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Recommended Reading List - Books for Boys

This recommended reading list of books for boys is in no particular order.  They range across age groups, and it’s up to you, as your son’s parent, to determine which books are best for him, at his reading level.  One word of advice – don’t let yourself be ruled by age recommendations.  Many times we’ve seen our own son pick up a book rated for age groups several years older than his, and he thrives on it (make sure, of course, that the book's subject isn’t too mature for him).

Do you know of some books for boys you want to see added to our recommended reading list?  Please send the Librarian a note with any suggestions or comments.

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Happy Reading!

The A Boy’s Library Librarian

 

  • The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss.  This is one of the first books I remember reading as a boy, and I read it over and over and over.  Dr. Seuss had a way with Rhyme and Rhythm.

Added bonus:  This story is full of mischief and excitement, and the story ends with the opportunity to talk with your son about how they should act “Should we tell her about it?  Now, what SHOULD we do?  Well…. What would YOU do if your mother asked you?”  There’s even a shorter version for younger folks.

In general, anything by Dr. Seuss is worthy of a read.  Other recommended Dr. Seuss works:

  • Go, Dog. Go! By PD Eastman.  This is a book for the little guys in our lives and provides them the opportunity to learn many objects and adjectives.

  • Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald J. Sobol.  This is a classic set of kids mystery stories I recall reading when I was in grade school.  I recall poring over story after story, trying to catch the clues so I could too solve the mystery.  I credit this series with prompting my cousin Jimmy and me to start our own detective agency where we promised to solve any and all mysteries for $0.25.  Unfortunately for us, we had no takers.

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis.  Decades before The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe was a best selling movie, this set was thrilling audiences both young and old.  The characters change somewhat throughout the whole series, but the themes are the same.  These are tales about the battle between good and evil, the heroic and the less-than-honorable, and stories of greed, sacrifice, love, and forgiveness.

  • The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope.  I remember reading this set of mystery stories in early grade school.  The freedom, trust, and responsibility these children had dates these books, but they’re still great stories for the younger reader.

  • Hardy Boys by Franklin W. Dixon.  I graduated from The Bobbsey Twins to Hardy Boys mystery stories while still in grade school.  These teenage boys are old enough to drive, but they still exhibit the same traits your boys will look up to and want to emulate.

  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling.  This is a wonderful series of books for older grade schoolers and up.  Each book follows Harry Potter and his friends through a year of his life, where we see him meet challenge after challenge, courageously overcoming evil forces at each turn.  These stories paint a wonderful picture of sacrificial love.

  • The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien.  These books are a bit more advanced, so better for the older guys.  Tolkien was a fellow of C.S. Lewis (they and some others formed a small group called The Inklings who met every Tuesday morning between 1939 and 1962 at the Eagle and Child pub in Oxford England to drink beer and talk about their literary work).  You'll find some of the same good versus evil themes in these fantasy stories.

  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.  Carrying on the tale of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Twain gives us more insight into the life of Huckleberry Finn, who runs away to avoid being beaten and probably killed by his drunk father.  Finn joins forces with a runaway slave until they’re finally reunited with people who will show him the love and protection he really deserves.  If you haven’t read this book, I’d encourage you to read this before handing it to your son.  It deals with many mature issues, including slavery, and involves many instances of “the ‘N’ word.”  I found this to be a great opportunity to discuss with my son how people’s real worth comes not from what they look like, or their genetic makeup, but because of who they are inside.

  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingles Wilder.  This wholesome classic from the author of the Little House On The Prairie series gives you insight into the work ethic and values which built this country.  While some may say the Little House on the Prairie series is a ‘girl series’, I’d argue that the rugged nature of the way they lived, the manly figures of Pa, Mr. Edwards, Almonzo, and so many others, make this an enjoyable series for both genders (I know both our boys and girls loved them all).

  • Lassie Come-Home by Eric Knight.  The classic story of a boy separated from his dog by circumstances beyond his control, and the dog’s struggle to get back to his boy. A great study in class differences, helping those less fortunate, and the loyalty of true friends.

  • Gentle Ben by Walt Morey.  Friendship blooms in strange places, and few friendships are as strange as one between a boy and a 5-year-old brown bear. Set against the backdrop of a rough and rugged Alaskan fishing village, the story gives a good perspective on working hard for what you want, the value and importance of family bonds, and the importance of friendship, honor, love, and perseverance.

  • Redwall by Brian Jacques.  We've read a half-dozen of the books from the series and haven't been disappointed yet.  Each story looks at a different generation of the inhabitants of Redwall Abbey; forest creatures who seek to live peaceably with their neighbors, but who will fight to protect those in distress, when provoked.  This is another book which deserves to be read aloud with the whole family gathered around.  Your boys will love the adventures!

  • Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson.  "It's me again, Hank the Cowdog."  That's the opening line to what promises to be a huge misadventure led by Hank, the head of ranch security, and his sidekick Drover.  Hank's imagination, combined with sheer devotion to his people, will guarantee to lead you on a mixed up adventure to save the ranch, yet again.  Your son will love this book, especially if he's a dog lover (and so will you).