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Step Three: How to get that certain someone to pick. up. a. book. Not a device. Not a ball. A Book. (Oh Boys!)

I’ve been known to go on and on about books for kids, I know. I can talk about good read-alouds all day, and I can talk funny books and ej readingclassics and coming-of-age and historical fiction and I hardly ever get stumped. Okay, fantasy stumps me a bit, and Vampires—yikes!—but mostly I can handle it. Bring it on. Lately though, most everyone I know is stuck. They want to know which books will appeal to a certain group of reluctant readers—ones who would rather maybe play soccer or fantasy football or play Minecraft or build Legos or, I don’t know put daggers in their eyes—rather than read a book. These (non) readers are boys—young ones, and older ones and even fully grown up ones. Boys are complicated like the rest of the us, but for some reason, I get asked specifically about what books they will love more often than I get asked anything else. (Except maybe, “Can I have a playdate?” I get asked that a lot.)

But they have to read, these boys. Have to fill in that nightly log with titles, and authors and minutes (and blood and sweat and tears apparently). So, hoping to continue my streak, here are my faves for boys in a few key age ranges. Check ‘em out here, then pop in to the Dolphin Bookshop and head home to interrupt some unsuspecting kid’s regularly-scheduled programming…

Chapter books for the younger set:

Captain Awesome series by Stan Kirby (perfecto for new readers to dig in on their own!)

Jake Drake by Andrew Clements

Hank Zipzer series by (ahem) Henry Winkler (don’t let the fact that it is written by the Fonze dissuade you—this series works on a lot of levels and boys will relate)

Stink! (Annoying little brother of Judy Moody is a great ally for 5-8 year-olds boys!) By Megan McDonald

The Yeti Files by Kevin Sherry (brand spanking new and all kinds of fun for brand news readers to read on their own)

The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (read my this-is-one-of-the-best-books-ever-written piece here and then read this one with your kid and try not to love it)

Middle elementary and up
Frindle, No Talking, and pretty much any Andrew Clements books (he knows boys, trust me)

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (known for Ramona, Cleary nails a boy in this one and especially one struggling with divorce and other new and uncomfortable matters)

The Genius Files by Dan Gutman

*If you have a reluctant reader, or one who really digs comics, try the epic BONE series by Jeff Smith and they will not be disappointed.

Upper Elemtary/Middle School

FantastyLeague by Mike Lupica (watch out: dads might accidentally swipe this one)

Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea

Hoot by Carl Hiaason (Survival! Florida! Ecological Mystery!)

Hatchet by Gary Paulson (Survivalism and adventure abound–will keep your kid turning pages!)

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli (especially excellent for boys with a sister)

Loser by Jerry Spinelli

Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling (Obvious, but had to include!)

Percy Jackson and the Olympains series but Rick Riordan (see previous parentheses)

Happy Reading-logging!

(The fine print on this one: my daughter has read almost every one of these books and never once thought she was reading a boy book, so this blog is kinda for everyone. Shhh.)

One response »

  1. Ohh I’m intrigued by the epic Bone series! going to check that out!! thank you, miss awesome!


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educating alice

monica edinger, teacher and reader of children's literature


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