I had to split up the list of book recommendations for 11 year olds since it was getting so long. The first list of books is here, this is the second list. Hope this gives you lots of great ideas for what your 11 year old can read next and after that and after that . . .
MORE Recommended Books for 11 Year Olds (6th Grade)
Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate REALISTIC
Crenshaw is the new book from the author of The One and Only Ivan, Katherine Applegate, and it’s another amazing story dealing with poverty. I read this book after my 10-year old who loved it as much as me. After having lost their home and living in their van for 3 months, the family is now about to lose their apartment. Although Jackson’s parents don’t tell him this, he knows the signs. He knows why they’re having a yard sale. He knows it’s not his dad’s fault for having MS but he’s mad and worried and alone. It isn’t until Crenshaw shows up and pushes Jackson to speak the truth to his parents that Jackson learns that he’s not facing this alone. Oh, and who is Crenshaw? He’s Jackson’s large, imaginary cat friend from when he was little returned to help Jackson in his time of need. I felt like it was a God metaphor. I wonder what you’ll think?
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson REALISTIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Roller Girl shows the struggles of friendship and finding your place in the world as Astrid works hard to become a better roller derby skater, reconcile her ending friendship with her best friend, and develop a new one. (I recommend going to a roller derby event with your kids to help them know more about this cool sport for girls — it’s such a blast and would be helpful for reading this book, but not essential.) Well-written and relatable.
A Handful of Stars by Cynthia Lord REALISTIC
When Lily befriends Salma Santiago, a migrant worker’s daughter, Salma gives Lily a new perspective on life — to dream big, to see the possibilities in everything — even for Lily’s blind dog named Lucky. Salma also sees the possibility of winning the local Blueberry Queen pageant for a college scholarship. Lily worries that the community won’t accept someone who isn’t blond and white. This novel is a tender story about friendship and growing up.
Extraordinary by Miriam Spitzer Franklin REALISTIC
Pansy needs redemption. Last year, when her best friend needed her, Pansy didn’t keep her word. Now that her best friend is in a wheelchair and her brain isn’t working, Pansy decides that she will make it up to her. She’ll be brave and do everything. She links her actions to Anna’s recovery, not realizing that Anna is permanently brain damaged. This is a deeply moving story of loss and acceptance.
The Search for Wondla by Tony DiTerlizzi FANTASY
Follow along as Eva Nine, a 12-year old, raised by a robot named Muthr underground discovers a planet with unusual creatures and no humans to be found. The only trace of humanity she has is a scrap of paper with the letters “Wondla”. It’s a magical adventure you won’t want to put down.
Ghost Knight by Cornelia Funke FANTASY
Secrets of Selkie Bay by Shelley Moore Thomas REALISTIC
Cordie’s the oldest of three daughters living with the hopes that their mother who left suddenly will return. Her sister believes their mom is a selkie who had to return to sea. After all, their mom looks like a selkie with her black hair and pale skin, and she owned a dark coat, and her favorite book is A Child’s Book of Selkies. To find out, the sisters take a boat to a secret island where they are helped by a mysterious seal. Is it their mother? Even more worrisome is that their boat leaks and the seal is injured. I couldn’t put this book down — Secrets of Selkie Bay is magical story that made me believe in the unbelievable. And see the magic in family, forgiveness, and love.
The Girl with the Glass Bird by Esme Kerr MYSTERY
A lonely orphan named Edie is forced to leave her only known relative, and live at a strict boarding school in order to surreptitiously protect Anastasia, the Russian prince’s daughter. While she’s at it, she’s also supposed to discover what is behind all of Anastasia’s problems. Edie thinks there’s something fishy going on; that someone is trying to make Anastasia believe she’s going crazy. But, it’s not so easy to tell — it could be that Anastasia is lying. Then she learns that the headmaster knew her mother and was her mother’s sworn enemy. This is an engrossing mystery tangled with compelling characters and emotional resonance.
Woundaout by Lev Rosen, illustrated by Ellis Rosen MAGICAL REALISM
This is an interesting story with a thought provoking topic of change — can you stop change and is change good, bad, or both? When their dads are killed, siblings Connor and Cordelia and their pet capybara travel to live with their aunt who lives in the very strange city of Woundabout. It’s strange because it’s empty of children, greenery, and any spontaneity. It turns out the townspeople are totally against change, of any kind. It’s Conner and Cordelia who force the town, and their aunt, to realize that change isn’t always bad.
Monstrous by MarcyKate Connolly FANTASY
The Midnight Tunnel: A Suzanna Snow Mystery by Angie Frazier HISTORICAL FICTION / MYSTERY
My 11-year old says this is a GREAT mystery. Set in 1905 in New Brunswick, Suzanna works at her family’s inn. When a young guest disappears, Suzanna’s detective uncle arrives for the search. But, Zanna finds clues of her own that lead her to think there is more than one mystery going on.
Erec Rex by Kaza Kingsley FANTASY
Life is not easy for twelve-year-old Erec Rex. His single mother can barely support her six adopted kids. And they’ve moved into an apartment so tiny that Erec sleeps with the washing machine. Worse, there is a strange force within Erec that is making him do odd things. His urge to obey these thoughts grows — until it becomes impossible to resist them. Then one morning, Erec’s mother is missing. The force inside Erec commands him to find her, leading him on an adventure that will change him forever. When he arrives in Alypium, a hidden world where old knowledge of magic is kept, Erec learns that his mother and the entire kingdom are in peril. And he might be the only one who can save them. This is an excellent series for 11 year old readers.
The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari REALISTIC
This book is a journey of grief with a tempting allegorical shadow world where Charlie and Imogene Price’s mom is “alive”. But not everything is right in this shadow world world where you lose memories, especially the sad ones, to “feed” family members who have died. Charlie is afraid he’ll lose his sister, Imogene. forever to the shadow world, like he did his best friend, Frank. So well-written, this is a thoughtful treatment of emotions and grief — I highly recommend it, especially for book club discussions.
The Cup and the Crown by Diane Stanley FANTASY
Second in a series but a stand alone story, this is a fun adventurous tale of Molly and her friends, who must help King Alaric discover how to use the Cup. Molly finds a secret city called Harrowsgode where her grandfather grew up and is taken prisoner. How will her friend, Tobias, a rat-catcher, and an intelligent raven help Molly to escape and why is the town so secretive?
The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands FANTASY
Christopher’s apprenticed to an apothecary whose just been murdered in the same way as many other apothecaries. He and his best friend decide to solve the puzzles and find new clues to find the culprits for these horrible crimes. They hope it’s not the dangerous cult they’ve been hearing about — and are as surprised as us when they find out what’s really going on. Part historical, part fantasy, and all adventure.
Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper HISTORICAL FICTION
Stella watches her father when he registers to vote and then votes. She watches her neighbor’s house burn for voting. She watches her classmates learn even as she struggles with writing down her thoughts. Draper skillfully shares this historical time from Stella’s 11-year old’s perspective. It’s understandable and not too overwhelming – we learn about the KKK but aren’t exposed to the horror that could have been included.
School for S.P.I.E.S. Playing with Fire book 1 by Bruce Hale, illustrated by Brandon Dorman ADVENTURE
When Max gets kicked out of another foster home, he’s sent to an Orphanage which is actually a training school for spies. Great action and plotting will hook you right away. I enjoyed this book and am glad the 2nd book is already out.
I admit to not liking the cover and being reluctant to read this book because of that. (I know, shouldn’t judge and all that . . . ) Luckily, I did read it and it was a great book. The Girl in the Torch is a touching middle-grade historical fiction novel that follows an orphaned girls journey to America and struggle to stay. For awhile she hides out in the Statue of Liberty, then the watchman finds her and lets her stay at his boarding house. This is very well-written and shows a glimpse into the history of immigrants. I didn’t want to put it down once!
Vordak the Incomprehensible by Vordak T. Incomprehensible HUMOR
I haven’t laughed like this when reading a book in years – too funny! It’s pee-your-pants funny.
The Midnight Zoo by Sonya Hartnett (Great pick for a Newbery) HISTORICAL FICTION
Tissue alert – this story made me weep. A lot. Racking sobs, I’m not kidding. It’s a breathtaking story; a fable about life set in Nazi Germany. We follow three Gypsy siblings who have witnessed the capture of their family and friends. While walking and searching for food, they find an abandoned zoo, with talking animals. That’s all I’ll reveal. You NEED to read this beautiful story. It will change your life. **Teachers, read this book and use it in your classrooms — it’s rich in allegory, theme, metaphor, imagery . . . I’d consider it for middle and high school more than elementary school.
The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore ADVENTURE
Three kids, Ephraim Appledorre, Mallory Green, and Will Wylie, begin at odds but as they work together, will they discover the secret Water Castle? Does it contain the secret water for eternal youth? I loved this great adventure!
The Misadventures of Benjamin Bartholomew Piff by Jason Lethcoe FANTASY
Mal-treated orphan Benjamin follows all the wishing rules and makes the perfect birthday wish — for more wishes. He doesn’t realize that by doing this he’s taking away other kids wishes and creating a powerful wish magic that can be stolen and used by the Curseworks Factory. He’s recruited by the Wishworks Factory to set things right. A delightful, imaginative story with the perfect ending.
The Peddler’s Road: The Secrets of the Pied Piper by Matthew Cody FANTASY
It all started in Hamlin, a little town in Germany, in 1284. Now, in the present day, the Pied Piper is looking for the last child to repay his dept. So he takes Max and her brother, Carter. They’re transported to an island filled with the original stolen children, and an island filled with massive, evil rats and other creatures. Will the Peddler help the kids find their way back home? Or will the Piper’s magic be too strong? This ended on a cliff-note which is always kind of irritating but was an interesting take on this Grimm fairy tale. I can’t wait to read the next chapter book in this series when it’s published.
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar SCI-FI
They’re not supposed to be in the woods, but to avoid Chad the bully Tamaya and Marshall go there anyway. Tamaya discovers the weird looking “fuzzy mud” and throws it at the Chad’s face who followed them. When Chad goes missing, and Tamaya’s hand gets a bloody rash, it’s clear that the mud is not just mud. Fast-paced and adventurous, kids won’t be able to put this book down. I couldn’t.
The Water and the Wild by K.E. Ormsbee FANTASY
Wild Boy and the Black Terror by Rob Lloyd Jones HISTORICAL / MYSTERY
This second book in the series makes me so eager to read the first book — it’s really a fascinating story with it’s absolutely excellent character development and an intriguing plot. Wild Boy is literally covered in fur — yes, literally. He now lives with the Gentlemen who rescued he and his best friend, Clarissa, from the circus and the crazed Londoners who believed him to be a dangerous murderer. The Queen of England ask Wild Boy to solve the mystery of a most frightening terror that scares people to death — again, seemingly literally. Is is a really a demon’s curse or something more human at work?
The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis REALISTIC
I enjoyed this book so much! The writing flows, the plot is engaging, the characters are fascinating — especially Amelie — and learning about living with Cystic Fibrosis is quite eye-opening. Amelie loves to bake (could you guess from the title?) and she’s made it to the semi-finals of a teen baking contest in New York City. Unfortunately, her health deteriorates (which happens when you have CF) and her mom won’t let Amelie compete. You won’t just love this story but also want to try the various recipes throughout the book – I love when authors do that.
The Lost Kingdom by Matthew J. Kirby HISTORICAL FICTION / STEAMPUNK
The wild west plus fantastical elements combine in this marvelous adventure of an expedition to find the lost people of the Welsh Prince Madoc. This is the wild west like you’ve never imagined. And you’ll love it.
Winterling by Sarah Prineas FANTASY
In the forest Fer finds a puck who shows her the secret passage to another world – a world of magic where she feels like she belongs finally. But who were Fer’s parents and why does the evil Mor want to keep the land in endless winter? I think this book should be more recognized – it’s a great adventure.
Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms: Magic, Mystery, & a Very Strange Adventure by Lissa Evans MYSTERY
Horten’s magician great-uncle Tony, whom he just learns about, disappeared mysteriously years ago. Horten and one of the triplet neighbors must piece together the clues left behind before his uncle’s house is destroyed by the city. He’s facing a deadline and also another scheming magician who wants to find the hidden secrets in Tony’s lost workshop.
Neil Flambe and the Marco Polo Murders by Kevin Sylvester MYSTERY
Arrogant, yet endearing, 14-year old chef Neil Flambe is known for his keen powers of smell – especially by the police detectives who need Neil’s help with a series of mysterious murders of chefs in the area. The clues lead to something about a trip of Marco Polo and spices. It’s a delightful, aromatic read for 11 year olds with interesting in baking or cooking!)
Red Blazer Girls by Michael Beil MYSTERY
Are these sleuths in school uniforms modern-day equivalents of Nancy, Harriet, or Scooby? Not really, they’re just three nice girls who decide to help out a weird lady, and end up hiding under tables, tackling word puzzles and geometry equations, and searching rather moldy storage rooms for “the stuff that dreams are made of” (that’s from an old detective movie). Oh, and there’s A Boy, who complicates things. As boys often do.
Son (The Giver, #4) by Lois Lowry SCI-FI
Did you know that The Giver is a series? This is the last book, and it’s excellent. You’re going to love (and be surprised) the way Lowry incorporates all the characters of the original story, too. Claire, grows up to become a Vessel, and births a baby boy. She’s reassigned to the Fish Hatchery but Claire can’t stop thinking about the son (the Product) taken away from her. As time goes on, Claire realizes that everyone else takes pills that make them seem numb, and unquestioning. When Claire’s faced with a choice, she decides for her son and for freedom. But it all goes wrong . . . she does escape and washes up on a new land with no memories. At least for now.
Kingdom Keepers series by Ridley Pearson ADVENTURE / FANTASY
My daughter loved this series but I have to admit it had too many main characters for me so I didn’t enjoy it. However, if you like Disney and non-stop adventure, you’ll love these books. Our main characters, teenagers, protect the park agains the Disney villains. At least they will try. Because catching the bad guys isn’t always easy.
The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin FANTASY
A clever story about a magical Renaissance painter who created real worlds in his elaborately painted canvases. Years later, when her step-brother accidentally goes into a painting, Sunni and her classmate must follow to rescue him. Strangely, their art teacher’s brother follows, too and he doesn’t seem very nice. It’s a world is filled with pirates, labyrinths, monsters, and world within worlds but an exciting, adventurous story.
Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier by Ying Chang Compestine and Vinson Compestine HISTORICAL FICTION
If your kids aren’t interested in Chinese history, they will be after reading this novel. Ming lives in rural communist China with his father, who finds artifacts for the museum. A discovered terra-cotta soldier who comes to life and befriends Ming. They must work together to protect the soldiers and Emperor Qin’s tomb. I like how the authors wove in historical photos and information.
Manhunt by Kate Messner ADVENTURE / MYSTERY
At midnight all over the world, works of art vanish from houses and museums. Anna, Henry and Jose are kids of parents in the Silver Jaguar Society, a society who protects priceless works of art, head to Paris to guard the Mona Lisa. But there’s someone in the society who is feeding information to the art thieves. And it’s up to the kids to figure it out. A fun adventure – I really liked it.
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