Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Books for Boys

The School Library Journal recently presented a webcast discussing books suitable for boys, who are very often reluctant readers. Presenting their recommended lists of titles were representatives of three publishing companies: Cheryl Herman, marketing director of Random House Listening Library, Margaret Coffee, marketing director of Egmont USA, and Paula Ayer, editor with Annick Press. The moderator was Ed Spicer, School Library Journal.editor.

The following titles are suitable for middle-grade readers (children ages ten through thirteen) and slightly younger readers(chapter books for children ages eight through ten). Although the books were written to make reading fun for boys who don't really like to read, girls should find them fun too.

Annick Press middle-grade nonfiction
Bones Never Lie by Elizabeth MacLeod
How modern science has helped solve the mystery of the demise of seven historical figures, including King Tutankhamen and Napoleon among others.

Before the World Was Ready: Stories of Daring Genius in Science by Claire Eamer
Eight stories of scientists ahead of their time, including Ignaz Semmelweis who believed washing hands can prevent the spread of disease, among others.

Bodyguards! From Gladiators to the Secret Service by Ed Butts
Meet the heroes, villains, and bunglers hired to protect others, including the bodyguard who saved the life of Alexander the Great and the jujutsu-trained female bodyguards who protected suffragettes.

It's a Feudal, Feudal World: A Different Medieval History by Stephen Shapiro.
Infographics and humor tell the facts of life a thousand years ago in Europe, and the Middle East, including what life was like for kids.

Duped! and Robbers! in the It Actually Happened series by Andreas Schroeder
True stories of the most daring scams and heists in history including the story of D. B. Cooper, who hijacked a plane, demanded $200,000 and parachuted to safety.

Crazy About Basketball by Loris Lesynski
Forty poems about basketball techniques, training, and teamwork.

Annick Press middle-grade fiction
Horrendo's Curse by Anna Fienberg
What happens when horrible, nasty pirates kidnap a twelve-year-old boy who was born to be polite, kind, and gracious?

Kenta and the Big Wave by Ruth Ohi
Based on events during the 2011 tsunami in Japan, Kenta's prized soccer ball is swept away by the waves and washes up on a beach on the other side of the world.

Random House - New Audio Books for Fall 2013
Middle-grade fiction
Al Capone Does My Homework (Al Capone series) by Gennifer Choldenko (originally published by Dial Books)
In 1935 a twelve-year-old boy moves to Alcatraz where his father has taken a job at the prison. This is a coming-of-age story with historical appeal.

Will in Scarlet by Matthew Cody (originally published by Knopf Books for Young Readers)
A retelling of the Robin Hood story.

The City of Death by Sarwat Chadda (originally published by Arthur A. Levine)
A fantasy quest novel in the spirit of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series.

The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy called Eel  by Deborah Hopkinson (originally published by Knopf Books for Young Readers)
Historical fiction with adventure and mystery, the boy hero of this story helps a British doctor (John Snow) discover the cause of cholera during the London cholera outbreak of 1854.

Paperboy by Vince Vawter (originally published by Delacorte Books for Young Readers)
Story about the coming of age of an eleven-year-old boy who is great at baseball but who has a stutter he struggles to overcome.

Egmont USA Chapter Books - Fiction
Guinea Dog and Guinea Dog 2 by Patrick Jennings
Rufus wants a dog but his parents give him a guinea pig instead, a guinea pig that acts like a dog.

Egmont USA middle-grade fiction
Dognap, Lucky Cap, My Homework Ate My Homework by Patrick Jennings
Three more humorous stories from Patrick Jennings.

The Jaguar Stones, Book Three: The River of No Return (The Jaguar Stones series) by J & P Voelkel
Max and Lola's adventures mixed with life lessons, archaeology, and Mayan culture.

What I Came to Tell You by Tommy Hays
Story about a boy coming to terms with the loss of his mother.

Vordak the Incomprehensible: Time Travel Trouble (Vordak series) by Scott Seegent
Spoof on superheroes with evil mastermind and quite unsuccessful villain Vordak.

The Code Busters Club, Case #3: Mystery of the Pirate's Treasure by Penny Warner
The adventures of four kids who love playing with codes and solving puzzles in The Code Busters Club interactive mystery series.


  1. It's a great idea to post this list, Maggie - I retweeted it when I saw the link on twitter.

  2. Thanks so much for the retweet, Rosemary. Glad you find the list helpful.

  3. Alex Rider series, by Anthony Horowitz. All reluctant reader boys I've suggested these to have LOVED them. They may seem lightweight, but they are well-written and total page-turners. He's also a screenwriter, and it shows (in a good way). Yes, they are supposed to be for YA, but you can be read by younger readers with no problem. I've got other recommendations, if you like...

  4. I'd love to have your other recommendations, June.

  5. Check out the picture book Master Davey and the Magic Tea House- Legend of the Blue Tiger. Hopper Smith is a young boy with unusual perceptive powers. At the Magic Tea House Hopper learns from Master Davey how to unlock the stories hidden in the tea and journeys to China and the Himalayas to save the precious Blue Tiger Tea from extinction. Its a book that celebrates the senses and promotes a yound hero that exhibits courage, kindness and wisdom.

  6. Here is a very interesting book for boys to add to your list. Too Clever V: Timothy And The Man In The Moon.

  7. _Carry on, Mr. Bowditch_ is great for boys (and girls) whose first "language" is math.

  8. Sons of Caasi by C. Grant is great for boys. A free preview is on itunes

  9. Puzzles can help your preschooler develop visual spatial awareness because of the many colors, shapes and themes they come in.
    Children dvds | Educational cds

  10. Is it okay to recommend my collection of short stories that was specifically aimed at boys at primary school called 'Space Footy and Other Stories". Anyone interested can find details on my website the publisher is The stories range in content and readership ability. All they share is that each story is about a boy aged twelve.

  11. Goldie, all readers are welcome to recommend their own books or other authors' books. Thank you for contributing to this blog.

  12. Thanks for including The Great Trouble. I have a son who is a reluctant reader and really had boys in mind especially during the writing.

    Deborah Hopkinson

    1. I'm delighted to list your book, Deborah. In fact, the story has intrigued me so much, I've bought the book and plan to post a review of it at some point in the near future. I was born in the UK and am interested in British history. I wonder if you'd be willing to be interviewed on my blog? My email address is maggielyons66 at gmail dot com. I hope you'll get in touch with me.

  13. My Little puppy Book Series contains Three amazing puppy books for kids. This puppy books are really special books for kids. My little puppy bella, my little puppy kirra, my little naughty puppy
    more information then

    Amazon best selling kids book