Dream Giants by Dustin Hansen
- Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
- The Adventurers Guild by Zach Loran Clark and Nick Eliopulos
- Kelcie Murphy and the Academy for the Unbreakable Arts by Erika Lewis
- Last Mapmaker by Christina Soontornvat
6th Grade Books to Read for Summer: ADVENTURE
- The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks
- 96 Miles by J.L. Esplin
- Framed! A T.O.A.S.T. Mystery by James Ponti
- The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling
- City Spies by James Ponti
- Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibb
- The Unforgettable Logan Foster by Shawn Peters
- Ali Cross by James Patterson
6th Grade Books to Read for Summer: SCARY
If you like your stories to be a little creepy, try these books:
- Scritch Scratch by Lindsay Currie
- Coraline by Neil Gaiman
- Lockwood & Co The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
- A Tale of Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
- Ophie’s Ghost by Justina Ireland
6th Grade Summer Reading List: HISTORICAL FICTION
If you like historical fiction, you’ll love:
- Allies by Alan Gratz
- Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander
- Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte
- A Place to Hang the Moon by Kate Albus
- Indian No More by Charlene Willing McManis and Traci Sorell
- Voyage of the Sparrowhawk by Natasha Farrant
- Traitors Among Us by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch
- Lifeboat 12 by Susan Hood
6th Grade Summer Reading List: REALISTIC
If you enjoy reading realistic books, read these:
- Isaiah Dunn Is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist
- All of Me by Chris Baron
- Starfish by Lisa Fipps
- From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
- Before the Ever After by Jacqueline Woodson
- Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
- Unsettled by Reem Faruqi
- Finally Seen by Kelly Yang
- Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper
6th Grade Books for Summer Reading: FUNNY
Looking for 6th grade funny books? Try:
- Wink by Rob Harrell
- The Last Last Day of Summer by Lamar Giles
- The Jolly Regina: The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters by Kara LaReau
- Strange Case of the Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger
- Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts
- The Croc Ate My Homework by Stephan Pastis
- The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff
6th Grade Books for Summer Reading: NONFICTION
If you’re looking for a good nonfiction book, try these:
- Awesome Achievers in Technology by Alan Katz
- Making a Difference: Using Your Talents and Passions to Change the World (American Girl) by Melissa Seymour
- The Boy Who Became a Dragon: A Bruce Lee Story by Jim Di Bartolo
- The Mayflower (History Smashers) by Kate Messner
- The Superpower Field Guide Eels by Rachel Poliquin
- Wild Outside Around the World with Survivorman by Les Stroud
- Almanac 2023 National Geographic Kids
- Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for The World’s Most Adventurous Kid by Dylan Thuras and Rosemary Mosco
I hope these books give your children enough excellent choices and lots of hours of reading!
Don’t forget to find ways to make reading FUN! Here are some ideas for your 6th graders:
Participate in a summer reading program.
Read with a headlamp in bed.
Read on an electronic device. (Free eBooks?)
Start a book club.
Reward reading with . . . more BOOKS! (Kids choose, of course.)