Books for Boys?

Friends, I write today with a plea….

As a teacher of boys, and someone who spends over half her week teaching English, I am always seeking to have them read more and to have them enjoy their reading. I’m very lucky in that the age group I teach (8 to 10 year olds) are generally very keen and bright, but I am always looking for ways to push them on.

To this end, I am looking for some suggestions for good books for ‘little’ boys. Most of my boys read at their age or a fair way above, but of course some young adult stuff is simply too dark for them at the moment. This depends on the child, and the book, naturally. For example, I happily have my boys read Noughts and Crosses with parental involvement (racism, violence and bigotry need a lot of discussion and chat, I find). Robert Muchamore, however, I actively dislike…if they want to read him outside of school or when they are a little older, I’d never stop them, but I’d really like to not have them reading tales of drug running & kidnap with lots of swearing and violence when they are 8. You may disagree, and that’s cool, as ever, but I’d prefer them to be reading more age appropriate books!

So friends, which books would you recommend? We have a class library, so this is me calling for suggestions. A lot of my boys get very attached to series of books (Harry Potter, Warrior Cats, How To Train Your Dragon, Diary of a Wimpy Kid), so series are always welcome. So, too, are stand alones….I really want to up the range in what they are reading, so my suggestions so far include classics, tales from other cultures, and books from another world view. I’m also quite Charlotte Mason in my thinking – I’d prefer my boys to read good, hearty, fun books that might stretch them, rather than dumbed-down “twaddle” which plays to the lowest common denominator.

Wow. That became quite the ramble! Thank you in advance for your suggestions, lovelies!

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  1. Siobhan
    10th August 2010 / 8:47 am

    The Redwall series is pretty good, I read it when I was about eight or nine. I think it is fun lots of swashbuckling and the like. Mice and rats and foxes and badgers doing battle but not too gruesome for small folk (you know I still find gruesome stuff hard now so it should be okay) but I think you might already dislike them? Who knows?Here is a link to a wikipedia article on them

  2. Siobhan
    10th August 2010 / 8:49 am

    Oh I've heard the later books (which I was too old to read by the time they came out) were actually not good books for children but I still recommend the early books in the series like The Bellmaker which I do think were well written and suitably engrossing.

  3. Siobhan
    10th August 2010 / 8:52 am

    Oh shoot another favourite from when I was that age (and Elliot loved it too – we both drew covers of it for book week when we were about nine or ten) was Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and the follow up Racso and the Rats of NIMH

  4. Christielli
    10th August 2010 / 1:56 pm

    I don't know much about kids' books. Just in case you don't know about them (maybe they're not very popular on your side of the Atlantic), Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is HILARIOUS, and teach vocabulary too!Oh, there is also a series of books written from the point of view of a bat by a Cdn author that have been acclaimed – I believe the first is called Silverwing.Oh, and Christa from the Group of 9 wrote something about a series of books that might appeal to boys… she's an educational assistant and used to read them to her class. I'll go consult the wall and tell you the name…Here's what she says…."Speaking of a light, easy read…. If you're ever looking for a gift for kids aged 8-12, specifically boys, but girls seem to get a kick out of them too, consider picking up a couple of the "And Then It Happened…." series. The author is from London,ON, his name is Michael Wade. There are about 9 books in the series, but you don't need to read them in order. I read one to my grade 4/5 class this past spring during lunch and they hung on every word to find out what would happen. I loved them and laughed just as hard as they did. They're good for adults too."Wow, there's a lot in this comment for someone who prefaced it with "I don't know much but…"

  5. Shan
    10th August 2010 / 2:26 pm

    So, I have absolutely no clue what this age group of boys would like, but here's what I've come across in my book blog reading:Kenneth Oppel – there's a series called Barnes & The Brain (I think) and there's also a futuristic fantasy series.The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee StewartThere is also a young readers edition of Greg Mortenson's "Three Cups of Tea"Percy Jackson?The 39 Clues?Holes?

  6. max
    10th August 2010 / 2:56 pm

    Hi Claire,I grew up hating to read. Today I write action-adventures & mysteries, for readers 8 – 13, especially boys, that I would have liked reading as a child. These two links will give you more information.Author Web Site Books For Boys Blog By the end of this year, 9 of my titles should be published – including the republishing of my first 7. Next year, several more are due out.Let me know if you need more informationMax Elliot Anderson

  7. I Need Waterwings
    10th August 2010 / 5:45 pm

    I used to teach Grade 6 (11 to 12 year old boys and girls) and a popular set of books (which I purchased at garage sales) were the Calvin and Hobbes comic book series. They also LOVED The Guinness Book of World Records or the like. I know these are not novel-type of books but I find that as long as they are engaged in reading, i.e. critically thinking and/or enjoying what they are reading, then it's all good.

  8. Wiwille
    10th August 2010 / 6:19 pm

    At that age I was huge into The Chronicles of Narnia. May be a little juvenile for them though.

  9. Riot Kitty
    11th August 2010 / 5:06 am

    When my little bro was that age he loved Harry Potter and also Lemony Snicket.

  10. PhilH
    11th August 2010 / 3:24 pm

    I used to love Leon Garfield books (especially The Empty Sleeve, which was terrifying), but I think I was a little older than 8 when I read them.

  11. running42k
    11th August 2010 / 7:26 pm

    My guys are that age and the Potter books and the Diary of a Wimpy kid are huge. You can't go wrong with comic books, provide they are age appropriate. The books after cartoons aren't bad either, Pokemon, Avatar (the Air Bender) are fine.I am going to try those Wade books that Christelli mentioned as I live in London, ON.

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