First, consider your purpose.
Is it to get kids to read more?
To communicate better?
To learn how to form opinions using text to support?
To discuss a social issue?
That will help you find the right books.
It’s really, really, really essential that kids get a choice about what middle grade book to read.
Maybe you book talk 4 books and let them choose their favorite.
Maybe you ask them to research a group of books and pick that way.
Just let them have ownership and choice.
So, as you look for books, consider what topics, themes, or genres suit your purpose for the book club.
Use the list below to find books.
Or search by theme and topic. You’ll find book lists like:
Also, there is a search bar at the top of every page.
Here are some book ideas to get you started picking a good book for your 6th-grade book club.
Book Club Book Ideas for 6th Grade
Realistic Book Club Book Ideas
Black Brother Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
Twins with very different skin colors, one whiter and one darker, are treated differently, most noticeable at their school. Donte is unfairly accused of something and when he tries to defend himself, the police are called and he’s suspended from school. Not to mention, a popular guy at his school calls Donte “black brother” because he’s darker than his twin, Trey. Donte starts fencing to get revenge but as he trains, he finds that he’s smart, good at fencing, and courageous. If you think the world still isn’t racist and colorist, read this compelling story and you’ll see that we still have a long way to go.
Can You See Me by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl is a thoughtful coming-of-age story about a girl genius with OCD whose grandma wants her to go to public middle school to make one friend, read one non-math book, and join one school activity. Surprisingly, Lucy does find friends and discovers things about herself she didn’t know before.
Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
Harbor Me tackles some very big issues including race, immigration, bullying, learning differences, friendship, and forgiveness. The story is about six children with learning differences. They bond during a “special kids-only” time on Friday afternoons where they share their stories, many of which Haley records on a tape recorder. Even as she learns about the other kids who are, Haley is reluctant to share that her own dad is in jail for the car accident killing her mother. When she does eventually share, it’s beautiful to see the other kids support her. This well-written story deserves to be discussed as it has a wealth of ideas to ponder.
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng
Luminous and heartfelt, 11-year-old Alex Petroski’s dream is to launch a rocket into space with his iPod of recordings about life on earth. The story is a transcription of what he records on the iPod — his solo journey to the rocket convention, the interesting people he befriends on the way and there, his trip to Las Vegas to find information about his deceased father, and his unique, innocent perspective that tries to make sense of the world. You’ll make a lot of inferences about Alex’s life that Alex doesn’t notice. For example, he thinks his mom is “cool” but he cooks for her, takes care of her, and describes her as totally uninterested in his life.
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Mia and her parents have struggled ever since moving to America from China. When her parents take a new live-in job at a motel, they end up working around the clock for very little pay. Mia helps out by working at the front desk. She befriends the weekly tenants and uses her English skills to write letters advocating for other people in tough spots. This book is more than a memorable coming-of-age immigrant story, it’s also about tolerance and diversity. I loved this story— the writing, the characters, the plot, and the messages of inclusion and determination.
The Canyon’s Edge by Dusti Bowling
Historical Fiction Book Club Book Ideas
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.
Becoming Muhammad Ali by James Patterson and Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile
Masterfully plotted and beautifully written, Becoming Muhammad Ali, focuses on teenage Cassius with some reflections of his earlier childhood, setting the stage for the man that he will become. When Cassius finds boxing, it becomes a powerful outlet and finally something at which he excels. His personality shines through the pages. He’s a son, friend, and dedicated athlete; he’s cocky but likable…and a gifted master of trash talk. Readers will zip through this page-turning biography; it’s both informative and inviting. I could NOT put it down.
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz, illustrated by Hatem Aly
This is the story of three children in medieval France and tackles big issues such as faith, God, prejudice, friendship, and family. The writing, the story, the characters, and the themes all pack a big punch adding up to a compelling novel that will make you think deeply and leave you changed. (Sensitive readers: there are a few swear words and two scenes with a lot of blood.)
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Sudan’s reality, past and present, collide in this beautifully written true story. In 1985, we follow the harrowing journey of a young boy who, after his village was attacked, walks miles and miles to a refugee camp. In 2008, we learn about a girl who must walk two hours morning and night to get fresh water. Their stories are compelling; you won’t be able to put this down, nor take peace and clean water for granted again. A must-read!
Mystery Book Club Books
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 where his mother works. 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.
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 delightful, atmospheric read.
Sci-Fi Book Club Books
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
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 Chad’s face. 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, this book introduces 6th-grade readers to sci-fi and environmentalism.
Fantasy Book Club Books
The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
Wonderfully crafted and imagined, this 2017 Newbery winner is a fairy tale of sorts about a good witch who rescues one of the town’s many abandoned (sacrificed) babies instead of giving her to another town to adopt and love. She’s a special baby named Luna who accidentally becomes infused with moon magic. It’s also the story of the baby’s magical, bereaved mother, a wicked witch who feeds off sorrow, a woodcarver who wants justice, and most of all, an amazing girl named Luna.
Willa of the Wood by Robert Beatty