New Books for 6th Graders

Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt

Reading Level: Grades 6+

Doug Swieteck and his lousy older brother just moved to a brand-new town that will be probably just as lousy as the old one - and with less baseball. And, just like in his old town, everyone who's anyone (teachers, the police, his dad, Lil Spicer down the street) thinks that Doug's just a skinny good-for-nothing kid who won't ever amount to anything except for trouble.

Despite Lil and Doug's initial dislike of each other, they begin to bond nonetheless. In his friendship with Lil, Doug manages to deal with his lousy situation, including his abusive father and older brother just back from Vietnam. Doug also finds solace in the public library's Audubon bird plates, first tracing the shapes and feathers with his fingers and then learning to draw them, with the help of a kind librarian.

Part laugh-out-loud, part tear-jerker, all American coming of age story, Okay For Now is not one to miss.

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TimeRiders by Alex Scarrow

Reading Level: Grades 5 - 8

Liam O'Connor is trapped below decks on the Titanic, Maddy Carter's plane is just about to explode in mid-air, and Sal Vikram is caught in a fire when a man appears and offers them a way out. Come with him and live outside society for the rest of your life, or stay and die. They each choose to follow him and are transported to New York City on September 10, 2001 where they live in a time bubble of a repeating September 10-11, and become a team of Time Riders. Their mission is to notice subtle shifts to the timeline caused by rogue time travelers and go back in time and stop the other travelers before they can alter the future.

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Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu

Reading Level: Grade 6-8

Sunny felt out of place when she and her family lived in the United States, she stands out even more in Nigeria. It isn't fair. She's 100% Igbo just like her parents and brothers, but Sunny is an albino so instead of having beautiful dark skin, hair and eyes, Sunny is so light her skin and hair look yellow.

When Sunny sees a strange vision in a candle's flame, she doesn't tell anyone. She's strange enough as it is. When Sunny is befriended by a classmate, she finds herself drawn into the very strangeness she is trying to avoid.

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If you enjoyed this tale of young magicians you will probably enjoy:

So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud and

The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima