Staff Picks

Too-Good-to-Miss Books: Sixth Grade

Staff recommendations for children at a sixth grade reading level.

Children's Services Staff
A Black Hole is Not a Hole     A Black Hole is Not a Hole    
Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
    (Juvenile Nonfiction - J 523.8875 Dec)

Introduces black holes, describing their physical features, how they were discovered, what causes them, and where they exist in space.

A Corner of the Universe     A Corner of the Universe    
Ann Martin
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Martin)

The summer that Hattie turns twelve, she meets the childlike uncle she never knew and becomes friends with a girl who works at the carnival that comes to Hattie's small town.

Amulet. Book 1, The Stonekeeper     Amulet. Book 1, The Stonekeeper    
Kazu Kibuishi
    (Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Kibuish)
Amulet. Book 1.

After their father's death, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the house of her deceased great-grandfather. Before long, a sinister creature lures their mother through a door in the basement. Desperate, the children follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.

Chicken Boy     Chicken Boy    
Frances O'Roark Dowell
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Dowell)

Since the death of his mother, Tobin's family and school life have been in disarray. After he starts raising chickens with seventh-grade classmate Henry, everything starts to fall into place.

Elijah of Buxton     Elijah of Buxton    
Christopher Paul Curtis
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Curtis)

In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, which is a haven for slaves fleeing the American South, uses his wits and skills to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family's freedom.

Esperanza Rising     Esperanza Rising    
Pam Munoz Ryan
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Ryan)

Esperanza and her mother are forced to leave their life of wealth and privilege in Mexico to go work in the labor camps of Southern California, where they must adapt to the harsh circumstances facing Mexican farm workers on the eve of the Great Depression.

Ghostopolis     Ghostopolis    
Doug TenNapel
    (Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Tennape)

Garth Hale is as good as dead...The only problem is he's still alive. When Garth Hale is accidentally zapped into the ghost world by Frank Gallows, a washed-up ghost wrangler, he discovers that he has special powers.

Half-Minute Horrors     Half-Minute Horrors     (Juvenile Fiction - J Half)

An anthology of very short, scary stories by an assortment of authors and illustrators including Chris Raschka, Joyce Carol Oates, Neil Gaiman, Jack Gantos, and Lane Smith.

Hatchet     Hatchet    
Gary Paulsen
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Paulsen)

After a plane crash, Brian spends 54 days in the wilderness learning to survive with only a hatchet given him by his mother. Read more in The River, Brian's Winter, Brian's Return, and Brian's Hunt.

Hoot     Hoot    
Carl Hiaasen
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Hiaasen)

Roy, who is new to his small Florida community, becomes involved in another boy's daring and often hilarious attempt to save a colony of burrowing owls from a proposed construction site. If you like this book, you might enjoy Flush and Scat by the same author.

Inkheart     Inkheart    
Cornelia Funke
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Funke)

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can read fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service. The magic continues in Inkspell.

Listening for Lions     Listening for Lions    
Gloria Whelan
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Wh)

Left an orphan after the influenza epidemic in British East Africa in 1918, thirteen-year-old Rachel is tricked into assuming a deceased neighbor's identity to travel to England, where her only dream is to return to Africa and rebuild her parents' mission hospital.

No More Dead Dogs     No More Dead Dogs    
Gordon Korman
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Korman)

Eighth-grade football hero Wallace Wallace is sentenced to detention attending rehearsals of the school play. He becomes wrapped up in the production and begins to suggest changes that improve not only the play but his life as well.

One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship     One World, Many Religions: The Ways We Worship    
Mary Pope Osborne
    (Juvenile Nonfiction - J 200 Osb)

An illustrated introduction to comparative religion, discussing Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Taoism.

Red Kayak     Red Kayak    
Priscilla Cummings
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Cumming)

Living near the water on Maryland's Eastern Shore, thirteen-year-old Brady and his best friends become entangled in a tragedy that tests their friendship and their ideas about right and wrong.

Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex     Revenge of the Whale: The True Story of the Whaleship Essex    
Nathaniel Philbrick
    (Juvenile Nonfiction - J 910.9164 Phi)

Recounts the 1820 sinking of the whaleship "Essex" by an enraged sperm whale and how the crew of young men survived against impossible odds. Based on the author's adult book In the Heart of the Sea.

Savvy     Savvy    
Ingrid Law
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Law)

Recounts the adventures of Mibs Beaumont, whose thirteenth birthday has revealed her "savvy"--a magical power unique to each member of her family--just as her father is injured in a terrible accident.

Secret Letters from 0 to 10     Secret Letters from 0 to 10    
Susie Morgenstern
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Morgens)

Ten-year-old Ernest lives a boring existence in Paris with his grandmother until a lively girl named Victory enters his class at school.

Sixth-Grade Glommers, Norks, and Me     Sixth-Grade Glommers, Norks, and Me    
Lisa Papademetriou
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Pa)

Allie Kimball learns that middle school is populated with three kinds of people: "glommers," "norks," and worst of all, "squashes"--crushes that make you feel like your heart has been stepped on. Allie copes with the help of her soccer team and new friends.

Small Steps     Small Steps    
Louis Sachar
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Sa)

Three years after being released from Camp Green Lake, Armpit is trying hard to keep his life on track; but when his old pal X-Ray shows up with a tempting plan to make some easy money scalping concert tickets, Armpit reluctantly goes along. (This is a companion novel to Holes, the 1999 Newbery Medal winner.)

Smile     Smile    
Raina Telgemeier
    (Juvenile Graphic Novels - J Telgeme)

From sixth grade through tenth, Raina copes with a variety of dental problems that affect her appearance and how she feels about herself.

Stargirl     Stargirl    
Jerry Spinelli
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Sp)

In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever.

The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours     The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours    
Jane Goodall
    (Juvenile Nonfiction - J 599.885 Goo)

An intense, personal story by a pioneer in scientific field observation. Goodall presents her long involvement with the chimpanzees of Gombe, describing the amazing discoveries she has made over 40 years.

The Girl Who Could Fly     The Girl Who Could Fly    
Victoria Forester
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Foreste)

When homeschooled farm girl Piper McCloud reveals her ability to fly, she is quickly taken to a secret government facility to be trained with other exceptional children, but she soon realizes that something is very wrong and begins working with brilliant and wealthy Conrad to escape.

The Graveyard Book     The Graveyard Book    
Neil Gaiman
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Gaiman)

After the grisly murder of his entire family, a toddler wanders into a graveyard where the ghosts and other supernatural residents agree to raise him as one of their own.

The Sea of Trolls     The Sea of Trolls    
Nancy Farmer
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Farmer)

After Jack becomes apprenticed to a Druid bard, he and his little sister Lucy are captured by Viking Berserkers and taken to the home of King Ivar the Boneless and his half-troll queen, leading Jack to undertake a vital quest to Jotunheim, home of the trolls.

The Underneath     The Underneath    
Kathi Appelt
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Appelt)

An old hound that has been chained up at his hateful owner's run-down shack, and two kittens born underneath the house, endure separation, danger, and many other tribulations in their quest to be reunited and free.

The Wednesday Wars     The Wednesday Wars    
Gary D. Schmidt
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Schmidt)

During the 1967 school year, all of Holling Hoodhood's seventh-grade classmates go either to Catechism or Hebrew School on Wednesday afternoons. Holling stays in Mrs. Baker's classroom reading the plays of William Shakespeare and learning much of value about the world he lives in.

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster     Titanic: Voices from the Disaster    
Deborah Hopkinson
    (Juvenile Nonfiction - J 910.91634 Hop)

Tells the tale of the sinking of the Titanic using the narratives of the witnesses and survivors to the disaster.

Tunnels     Tunnels    
Roderick Gordon
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Gordon)
Tunnels; 1

When Will Burrows and his friend Chester embark on a quest to find Will's archaeologist father, who has inexplicably disappeared, they are led to a labyrinthine world underneath London, full of sinister inhabitants with evil intentions toward "Topsoilers" like Will and his father.

Weedflower     Weedflower    
Cynthia Kadohata
    (Juvenile Fiction - J Kadohat)

After twelve-year-old Sumiko and her Japanese-American family are relocated from their flower farm in southern California to an internment camp on a Mojave Indian reservation in Arizona, she helps her family and neighbors, and tries to hold on to her dream of owning a flower shop.