Anyone who has been through middle school, or who has memories of them, knows how scary and exciting it can be to be so young. Books can be good friends for 6th graders because they can help them understand who they are and that they aren’t alone as they go through life. It’s also a great time to learn about books with different voices and cultures that make you want to be kind, curious, and creative. Here is a list of the best books for 6th graders to help them deal with their fears and see things in a new way.
Graphic Novels for 6th Graders
Stargazing by Jen Wang
When Christine’s family moves next door to Moon’s, Moon goes from an unlikely friend to a best friend, and maybe even the best friend. Share your favorite music videos, paint your toenails when Christine’s strict parents aren’t around, and plan to enter the school talent show with each other when Christine’s parents are away. In fact, Moon tells Christine her most important secret, which is that she sometimes sees celestial people who speak to her from the sky. Who tells her that Earth isn’t where she should be.
But when they don’t expect it, disaster comes. Following all of her needs, can Christine find the strength to be the friend that Moon needs? “Jen Wang, a New York Times–bestselling author and illustrator, draws on her own childhood to paint a deeply personal but completely relatable friendship story that is at times joyful, heart-wrenching, and full of hope,” says the teacher.
New Kid by Jerry Craft
When Jordan Banks is seven years old, he loves nothing more than drawing cartoons about his own life. His parents don’t send him to the art school of his dreams, so they send him to an affluent private school that is known for its academics. In fact, Jordan is one of the few kids of color in his whole class.
At first, Jordan doesn’t seem to fit in with either of the two worlds that he moves between every day. Keeping his neighborhood friends and being true to himself are two things that Jordan needs to learn how to do at his new school.
Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani
Because her mother left her home in India years ago, Priyanka Das has a lot of questions that she doesn’t know why. It was like what? It is also very important to find out who her father is and why her mother left him behind. But Pri’s mom doesn’t want to answer these questions because the subject of India is always closed.
For Pri, her mother’s home country only exists in her mind. So, that is, until she finds a strange pashmina in a forgotten suitcase. A guidebook or a Bollywood movie can’t make her feel like she’s there when she wraps herself in it. But is this the real India, or is this just a movie? The shadow in the background isn’t clear. To find out the truth, Pri has to go further than she’s ever gone and meet the family she never knew.
El Deafo by Cece Bell and David Lasky
Even more so when you have a huge hearing aid strapped to your chest when you start a new school.” Her old school had a lot of deaf people in it. She is different here. Because of the Phonic Ear, she is sure that the kids are looking at it. It is a powerful tool that will make it easier for her to hear. This looks like it will also turn away possible friends.
Then, Cece makes a startling find. Phonic Ear: She can use it to hear her teacher not just in the classroom. She can hear her teacher anywhere in the school – in hallways, lounges, and even the bathroom! This is strength. Superpowers might be possible too! In the future, Cece is going to be El Deafo, or the Listener for All. When you’re a superhero, you’re not just a different person, but you also feel lonely and weird. Can Cece use her powers to find what she wants most, a real friend?
Smile (Smile #1) by Raina Telgemeier
There is one thing Raina just wants to be: a normal sixth-grader like everyone else. Before: After Girl Scouts, she trips and breaks her two front teeth, and what comes next is a long and frustrating process that includes on-again, off-again braces and surgery. Even a retainer with fake teeth attached is part of the process. On top of that, there’s still a lot more to deal with: a major earthquake, boy confusion, and friends who aren’t so friendly. If you were in middle school, this true story is for you. Especially if you have had some dental problems of your own.
Invisible Emmie (Emmie & Friends) by Terri Libenson
“This is the story of two very different girls, Emmie, who is quiet and shy, and Katie, who is popular and outgoing, and how their lives come together one day when an embarrassing note ends up in the hands of the wrong person.”
Real Friends (Real Friends #1) by Shannon Hale (Writer) , LeUyen Pham (Illustrator), Jane Poole (Colorist)
“When best friends aren’t always together…
Shannon and Adrienne have been best friends since they were little, and they haven’t changed that at all. Even though Adrienne doesn’t like Jen, she starts hanging out with her one day. The most popular girl in school and the leader of a circle of friends called The Group. Everyone in The Group wants to be Jen’s number one. Some girls would do anything to stay at the top, even if it meant bullying other people. There are so many ups and downs for Shannon now that she can’t keep up. Yes, they will stay friends. No, she can’t. And is she part of the group, or not? They write a graphic memoir together about how hard it is to find real friends and why it’s worth the effort. Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham are both Newbery Honor winners.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell
Until Coraline unlocks the door to find a way to another flat in another house that looks just like her own, the fourteenth door is locked. On the other side, there is only a brick wall. Only this is different. At first, the other flat looks great. Food is better. All of the toys are in the toy box. There are wind-up angels that fly around the bedroom. There are books with pictures that move. There are little dinosaur skulls that chatter their teeth. Besides, there’s another mother and another father, and they want Coraline to stay with them and be their little girl as long as possible. They want to make her different and never let her go.
In the mirrors, other children are trapped as well. They are all lost souls who have no one to turn to. Coraline is the only thing that can save them. In order to save the children, the normal life, and even herself, she will have to use all of her wits and the tools she can find. Neil Gaiman, a well-known and award-winning author, has written his first book for people of all ages.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1) by Jeff Kinney
It’s not that boys write down their thoughts in a diary. The launch of an exciting and innovatively illustrated new series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to This is a new school year, and Greg Heffley has to go to middle school. There are kids who are taller, meaner, and have already shaved in the hallways. Greg’s diary is a unique way to show the dangers of growing up before you’re ready. Greg writes and draws about them.
Rowley is Greg’s best friend and he’s excited to go on this first adventure with him. As Rowley’s popularity grows, Greg wants to take advantage of his best friend’s newfound fame. This starts a chain of events that will put their friendship to the test in a hilarious way. Kinney, an author/illustrator, talks about how hard it is to grow up in school. He introduces an entirely new hero, one who represents the difficulties of being young, in his new book. “Just don’t expect me to write to you all the time.” This is what Greg says in his diary. Greg Heffley says he won’t do a lot of things, but when he does them, they’re very different.
Awkward (Berrybrook Middle School #1) by Svetlana Chmakova
If you want to stay alive at school, don’t get noticed by the mean kids. If you want to stay alive at school, you should look for groups that share your interests and join them.
Penelope–Peppi–Torres thinks about these things on her first day at her new school. As soon as Jaime Thompson, a quiet boy in the school hall, bumps into her, she’s already broken one of the rules. The mean kids start calling her the “nerdy girlfriend.” How does she deal with this? To get away from poor Jaime, shove him, and run away! Peppi went back to rule two and made new friends in the art club, but she still feels bad about how she treated Jaime. Things are already awkward between them. To make things even worse, he’s a member of her club’s archrivals, the science club! In middle school, sometimes you have to break the rules to get by. When the two clubs go to war, Peppi learns this the hard way.