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Year 6 Recommended Fiction

Contemporary Fiction
Recommended contemporary fiction for year 6
Classics
Recommended classic fiction for year 6
Poetry
Recommended poetry for year 6
Picture books
Recommended picture books for year 6
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CONTEMPORARY FICTION

Mystery and Mayhem
by The Crime Club

Twelve mysteries.

Twelve authors.

One challenge: can YOU solve the crimes before the heroes of the stories?

These are twelve brand-new short stories from twelve of the best children’s crime writers writing today.

These creepy, hilarious, brain-boggling, heart-pounding mysteries feature daring, brilliant young detectives, and this anthology is a must for young fans of crime fiction and detection. (9+)

Max Helsing Monster Hunter
by Curtis Jobling

Slaying…. and playing. All part of a day’s work for Max Helsing.

Descended from a long line of monster hunters, Max Helsing does a pretty good job of being an eighth grader by day and keeping his town safe from demons, ghouls and the occasional mummy by night. That is, until he turns thriteen and discovers he’s been cursed by an ancient vampire who wants him dead – at any cost. To save the world – and his life – Max must rely on his wise-cracking best friend, cantankerous mentor, computer genius neighbour, and brand-new puppy. He’ll need all their help and more to break the Thirteenth Curse!

The Roman Quests. Escape from Rome
by Caroline Lawrence

First in a brand new historical adventure series from million copy selling Caroline Lawrence, set in Roman Britain during the reign of the evil Emperor Domitian.

The year is AD 94. When the evil Emperor Domitian sends soldiers to seize his family’s home in the middle of the night, Juba must escape with his brother and sisters, and journey to distant Britannia on the edge of the known world.

His task: To avoid capture and death. 
His quest: To find a safe haven in Britain.
His destiny: To save the children.

Wonder
by R.J. Palacio

‘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 ordinary kids run away screaming in playgrounds. Ordinary kids aren’t stared at wherever they go.

Born with a terrible facial abnormality, Auggie has been home-schooled by his parents his whole life. Now, for the first time, he’s being sent to a real school – and he’s dreading it. All he wants is to be accepted – but can he convince his new classmates that he’s just like them, underneath it all?

There's a Girl in the Boys Bathroom
by Louis Sachar

“Give me a dollar or I’ll spit on you.” That’s Bradley Chalker for you. He is the oldest child in the class. He tells enormous lies. He picks fights with girls, and the teachers say he has “serious behaviour problems.” No one likes him – except Carla, the new school counsellor. She thinks Bradley is sensitive and generous, and she even enjoys his far-fetched stories. Carla knows that Bradley could change, if only he weren’t afraid to try. Sometimes the hardest thing in the world is believing in yourself.

Wolf Brother
by Michelle Paver

A boy. A wolf. A legend for all time. Dazzling entertainment, seamless storytelling – Torak and Wolf begin their quest by doing battle with a demon bear in the first of six adventures to vanquish the terrifying Soul-Eaters.

Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon; a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world.

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair
by Lara Williamson

Becket Rumsey is all at sea. His dad has run away with him and his brother Billy in the middle of the night. And they’ve left everything behind, including their almost-mum Pearl. Becket has no idea what’s going on – it’s a mystery. So with the help of Billy and a snail called Brian, Becket sets out on a journey of discovery. It’s not plain sailing but then what journeys ever are? An extraordinary story of courage, dreams and finding your way, from the bestselling author of A Boy Called Hope.

Rooftoppers
by Katherine Rundell

Join plucky heroine Sophie, her eccentric guardian Charles, and her intrepid orphan allies on the rooftops of Victorian Paris, as they encounter suspense and adventure that will keep kids of all ages on the edge of their seats right to the heartwarming end.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. Found floating in a cello case and swaddled in a Beethoven score, she is the only recorded female survivor of a shipwreck on the English Channel. But Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help…

Charles, a fellow survivor and an eccentric scholar, finds Sophie and brings her home to his London bachelor flat. Raised in a quirky home filled with music, words and love (though questionable diet), Sophie grows into a free-spirited tomboy with a taste for Shakespeare and the unshakeable belief that anything is possible. And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the child welfare agency in its bureaucratic wisdom threatens to send Sophie to an orphanage, the optimistic girl and her odd guardian flee to Paris on a quest to find her mother, starting with the only clue she has – the address of the cello maker.

Secured in an attic to evade the French authorities, Sophie escapes through the skylight and meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers – homeless urchins who tightrope walk above the busy streets below, dining on pigeons and snails alongside the gargoyles and bell tower of Notre Dame. Together they set out on an unimaginable adventure, scouring the city for Sophie’s mother before she is caught and sent back to London – and most importantly, before she loses hope.

The Wolf Wilder
by Katherine Rundell

Feodora and her mother live in the snowbound woods of Russia, in a house full of food and fireplaces. Ten minutes away, in a ruined chapel, lives a pack of wolves. Feodora’s mother is a wolf wilder, and Feo is a wolf wilder in training. A wolf wilder is the opposite of an animal tamer: it is a person who teaches tamed animals to fend for themselves, and to fight and to run, and to be wary of humans.

When the murderous hostility of the Russian Army threatens her very existence, Feo is left with no option but to go on the run. What follows is a story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back. And, of course, wolves.

Gladiator: Fight for Freedom
by Simon Scarrow

Rome, 61 BC

RECRUITED as a gladiator, young Marcus Cornelius Primus faces a new life of brutal training, governed by strict rules, as he learns the skills of an elite warrior.

But Marcus cannot simply forget his past. His father lies murdered by soldiers and his mother has been kidnapped and forced into slavery. Marcus is determined to find his father’s old commander, Pompeius the Great, to seek justice for his family and set his mother free.

Yet, unbeknown to him, Marcus is hiding a life-threatening secret. And if the Romans discover it, there will be no escape . . .

The Fastest Boy in the World
by Elizabeth Laird

Eleven-year-old Solomon loves to run! The great athletes of the Ethiopian national team are his heroes and he dreams that one day he will be a gold-medal-winning athlete like them, in spite of his ragged shorts and bare feet.

When his grandfather announces that he’s going to take Solomon to Addis Ababa, Solomon cannot believe his ears. A trip to the capital? It’s unfathomable. Solomon’s joy is increased when he realizes that the Ethiopian running team will be doing a victory parade through the city that day. Maybe he’ll get a glimpse of Haile Gebrselassie or Derartu Tulu?!

But Solomon’s grandfather has other plans. As Solomon follows him through the big, overwhelming streets, he learns something he cannot believe. The strict old man is a war hero who once risked his life to save a friend and has been in hiding ever since. When grandfather collapses, Solomon knows that getting help from his village is up to him. It’s a twenty-mile run from the city to home, and grandfather’s life hangs in the balance. Can the small bare-footed runner with the big heart do it?

The Mysterious Benedict Society
by Trenton Lee Stewart

When a peculiar advertisement appears in the newspaper for children to take part in a secret mission, children everywhere sit a series of mysterious tests. In the end, just four children succeed: Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance. They have three things in common: they are all honest, all remarkably talented and all orphans. They must go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened where the only rule is that there are no rules. There they must work as a team to save not only themselves, but also the world outside the walls.

The Letter for the King
by Tonke Dragt

Tonke Dragt’s The Letter for the King has sold more than a million copies throughout the world. First published in 1962 in the Netherlands, this tale of a teenager’s knightly quest has now been translated into English by Laura Watkinson.

The fate of a kingdom depends on just one person…

When sixteen-year-old Tiuri answers a desperate call for help, he finds himself on a perilous mission that could cost him his life. He must deliver a secret letter to the King who lives across the Great Mountains a letter upon which the future of the entire realm depends.

It means abandoning his home, breaking all the rules and leaving everything behind even the knighthood that he has dreamed of for so long.

He must trust no one.
He must keep his true identity secret.
Above all, he must never reveal what is in the letter.

Refugee Boy
by Benjamin Zephaniah

Alem is on holiday with his father for a few days in London. He has never been out of Ethiopia before and is very excited. They have a great few days togther until one morning when Alem wakes up in the bed and breakfast they are staying at to find the unthinkable. His father has left him. It is only when the owner of the bed and breakfast hands him a letter that Alem is given an explanation. Alem’s father admits that because of the political problems in Ethiopia both he and Alem’s mother felt Alem would be safer in London – even though it is breaking their hearts to do this. Alem is now on his own, in the hands of the social services and the Refugee Council. He lives from letter to letter, waiting to hear from his father, and in particular about his mother, who has now gone missing…A powerful, gripping new novel from the popular Benjamin Zephaniah

Eren
by Simon P. Clark

'Tell the story to its end,' says Eren with a grin. His yellow eyes are glowing like embers in the night. 
'When I reach the end,' I say, 'what happens? You'll have the whole story.'
'Hmm,' he says, looking at me and licking his lips with a dry, grey tongue. 'What happens then? Why don't we find out?'

People are keeping secrets from Oli. His mum has brought him to stay with his aunt and uncle in the countryside, but nobody will tell him why his dad isn't with them. Where is he? Has something happened? Oli has a hundred questions, but then he finds a secret of his own: he discovers the creature that lives in the attic.

Eren.

Eren is not human.
Eren is hungry for stories.
Eren has been waiting for him.

Sharing his stories with Eren, Oli starts to make sense of what's happening downstairs with his family. But what if it's a trap? Soon, Oli must make a choice: learn the truth - or abandon himself to Eren's world, forever.

Abomination
by Robert Swindells

Martha is twelve - and very different from other kids, because of her parents. Strict members of a religious group - the Brethren - their rules dominate Martha's life. And one rule is the most important of all: she must never ever invite anyone home. If she does, their shameful secret - Abomination - could be revealed. But as Martha makes her first real friend in Scott, a new boy at school, she begins to wonder. Is she doing the right thing by helping to keep Abomination a secret? And just how far will her parents go to prevent the truth from being known?

The Crowstarver
by Dick King-Smith

Crowstarving was the ideal job for Spider - he was on his own - yet never alone, for all around him were animals of one sort or another.

Discovered as a foundling in a lambing pen, Spider Sparrow grows up surrounded by animals. From sheep and horses to wild otters and foxes, Spider loves them all, even the crows must scare away the newly sown wheat.

Amazingly, every animal who meets Spider implicitly trusts the young boy. This magical rapport is Spider's unique gift, but nothing else in his tough life is so easy.

The Eddie Dickens Trilogy
by Philip Ardagh

AWFUL END
When both of Eddie Dickens's parents catch a disease that makes them turn yellow, go a bit crinkly round the edges and smell of hot water bottles, it's agreed he should go and stay with relatives at their house Awful End. Unfortunately for Eddie, those relatives are Mad Uncle Jack and Even-Madder Aunt Maud, and it doesn't look as if the three of them are ever going to reach their destination ...

DREADFUL ACTS
Eddie Dickens narrowly avoids an explosion, a hot-air balloon and arrest, only to find himself falling head-over heels for a girl with a face like a camel's, and into the hands of a murderous gang of escaped convicts who have 'one little job for him to do'.

TERRIBLE TIMES
Eddie had been given the task of travelling to America to look after his family's interests there. But his life is never that simple; especially with a potential stowaway in his trunk, and Lady Constance Bustle at his side. She's a professional 'travelling companion', whose previous employers seem to have died under the most remarkable and unfortunate circumstances ...

From Hereabout Hill
by Michael Morpurgo

A spell-binding collection of short stories from War Horse author and former Children's Laureate, Michael Morpurgo.

Included in this collection of short stories is a poignant tale about civil war, wherein a young girl hides from enemy soldiers in a public toilet; a haunting story of a little girl swept out to sea while collecting cowrie shells; and the moving account of two brothers, who, over the years, create a mental picture of their absent father.

Fruit and Nutcase
by Jean Ure

The third title in Jean Ure’s acclaimed series of humorous, delightful and poignant stories written in the form of diaries and letters which make them immediately accessible to children.

This is the story of how Mandy learns to cope with her untidy life and finally emerges triumphant.

Mandy Small has trouble writing so Cat, her teacher, suggests that she tells her life story into a tape recorder. So begins Mandy’s funny and sometimes sad story of life with her loving but chaotic parents – Dad, the Elvis look-alike, and Mum, whose idea of a special meal is burnt toast!

Then there’s school, where the horrible Tracey Bigg picks on Mandy and her timid friend, Oliver, not to mention Old Misery Guts, the landlady and Nan, who thinks that Mandy’s parents aren’t fit to look after her. With so many things to worry about, Mandy begins to think that she’s in danger of turning into a real Fruit and Nutcase!

Mandy’s story, told in the form of diary into a tape recorder, is a funny and often moving account of a child’s everyday life, with all its difficulties. Hilariously illustrated by Mick Brownfield.

My Swordhand is Singing
by Marcus Sedgwick

In the bitter cold of an unrelenting winter Tomas and his son, Peter, arrive in Chust and despite the inhospitability of the villagers settle there as woodcutters. Tomas digs a channel of fast-flowing waters around their hut so they have their own little island kingdom. Peter doesn't understand why his father has done this, nor why his father carries a long battered box everywhere they go, and why he is forbidden to know its contents.
But when a band of gypsies comes to the village Peter's drab existence is turned upside down. He is infatuated by the beautiful gypsy princess, Sofia, intoxicated by their love of life and drawn into their deadly quest. For these travellers are Vampire Slayers and Chust is a dying community - where the dead come back to wreak revenge on the living. Amidst the terrifying events that follow, Peter is stunned to see his father change from a disillusioned man to the warrior hero he once was.
Marcus draws on his extensive research of the vampire legend and sets his story in the forbidding and remote landscapes of the 17th century. Written in his usual distinctive voice, this is also the story of a father and his son, of loss, redemption and resolution.

Where The Forest Meets the Sea
by Jeannie Baker

A boy and his father spend the day in the rainforest of northern Australia and the boy imagines both the primeval past and the possible future for the area. The striking illustrations, which are collages made largely from natural materials, combine with a spare but thought-provoking text. This book is ideal for group/class discussion.

The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean
by Lindsay Littleson

Lily's already got plenty going on living with a moody teenage sister, two feral brothers and a messy baby sister. Mum and Gran are stressed to the max, both dads are out of the picture and the cats aren't exactly pulling their weight. But when she starts getting mixed-up warnings not to go on holiday to the tiny, safe Scottish island of Cumbrae, her summer just gets weirder and weirder. The thing is, whoever's talking to Lily doesn't even seem to know she's doing it. If she's a ghost, she's not a very good one. And there's something about her that Lily finds awfully, spine-tinglingly familiar...Spend the summer with Lily McLean in this beautifully written, laugh-out-loud adventure by Kelpies Prize winner Lindsay Littleson.

The Awkward Autumn of Lily McLean
by Lindsay Littleson

Telling people you hear voices doesn't win you many friends. Especially when you're starting high school. Especially when everyone thinks you're just like your troublemaking big sister. Lily's hoping to put all the madness of the previous summer behind her but with serious friend dramas, nasty rumours and a big sister who might end up in jail, the last thing Lily wants is to start up that weird psychic stuff again. But it might be her only hope... Spend the autumn with Lily in this beautifully written, laugh-out-loud sequel to Waterstones Children's Book Prize longlister The Mixed-Up Summer of Lily McLean by Kelpies Prize winner Lindsay Littleson

Shackleton's Journey
by William Grill

Shackleton's Journey is a unique visual re-telling Ernest Shackleton's landmark expedition crossing the Antarctic from one pole to the other. William Grill's impeccably researched and informative illustrations celebrate the 100th anniversary since the historic exploration by Shackelton and his crew on Endurance . Children will love exploring Grill's exploded diagrams and the fascinating details of this landmark voyage.

 

CLASSICS

Tom's Midnight Garden
by Philippa Pearce

Lying awake at night, Tom hears the old grandfather clock downstairs strike . . . eleven . . . twelve . . . thirteen . . . Thirteen! When Tom gets up to investigate, he discovers a magical garden. A garden that everyone told him doesn’t exist. A garden that only he can enter . . .

A Carnegie-Medal-winning modern classic that’s magically timeless.

The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
by C. S. Lewis

Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie— step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis’s classic fantasy series, which has been drawing readers of all ages into a magical land with unforgettable characters for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone read, but if you would like to explore more of the Narnian realm, pick up The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

The Indian in the Cupboard
by Lynne Reid Banks

Neither Omri nor the Indian moved for perhaps a minute and a half. They hardly breathed either. They just stared at eachother.

At first Omri is unimpressed with the plastic Indian toy he is given for his birthday. But when he puts it in his old cupboard and turns the key, something extraordinary happens that will change Omri’s life forever. For Little Bull, the Iroquois Indian brave, comes to life…

The Indian in the Cupboard is the first of five gripping books about Omri and his plastic North American Indian – Little Bull – who comes alive when Omri puts him in a cupboard

For Omri, it is a dream come true when the plastic American Indian he locks into the old cupboard comes to life. Little Bull is everything an Indian brave should be – proud, fearless and defiant.

But being in charge of a real, live, human being is a heavy responsibility, as Omri soon discovers. And when his best friend, Patrick, is let in on the secret, he soon realises that life-changing decisions lie ahead.

White Fang
by Jack London

‘Fear urged him to go back, but growth drove him on…‘

Set in the frozen forests of the Yukon Territory, Canada, during the Klondike Gold Rush of the 1890s, ‘White Fang’ tells the story of a young wolf-dog’s journey from the wild into human territory. As White Fang learns that civilisation is every bit as vicious and violent as nature – and that survival is only awarded to the fittest – we too see how instinct, sensation and emotion drive every one of us.

Published in 1906 to wide and instant acclaim, this is a remarkable and moving look at the timeless relationship between man and dog.

The Railway Children
by E. Nesbit

Family! Friendship! Adventure! Mystery! 
Roberta, Peter, and Phyllis have their lives turned upside down when their father mysteriously has to go away. The railway becomes the centre of their new life, but little do they know what wonders and changes it will bring to them - maybe even the answer to Father's disappearance . . . 

Carrie's War
by Nina Bawden

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden is an unforgettable Second World War story.

'I did a dreadful thing...or I feel that I did, and nothing can change it...'

It is the Second World War and Carrie and Nick are evacuated from London to a small town in Wales, where they are placed with strict Mr Evans and his timid mouse of a sister.

Their friend Albert is luckier, living in Druid's Bottom with Hepzibah Green who tells wonderful stories, and the strange Mister Johnny, who speaks a language all of his own. Carrie and Nick are happy to visit Albert there, until one day when Carrie does a terrible thing - the worst thing she ever did in her life...

Based on her own childhood, Nina Bawden's enchanting story Carrie's War has delighted readers for almost 40 years.

The Silver Sword
by Ian Serraillier

The classic tale of a journey through war-torn Europe.

Alone and fending for themselves in a Poland devastated by World War Two, Jan and his three homeless friends cling to the silver sword as a symbol of hope. As they travel through Europe towards Switzerland, where they believe they will be reunited with their parents, they encounter many hardships and dangers. This extraordinarily moving account of an epic journey gives a remarkable insight into the reality of a Europe laid waste by war.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
by Joan Aiken

Long ago, at a time in history that never happened, England was overrun with wolves. But as Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia discover, real danger often lies closer to home. Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, doesn't seem at all nice. She shuts Bonnie in a cupboard, fires the faithful servants and sends the cousins far away from Willoughby Chase to a place they will never be found. Can Bonnie and Sylvia outwit the wicked Miss Slighcarp and her network of criminals, forgers and snitches?

 

POETRY

Life Doesn't Frighten Me
by Maya Angelou, illustrated by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Rhyme, rythm and pattern - all the things you look for in a text for the inexperienced reader. However, the strength of emotion behind Maya Angelou's poem and the stunning bold images in Jean-Michel Basquiat's paintings make this a book with particular resonance for older readers. 

Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats: with illustrations 
by T. S. Eliot and illustrated by Rebecca Ashdown

To celebrate Old Possum's Faber 75th anniversary Faber commissioned these lively new illustrations from Rebecca Ashdown for T. S. Eliot's original book of Practical Cats. Featuring Macavity, the Mystery Cat; Mr Mistofelees, the Original Conjuring Cat; Mungojerrie and Rumpelteazer and all the gang, this is a must for every child's bookshelf.

PICTURE BOOKS

 
Piggybook
by Anthony Browne

A simple text to read but in terms of themes ideal for older children. The book deals with gender stereotypes. The combination of illustration and written text is cleverly done and provides a good opportunity to develop children's visual literacy. Mr Piggott and his two sons behave like pigs to poor Mrs Piggott – until, finally, she walks out. Left to fend for themselves, the male Piggotts undergo some curious changes!

The Viewer
by Gary Crew, illustrated by Shaun Tan

oung Tristan, a curious boy who rescues all sorts of objects from the rubbish dump, finds an old Viewmaster in its elaborate box, complete with a set of disks. He finds that these represent the ages of humankind, seen as a cyclical structure in which patterns of growth and decay are repeated. Tristan becomes more and more drawn in to the world of the disks, and eventually disappears. The book is full of metaphors and symbols of seeing and watching, circularity and never-endingness, in a complex, fantastical tale, which was Shaun Tan's first picture book