See the 5th grade list here.
Go to the 7th grade list here.
45 Book Series for 6th Graders (11-Year-Olds)
Charlie Hernandez and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo
FANTASY / ADVENTURE
Charlie Hernández’s house burns down, his parents go missing, and he is sent to a foster home. But it’s when he grows HORNS, the WINGS, and meets the MYTHS in real life — like calacas, mukis, and El Justo Juez — that he’s really freaked out. Fortunately, a persistent classmate Violet Rey (also his crush) helps Charlie follow the clues to find out what happened to his parents and if he’s the prophesied Morphling who is meant to save the world. I highly recommend Charlie Hernández and the League of Shadows by Ryan Calejo — it’s immediately engaging with the perfect balance of action, dialogue, & description interspersed with Spanish words and phrases.
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. Boxed set here.
The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger’s Apprentice 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 ever since 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!
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 series. Boxed set here.
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
I stayed up all night to finish this book –it was fantastic! Twelve-year-old Sophie has never quite fit into her life. And Sophie has a secret; she’s a Telepath and not human. She must leave the human world for the Elvin world where she’ll face danger from both worlds. Her only hope is to regain the memories about her past. Boxed set here.
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.
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?
Hera: The Goddess and her Glory by George O’Conner
MYTHOLOGY / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Both my kids love O’Conner’s graphic novels and can’t wait for his next book, Hades. If you’re big Greek mythology fans, check out his other books, Athena and Zeus: King of the Gods.
The Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong
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.)
Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks
SCI-FI / GRAPHIC NOVEL
Sanity and Tallulah are two good friends who live on a space station. Sanity is a brilliant inventor — but her newest (illegal) creation, a three-headed kitten named Princess Destroyer of Worlds has escaped and is living up to her name — destroyer. The friends look for their missing kitten but instead discover a big problem that will destroy the space station only it’s not caused by the kitten. While the station is evacuated, the friends work hard to stop the duct weasels and the engine from overheating. I love the space station setting, the super-smart problem-solving main characters, and the non-stop action.
Podkin One-Ear The Legend Begins by Kieran Larwood
Impyrium by Henry H. Neff
Hazel is the third granddaughter, a princess who resembles no one else in the family except the most dangerous magician ruler the kingdom ever knew. She, like her ancestor, is gifted at magic and her grandmother wants to use Hazel’s magic to protect the kingdom. But it’s an unjust kingdom, and Hob, a young spy and commoner boy in her service, wants things to change. Hazel will face a choice to follow in the dark magic footsteps of her ancestor. Hob will face doing what he’s ordered or following his heart. Plots within plots, twists and turns, make this an enthralling new fantasy adventure.
Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede
You’ll love this strong female princess named Cimorene who doesn’t want to be a damsel in distress princess and 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 Ghost Network: Activate by I.I. Davidson
Jack and his friend are hackers who get taken to a top-secret tech school where dangerous secrets are hidden behind the STEM school facade. Not only are the kids in danger but there also seems to be a computer implanted inside their brains telling them what to do! The story intrigued me from the get-go but after about the middle, the action was so fast-paced and suspenseful, I was totally hooked.
The Quest for the Truth by Brock Eastman
SCI-FI / CHRISTIAN
Fast-paced and engaging, this story itself is set in intriguing, a futuristic world. 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.
The Last Dogs: The Vanishing by Christopher Holt
All humans mysteriously vanish one day. Max, a yellow Lab, knows that he must find and save his human family, wherever they are. 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.
Tunnels by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
DYSTOPIAN ADVENTURE (series)
In pursuit of his missing father, Will finds a crazy, cult-like subterranean group (“The Colony”) controlled by frightening leaders who will stop at nothing to maintain control and order in their colony below the surface of the earth.
Rump by Liesl Shurtliff
FRACTURED FAIRY TALE
In this powerful story from Rumplestiltskin’s perspective, you’ll read how Rump discovers who he is and grows into his potential. It takes some work but Rump learns he’s trapped in his mom’s magical “rumple” which requires him to make straw into gold for any trade that another person offers. This is what the miller takes advantage of, leaving Rump without options or any control. With the help of his troll friends, his friend Red, and his aunts, Rump finds a way to stop the magical curse and give the queen back her child.
Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older
HISTORICAL FICTION (+ FANTASY)
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 Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
Hilarious. While on a class trip to Washington D.C., Wyatt and his best friend, Matt, are positive they’ve discovered a plot to blow up the White House. Wyatt’s crush, Suzanna, helps the friends make a plan, and as you can imagine, disaster and humor strike as the kids try to stop the bombing.
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 6th graders with a love for quirky humor will enjoy.
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.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds
A boy whose nickname is Ghost accidentally gets on a track team and it’s life-changing. His coach becomes a mentor and father figure who pushes Ghost to take responsibility for his mistakes (stealing sneakers) and to start dealing with the ghosts of his past. Well-written and hopeful about growing up and growing into yourself.
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Like The Penderwicks, your 6th graders will 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.
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 start 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.
All Four Stars by Tara Dairman
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Because this is written in verse, this is a fast read but packs a big punch. Basketball player and twin Josh narrates his life in quarters, just like the game he plays. He writes about missing his twin when his twin, Jordan, gets a girlfriend; about getting in trouble when he hits Jordan in the face with a basketball; and about watching his father as his heart fails. This is a coming-of-age, gripping story about a boy who is just trying to figure out life like most boys in middle school are doing.
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.
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 mystery series.
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibb
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Trenton Lee Stewart
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.
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. An award-winning chapter book with a compelling narrative.
Lost in the Pacific, 1942: Not a Drop to Drink by Tod Olson
ADVENTURE / TRUE STORY HISTORICAL (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
ADVENTURE A storm sinks the stepsiblings 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.
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 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 slipped my hand into hers. A strange and unfamiliar feeling rand through me. It felt like the ocean, like sunlight, like horses. Like love. I searched my mind and found the name for it. Joy.” I can’t recommend this book enough, it will touch your heart at such a deep level. Don’t miss the equally amazing sequel: The War I Finally Won.
The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi
Nonfiction Books for 11-Year Olds