6th grade is an interesting year marked by no longer being a “little kid” but yet not quite mature or responsible enough for some of the privileges common among preteens and teens. For boys, interests switch from cars and dinosaurs to worrying about hormones, bullies, and being accepted by peers. Finding books that are interesting but help 6th grade boys work through some of the social pressures and anxieties they may be feeling can be a challenge. Check out this list of 22 middle grade series and books for 6th grade boys.
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Middle Grade Book Series for 6th Grade Boys
We start our book list with some awesome book series that your young boy will enjoy reading. With books from different genres, complex characters, and settings in different time periods, you’re sure to find the perfect book series he will love! (Although you won’t find Harry Potter on this list – that one goes without saying.)
The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan- From The Lost Hero to the Blood of Olympus, this collection of Rick Riordan’s mega-bestselling series will be a go-to gift for readers who have finished the Percy Jackson and the Olympians books.
This series was one of my kids’ favorites when they were in middle school (both my son and my daughter).
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs – When Ben Ripley is recruited to the CIA’s Academy of Espionage, it’s a dream come true. But as soon as he gets on campus, Ben finds out that Spy School is way more deadly than debonair.
And given his total lack of coordination and failure to grasp even the most basic spying skills, Ben begins to wonder what he’s doing here in the first place.
The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner – When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s welcomed to his new home, the Glade, by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone.
Outside the towering stone walls that surround the Glade is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive.
The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins – In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
Yes, we know 6th graders have probably seen the movies – but these are good books that shouldn’t be missed!
The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann- Every year in Quill, thirteen-year-olds are sorted into categories: the strong, intelligent Wanteds go to university, and the artistic Unwanteds are sent to their deaths. Thirteen-year-old Alex tries his hardest to be stoic when his fate is announced as Unwanted, even while leaving behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted. Young readers won’t be able to put this one down!
The Testing Series by Joelle Charbonneau – The Testing is a new dystopian series perfect for readers of Divergent and The Hunger Games. We don’t want to give away too much, but there is plenty of danger and romance in these pages. Be sure to read all three riveting novels in this New York Times best-selling trilogy.
The complete collection includes The Testing, Independent Study, and Graduation Day.
A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events follows the misadventures of the three Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus, and Sunny, following the deaths of their parents in the destruction of their home.
This great book series is another that has been very popular as a TV series, but these are many sixth graders favorite books for a reason!
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart – The series deals with the adventures of four young children who are each gifted in different areas, bound by one common factor: they are either orphans or unwanted by their parents.
The children become involved with the strange Nicholas Benedict and his guild of assistants who are trying to stop Mr. Benedict’s twin, Ledroptha Curtain, from taking over the world via brainwashing. The children team up against the villain and his evil assistants called the Ten Men.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown – Can a robot survive in the wilderness? When robot Roz opens her eyes for the first time, she discovers that she is alone on a remote, wild island. She has no idea how she got there or what her purpose is–but she knows she needs to survive.
The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry – The haunting story centers on twelve-year-old Jonas, who lives in a seemingly ideal, if colorless, world of conformity and contentment. Not until he is given his life assignment as the Receiver of Memory does he begin to understand the dark, complex secrets behind his fragile community.
The Giver is a Newbery Medal winning book that is often used as a novel study or is included in book clubs for middle school students. Lois Lowry has written three companion novels to The Giver, including Gathering Blue, Messenger, and Son.
Another fun way to encourage middle schoolers (or anyone, really) to read is with book challenges. Check out these Bookish Bingo games – a new Bingo is posted each month!
Books for 6th Grade Boys
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker – Mr. Hood’s Holiday House has stood for a thousand years, welcoming countless children into its embrace. It is a place of miracles, a blissful round of treats and seasons, where every childhood whim may be satisfied.
There is a price to be paid, of course, but young Harvey Swick, bored with his life and beguiled by Mr. Hood’s wonders, does not stop to consider the consequences. It is only when the House shows its darker face—when Harvey discovers the pitiful creatures that dwell in its shadows—that he comes to doubt Mr. Hood’s philanthropy.
The House and its mysterious architect are not about to release their captive without a battle, however. Mr. Hood has ambitions for his new guest, for Harvey’s soul burns brighter than any soul he has encountered in a thousand years…
Holes by Louis Sachar – Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep.
There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead.
Sixth grade boys will love reading this book, and will likely not want to put it down! A modern classic, this book is the only one to ever win both the Newbery and Carnegie Medals.
A Wolf Called Wander by Roseanne Parry – Swift, a young wolf cub, lives with his pack in the mountains learning to hunt, competing with his brothers and sisters for hierarchy, and watching over a new litter of cubs. Then a rival pack attacks, and Swift and his family scatter.
Alone and scared, Swift must flee and find a new home. His journey takes him a remarkable one thousand miles across the Pacific Northwest.
The trip is full of peril, and Swift encounters forest fires, hunters, highways, and hunger before he finds his new home. This New York Times Bestseller was inspired by the true story of a wolf named Journey, which just makes this great story even better!
Sounder by William H Armstrong – The boy knows that times are tough for his family. Every night, his father goes out hunting with their great coon dog, Sounder, to try to put food on the table. But even with the little they bring back, there is still never enough for the family to eat.
When the boy awakens one morning to a sweet-smelling ham on the table, it seems like a blessing. But soon, the sheriff and his deputies come to the house and take the boy’s father away in handcuffs.
Suddenly the boy must grow up fast in a world that isn’t fair, keeping hope alive through the love he has for his father’s faithful dog, Sounder.
Paperboy by Vince Vawter – Little Man throws the meanest fastball in town. But talking is a whole different ball game. He can barely say a word without stuttering—not even his own name. So when he takes over his best friend’s paper route for the month of July, he’s not exactly looking forward to interacting with the customers.
But it’s the neighborhood junkman, a bully and thief, who stirs up real trouble in Little Man’s life.
If your young reader loves To Kill a Mockingbird or The Help, they will love reading this Newbery Honor book too.
The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt – Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction.
Mrs. Baker doesn’t like Holling-he’s sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam.
His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights!
As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation-the Big M-in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell – This story of survival is as haunting and beautiful today as it was when it first appeared in print. And now, just in time to celebrate the book’s fiftieth anniversary, Sandpiper is honored to bring a new paperback edition of this masterpiece to the next generation.
With gorgeous packaging and an introduction by Newbery Medal winner Lois Lowry, this version will guarantee Karana’s story inspires readers for decades to come.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio – August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.
Wilder Boys by Brandon Wallace – Two brothers need all their wilderness skills to survive when they set off into the woods of Wyoming in search of their absent father. It’s a long journey from the suburbs of Pittsburgh to the wilderness of Wyoming.
Can the Wilder Boys find their father before Bull catches up with them?
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George – Terribly unhappy in his family’s crowded New York City apartment, Sam Gribley runs away to the solitude-and danger-of the mountains, where he finds a side of himself he never knew.
Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson – During the summer of 1793, Mattie Cook lives above the family coffee shop with her widowed mother and grandfather. The young girl spends her days avoiding chores and making plans to turn the family business into the finest Philadelphia has ever seen.
But then the fever breaks out.
This historical fiction novel will be a hit with sixth graders as well as older kids!
We hope you’ve found some great reads on our list of books for 6th grade boys! Be sure to check out our top picks on our books for 7th graders list too. We have lots of other grade level book lists as well!
We do update our lists as new ones come our way, so be sure to save this post and check back later for more awesome book ideas!