Top Picks for 6th Grade Summer Reading

Classic Literary Treasures for 6th Graders

classic literature books for 6th graders

If you want your child to be a well-read and informed individual, it’s important to introduce them to classic literary works early on. These works withstand the test of time and can help your child develop a life-long love of reading. Here are some classic literary treasures that are perfect for 6th graders.

1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Little Women is a coming-of-age story about four sisters in 19th century America. The novel follows the March family as they navigate through joys, struggles, and hardships that come with growing up. The book provides a glimpse into the societal norms and values of the era and showcases the importance of family and sisterhood.

The book is an excellent introduction to classic literature for children as it’s filled with relatable and memorable characters. Children can easily identify with the four sisters and their experiences. Through the story, young readers get a glimpse of life in a different era while gaining valuable life lessons.

Moreover, Little Women is an essential read for young girls and boys as it promotes strong values such as compassion, empathy, and love. The book is full of powerful quotes and remarkable insights into human nature that can inspire children to be kinder and more understanding individuals.

Aside from the engaging storyline and lovable characters, Little Women also introduces young readers to a writing style that is both rich and engaging. The book is challenging enough to broaden a child’s vocabulary and comprehension but still accessible enough to maintain their interest.

Overall, Little Women is a timeless classic that should be part of every child’s reading list. It’s a book that can spark imagination, cultivate a love of reading, and teach valuable life lessons that can stay with children long after they have turned the last page.

Stories of Adventure and Identity for Young Readers

adventure books for kids

Summer vacation is the perfect time for young readers to explore new worlds and go on thrilling adventures through the pages of a book. Reading can help develop imagination, vocabulary, and literacy skills. So, if you’re looking for an exciting story to keep your sixth grader entertained during summer, check out this recommended reading list of adventure and identity books for young readers:

1. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Lightning Thief tells the story of Percy Jackson, a twelve-year-old boy who discovers that he is the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. Percy embarks on a quest to prevent a war between the gods and, in the process, learns more about his identity and powers. This book is the first in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, which follows Percy and his friends as they battle creatures from Greek mythology.

2. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

In Hatchet, thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson must survive alone in the wilderness after a plane crash. Armed only with a hatchet, Brian must figure out how to find food, water, and shelter in a harsh environment. Along the way, he learns important survival skills and overcomes his own fears and weaknesses.

3. The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is set in a dystopian society where everyone is assigned a role in the community and their lives are strictly controlled. Twelve-year-old Jonas is selected to be the new Receiver of Memory, a job that gives him access to all the memories of the past, including knowledge that has been hidden from the rest of the community. As Jonas learns more about the truth behind the society, he must decide whether to continue living in the same way or to fight for change.

4. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

The City of Ember tells the story of Lina Mayfleet and Doon Harrow, two twelve-year-olds who live in a city underground. The city was built to be a safe haven for humans after an unknown disaster made the surface uninhabitable. However, after 200 years, the city’s supplies are running out, and Lina and Doon must find a way to bring light to their dark city and save their people from disaster.

5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

In A Wrinkle in Time, Meg Murry and her younger brother Charles Wallace are joined by their neighbor Calvin on an adventure through time and space in search of Meg’s missing father. Along the way, they encounter strange creatures and visit alien worlds. This book is the first in the Time Quintet series, which follows the Murry family on their journeys through time and space.

6. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

In The Graveyard Book, a baby is abandoned in a graveyard and raised by ghosts. As Bod grows up, he learns about the world outside the graveyard and confronts the mysterious man who wants to kill him. This book explores themes of family, identity, and growing up.

These books are just a few of the many exciting and adventurous stories that your sixth-grader can enjoy this summer. Whether they prefer stories about survival in the wilderness, magical adventures, or dystopian societies, there is a book out there for them. So, encourage your child to pick up a book and explore new worlds through reading!

Empowering books with diverse characters and perspectives

Empowering books with diverse characters and perspectives

One of the most essential aspects of reading is learning about different cultures, identities, and experiences. Therefore, it’s vital to provide young readers with books that feature diverse characters and perspectives, especially during their formative years. Here are several empowering books that can inspire 6th-grade children and promote their understanding of the world’s diversity:

1. Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Front Desk is a touching story about Mia, a ten-year-old Chinese girl, who helps her immigrant parents manage a motel in California during the 1990s. Although Mia loves America, she faces many challenges, such as racism, poverty, and family problems. Nevertheless, Mia’s resilience, kindness, and passion for writing allow her to stand up to injustice and pursue her dreams.

2. Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan

Amina's Voice by Hena Khan

Amina’s Voice is a heartwarming novel that follows Amina, a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who loves singing but struggles to express herself due to her shyness and cultural barriers. However, when her mosque is vandalized, and her best friend’s uncle faces deportation, Amina realizes the power of her voice and art to heal her community and bridge cultural gaps.

3. George by Alex Gino

George by Alex Gino

George is a groundbreaking and empowering book that explores the challenges and triumphs of a transgender child named George, who dreams of playing Charlotte in her school’s production of Charlotte’s Web. However, her teacher and classmates assume she’s a boy and refuse to cast her as a girl, causing George emotional pain and confusion. With the help of her best friend and family, George fights for her identity and freedom to express herself.

4. Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising is a compelling novel that narrates the journey of a wealthy Mexican girl named Esperanza, who flees to California with her mother to escape poverty and violence during the 1930s. Despite facing discrimination, hard work, and unfair treatment, Esperanza learns the value of family, friendship, and hope, and becomes a role model for other migrant workers.

5. Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai

Inside Out & Back Again is a poetic and impactful novel-in-verse that tells the story of Ha, a ten-year-old Vietnamese girl who flees with her family from Saigon to Alabama during the Vietnam War. Ha’s journey is full of contrasts, as she experiences the beauty and pain of memories, dreams, and cultures, and struggles to adapt to a new language and environment. However, Ha’s resilience, humor, and love for her family and homeland guide her through the difficulties of being a refugee.

6. Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming is a powerful and poetic memoir that tells the story of Jacqueline Woodson’s childhood as an African-American girl growing up in the 1960s and 1970s. Through her vivid and honest poems, Woodson shares her family’s history, struggles, and joys, and reflects on the role of writing and storytelling in shaping her identity and voice as a writer.

In conclusion, exposing children to empowering books with diverse characters and perspectives can expand their empathy, knowledge, and creativity, and equip them with the tools to navigate the complexities of the world with respect and understanding.

Series and Standalones for Genre Exploration

genre exploration books

One way to keep your 6th grader engaged in reading throughout the summer is to encourage them to explore different genres. Here is a list of both series and standalone books they can dive into for genre exploration:


mystery/thriller books

For fans of suspenseful stories, consider recommending the “Shadow Children” series by Margaret Peterson Haddix. The series focuses on a dystopian society where third-born children are illegal and forced to live in hiding. Another great option is “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin, which follows a group of heirs to a wealthy man’s fortune as they navigate a mysterious and dangerous game.


fantasy books

For those who love magical worlds, “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” by Rick Riordan is a must-read. The series follows the adventures of Percy Jackson, a demigod, and his friends as they battle mythological creatures and navigate life at Camp Half-Blood. Another great standalone option is “The Girl Who Drank the Moon” by Kelly Barnhill, which tells the story of a young girl who accidentally drinks moonlight and gains magical powers.

Historical Fiction:

historical fiction books

For those interested in history, “Chasing Vermeer” by Blue Balliett is a great option. The book follows two sixth-grade students who try to solve the mystery of a missing painting by Dutch artist Johannes Vermeer. Another historical fiction standalone is “Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry” by Mildred D. Taylor, which tells the story of a black family living in Mississippi during the Great Depression.

Realistic Fiction:

realistic fiction books

For readers who enjoy stories that reflect real-life experiences, “The One and Only Ivan” by Katherine Applegate is a great choice. The book is told from the perspective of a captive gorilla who learns about friendship and freedom. Another standalone option is “Wonder” by R.J. Palacio, which follows a boy with a facial deformity as he navigates a new school and teaches others the true meaning of acceptance.

Science Fiction:

science fiction books

For those who enjoy stories set in space or with futuristic settings, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams is a great option. The book follows the misadventures of Arthur Dent and his alien friend Ford Prefect as they travel through the galaxy. Another great standalone is “The Giver” by Lois Lowry, which tells the story of a young boy living in a seemingly perfect society where individuality is suppressed.

By encouraging your 6th grader to explore different genres through both series and standalone books, you can help them discover new favorites and keep their love for reading alive.

Non-fiction picks to keep young minds curious and engaged

Non-Fiction Books for Kids

Summer vacation is the perfect time for children to improve their reading skills. This is also the best opportunity for young minds to expand their knowledge and quench their natural curiosity through reading. While fiction books are always a good choice, non-fiction picks should not be ignored. Non-fiction books present a new kind of excitement, guiding children to explore the wonders of the world and learn new information about various topics. Here are some of the most highly recommended non-fiction books for 6th graders this summer.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba

William Kamkwamba is a Malawian inventor and an engineering prodigy who taught himself how to harness the wind and generate electricity. In his book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, he shares the story of his life and his achievements. This book is not only inspiring but also informative, as it provides readers with a glimpse of life in a small African village and the challenges faced by its people. It’s a must-read for children who are interested in engineering, renewable energy, and social justice.

Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah

Trevor Noah is a South African comedian and television host, best known for his work as the host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central. In his memoir, Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood, he recounts his upbringing in South Africa during the apartheid era. The book is funny, emotional, and educational all at the same time. It offers insights into South African history and politics, as well as the societal issues that plagued the country during the apartheid era. Through his stories, Noah also shares important lessons about family, love, and resilience.

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is a medical book that tells the story of an African American woman whose cells were taken and used without her consent for scientific research. These cells, known as HeLa cells, have been instrumental to the development of various medical treatments and vaccines. In this book, author Rebecca Skloot details the life of Henrietta Lacks and the impact her cells have had on medical research. It also raises important ethical questions regarding the use of human tissues for scientific research. An engaging and thought-provoking read for any young person interested in medicine, science and biotechnology.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

The Omnivore's Dilemma, A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals is a fascinating book about the food we eat and where it comes from. The author takes readers on a journey through the industrial food chain, breaking down the processes behind a typical American meal. He also explores more sustainable food systems, such as organic and local farming, and their ecological and economic impact. This book offers a critical perspective on the food industry, which is a critical topic for young people to understand in today’s world.

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Malcolm X and Alex Haley

Malcolm X was a significant figure in the Civil Rights movement in America. In his autobiography, The Autobiography of Malcolm X, he shares his personal experience of racism and oppression, his conversion to Islam and his advocacy for Black empowerment. This book offers a unique perspective on Black culture and history and serves as a reminder of the struggles that many people of color face in America. It is an excellent read for children who are interested in history, social justice and politics.

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