Looking for some of the best books for a 6th grade boy? I’ve got you covered! Today, I’m sharing my top 25 picks for this middle grade age group! Read on to check them out!
Here’s the thing about the middle grades: your tween’s maturity level changes SO much during those years. Think about it, what your child loves at age 10 in 5th grade is vastly different than their tastes at age 13 in 8th grade!
While my son was crazy for the Captain Underpants series in 5th grade, his tastes now (at 13) lean more towards fantasy and anime. Don’t get me wrong, he still loves Dav Pikey’s hilarious books, he just spends a bit more time focused on his other interests.
Below, you’ll find a bunch of good books for 6th graders to read, with a focus on boy-favorites.
Best Books for a 6th Grade Boy
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Whenever possible, I’ve embedded a preview that you can check out right here on this page. A few books didn’t offer this option, but for the most part you can peruse this list with your tween, check out a sample, and even buy it without leaving. 😀
1. Harry Potter by JK Rowling
Harry Potter will always be #1 on just about all of my lists, and for a good reason. The series is almost entirely responsible for inspiring two generations of middle grade readers! I feel like Rowling really helped launch the middle grade category. While there were books for middle school kids before her spectacular series, it seems like there was a lot more focus on either books for elementary school kids or for young adults.
If you’ve somehow never heard of Harry Potter, the series focuses on a young boy who finds out he’s a wizard. He also discovers that his parents didn’t die in a car crash, as he had been told most of his life, but were actually killed by the darkest wizard ever to live. He spends the next 7 years learning magic at Hogwarts and fighting against dark forces sent by Voldemort. Okay, that’s the super long story short version, but you get the drift!
2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
Jonas is a 12-year-old boy chosen to become the next Receiver of Memory, the person who keeps all of the memories of the time before Sameness. During his training, he learns some surprising things about the society that he thought was meant to protect him. He also discovers a very dangerous thing: individuality.
The Giver by Lois Lowry was one of the first middle grade books that I read myself as a tween. It’s a great book for both boys and girls, especially those who love dystopian fiction (even though, at first glance, it seems like it’s set in a utopia).
3. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
Another series that always seem to find its way onto my lists, Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief along with the other books in the Percy Jackson series, is perfect for fantasy and mythology fans.
The story centers around Percy Jackson, a young boy who finds out that the weird creatures he’s seen most of his life are real…and that he’s actually a demigod! Son of Poseidon, at that! Greek mythology lovers know that Poseidon, is one of the “original gods” that sprang from Titans, and was instrumental in taking them down. Speaking of the Titans, they’re getting a little tired of being locked away Tartaros and are plotting their escape. Only Percy, along with his other friends at Camp Half-Blood, can stop them!
4. Wonder by RJ Palaci
Now a major movie starring Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, Wonder is one of the best novels for 6th graders. The book even inspired an entire movement called Choose Kind.
The story follows the life and adventures of Auggie, a boy with a major “facial difference” who just wants to be treated like a normal kid. Unfortunately, the other students have a hard time getting past his appearance. While Wonder could be just another book about what it’s like to be bullied, the author goes beyond that and instead turns it into a beautiful lesson in kindness and compassion. It’s a fabulous read for any middle grader who has ever felt different (which is pretty much all of them).
5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
As far as good books for sixth graders to read go, my son would tell you that this series is #1! He’s read all of the books numerous times! Diary of a Wimpy Kid follows the adventures of Greg Heffley, a self-proclaimed “undersized weakling” just trying to survive middle school, where the bullies are bigger, badder, and already shaving! The stories are told through Greg’s eyes as he writes them down in his diary.
If your tween loves this series, I suggest grabbing The Wimpy Kid Do-It-Yourself Book, too. It encourages tweens to write and use their imaginations through a series of fun activities.
6.Paperboy by Vince Vawter
Hailed as the perfect book for fans of To Kill a Mockingbird, Paperboy is a coming of age story about a boy who stutters. It takes place during the time of segregation in the South. Little Man takes over his best friend’s paper route after he (the friend) gets hurt while playing baseball. He’s not really planning on doing much interacting with the customers, as he can barely get his own name out. Unfortunately, the neighborhood bully (and thief) make it necessary for Little Man to speak up…even if the prospect of that terrifies him.
The story itself is loosely based on the author’s own experiences as a child. It’s won numerous awards, including The Newberry Honor Award, a prestigious award for the best children’s books.
7. Holes by Lewis Sinclair
Part dark humor and part mystery, Holes is all fun for 6th graders! Winner of a Newberry Medal and a National Book Award, Holes is a smart novel that will capture your tween’s attention quickly and hang onto it until the last page.
Holes follows the story of Stanley Yelnats, a “cursed” boy who has been unjustly sent to a Camp Green Lake, a boys’ detention center. There, boys are forced to “build character” by digging holes every day. Stanley quickly realizes that there’s a deeper reason for digging these 5×5 holes than just “character building.” The warden is looking for something in the dried lake bed!
8. Smile by Raina Telgemeier
Even though Smile seems like it’s geared more towards girls, my son really loved this book. The story is about a 6th grade girl named Raina, who just wants to be a normal girl. One night, though, she falls and injures her two front teeth. The rest of the story details her long journey dealing with braces, surgery, headgear, and even fake teeth. Along with all of that, she’s coping with an earthquake, back-stabbing friends, and boys. It’s fabulous coming-of-age story that just about all 6th graders can relate to.
9. Sounder by William Armstrong
If you want your tweens to read a classic, Sounder is a powerful choice. The story is set during the 1800s in one of the worst times of the South’s history and tells the story of a coon dog and the African-American boy who owns him. Sounder is the only named character in the novel, although the movie version named the family “The Morgans.” Each night, the boy’s dad takes Sounder out to search for food. One morning, food suddenly shows up on the table. While that sounds like a blessing, it’s not so much when the sheriff shows up and arrests the father for stealing.
SPOILER ALERT: Sounder has been compared to Where the Red Fern Grows and Old Yeller. Both of those books, along with Sounder, traumatized me as a child, so if you have a tween that is very sensitive to stories in which the dog dies, you may want to skip this one.
10. Stick Dog by Tom Watson
Another series that captured my son’s attention in 6th grade, Stick Dog is perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Captain Underpants. Unlike Sounder, the dog survives. In fact, the dog is actually a stick figure! Follow along on his hilarious adventures through text and drawings as he goes on an epic quest for the perfect burger! If you have Kindle FreeTime Unlimited, you can read this book for free.
11. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
This is one classic that my brother feels every middle school boy should read, so he actually got my son a copy for his birthday in 6th grade. Island of the Blue Dolphins takes place during the early 1800s and is based on the true story of a Nicoleño Native American who was stranded alone on an island off the coast of California for 18 years (although she is 12 in the novel). It tells the story of how she ended up alone on the island, how she survived, and how she was rescued.
While the main character is a girl, Island of the Blue Dolphins appeals to all middle graders, especially those who enjoy survivalist stories or stories in which the character has a deep connection to animals. This one is also available in Kindle FreeTime Unlimited.
12. Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson
It’s hard to find a more appropriate book for 6th grade boys than one with it right in the title! Diary of a 6th Grade Ninja follows the adventures of Chase Cooper, a scrawny kid who gets recruited into a clan of ninjas. Chase documents his hilarious and thrilling adventures diary style.
13. Epic Zero by R.L. Ullman
Life’s hard when you’re ordinary in a family of super heroes! In Epic Zero, Elliott Harkness just wants to be a superhero like his parents. And his older sister. And his dog! Alas, Elliott is a “zero,” which basically means “powerless.” So while his family gets to go off on adventures, he’s just stuck trying to get through middle school. When dangers strikes, though, Elliott may be the only one who can save the world. Can he find his inner hero?
14. The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt
The Wednesday Wars is a Newberry Honor winner about a teen boy’s adventures during the 1967-89 school year. The witty and compelling story takes place on Long Island, in New York. Holling Hoodhood spends Wednesday afternoons getting religious instruction from a teacher that he’s pretty sure hates him. The whole country is trying to cope with Vietnam, and his father begs Holling to be on his best behavior because his business depends on it. That’s easier said than done for Holling, who has to contend with bullies, angry rats, and more!
15. The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade
In The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade, Maverick knows that bad things can happen to good kids, and he wants to change that! His father left him a toy sheriff badge before he died, and Maverick carries it around not just to remind him of his dad, but also to remind him how important it is to stand up for others. While the title makes you think it’s going to be a comedy, it’s actually a touching story that inspires kids to stand up against bullying.
16. Story Thieves by James Riley
Story Thieves tells the tale of Owen and Bethany, two kids with the extraordinary power to enter story books! Actually, it’s just Bethany at first, but one day Owen catches her climbing out of a book and he sort of blackmails her into taking him into his favorite story, Kiel Gnomenfoot. Bethany agrees because the book just might help her find her missing dad! This is a great pick for fans of Inkheart.
17. Scary School series by Derek the Ghost
Back when my other site, Pretty Opinionated, was still just a baby, I had the chance to work with “Derek the Ghost” himself! He had just launched the first Scary School book and sent me a copy to review. He’s one of the nicest guys, and I was honored to work with him before he became such a famous middle grade book writer. FYI, he’s still a super nice guy! I couldn’t be happier about his success.
Anyway, Scary School is kind of what it sounds like: a school for monsters, ghosts, and other creatures that go bump in the night. Then there’s Charles Nukid! The book is narrated by Derek the Ghost, an 11-year-old who haunts the hallways and has prime seats to check out all the adventures.
18. 6th Grade Revengers by Steven Whibley
In 6th Grade Revengers, Jared and Marcus aren’t just ordinary middle schoolers, they’re incredibly good at fixing tough problems! If only everyone knew about their talents. They just need some exposure! For their first “mission,” they decide to take on Jared’s sister’s boyfriend, a wanna-be rockstar who is a complete bully. This is the first book in a series, so if your tween loves it, he’ll have plenty more to read!
19. Diary of a Minecraft Zombie by Zack Zombie
My son got the entire Diary of a Minecraft Zombie series for Christmas when he was in 6th grade. There are a ton of Minecraft-inspired fan fiction stories out there, but this one really caught his attention. It’s a diary-style peek into what really goes on behind the dead eyes of the zombies in Minecraft. While it’s written for kids as young as 8, it’s engaging enough for 6th graders, too.
20. Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace
Wilder Boys is ideal for tweens who love real-life adventure type stories. It follows the journey of two boys, Jake and Tyler Wilder, as they set off into the Wyoming wilderness to find their absent dad. See, he ran off and abandoned them when the boys were young, leaving behind journals and tips for surviving in the wild. The boys’ mother is dating Bull, a horrible man with a dark secret. When the boys find their mother unconscious, they head out from Pittsburgh to Wyoming to find their father in the hopes that he can save the whole family.
21. Trapped in a Video Game by Dustin Brady
Looking for more books for a 6th grade boy who loves video game? Trapped in a Video Game is a great pick! In the series, Jesse Rigsby actually hates video games, and for good reason! A video game villain is trying to kill him! Jesse and his friend get sucked into a new game and quickly discover that they can’t get out. If they don’t figure out why, they’ll be trapped forever! Along with a fun story, the Trapped in a Video game series also features bonus sections that teach kids about coding.
22. The 44 Rules of Amateur Sleuthing by Jamie Nash
Wanna-be detectives will love The 44 Rules of Amateur Sleuthing! 12-year-old Drake is a master sleuth, but no one seems to care. The cops always take credits for the mysteries that he solves, and his grandmother is more interested in his Algebra grades. To make matters worse, Drake happens to be the son of a master criminal! When a team of detectives enlist Drake to help find his dad, he has to do the one thing he never really wanted to: get into the mind of the evil man who ruined his life.
23. Joshua Dread by Lee Bacon
Poor Joshua Dread! It’s hard to have a normal life when your parents are super villains! Luckily, no one knows his secret (not even his best friend) and he can keep a low profile. That is until weird things start happening and he discovers he has a super power after all. Of course, that doesn’t mean he has to use it for evil, right?
24. Space Case by Stuart Gibbs
Space Case is perfect for kids who love stories about space travel or murder mysteries because it’s a bit of both! Dashiell Gibson is famous all over the world because he’s one of the first kids to live on the moon. Sadly, it’s not all its cracked up to be. After all, there aren’t many other people his age up there and there’s really not much to do. When the Moon Base Alpha’s top scientist turns up dead, Dash thinks it’s foul play. No one else believes him, but Dash discovers a secret that he’s not supposed to know about the Moonies…a secret that someone might kill to keep!
25. Restart by Gordon Korman
What would you do if you completely lost your memory and had to start from scratch. In Restart, that’s exactly what happens to Chase after he falls off a roof. He doesn’t even remember his own name, let alone why some kids treat him like a hero while others are terrified of him. Soon, Chase not only tries to figure who he was, but also who he really wants to be.
These 25 books should keep your 6th grader busy for a while, especially since many of them are part of a series!
Do you have any favorite books for a 6th grade boy? How about good 6th grade novels in general? Tell me below!