The best books for 6th graders

Who picked these books? Meet our 1,523 experts.

1,523 authors created a book list with books for 6th graders, and here are their favorite books. If you are looking for chapter books, try our list of the best chapter books for 6th graders.

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What type of book for a 6th grader?


Fear No Evil

By Allen Brokken,

Book cover of Fear No Evil

James R. Hannibal Author Of The Lost Property Office

From the list on fantasy about dragons, sword fights, and elves.

Who am I?

Since childhood, I’ve been creating stories about worlds just beyond the reach of our fingers but not beyond the reach of our minds. Now, all grown up, I have the pleasure of seeing those stories on bookstore shelves—some in locations and languages all over the world.

James' book list on fantasy about dragons, sword fights, and elves

Discover why each book is one of James' favorite books.

Why did James love this book?

Fear No Evil is the first in Allen’s Towers of Light series of family reads. In similar fashion to the Wingfeather Saga, a group of siblings must navigate a new world to save their parents. Allen’s world enables us to see a world untouched by sin and then the damage done when sin begins to taint the landscape and its inhabitants. I love these stories so much because of Allen’s unique fireside storytelling style. The easy and almost rhythmic flow of his prose lends itself to read-alouds that adults, middle graders, and younger siblings can all enjoy.

By Allen Brokken,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fear No Evil as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Separated by tragedy on the river...
...Lauren, Aiden and Ethan are lost and alone in a valley of darkness.

Without each other or their Knight Protector, the three siblings must navigate the wilderness while fending off creatures tainted by evil. Meanwhile, the yellow acolyte has ascended the throne of the Iron Hills and holds Mother and Father captive in the heart of the mountain. Will the children's faith give them the courage to save their parents?

"My kids are loving these books! They arrive and are devoured quickly and passed on to the next child to read. I like to…


By Alexandra Monir,

Book cover of Timeless

Christy Sloat Author Of The Wordsmith

From the list on time travel you probably haven’t read.

Who am I?

I’ve always been a sucker for a good time travel novel. So when I started writing my Librarian Chronicles I quickly learned that there is just so much you can do with the theory of time. My characters have gone to many places and times and in order to perfect these locations and eras that required tons of research. For my first novel, The Librarian, I researched for nearly a year before I wrote the book. I sincerely hope you’ll enjoy my Librarian Chronicles and I look forward to writing more in the series. Each novel is unique and they can all be read in any order.

Christy's book list on time travel you probably haven’t read

Discover why each book is one of Christy's favorite books.

Why did Christy love this book?

Yet another book I chose based on the cover. I dove into this book knowing that I would love the storyline since I adore all things time travel. Timeless is very descriptive and history based, which pulled me in right away. I will say I didn’t love our main character from the beginning, but as I got to know her I understood her quirks. In this book, we are tossed between the current time and 1910, my favorite era. Michele, our main character, is having dreams about a man with blue eyes and a skeleton key, which is all revealed later in the book. The writing is flawless and the romance is sweet, which puts this book more in the young adult category. I myself prefer YA books, and I do not apologize for it.

I ended up reading the series and really enjoyed the progression.

By Alexandra Monir,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Timeless as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When tragedy strikes Michele Windsor’s world, she is forced to uproot her life and move across the country to New York City, to live with the wealthy, aristocratic grandparents she’s never met. In their old Fifth Avenue mansion filled with a century’s worth of family secrets, Michele discovers a diary that hurtles her back in time to the year 1910. There, in the midst of the glamorous Gilded Age, Michele meets the young man with striking blue eyes who has haunted her dreams all her life – a man she always wished was real, but never imagined could actually exist.…


By R.J. Palacio,

Book cover of Wonder

Samantha Caprio-Negret Author Of Rainbow Crystal

From the list on children’s fantasy with friendship, magic, and adventure.

Who am I?

I have an expertise for middle-grade and fantasy because I’ve been writing in those genres for over fifteen years. However, it’s my passion for that age group and theme that has me writing for them to begin with. I feel that the age group of about nine to thirteen is just such a magical, free time. They’re not too young to get it yet, but not old enough to have been tainted either. They’re in that beautiful state of curiosity, play, adventure, exploring where they fit in. Just the fact that there’s still this possibility of magic, then there’s hope. And with hope, there’s still a possibility of magic.

Samantha's book list on children’s fantasy with friendship, magic, and adventure

Discover why each book is one of Samantha's favorite books.

Why did Samantha love this book?

Just an overall, very well-written middle-grade story about a family and a boy who’s different.

He has a special condition that makes him look and learn differently. He would be considered to have special needs in society. But in this story his family and extra love of his mother makes him feel like he is no different than anyone else, and he has his own unique abilities where he stands out. They help him to discover that about himself.

Ironically, through his own unique abilities and talents, he ends up inspiring so many others around him. His disabilities are in fact his super-abilities. I love books with special needs characters. All my books have a special or disabled character in them.

I grew up with a mentally challenged sister and my son is autistic. Special individuals to me are a huge part of my life!

By R.J. Palacio,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Wonder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Has the power to move hearts and change minds' Guardian

'Tremendously uplifting and a novel of all-too-rare power' Sunday Express

'An amazing book . . . I absolutely loved it. I cried my eyes out' Tom Fletcher

Read the award-winning, multi-million copy bestselling phenomenon that is WONDER in this new tenth anniversary edition.

'My name is August. I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.'

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old. He does ordinary things - eating ice cream, playing on his Xbox. He feels ordinary - inside. But ordinary kids don't make other…

Something from Nothing

By Phoebe Gilman,

Book cover of Something from Nothing

Kate Lum Author Of What! Cried Granny: An Almost Bedtime Story

From the list on kids' stories for bedtime, travel-time, and fireside.

Who am I?

I’m a New Englander by birth, a Canadian by circumstance, and a Nova Scotian by choice. For as long as I can remember, I’ve told stories, first to my little sister—a captive audience—then to my children, then at my book readings, and now on my podcast, Kate and Friends, which I’m lucky enough to record with two professional musicians. For me, the ultimate test of a story is whether it can be told without visual aids. While I love picture books, and the way an artist can deepen a child’s experience of a story, I gravitate to satisfying, stand-alone tales with a good twist. They’re difficult to write, easy to remember, and great fun to tell! 

Kate's book list on kids' stories for bedtime, travel-time, and fireside

Discover why each book is one of Kate's favorite books.

Why did Kate love this book?

A deft, charming re-telling of a Jewish folk tale, and winner of the Ruth Schwartz Award. In this gentle story, young Joseph grows up in a shtetl in a warm and loving home. His grandfather, a tailor, makes him a beautiful blanket at birth. As he grows, the blanket becomes worn, but Grandpa can always rejig the fabric into something new. At last, however, the sad day arrives when nothing is left of the blanket… until Joseph realizes that what’s left is a wonderful story. 

I nominate this book as a storyteller’s delight because of its comforting, cyclical nature, and surprise ending. While Gilman’s glowing pictures augment the story perfectly, with their warm, humorous depiction of family life, the story can easily be memorized, told, and enjoyed when no pictures are available.

By Phoebe Gilman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Something from Nothing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Phoebe Gilman's beloved classic celebrates its 20th anniversary!

Joseph's grandfather made him a beautiful blanket when he was a baby, but now it's frazzled and worn, and Joseph's mother says it is time to throw it out. Joseph doesn't want to part with his special blanket, and he's sure that his grandfather can fix it. Sure enough, Grandfather miraculously alters the blanket into useful items again and again. But when Joseph loses the final item, even Grandfather can't make something from nothing. But maybe Joseph can?

Based on the Yiddish folktale "Joseph's overcoat," Phoebe Gilman's gorgeous artwork charts the transformation…

Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai

By Debbi Michiko Florence,

Book cover of Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai

Jennifer Richard Jacobson Author Of Crashing in Love

From the list on middle grade about first love.

Who am I?

Although I was an avid reader of romance when I was a tween, the middle grade novels I wrote prior to Crashing in Love were about more “serious” topics. Yet, much of the mail I received from kids had pressing questions about the future of potential love interests. That’s when I realized that I’d been guilty (like many) of considering romance to be “light” fiction. What could be more important, more serious, than discovering ourselves while making genuine connections with others? Those letters changed my mind. Learning to love is essential and not to be taken lightly at all.

Jennifer's book list on middle grade about first love

Discover why each book is one of Jennifer's favorite books.

Why did Jennifer love this book?

This sweet story brings me back to the rush of heady (albeit sometimes fleeting) infatuations and reminds me that simple friendship rules such as “Don’t let guys come between us” are not always as simple as they seem. The best part? Although Keiko ends up with the right romantic interest (there’s a scene that will melt your heart), she learns that self-love is paramount.

By Debbi Michiko Florence,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Just Be Cool, Jenna Sakai as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Fans of Judy Blume and Jenny Han are sure to fall head-over-heels
for this funny, sweet story of crushes, competition,
and the confusing reality of middle school.
"Heartbreak is for suckers."

When Jenna Sakai gets dumped over winter break, it confirms what
she learned from her parents' messy divorce: Relationships
are risky and only lead to disappointment.
So even though she still has to see her ex-boyfriend Elliott
at newspaper club, Jenna is going to be totally heartless this
semester - no boys, just books.

But keeping her cool isn't always easy.

Jenna's chief competition for a big journalism

Book Scavenger

By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman,

Book cover of Book Scavenger

Kim Long Author Of Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament

From the list on competition/game aspects at the heart of the story.

Who am I?

Kim Long loves to write stories with a sense of adventure, a dash of magic, and a hint of science. Her debut, Lexi Magill and the Teleportation Tournament, was a 2021-2022 Texas Bluebonnet Master List Selection. She loves board games, scavenger hunts, and puzzles, so books with aspects of those elements have always appealed to her. Every book recommended below has at least one of those elements, and the great news is that it's also the first in its series, so if you fall in love with the first book, there’s a good chance you’ll love the others, too!

Kim's book list on competition/game aspects at the heart of the story

Discover why each book is one of Kim's favorite books.

Why did Kim love this book?

I love how this book has a game theme but isn’t limited to a specific location. Instead, the main characters travel throughout San Francisco to compete in Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). The reader can play along and there is a deeper mystery to solve—who attacked the game’s creator and can the culprit be caught before another attack is made?

By Jennifer Chambliss Bertman,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Book Scavenger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

For twelve-year-old Emily, the best thing about moving to San Francisco is that it's the home city of her literary idol: Garrison Griswold, book publisher and creator of the online sensation Book Scavenger (a game where books are hidden in cities all over the country and clues to find them are revealed through puzzles). Upon arriving, however, Emily learns that Griswold has been attacked, and no one knows anything about the epic new game he had been poised to launch. Then Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book, which they come to believe is from Griswold himself.…

Book cover of The Dollmaker of Krakow

Hayley Chewins Author Of The Sisters of Straygarden Place

From the list on using magic to explore trauma.

Who am I?

It took me a long time to realize that the books I write have always (always) been about trauma. (I write fantasy, so the link wasn’t immediately apparent to me.) But now that I’ve seen it, I can’t unsee it. Likewise, it took me a long time to notice that all my favorite magical books were the ones that seemed to be trying to find a new language for the terrible things that can happen to and around us. Magic provides a powerful language for psychological pain. It can make it more real. It can make it more digestible. It can help us to see it more clearly. Fiction tells lies that make reality bearable and understandable—and magical fiction is no different. Which is why it will probably always be my favorite kind.

Hayley's book list on using magic to explore trauma

Discover why each book is one of Hayley's favorite books.

Why did Hayley love this book?

The Dollmaker of Kraków is about a doll named Karolina who finds herself in the human world after her homeland—the Land of the Dolls—is ravaged by an army of rats. To be more specific, she finds herself in a dollmaker’s shop. In Kraków. In 1939. World War II has just begun, and Karolina watches as the horrors of the Holocaust unfold before her eyes. Glistening with folklore and fairy tales, this historical fantasy shines with hope and beauty. It never fails to remind me how art can save us, over and over, even—or especially—in the darkest of times. 

By R.M. Romero,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dollmaker of Krakow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A timeless fantasy set in the Second World War that weaves together magic, folklore and history, perfect for fans of The Book Thief, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and Goodnight Mister Tom.

One night a little doll named Karolina comes to life in a toyshop in Krakow, Poland, in 1939 and changes the life of the gruff, broken-hearted Dollmaker. And when the darkness of the Nazi occupation sweeps over the city, Karolina and the Dollmaker must bravely use their magic to save their Jewish friends from a terrible danger, no matter what the risks. This powerful story is about…

The Middle Passage

By Tom Feelings,

Book cover of The Middle Passage: White Ships / Black Cargo

Laura Freeman Author Of Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon

From the list on award-winning, illustrated books on African American history.

Who am I?

Laura Freeman is a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honoree. Her work has been recognized with an NAACP Image Award, reached the New York Times Best Seller List, been honored by the Society of Illustrators, the Georgia Center For The Book, and in the Annuals for Communication Arts and American Illustration. She has illustrated over thirty children’s books, most of them biographies.

Laura's book list on award-winning, illustrated books on African American history

Discover why each book is one of Laura's favorite books.

Why did Laura love this book?

This stunning book was published in 1995, but it is still one of my favorites. Tom Feelings’ black and white illustrations are haunting and powerful. It wordlessly tells and shows the story of the tortuous journey of the slaves brought from Africa to the Americas. Words are not needed with images this powerful.

By Tom Feelings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Middle Passage as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Alex Haley's Roots awakened many Americans to the cruelty of slavery. The Middle Passage focuses attention on the torturous journey which brought slaves from Africa to the Americas, allowing readers to bear witness to the sufferings of an entire people.

Camp Midnight

By Steven T. Seagle, Jason Adam Katzenstein (artist),

Book cover of Camp Midnight

Jude Atwood Author Of Maybe There Are Witches

From the list on treating the supernatural with a clever sense of humor.

Who am I?

I'd like to claim that my expertise in these matters stems from the fact that I am a supernatural entity—and a funny one at that. But my origin’s more mundane; when I was growing up on a corn & soybean farm miles outside of a rural village, I became a voracious reader. I was always intrigued by writers who could explore a world outside the bounds of reality and do it with style. Over the years, I’ve been a short-order cook, a corn detasseler, a summer camp counselor, a college professor, and a middle-grade author, and I’ve learned that you can find a little magic anywhere if you look hard enough.

Jude's book list on treating the supernatural with a clever sense of humor

Discover why each book is one of Jude's favorite books.

Why did Jude love this book?

In this graphic novel, Skye is a girl who would rather go with her mom to Rwanda than attend the summer camp her dad and stepmom have selected.

She’s determined not to have fun, even after (or especially after) she realizes she got on the wrong bus and is now at a camp for kids who reveal their “true” monster selves only when it’s safe to do so. But even when Skye is in way over her head, she never lets up on the snark.

Seagle’s dialogue keeps the lessons and serious stuff from sounding trite by framing it all in a steady stream of sarcasm and unexpected cultural references. Katzenstein’s art is filled with clever visual gags. (At one point, as Skye is faking tears, she’s holding an Oscar statuette.)

By Steven T. Seagle, Jason Adam Katzenstein (artist),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Camp Midnight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ben 10 and Big Hero 6 creator Steven T. Seagle returns to comics with New Yorker Magazine cartoonist Jason Adam Katzenstein for a new graphic novel!

Reluctant Skye is accidentally sent to the wrong summer camp. Not wanting to please her "step monster," Skye is dead-set on not fitting in. That won't be a problem, as everyone at Camp Midnight-with the exception of fellow camper and fast-friend Mia-is a full-fledged monster! The perfect book for fans of Raina Telgemeier's Smile, but wish it had more bowls of gooey eyeballs.

Daniel's Story

By Carol Matas,

Book cover of Daniel's Story

Kathy Kacer Author Of Under the Iron Bridge

From the list on the Second World War and the Holocaust.

Who am I?

I'm the child of Holocaust survivors. I grew up with parents willing to talk about their survival experiences and do so in a way that wouldn't terrify me. I asked a million questions that my parents willingly answered. I grew up passionate about this history and determined to write their stories and the stories of other survivors. I'm aware that this generation of survivors is aging and passing away. Their "voices" will soon be gone. I feel a responsibility to capture these stories and write them for the next generations. I'm about to have my thirtieth book about the Holocaust published! And I've got more book ideas on the go.

Kathy's book list on the Second World War and the Holocaust

Discover why each book is one of Kathy's favorite books.

Why did Kathy love this book?

This is an older book, but such an important one! It was first published in 1993 when the author was commissioned by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) to create a book and an exhibit for younger children who would be touring the museum. Carol Matas is really one of the first authors to write about this time in history and to do so in a way this is accessible for young readers. She has paved the way for authors like me to continue telling these important stories. By the way, if you visit the USHMM, you can still see the Daniel's Story exhibit on the main floor of the museum. 

By Carol Matas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daniel's Story as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Daniel barely remembers leading a normal life before the Nazis came to power in 1933. He can still picture once being happy and safe, but memories of those days are fading as he and his family face the dangers threatening Jews in Hitler's Germany in the late 1930's. No longer able to practice their religion, vote, own property, or even work, Daniel's family is forced from their home in Frankfurt and sent on a long and dangerous journey, first to the Lodz ghetto in Poland, and then to Auschwitz -, the Nazi death camp. Though many around him lose hope…

The Giver

By Lois Lowry,

Book cover of The Giver

M. R. Reed Author Of Enthrall

From the list on doing what is right when others are against you.

Who am I?

I’m drawn to the idea of doing what you think is right when others are against you because I’ve always felt the desire to row against the current and just do my own thing. I tend to avoid following the crowd because oftentimes I simply don’t agree with them. Am I being purposely difficult? Maybe. But I fear a society that goes with the flow simply because it’s easier and it doesn’t require them to think for themselves. It’s okay to listen to other people, but before you make any major decisions, ask yourself a question: Is this right for me?

M. R.'s book list on doing what is right when others are against you

Discover why each book is one of M. R.'s favorite books.

Why did M. R. love this book?

In The Giver, Jonas lives this very lonely life and as the reader, we understand him. We see what he’s going through. 

However, nobody else in his town except for The Giver really knows what he’s dealing with. When Jonas has to make a choice that will have a huge impact on everybody, we’re rooting for him because we ultimately know that it’s better to be human and feel pain than it is to live the ignorant, hollow lives that we see the people in his town living.

This really stuck with me because it shows that people don’t always know what’s best for them, and sometimes you have to make those tough choices and just hope that it works out. 

By Lois Lowry,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked The Giver as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE GIVER is soon to be a major motion picture starring Jeff Bridges, Katie Holmes and Taylor Swift.

Now available for the first time in the UK, THE GIVER QUARTET is the complete four-novel collection.

THE GIVER: It is the future. There is no war, no hunger, no pain. No one in the community wants for anything. Everything needed is provided. And at twelve years old, each member of the community has their profession carefully chosen for them by the Committee of Elders.

Jonas has never thought there was anything wrong with his world. But from the moment he is…

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

By Alvin Schwartz, Brett Helquist (illustrator),

Book cover of Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Andy Lockwood Author Of Threshold

From the list on gateway into the horror genre.

Who am I?

I’ve been ensconced in horror since childhood—from the Monster Double Feature to Creepy and Tomb of Dracula. I’m part of the Monster Squad; I’m what goes bump in the night. I live for the scare. My love for all things spooky started young, growing up with Bradbury and Matheson, before graduating to King, Koontz, and Straub. I continued to absorb horror wherever I could: books, films, and comics, drinking it in as quickly as it came out. Eventually, I found that I’d absorbed so many stories, I had one or two of my own to contributeso I began writing short stories and novels to terrorize the genre myself!

Andy's book list on gateway into the horror genre

Discover why each book is one of Andy's favorite books.

Why did Andy love this book?

What horror list would be complete without this infamous selection? Is there a more accessible horror collection? The Treasury collects all three Scary Stories books, preventing anyone from missing out on any of Schwarz’s memorable retellings of classic folklore and urban legend. These are the stories told around the campfires and slumber parties of youth. The stories still traded by adults when conversation turns to ghost stories. Though simply worded and easy to read, these are the stories that come to mind late at night when you’re all alone. Every horror enthusiast knows a creepy story or two, and at least one of them is from this collection. It’s a perfect anthology for anyone who wants a 5-minute chiller, or a good turn-of-the-century ghost story.

By Alvin Schwartz, Brett Helquist (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark is a classic collection of chillingly scary tales, in which Alvin Schwartz offers up some of the most alarming tales of horror, dark revenge, and supernatural events of all time, complemented in this paperback edition by spine-tingling illustrations by renowned artist Brett Helquist. Walking corpses, dancing bones, knife-wielding madmen, and narrow escapes from death-they're all here in this chilling collection of ghost stories. Make sure you read these books with the light ON!

Naughts & Crosses

By Malorie Blackman,

Book cover of Naughts & Crosses

Lauren Stabler Author Of Trials of the Realm

From the list on dystopia set in the UK.

Who am I?

I’m an English writer based in Sheffield. I started reading dystopia when I was around 19 and in a very bad place mentally, it became an escape for me and I would read everything in the genre. It got to the point where I was writing in the notes on my phone (not very well, I might add). Somehow dystopia ignited my passion for writing and so I went to university to study it. Almost everything I wrote for both my undergrad degree and my master's was set in a future dystopian UK. It is where my passion still lies and I hope to create more futuristic worlds like those I have listed.

Lauren's book list on dystopia set in the UK

Discover why each book is one of Lauren's favorite books.

Why did Lauren love this book?

Another well-known book. It has recently been adapted into a TV show (which I’m sure all of us authors would love). I absolutely recommend reading the books before watching the show as they are very different mediums and have their own spins on each. The books feel darker than the TV show, which is something I appreciate. Dystopia shouldn’t be light, the world is filled with darkness and Blackman really captures this element in her series. I love that she flips apartheid but for a modern-day world, showing people what could happen if we carry on as we have been going but making many readers the target.

By Malorie Blackman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Naughts & Crosses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Two star-crossed lovers fight for a more just world in this searing novel with a critically-acclaimed BBC series adaptation now streaming on NBCUniversal’s Peacock platform!

Sephy is a Cross: dark-skinned and beautiful, she lives a life of privilege and power. But she’s lonely, and she burns with injustice at the world she sees around her.

Callum is a nought: pale-skinned and poor, he’s considered to be less than nothing, there to serve Crosses, but he dreams of a better life.

They’ve been friends since they were children, and they both know that’s as far as it can ever go. Noughts…

Camp X

By Eric Walters,

Book cover of Camp X

Nancy McDonald Author Of One Boy's War

From the list on historical middle grade exceptional child heroes.

Who am I?

A longtime student of history, particularly WW2 and the Cold War, my interest was personally piqued when I started to discover more about how my husband’s family narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo – and certain death in a concentration camp. I’m driven to write novels set in this era for middle grade kids – featuring brave young heroes faced with moral dilemmas– so they can learn about the horrors of antisemitism, tyrants, and war because “those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it.”

Nancy's book list on historical middle grade exceptional child heroes

Discover why each book is one of Nancy's favorite books.

Why did Nancy love this book?

It’s summer 1943 and brothers George and Jack Braun have moved to Whitby, Ontario where their mother has a job in a munitions factory while their father is off fighting the Nazis. Bored, they’re playing make-believe war games one day when they stumble on a highly secret training school for spies. When they learn of a German plan to invade it, they're determined to thwart it – whatever it takes. Inspired by the real Camp X, it’s an entertaining read – I like the relationship between the brothers, it rings true – and, in a nice touch, there’s a cameo appearance by a real-life person, in this case, spymaster William Stephenson, best known as the inspiration for James Bond! 

By Eric Walters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Camp X as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

It's 1943, and nearly-12-year-old George and his older brother Jack are spending a restless wartime summer in Whitby, Ontario, where their mom is working at a munitions plant while their dad is off fighting the Germans. One afternoon, the boys stumble across Canada's top-secret spy camp-and so begins an exciting and terrifying adventure as George and Jack get caught up in the covert activities of Camp X.

Fascinated by Camp X and its secrets, the boys begin to suspect local townspeople of being spies. Is the police chief keeping tabs on people for enemy purposes? Is Jack's boss at the…

This Rebel Heart

By Katherine Locke,

Book cover of This Rebel Heart

Lyn Miller-Lachmann Author Of Torch

From the list on for tweens and teens on Russian/Soviet aggression.

Who am I?

I’m the author of multiple middle grade and YA historical novels, including Torch, which won the 2023 Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Young Adult Literature. Torch takes place in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, and it is especially timely in the face of the recent Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Bear (a popular symbol of the Russian Empire) has mauled many of its neighbors in the past century, not only Czechoslovakia and Ukraine but also the Baltic countries that, like Ukraine, were incorporated into the Soviet Union and the other Eastern European countries that were part of the Soviet bloc until the fall of Communism in 1989. 

Lyn's book list on for tweens and teens on Russian/Soviet aggression

Discover why each book is one of Lyn's favorite books.

Why did Lyn love this book?

For those who like their history infused with magic, this historical fantasy set in Hungary in 1956 introduces Jewish folklore and history along with the lives of Hungarians fighting for their freedom.

Csilla and her aunt have tickets out of the country, but news about her parents—executed by the previous Soviet-backed regime—along with the student uprising and two beautiful and mysterious strangers compel her to stay despite the specter of a bloody Soviet invasion.

By Katherine Locke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Rebel Heart as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A tumultuous tale of the student-led 1956 Hungarian revolution—and an all too timely look at the impact of Communism and the USSR in Eastern Europe—set in a fabulist, colorless post-WWII Budapest from Sydney Taylor Honor winner Katherine Locke.

“A haunting, beautiful read that centers queer Jewish characters.” —BuzzFeed

In the middle of Budapest, there is a river. Csilla knows the river is magic. During WWII, the river kept her family safe when they needed it most--safe from the Holocaust. But that was before the Communists seized power. Before her parents were murdered by the Soviet police. Before Csilla knew things…

The Keeper of Night

By Kylie Lee Baker,

Book cover of The Keeper of Night

Elisa A. Bonnin Author Of Dauntless

From the list on protagonists that are part of two worlds.

Who am I?

I’m half-Filipino and half-Spanish. Growing up in the Philippines, I had to deal with many of the same emotions that the characters on this list go through. My identity made sense to me, but I found that I often had to explain it to other people, and I also found that outside my own house, people made their own opinions about whether I was more Filipino, more Spanish, or something else entirely. I’ve always been fascinated by how characters in fiction deal with this struggle, and I’ve always related more to characters who feel out of place.

Elisa's book list on protagonists that are part of two worlds

Discover why each book is one of Elisa's favorite books.

Why did Elisa love this book?

The Keeper of Night’s protagonist Ren Scarborough is the epitome of a character trapped between two worlds. Half-British Reaper, half-Japanese Shinigami, Ren starts off the book living in London but never quite feels like she belongs there. When she travels to Japan for the first time, she finds out that Japan isn’t quite as she expected it and ends up getting tangled in the affairs of Yomi, the Japanese underworld. Although a bit on the darker side, this is a fantastic book for anyone interested in Japanese mythology, anyone who likes their fantasy a little on the dark side, and anyone who’s felt the frustration of never quite fitting in anywhere. 

By Kylie Lee Baker,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Keeper of Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“Sharp and seductive…a fantasy with teeth.” —Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns

A girl of two worlds, accepted by none… A half Reaper, half Shinigami soul collector seeks her destiny in this haunting and compulsively readable dark fantasy duology set in 1890s Japan.

Death is her destiny.

Half British Reaper, half Japanese Shinigami, Ren Scarborough has been collecting souls in the London streets for centuries. Expected to obey the harsh hierarchy of the Reapers who despise her, Ren conceals her emotions and avoids her tormentors as best she can.

When her failure to control her Shinigami…

Amal Unbound

By Aisha Saeed,

Book cover of Amal Unbound

Dayna Lorentz Author Of Wayward Creatures

From the list on exploring ideas of justice and accountability.

Who am I?

As a parent, I’ve been struck by the fierce sense of justice my children have, from the unfairness of one getting more screen time to bigger injustices, like bullying or discrimination. Kids have an innate sense of what’s right, of what’s fair, but they can also lack a sense of nuance and have rather Byzantine notions of what justice requires. I wrote Wayward Creatures to explore a different way of thinking about justice and accountability. Restorative justice practices seek to bring the offending party together with the people hurt by their actions to acknowledge the harm caused and find a solution together. These five books explore other aspects of what it means to seek justice.

Dayna's book list on exploring ideas of justice and accountability

Discover why each book is one of Dayna's favorite books.

Why did Dayna love this book?

Amal’s story asks the question of how to fight for justice against seemingly impossible odds. In rural Pakistan, Amal faces responsibilities to her family that force her to leave school, seemingly crushing her dreams of becoming a teacher. After a run-in with the son of the village’s landlord, Amal finds herself forced into indentured servitude. Injustice upon injustice weigh against her, but through her intellect and ingenuity, she finds a way to escape her service and free her town by bringing the corrupt landlord to justice.

By Aisha Saeed,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Amal Unbound as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A New York Times Bestseller!

Amal has big dreams, until a nightmarish encounter . . .

Twelve-year-old Amal's dream of becoming a teacher one day is dashed in an instant when she accidentally insults a member of her Pakistani village's ruling family. As punishment for her behavior, she is forced to leave her heartbroken family behind and go work at their estate.

Amal is distraught but has faced setbacks before. So she summons her courage and begins navigating the complex rules of life as a servant, with all its attendant jealousies and pecking-order woes. Most troubling, though, is Amal's increasing…

Bright Shining Moment

By Deb Loughead,

Book cover of Bright Shining Moment

Sylvia McNicoll Author Of Revenge on the Fly

From the list on friendly, feel good historical fiction.

Who am I?

When I was invited to write a historical fiction that appealed to male readers, I wanted to showcase the struggles and dramas in peacetime rather than in war. Scientists vilifying the fly in order to demonstrate the connection between microbes and disease—and enlisting children to kill the flynow that was a battle I could get behind. Revenge on the Fly, in all the forty books I’ve written, is my only foray into historical fiction. However, like most writers, I read across the genres voraciously. What I most love to read and write about are strong characters who demonstrate unwavering resilience.

Sylvia's book list on friendly, feel good historical fiction

Discover why each book is one of Sylvia's favorite books.

Why did Sylvia love this book?

Set in Ottawa 1942, the depiction of old-timey poverty is both authentic and poignant. Twelve-year-old Aline Sauriol (refreshingly French Canadian) is embarrassed that she can’t even collect old chewing gum to help the nuns stick work to the bulletin board. What is so inspiring about this story is the resilience this family demonstrates as they share out their home in order to make ends meet. Love of family over material goods triumphs giving readers a bright shining revelation.

By Deb Loughead,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bright Shining Moment as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Aline hides under the hay when her father takes her to school in their horse-drawn sled. She’s embarrassed that her mother raises chickens in their yard, and doesn’t want her school friends to find out that their family has taken in boarders for the extra money. When she learns that her sworn enemy, Jeanine, can buy chewing gum, Aline is furious at the unfairness. She knows that Jeanine’s family is even poorer than her own. When Aline’s mother can’t spare any money for a charity drive at school, Aline decides to steal a coin from her purse. She quickly feels…

Book cover of Between Perfect and Real

S.M. Stevens Author Of Bit Players, Has-Been Actors and Other Posers

From the list on for tweens, teens and young adults who love theater.

Who am I?

As a teenager, I didn’t have the lack of inhibition or abundant self-confidence to excel in high school drama. Like Sadie in Bit Players, I finally wowed the directors at my senior year audition, only to learn the lead was promised in advance to someone else. I recovered and stayed involved in theater: cast, crew, and front-of-house jobs for a summer theater program; the box office for Cornell’s MFA program; and supporting my kids’ drama activities. Performing in a show is different from any other experience. If you’ve been in a show, you know this. If you haven’t, read on to enter the magical world of theatre.

S.M.'s book list on for tweens, teens and young adults who love theater

Discover why each book is one of S.M.'s favorite books.

Why did S.M. love this book?

A high school production of Romeo and Juliet isn’t the focus of this plot, but the book still makes my shortlist. The concept of a trans guy acknowledging his gender identity after having been cast as a girl playing the boy Romeo is profound. Dean questions his gender as rehearsals progress. By showtime, he decides to use the production’s program to publicly announce he is trans. Friend and parental issues arise, so there’s plenty of drama on and off the stage in this one.

Theater Quotient: Medium. Gender identity is the focus, but rehearsals and performances figure prominently.

By Ray Stoeve,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Between Perfect and Real as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A moving YA debut about a trans boy finding his voice--and himself

Dean Foster knows he's a trans guy. He's watched enough YouTube videos and done enough questioning to be sure. But everyone at his high school thinks he's a lesbian--including his girlfriend Zoe, and his theater director, who just cast him as a "nontraditional" Romeo. He wonders if maybe it would be easier to wait until college to come out. But as he plays Romeo every day in rehearsals, Dean realizes he wants everyone to see him as he really is now--not just on the stage, but everywhere in…

A Ray of Light

By Walter Wick,

Book cover of A Ray of Light

Chris Barton Author Of Glitter Everywhere!: Where it Came From, Where It's Found & Where It's Going

From the list on for glitter-loving kids.

Who am I?

I’ve written nonfiction books for children on topics ranging from daylight fluorescence to Reconstruction, from The Nutcracker to the invention of the Super Soaker. What all those topics have in common is that I didn’t know much about them when I got started. That’s definitely true for my book Glitter Everywhere! While getting familiar with more than 150 sources of information, I learned a lot about glitter. But there’s always more to know, and that also goes for the readers of my books. While mine may be the first books that someone reads about the topics I’ve explored, there’s no better feeling than knowing my books won’t be the last.

Chris' book list on for glitter-loving kids

Discover why each book is one of Chris' favorite books.

Why did Chris love this book?

The main thing that people know about glitter is that it sparkles and shines in the light, and the main thing to know about that sparkle and shine is that they’re caused by the phenomenon of iridescence.

Walter Wick’s beautiful photography and brief, engaging text provide young readers with detailed explanations and examples of iridescence as well as many other aspects of color and light. This book was crucial to my figuring out how to convey the concept of iridescence in my nonfiction picture book about glitter.

By Walter Wick,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Ray of Light as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A photographic exploration into the beauty and magic of light from the creator of the bestselling A Drop of Water and the Can You See What I See? series.

The wonder of light has fascinated readers for ages. Walter Wick's mesmerizing photographs paired with simple yet fascinating text and scientific observations help readers understand the secrets and complexity of light. You will learn what light is made of and how it fits alongside everything else in the world. Walter introduces readers into the mystery behind incandescence, light waves, the color spectrum, and iridescence as well as how we perceive light…