What middle grade books for girls will motivate your kids to read? Using my background as a teacher and parent, I am recommending 14 excellent choices to start that will appeal to girls with beautiful stories, exciting adventures, wonderful mysteries, and compelling themes.
Read more book recommendations for 6th graders, whether your 6th grade girls are starting middle school or finishing upper elementary school, they’ll find something good to read.
With more and more websites using AI or copying and pasing from publisher descriptions, I want to assure you that these are original reviews I wrote based on books that I have read and actually recommend.
Books for 6th Grade Girls
Framed! A T.O.A.S.T. Mystery by James Ponti
Captivating from the first page, 12- year-old Florian Bates uses his brilliant, observing brain to implement T.O.A.S.T. (the Theory of All Small Things) to notice things that others have missed. Including the FBI when there’s an art heist at the museum his mother works at. The FBI hires him to help unravel a mysterious art heist which he does with the help of his best friend, Margaret. Fast-paced and interesting, this is an exciting choice for 6th grade girls.
Invisible by Christina Diaz Gonzalez, illustrated by Gabriela Epstein
REALISTIC / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Spanish-speaking kids are thrown together to complete before-school community service hours. When the kids notice the homeless mom and her child living in a van, they try to help with leftover food. But they get into trouble by the cafeteria lady who thinks they’re stealing. This is a powerful story about kindness, racism, differences, and marginalized individuals including non-native-English speakers and homeless folks.
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibb
The CIA asks a super genius 12-year-old girl named Charlie to help find the missing and dangerous “Pandora” theory of Einstein’s. You will fall in love with Charlie—she’s a creative thinker and a survivor who, despite all her knowledge still can act like a child yet also outwit bad guys in amazing ways. Terrorists, Moussed, cross-world travel, and mathematical clues combine with excellent writing to make the perfect action-adventure spy story starring a female protagonist you’ll love!
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Like The Penderwicks, you’ll fall in love with this quirky, wonderful family from the first page. The Vanderbeekers’ landlord wants them out by the end of December but the Vanderbeeker kids are determined to change his mind, even though he hates noise, kids, and their family. But it’s almost Christmas and their efforts are only making things worse. What will they do? Charming and heart-warming.
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson, illustrated by Chloe Bristol
Elizabeth, an orphan, is unexpectedly sent to a large, stately hotel with a kind, grandfatherly proprietor for Christmas vacation. There, she discovers a magical book, a sinister couple, a family mystery, and a new friend who loves puzzles as much as she does. The writing is mesmerizing, the mystery fascinating, and the characters, enchanting. This is a wonderful, atmospheric read your 6th graders will adore.
All Rise for the Honorable Perry T. Cook by Leslie Connor
A heartbreaking, hopeful coming-of-age story. Perry is well-loved by his mother and her friends; they all live in prison. In fact, that’s where Perry has lived since he was born eleven years ago. But in a horrible turn of events, his best friend’s stepfather, the new District Attorney, forces Perry to leave the prison. Not only that, the DA tries to stall Perry’s mother’s parole hearing. To cope, Perry istens to the inmates’ stories, hoping that they’ll be helpful in reuniting him with his mother.
Starfish by Lisa Fipps
REALISTIC / BODY IMAGE & SIZE / VERSE
Heartbreaking and inspiring, this poignant story in verse shows a girl who learns, after years of fat-shaming and bullying, to define herself not based on what others say but on who she really is. Ellie’s nickname is Splash because of her size but she loves swimming. Her biggest bully is her mother who won’t buy her new clothes because she thinks it encourages Ellie’s weight gain and pushes for gastro-bypass surgery. Fortunately, Ellie finds an understanding therapist who helps her move from powerless to powerful.
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia D. Williams
Don’t miss this important book for 6th graders about self-worth, beauty, and colorism. Genesis hates that her skin is so dark; she knows her grandma and father hate that about her, too. In her self-loathing, she believes that if only she were lighter-skinned, she’d be pretty and have all the things that go along with being pretty. In this coming-of-age story, Genesis finds her voice both literally and metaphorically. It will start the conversation about who defines beauty and how we can do better individually and as a society.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
We loved this so much that we read it twice for a bedtime story! You’ll love the strong female main character, a princess named Cimorene, who doesn’t want to live the typical princess life. She leaves her home to apprentice herself to a dragon. Just for fun. No prince rescuing involved, thank you very much. Then she must help save her dragon from a group of evil wizards. We LOVE and highly recommend this dragon series. BOX SET
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
A Newbery Honor winner!!! Ada and her brother escape their mother’s abuse when the London children are evacuated during WWII and go to live with a grieving woman in a small country town. It’s difficult for both the woman and children to trust each other but slowly the trust grows. As it does, all three regain something lost — hope and love. I can’t recommend this book enough, it will touch your heart at such a deep level. One of the best books for 6th graders.
Masterminds by Gordon Korman
Eli and his friends discover that their utopian town is a large-scale, illegal science experiment to determine if kids cloned from criminal masterminds can be good when raised in the right environment. Eli and his cloned friends know they can’t stay in their town of lies anymore but how can they escape when the minute they reach the border, they experience violent pain and guards surround them? And if they do escape, what will they next?
Lockwood & Co The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
GHOST ADVENTURE (series)
Set in Victorian London, we learn that dangerous ghosts and spirits are everywhere, but only kids can see them. Teens Lucy, Anthony, and George badly need money for their ghost agency, so they take an inadvisable, perilous job that may just be their last. Sixth graders (and I) love this series with its addicting, edge-of-your-seat writing.
Lightcasters by Janelle McCurdy
After the Reaper King’s soldiers attack her forever dark city and capture her parents, Mia, her brother Lucas, plus two other friends flee the nefarious soldiers toward her grandparent’s in the capital city. To make it through the dangerous Nightmare Plains, Mia reluctantly bonds with not one but two wild umbras, creatures made of shadows and starlight, and learns she’s one of the mythical Lightkeepers, foretold to defeat the Reaper King. Unique, super cool world-building, fantastic storytelling, and perfect pacing, this is one book you won’t be able to put down!
Finally Seen by Kelly Yang
This middle-grade novel explores the importance of books as mirrors and doors, the challenges of immigration, the realities of racism, and book banning. Lina’s lived with her Lao Lao for the last five years but she moves to join her dad, mom, and little sister in LA, leaving her beloved Lao Lao behind in a nursing home. But, it’s not what she expected and she’s embarrassed when she struggles with English words and surprised at her family’s financial struggles. Even still, Lina’s bright spots are a kind ESL teacher, the graphic novels she reads and writes, and her new friends, Finn and Carla.