See the 5th-grade book list here.
26 Book Series for 6th Graders (11-Year-Olds)
Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull
FANTASY / ADVENTURE
Brandon Mull has outdone himself with an inventive, totally unique world and characters! Cole, a regular kid, is trick-or-treating with his friends when kidnappers arrive. Cole manages to hide in safety so he can follow the kidnappers but it’s to another world, a world of five kingdoms, slavery, and magic. Cole isn’t safe for long. He’s discovered and sold to slavers. There he’ll battle mysterious beings living on cloud castles, discover an exiled princess, escape from slavery, and have unimaginable adventures trying to find his missing friends. Don’t miss this epic fantasy adventure. Box set here.
Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, illustrated by Laura Park
REALISTIC / HUMOR
Rafe’s goal in middle school is to break every single rule. You can imagine how his plan will go, right? Filled with cartoon-like illustrations, this story is will crack you up. A totally hilarious premise and fantastic writing. Boxed Set HERE.
The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier, illustrated by Douglas Colgate
An easier read for 6th graders that makes the zombie apocalypse fun. At least that’s how Jack approaches life and zombie fighting. He and his best friend, Quint, live in an upgraded, well-defended treehouse where they plan to rescue his crush June (she doesn’t need rescuing by the way) and fight zombies. Illustrations throughout make this even more appealing to read and imagine. Delightful. Who would have thought?! BOXED SET HERE.
A Tale of Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz
This book is macabre but an excellent, imaginative story that weaves Hansel and Gretel with eight more Grimm fairy tales. Hansel and Gretel abandon their terrible parents in order to find better ones –ones that won’t try to kill them. The narrator, a strong, quirky voice, warns us of the bloody things to come. While he’s sometimes distracting, for the most part, I liked how his snarky voice kept me from getting too freaked out by the gruesome parts. Once in the wild forest, Hansel transforms into a ravenous, hunter-beast and Gretel continues on her own. This book will make you want to reread your Complete Brother’s Grimm. The other books in the series are not so gruesome as this first one but equally well-done.
Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
review written by 11-year old JJ
This series was AMAZING! It was a murder mystery on the moon. I can never turn down a good, realistic si-fi PLUS murder mystery. It has it all! It was placed in 2040 and their second-in-command had died. He had walked out the airlock (to the moon’s surface) with his space suit on wrong– he died in seconds. Everyone thought he had gone crazy, but Dashiel Givson suspected differently. Murder. The first book is almost mirrored in the second –the base commander this time disappears. With just enough breaking the rules, they can figure out where she is and who did it.
The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger’s Apprentice book 1 by John A. Flanagan
Will is apprenticed to become a Ranger, a job he’s unsure about. But as he develops a relationship with his master and learns what being a Ranger is all about (spying for the kingdom), and comes to embrace his new life. When an old enemy of the kingdom sends out dangerous beasts to attack Will’s master, Will is instrumental in getting help and killing the creatures. Action, fantasy, adventure, friendship, excellent writing — this book has it all! Ranger’s Apprentice is a must-read, mesmerizing epic fantasy. Boxed Set HERE.
Edge of Extinction The Ark Plan by Laura Martin
Action from the first page! It’s a dangerous world where cloned dinosaurs have taken over the earth. Now Sky and her fellow humans live below ground in safety with Noah as their supreme ruler. Sky discovers that her missing (maybe traitor?) father left her a secret note with cryptic instructions on how he could be found. She decides to leave the underground city in order to find her dad. Barely outside a day, she and her friend Shawn are rescued from hungry dinosaurs by a boy who lives in a treetop enclave. When his enclave is attacked by Noah’s soldiers looking for her, Sky realizes that everything she believed about Noah is wrong and is even more determined to find her father. I LOVED every page of this book series — and know your 6th graders will, too!
Mother Daughter Book Club by Heather Vogel Frederick
This series kept one of my daughters reading all summer last year. The story begins when a group of 6th graders form a mother-daughter book club. Each book in the series focuses on one of the books the girls read (such as Little Women, Daddy Long Legs, and Pride and Prejudice) as well as the relationships of the girls among themselves, the relationships with their mothers, and the tricky business of growing up. Box Set Here.
The Last Dogs: The Vanishing by Christopher Holt
Holt is an amazing writer and the story is a fast-paced, unique dystopian adventure that your kids will thoroughly enjoy. All humans are gone. Max, a yellow Lab, knows that he must find and save his human family. From the moment he escapes the kennel at the vet’s, Max and his friends, Rocky and Gizmo, face huge obstacles in his quest to find his humans including starving wolves, no food, a gang of subway rats, a house of cats, and the controlling Corporation, a “perfect” society for dogs where everyone works and no one can leave. I LOVED this entire series.
Vordak the Incomprehensible by Vordak T. Incomprehensible
I haven’t laughed like this when reading a book in years – it’s too funny! Vordak is a super-villain whose sights are now set on the middle school. MUAHAHAHAHA. Both books in the series are fantastic but this is my favorite.
The Fog Diver by Joel Ross
SCI-FI / DYSTOPIAN
The world is covered by a deadly “fog” that kills humans so the humans live only on the highest mountain peaks. Our heroes, a band of scavenging orphans, are trying to find something in the world below that they can sell in order to travel to another city where they can treat the cloud sickness of their beloved mother-figure. Excellent suspense in a fascinating world with interesting characters and plot.
Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham
ADVENTURE / MYSTERY
Even though he’s only 13-years-old, Theo knows all about being a lawyer. In fact, to prepare for his career, he gives legal advice to anyone who needs it. But when he learns about a reluctant murder witness, the only witness, who is an illegal immigrant and scared to come forward, Theo must figure out what the right thing to do is. Box set here.
Lockwood & Co The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Dangerous ghosts and spirits are appearing everywhere in London but only certain kids can see them. Teens Lucy, Anthony, and George badly need money for their ghost hunting agency, Lockwood & Co., so they take a perilous job that, if the ghosts have their way, may just be their last. An enthralling, spooky adventure that will continue in this 5 book series.
Masterminds by Gordon Korman
This is a really well-written series! If you’re like us, you’ll be on the edge of your seat trying to figure out what is going on. Eli and his friends discover that their utopian town is all a big science experiment. To determine if kids with bad genes, kids cloned from criminal masterminds, can be “good” when raised in the so-called right environment, a group of scientists pose as parents and create a “perfect”, closed community. Once the kids discover the truth, they know they can’t stay in the town anymore. But when they try to escape, they feel violent pain and guards are alerted. If they do escape, what will they do next?
Chains, Forge, Ashes(Seeds of America) by Laurie Halse Anderson
Live the Civil War time period through the eyes of an African-American girl named Isabel and her friend, Cuzon. Enslaved, escaped, or enlisted, these two are determined survivors. The writing is amazing and the stories, captivating. I love and highly recommend these books; they’ll transport you back into history. Boxed Set Here.
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
The theme is a good one: are people all good or all evil? The School for Good and Evil trains kids to be one or the other — heroes or villains. When this year’s two children are forcefully taken to attend the school, Sophie, a beautiful (yet stuck-up) princess-type, can’t wait to go to the School for Good and tells the other girl, Agatha, a black-wearing, drab classmate, that Agatha is Evil. Only that’s not what happens. Sophie is put in the School for Evil while Agatha goes to the School for Good. Now Sophie spends all her time trying to get into the School for Evil and manipulates Agatha to do so. What a thought-provoking series of books.
The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke
When the government cracks down and discovers her mom’s secret lab, Nere learns that her mom has experimented on her . . . and many other kids . . . so that they can survive underwater. Suddenly Nere has gills and is forced to swim for her life to meet up with the other kids who are part of the Neptune Project, traveling to where her not-really-dead-after-all father has built an underwater headquarters. The journey is dangerous and there’s tension within the group. Will they survive the trip and if they do, to what end? (The second book, The Neptune Challenge, is also fantastic.)
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
On his way to visit his dad, 13-year-old Brian’s plane crashes in the Canadian wild. All alone with only a hatchet, he’s forced to grow up quickly in order to survive each harrowing day. Readers will quickly imagine themselves in Brian’s perilous situation. Award-winning with a compelling narrative.
The Cloak Society by Jeramy Kraatz
Alex’s parents raised him in their secret society of supervillains, training him all his life for a life of villainy. He surprises himself in a battle when he saves the life of his enemy, a heroic Ranger of Justice girl named Kirbie. They secretly become friends making Alex question his entire life and his next big mission to wipe out all of the Rangers. Will he leave everything behind to become a hero?
Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
A bard, a boy, a band of Viking berserkers, trolls, dragons, and a quest — what more could you want in a series? This is one of those can’t put it down books that will keep you up all night reading and I loved this it. (Actually, I love all Farmer’s books.) 6th graders will enjoy reading this mythological Norse and Old English adventure series.
To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
Someone is trying to frame Jackson for a prank he didn’t even commit — and they’re doing a great job of it! It will take months to prove the video is falsified and by then Jackson will have missed the robot contest due to his punishment. Jackson and his friends are determined to prove his innocence but it won’t be easy. A fun plot with twists and turns and the 2nd book after The Great Greene Heist.
Stranded by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts
Honestly, I was totally surprised that I liked this book. It’s a great adventure with real-life conflict between new step-siblings who are on a sailboat trip with their uncle. A storm sinks their ship and they barely make it to a deserted island. They’ll have to work together to survive. And hope their parents can find them. The books are great fast-paced reading for anyone who loves action and adventure.
A Whole Nother Story by Cuthbert Soup
Mr. Cheeseman, his three relatively odor-free children, a psychic hairless dog, and a sock puppet named Steve are on the run. Why? Because Mr. Cheeseman invented a time machine, of course. Now they’re being chased by international super spies, top secret government agents, and a genius monkey. Dr. Cuthbert Soup, the head of the Center of Unsolicited Advice, narrates this wild wacky adventure that 11-year-olds with a love for quirky humor will enjoy.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
We read this dragon book twice for a bedtime story in addition to the subsequent books in the series. This is about a strong female princess named Cimorene who doesn’t want to be a damsel in distress princess. She leaves her home to apprentice herself to a dragon. For fun. No rescuing involved, thank you very much. Once there, she must help save her dragon from a nasty group of wizards. We LOVE and highly recommend this girl-power series. Box set here.
The Quest for the Truth by Brock Eastman
SCI-FI / CHRISTIAN
I couldn’t put these books down — which was a very fun surprise because I didn’t know what to expect from a Christian fiction series like this. The writing is fantastic — ffast-pacedand engaging and the story itself is intriguing, a futuristic world in which the four siblings archeologist parents are kidnapped by forces trying to find artifacts which will lead them to eternal life. The kids pursue both the artifacts and their missing parents across different planets where they discover a hidden civilization of blue-colored people, escape a dangerous laboratory with predatory creatures including dinosaurs, learn a friend is really a foe, and get captured by pirates.
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan
The artistic Applewhite family offers to homeschool Jake after he’s expelled from yet another school. Jake moves in with this unusual family to attend their Creative Academy but clashes with E.D., one of the not-so-artistic children. Quirky and funny.
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Diana Sudyka
9-year-old Nicholas Benedict, a genius orphan with narcolepsy, lives in a poorly run orphanage where he’s maltreated and bullied. In this prequel to the series, Nicholas discovers there’s a treasure somewhere in the orphanage. He and his friend search for clues as well as find ways to improve life for all the orphans there. Boxed set here.