Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Friday, July 15, 2011


My sister suggested I follow up my post GOOD BOOKS FOR TEEN GIRLS with one for teenage boys. But first, I'd like to post a list for preteen boys, because I can't stress enough the importance of getting your boys to discover excellent chapter books early on, so that they stick with it during their busy high school years.  
There are several challenges with getting boys to read.   Boys can be reluctant readers, partly due to the fact that they like action and are risk takers - not something that is necessarily fulfilled by curling up with a good book.  But I think even boys that are eager readers have a hard time sitting still and focusing on a book when there are things like baseballs, basketballs, bugs, bike riding, and buddies vying for their time and attention.

Girls from a young age, on the other hand, tend to be more people-oriented than action oriented. (That must be why we girls love our Jane Austen books!)  I recently came across an interesting article on raising boys vs. girls and their differences, HERE.

Growing up, both of my sons shared a penchant for Legos, action figures, karate, bike riding, exploring, and playing in the mud.  Pretty much typical boys, I'd say.
But in regards to their individual interests, they were pretty different.  My older son was an avid reader, loved science, drawing (especially dinosaurs, sealife, and space), and eventually started making stop-motion movies with our video camera!  My second son - who is four and a half years younger than his older brother, with a sister between them - was active and a reluctant reader.  As a youngster, his idea of art was completing dot-to-dot books. He loved climbing (not just swinging) on our swingset, doing headstands, and playing with balls, trains, and cars - moving on later to a love of the game of basketball, math and numbers, and collecting things (especially basketball cards).  


Pictured below are books for boys ages 9-12, that I listed in a past post "CHAPTER BOOKS MY SONS LOVED", which can be read HERE. Scroll down to read about some others I've added to my list...
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator The Great Brain (Great Brain, Book 1)
Maniac Magee A Dog on Barkham Street The Bully of Barkham Street
 Frindle The Phantom Tollbooth By the Great Horn Spoon!
The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain Book 1) The Black Cauldron (Chronicles of Prydain (Henry Holt and Company)) The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain) Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain) The High King (Chronicles of Prydain (Henry Holt and Company))

Books about SCIENCE and THE WAY THINGS WORK (see my list, HERE)
The New Way Things Work
REDWALL series, by Brian Jacques (read my past post HERE)
Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)

THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD series, by Lynne Reid Banks. Exciting, absorbing, and thought provoking story, alive with magic as two boys discover they can bring their toys to life by putting them in an old medicine cabinet that one of them receives - along with a small plastic Indian - for his birthday. They are faced with the responsibility of this tiny person and the consequences of their actions.
The Indian in the Cupboard
THE NEVERENDING STORY by Michael Ende.  Much better than the movie! Bastian embarks on a wild adventure when he enters the magical world of Fantastica, a doomed land filled with dragons, giants, and monsters, and risks his life to save Fantastica by going on a very dangerous quest.
The Neverending Story
THE SUGAR CREEK GANG (series) by Paul Hutchens.  I had these books recommended by my husband's dad, who grew up on them in the 1940's.  They are like a Christian version of THE HARDY BOYS mysteries. The narrator of the series is Bill Collins, a red-headed freckle-faced boy, who is an only child.  Bill and his "gang" of six friends start the series as 10-year-old 5th graders. By the end of the series, they have aged several years and Bill has picked up a little sister named Charlotte Ann.
The Swamp Robber (Sugar Creek Gang, Book 1) The Killer Bear (Sugar Creek Gang Series) The Winter Rescue (Sugar Creek Gang Series) The Lost Campers (Sugar Creek Gang Series)

DETECTIVES IN TOGAS by Henry Winterfield. In this delightful history-mystery, seven boys in Ancient Rome solve strange crimes . . . thanks to some help from their cranky teacher, a little bit of logic, and a lot of amusing misadventure. Yes, Rufus wrote "CAIUS IS A DUMBBELL" on his tablet at school, but no, he did not break into the schoolroom, did not tie up his teacher, and certainly did not paint his slur about Caius on the Temple of Minerva (even if it is in Rufus's own handwriting). Rufus is doomed unless his six classmates can find out who is really responsible. Every hour seems to bring a new, confusing clue . . . until the boys finally stumble upon someone who is not what he appears to be. Also good - MYSTERY OF THE ROMAN RANSOM.
Detectives in Togas Mystery of the Roman Ransom
THANK YOU, JACKIE ROBINSON by Barbara Cohen (ages 9-12)  This compelling novel isn't just about baseball, but about the warm friendship between a 10-year-old Jewish boy named Sam and an older African American man.  This man, Davy, is a cook at Sam's mother's New Jersey inn.  It's 1947, and they both love the Brooklyn Dodgers.  And they both love Jackie Robinson.  Davy is a cook at Sam's mother's inn.  When Davy has a heart attack, Sam musters up his courage and gets past many obstacles to get Jackie Robinson's autograph on a baseball for Davy, somehow convinced that the ball with make him better.
Thank You, Jackie Robinson


  1. I canot recall the number of times I read and reread the Prydain Chronicles by Alexander! Just a wonderful series.

  2. Brian - we read them aloud as a famliy and honestly enjoyed the series as much as our kids did! :)

  3. I have a one year old son...I'm saving this list for when he's older! Thanks for sharing :-)

  4. Great list! My son really liked Lloyd Alexander's books. I would also recommend "The Obsidian Pebble" by RA Jones (http://www.rajonesauthor.com/). It's fun and spooky and perfect for middle grade readers!

  5. Thanks for the recommendation, Emily. I've never heard of "The Obsidian Pebble" - I'll have to look into it!

  6. redwall sounded really goooooood and last year my teacher read the indian in the cuboard