Books for boys. Suggested titles and an additional point.

At Crisis there is a good post about

10 Books That Every Boy Should Hazard

I warmly approve his use of “hazard”. Thank you.   He signals the spirit of this list in a word.

The writer, Sean Fitzpatrick, explains:

Thanks to the adulterators of children’s literature, the natural anticipations when approaching forgotten classics have been skewed. Everyone expects that everything will be picturesque, nice, and most importantly, safe. For reality is far too dangerous, far too harsh a thing, and children must be protected from it at all costs. Real stories for real boys, however, refuse to deliver saccharine platitudes. These books are composed of the uncanny, unforeseeable, and unimaginable. They present a reality that is often harsh, terrible, and so far from the idyllic it is free to become adventure. The books every boy should hazard are constantly on the brink of disaster, but still bear the distant but firm promise of final resolution; deftly navigating the fine line between realism and romance—requiring caution.

The books he recommended.

I. Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marryat


Recommended Age: 14-16

Perhaps the mighty Aubrey/Maturin series when they are a bit older.

II. Wild Animals I Have Known by Ernest Thompson Seton


Recommended Age: 10-14

III. Otto of the Silver Hand by Howard Pyle


Recommended Age: 13-15

IV. The Chimes by Charles Dickens


Recommended Age: 15-17

V. The White Company by Arthur Conan Doyle


Recommended Age: 15-17

VI. The Thirty-Nine Steps by John Buchan


Recommended Age: 14-16

VII. The Other Wise Man by Henry van Dyke


Recommended Age: 12-14

VIII. The Black Arrow: A Tale of the Two Roses by Robert Louis Stevenson


Recommended Age: 14-16

IX. The Prisoner of Zenda by Anthony Hope


Recommended Age: 14-16

X. The Persian Expedition by Xenophon


This one surprised me.  However, I can see why he included it.  As he described: It’s a manual for leadership.

Recommended Age: 15-17

So, those are the books that are recommended in the Crisis piece. You can see more about them over there.

I would add a question and a proposal.

So…. Kindle or a book?   Perhaps a combination of both.   There’s nothing like a real book. But the Kindle makes it easy to read on the fly, and the books don’t gather dust.

In addition to finding books for boys of that age, might I suggest also some effort to read aloud?

Please share!

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43 Responses to Books for boys. Suggested titles and an additional point.

  1. msc says:

    Oddly enough I read Dickens’ The Chimes last month (it’s a sort of Christmas story) and although Dickens is one of my absolute favourite authors I can’t recommend it for a younger reader. In its way it is moderately confusing and its sentimentality would probably not appeal to younger males. I’d recommend being daring and trying A Tale of Two Cities.
    Rosemary Sutcliff was too prolific and variable, but Eagle of the Ninth and its related books are very suitable for boys.

  2. Mary Jane says:

    Our boys aren’t old enough for these books yet, but I’ll try to remember this list for future reference! I absolutely second Fr Z’s suggestion of reading aloud – it’s a great family activity that doesn’t involve TV, and the kids love it. Right now we are into the Hardy Boys series, and since the oldest (age 7) is still learning to read (and the younger ones can’t read yet) my husband and I always read the stories aloud to the kids (although they like looking at the pencil-drawn-style pictures by themselves as well). Having them sit quietly and listen also gives them opportunities to practice sitting still and being quiet for Mass. :) We like the older Hardy Boy books (the old hardback ones, and of these the brown hardback ones are the best). We usually have good luck finding these at Half Price Book stores.

  3. APX says:

    I’m of the firm belief that kids and adolescents should read real paper books. Between watching TV, using the computer, using tablets and smartphones, I think kids get way too much screen time.

  4. MacCheese says:

    This is really important as we are battling for control of our children’s minds. Thanks for posting this Father. There’s one there for a 10 yr old but most of the others are for teens.
    Can anyone else point/link to others that would be appropriate for a 10 yr old boy?

  5. Imrahil says:

    Well, though the idea is great, I have a suspicion (to an invincible one) that this are “in this kind of books people always wanted to get the reader be something or do something. And above all he disliked books whose author wanted to get him to be something or do something”.

    The quote, which doesn’t reject applicability but only too obvious analogy, is from the opening chapter of

    1. The Neverending Story, which I certainly would include. Yes, for boys. Especially for boys. And especially because its protagonist is overweight, short, a bad student, and cowardly (in the beginning).

    And note that it’s quite different from the 1980s cineastic misadaption.
    Author: Michael Ende.
    Age (off the top of my head): 10-ish.

    [Momo by the same author is in itself the better book, but it does not have the specifically boyish theme.]

    2. The Lord of the Rings, as any who give me the honor of reading this comments may have guessed, if not by my name then certainly by my applicability-analogy allusion before.

    For to read, of course.

    Author: J.R.R. Tolkien.
    Age (as ab.): 10-ish.

    3. (The Hobbit – for younger boys.

    Author: J.R.R. Tolkien.
    Age (as ab.): 6-ish.)

    [PLEASE don’t let children anywhere near the movies… at least until they have thoroughly enjoyed the books (= entirely different = the real thing).]

    4. Perhaps some Karl May.

    Age (as ab.) 7-ish.

    5. And when the book is old enough and learned in his faith enough to be able to mentally cross out one heretical passage in an otherwise genious book, Moby-Dick, or, The Whale.

    Author: Herman Melville.
    Age (as ab.): 10-ish, subject to the caveat.

    7. The Jim Button duology: “and Luke the Engine Driver” and “and the Wild Thirteen”. Frankly, the most boyish book there is in the world: consider an orphan boy going off with his adult engine-driver friend to rescue a girl from the dragon’s lair…

    (Jim: “Luke, I promise you’re going to see how much I can be of use to you.)

    Author: Michael Ende.
    Age: 7-ish.

    8. and forgive me, but as a German I of course have to add:

    The Robber Hotzenplotz trilogy

    Author: Otfried Preußler.
    Age (as ab.): 6-ish


    9. Krabat and the Sorcerer’s Mill

    by the same author which for a long time was the only love-story I could bear as a boy^^

    Age (as ab.): 8-ish.

  6. acardnal says:

    I remember reading as a youth the thrilling books by Nicholas Monsarrat, The Cruel Sea and Three Corvettes which portrayed war at AND with the sea. I also enjoyed Two Years Before the Mast. I recommend these to boys.

  7. Jana Parma says:

    I just saw this over at crisis magazine and I thank you for reposting. I have three boys, with the oldest being 7, and while they are not yet ready for the books it is good to have future reading material.

    Read aloud is one of the best ways to get a boy to read a book. I read during bedtime because they are trapped in bed and unable to get away. We’ve read Swiss Family Robinson, Peter Pan, Black Beauty, and Journey to the Center of the Earth. Soon we’ll get to Treasure Island. Stories are meant to be heard aloud and shared with each other. Just think of the storyteller at the campfire. It’s much more exciting than reading to yourself.

  8. HvonBlumenthal says:

    Although it was considered a girls book, A Traveller in Time by Alison Utley made a deep impression on me as a (Protestant) boy. Its about Anthony Babington and is tinged with melancholy about his fate as a Catholic plotter against Queen Elizabeth

  9. bobbird says:

    I would like to recommend ANY of Kenneth Roberts’ books of early America. Every teenager that I have taught and has read the books has thanked me profusely. The are historically accurate to the tiniest details, they demonstrate the courage and stupidity of war, they portray American natives as both noble and as scoundrels, they have rollicking and subtle humor, the suffering that is undergone is told in an incredible way, the heroes make the reader “think outside the box”, and the romance angles are realistic and best of all … completely wholesome. Begin with Arundel, then move to Rabble in Arms. When a nun recommended it to me as a 10th grader, it changed my life. Northwest Passage is incredible, but the 1939 movie, which included mega stars Spencer Tracy, Robert Young and Walter Brennan, predictably butchered it, and made Roberts demand that his estate would never grant permission to make future movies. A pity, but that’s what happened.

  10. Katherine says:

    This is a great list. We read aloud the chapter of a book each night before bed, and repeat the really good ones, eventually, so the younger kids get them (and we, the parents with the older kids notice new details and grow to love them more with each reading). A couple of our favorites are here. In Clyde’s in our favorites list are also Ivanho, Watership Down, and Treasure Island.

  11. Eoin OBolguidhir says:

    For older boys, I recommend the new Hackett publication of Stanley Lombardo’s translation of Homer’s “Iliad.” There is a bit of PG-13 language (e.g. Aphrodite to Helen, “Don’t vex me, B****!”), but you hear worse on prime-time, network television these days. It’s taut, punchy, full of action, and filled with distinct characters who really jump off the page. Lombardo gave public readings while he translated better to gauge what wordings worked well when recited, and it tells. I had tried to read to my sons the much lauded Alexander Pope translation, recommended to me as the best translation of any translation in any language in the history of the world, but no one these days can bear to hear hundreds of pages of rhymed couplets. It tanked. This one really swings.

    It is an excellent corrective for young men and boys unfairly subjected to “The Last Jedi.”

  12. Katherine says:

    To you and Mary Jane:

    Do not be afraid to read stories that are over their heads! You will be amazed at their comprehension. Another favorite of ours is Captains Courageous. I, myself, had trouble with some of the archaic language on first reading, but my 7 year old could not get enough of it!

    We had to stifle our desire to stop and explain things. It ruins the story. Just trust your little people to ask when they don’t understand.

    Also, I read aloud the Lord of the Rings trilogy to my kids when my oldest was about 7. They were all enraptured, even when I was a bit bored.

    Reading a big fat book that does not have pictures to little children removes the natural stigma that a big fat book without illustrations carries for a kid.

    Also, Where the Red Fern Grows should be on that list.

  13. jaykay says:

    MacCheese: “Can anyone else point/link to others that would be appropriate for a 10 yr old boy?”

    It’s almost 50 years ago, but my generation was still brought up on books our fathers’ generation had read and enjoyed. From about age 9/10 I was introduced to the “Biggles” series by Capt. W.E. Johns, featuring dashing adventures starting in the Royal Flying Corps during WWI but extending up to the RAF of WWII


    and for humour that could equally well be appreciated by children and adults the “William” books by Richmal Crompton.


    I don’t think they’ll be thought too old-fashioned by an intelligent 10-year-old. Certainly, younger people in my family enjoyed the “William” books at the same age, back in the early 2000s. And, needless to remark, the English prose is flawless! Of course, they’re totally Anglo-centric but I don’t think that would be a problem either. We used to read the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew, for example, and didn’t really have problems with the, in some ways, very different world presented e.g. teenagers with cars, which was not a thing encountered on this side of the pond – at that time!

    Finally, I’d also recommend “Kidnapped” by Robert Louis Stevenson. But maybe for 12 and up, as we were when we read it at school


  14. sibnao says:

    These are good recommendations. I have two sons, 19 and 14, both excellent readers now, who were both “delayed” in fluent reading until well into 4th grade. I credit reading aloud to them, from the very best literature, with helping them get past struggle of learning to decode and into reading for enjoyment. DO NOT OMIT reading aloud, even if they are antsy. I always allowed them to quietly play with Legos or draw while listening.
    A good progression that helps them understand somebody like Dickens is to begin with Narnia, which even 6 year olds can follow fruitfully. Then go on to the George MacDonald “Curdie” books, then to E. Nesbit’s wonderful “5 Children and It,” “The Railway Children,” “The Enchanted Castle,” and our favorite, “The Treasure Seekers.” By the time you’ve done these, they will easily sit for a 45-minute-long chapter of “Treasure Island” or “Kidnapped.” After that, Dickens or the fabulous Swallows and Amazons.
    Giving them the formation of listening to great prose gets them ready to read it, and to be patient as a story unfolds.

  15. Neal says:

    Just finished reading Watership Down to the kids. They loved it, and I’d forgotten how great it is. Otto of the Silver Hand, not so much.

  16. Ellen says:

    I am one of the people who select books for our children’s section. You all have no idea how much bilge there is out there. It’s quite disappointing to open my copy of Booklist, Publisher’s Weekly, or School Library Journal and find it filled with recommendations for books about #resistance, activism, transgender picture books for little kids, how wonderful Ruth Bader Ginsburgh and Hillary Clinton are and other such items.
    I pick as many good, substantial titles as I can but there are times I feel like I am trying to turn back the tide.

  17. adriennep says:

    On website called ReadBrightly there is a List of Books for 9-10 Year Olds, with description and covers. You can tell which ones boys might like. Many of these are not older classics, but if you desire a physical book a 10-year old could read alone, some of these could trigger interest. C.S. Lewis’ Lion, Witch and Wardrobe is there. That may not be at their read-alone level, however. There is also the classic G.A. Henry series for mainly adventurous boys. Just about every era in history well represented. Rip snortin’ stuff. But just be forewarned that most of these novels written circa 1880s or so have vocabulary and density of language that can be a barrier for today’s youth. That is why they are worthy, of course, but know your audience. If you just throw this book at a kid, you’ll only turn them off with all those words on a page and no pictures. That’s where Reading Aloud and Often is mandatory for raising children, much less capable readers. Parents, that is your number one job. Don’t pass that off to anyone. And fathers who Read Aloud to their sons, especially at the age of vulnerability, will have manly readers for life.

    Please note that Gregory the Great Academy is just such a place for manly readers. Also, Memoria Press has been leading the way for years in classical education. Get their print or online catalog to get a glimpse of how that kind of education has always bred leaders for our culture. Also you can see their selection of novels by grade level. Also, the Institute for Excellence in Writing has a book called Timeline of Classics which breaks down these novels by historical era. IEW has the best writing program out there for any family. As in, Writing is the essential step with the circle of Reading, Speaking, and Thinking.

    With all this crap about STEM education, it is delightful to see on this list a book where you get to read with words about the wonders of physical nature. Take that, Bill Gates and your failed Common Core propaganda!

  18. roma247 says:

    Looking forward to adding these to my sons’ reading list when they are just a little bit older. They love the Hardy Boys too, but right now my 12 year old son’s favorite books are the ones by Monsignor Raymond O’Brien. He keeps the book “Brass Knuckles” by his bed so he can read it whenever he wants to.

    These books fall into this same category of “hazard”. Most moms don’t approve of them at first sight, because they are about gangs and guns (from the 1930’s that is…), but they are electrifying for boys and manage to be full of beautiful Catholic devotion amidst the strife. What’s better for a 12 year old boy than reading about good Catholic boys who get pulled into making bad decisions, and in consequence they have to learn how to handle real-life thorny problems where sometimes they just have to fight–and yet they know well enough that they had better GET TO CONFESSION when they are done! :)

  19. tho says:

    Enjoyed reading all the wonderful comments, especially acardinal’s recommendation of Nicholas Monsarrat’s The Cruel Sea. One of my favorites, as I got a little older, was Mutiny On The Bounty, in fact, the trilogy of that famous incident was very entertaining. In my later years I remember coming to the conclusion that Captain Bligh was an outstanding seaman, and Fletcher Christian was a spoiled fop.

  20. SenexCalvus says:

    Let’s add two classics about heroic missionaries: Willa Cather’s DEATH COMES FOR THE ARCHBISHOP and AJ Cronin’s KEYS OF THE KINGDOM. Both got me in trouble with my ninth-grade teachers for being “off task”.

  21. Chuck4247 says:

    I would include more mystery novels in here. Both Chesterton’s Father Brown and Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes are great story telling, and the minds of Holmes and Brown would be great for boys to try and emulate.

  22. OldProfK says:

    Second the recommendation of The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings (books, not films). I’d add Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Treasure Island, Johnny Tremain, and Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (adventure plus math, heh).

  23. TonyO says:

    [PLEASE don’t let children anywhere near the movies… at least until they have thoroughly enjoyed the books (= entirely different = the real thing).]

    Absolutely right, Father. Please don’t let watching the movies destroy your kids’ chance to enjoy the best written epic story in the last 100 years. The writing is as important as the plot. Not to mention that Peter Jackson screwed up the plot badly with Faramir’s role. So badly that it almost made me ill to watch.

    I forced all of my kids to read the books before watching any of the movies. That meant my older kids had to wait over 10 years before they could throw the movie DVDs on during prime time, but so what? They can’t throw “older” movies on even yet.

    I hope that in 10 or 15 years or so, some philanthropic movie enterprise will come along and do The Lord of the Rings the right way – maybe by subscription. I bet there are 10 million people in the world who would pay $50 in advance for the exclusive first rights to DVDs and a showing at the theaters if it were done right. And it should be more than possible to do the movie right for a lot less than $500 M. After all, if you demand that the lead actors do it pro-bono, you will only get actors who really WANT the movie done right, and not (primarily) for the publicity boost.

  24. Imrahil says:

    Using the opportunity to beg forgiveness of the spelling nominations above,

    I second the recommendation of Tom Sawyer and especially of Treasure Island.

    (For the latter, there is an interesting comment by Chesterton about Stevenson about teaching the modern world to shout “yo ho ho!” when something like that, even if it’s only shouting “yo ho ho”, is something the modern world desperately needs.)

    Also, for the rather younger boys, we might think (from an as a whole not altogether unproblematic series) of Benjamin the Elephant as a pediatrist with the memorable recommendation:

    (mother: “our child is always so bored and lethargic … but we allow everything, except these few little exceptions…)

    “Well, here’s my recipe: Damage your trousers! Get dirty! Wound your knees!”

  25. Sportsfan says:

    Any book by Father Francis Finn is good for boys. I think TAN publishes the Tom Playfair trilogy as well as some others.

    Also the Redwall series is excellent.

  26. Imrahil says:

    Addition to my comment: though that latter is not a book but a radioplay

  27. Malta says:

    I baptized my 1 1/2 y/o grandson. What do I want him to read/watch as he grows older: whatever wholesome he likes to see!

  28. LeeGilbert says:

    Father, you write, “In addition to finding books for boys of that age, might I suggest also some effort to read aloud?” Here you suggest something with huge potential both for the Church and the family.

    Consider, for example, the upbringing of the recently beatified Solanus Casey:

    “At a time when television and movies were not even imagined…stories and songs provided the Casey family with sufficient entertainment. Especially when snows landlocked the family, this kind of entertainment kept spirits from becoming morose. Often the children played games. Other times Barney Sr. and Ellen gathered everyone around the dining room for an evening of literature. Barney Sr. would read the poems of Tom Moore besides those of Longfellow and Whittier. Stories like Cooper’s The Deerslayer held the children fascinated for long periods of time.
    “Bernard and Ellen Casey were creating a caring environment which enabled young Casey to become well-integrated and balanced. For their role in his spiritual formation, the future Solanus would be forever grateful… In many ways Solanus was able to be who he was precisely because of the way his parents nourished him in his youth.” From Thank God Ahead of Time by Michael Crosby, O.F.M. Cap.

    In my view, at least, Bernard and Ellen Casey deserve a very close look on the part of the Church. As everyone knows, in response to the vocations crisis those in the vocation promotions biz have been pushing the “culture of vocation,” which has come to mean “the vocations cross” being handed off to a new family at Sunday Mass every week, “come and see” weekends and the like. Yet in Avvenire many years ago I saw in Italian an article heading which illuminated our situation vis a vis vocations perfectly: “The Culture of Vocation vs. The Culture of Distraction.”

    The Caseys implemented an authentic culture of vocation wonderfully with almost predictable results. And one might presume that a similar culture in many Catholic homes of that era gave many priests and nuns to the Church. Then came movies, radio, TV, the internet, Distraction on steroids. So, perhaps we have mistaken our crisis altogether and do not have a vocations crisis so much as a parenting crisis. One looks into the home of Louis and Zellie Martin– the parents of St. Therese– some years earlier, and finds the same sort of thing in the evening, a family gathering around the parents, the lives of the saints being read . . . .

    THAT, is the culture of vocation. It was surely the seedbed of Solanus Casey’s vocation, the sine qua non of his sanctity and of his being raised to the altars. If even 1% of Catholic parents did anything of the sort we would have more priests and teaching sisters than we would know what to do with.

  29. LeeGilbert says:

    Also, the Tom Playfair series, by Fr. Francis Finn, S.J. . . .if no one has mentioned it yet.

    Once I asked my Trappist friend, Fr. Daniel Lenihan, O.C.S.O. ( 1907-2012) if he had read it as a boy. His response? “Who hasn’t?” In other words, it was a typical part of the imaginative formation of Catholic boys of his era. We read it together as a family when the children were young and enjoyed it very much.

  30. Fr. Reader says:

    Kindle time is not screen time.
    Welcome to the 22nd century.

  31. Mariana2 says:

    The Hobbit (and keep well away from the films until much later), The Lord of the Rings (films later), The Narnia books, Treasure Island.

    My son loved my reading aloud ‘Emil i Lönneberga’, but it doesn’t seem to be available in English. Maybe the dvd has English subtext. It’s about life in the country in Sweden in the late 1800s, quietly amusing, and Emil gets a chance to show his courage by saving the life of the farm hand, Alfred, at the end.

    I didn’t expect anyone to mention Karl May! I loved the books, I was given the first one when I was 11, but they don’t seem to be available, as far as I can see, in English.

  32. mike cliffson says:

    I read Heinlein’s” Citizen of the Galaxy ” when it came out in adult Astounding sf mag.which mum And Dad subscribed to ,Since pieonholed as teen boy fodder

  33. JonPatrick says:

    As a kid I loved the book “Lost in the Barrens” by Farley Mowat – about 2 Canadian kids in Northern Canada one white and one Cree Indian who as the title suggest get lost by themselves in the wilds of the Northern Manitoba barrens and have to fend for themselves through the winter living off the land. Fortunately during an accident where their canoe is destroyed they are able to save their rifles and ammunition but not much else. A little bit of real multiculturalism here before the Left took it over and redefined it.

  34. Imrahil says:

    Dear Mariana2,

    well, I’m German, so that explains the Karl May. Though I did not read any of his books as a child, and only a bit of them later, while I did read The Black Stallion and Famous Five (to us, “Five Friends”) and Five Find-outers and Dog (to us, “Six Sensing-Noses”) and, not to mention a trivial, non-recommendable series called “TKKG” according to the initials of their nicknames.

    A quick Amazon check tells that some Karl May books are translated to English. That said, of the Jim Button I mentioned only the first part is available in English, and then for an astronomical price. Pity.

    Emil i Lönneberga (“Michael”, to us) is a good suggestion – for my taste, at any rate; some will not so much like the idea of a loveable naughty boy, but there goes. Which brings me to the suggestion of the other Emil (who is the reason that Emil is Michael to Germans) and his author, specifically

    1. Emil and the Detectives and even more so
    2. The Flying Classroom.

    Certainly among the best books a boy can read.

  35. Semper Gumby says:

    I agree with other commenters about reading aloud, printed books over screens at that age, and reading Tolkien first before viewing those movies.

    MacCheese: For a 10 year-old boy, a possibility is mystery series such as the Hardy Boys, which I think someone mentioned above. Then there’s Alvin Fernald, Encyclopedia Brown, and The Great Brain. The latter series is about a boy in a Catholic family in 1890s Utah.

    Michael O’Brien’s non-fiction “A Landscape with Dragons: The Battle for Your Child’s Mind” is well worth the read and contains reading lists by age.

  36. wmeyer says:

    As to paper vs. Kindle, I think it an excellent idea to give real books to the children. First, because the experience of the book, and freedom from other distractions, is part of the learning. Second, because in my several years of experience with e-books, I find that very few have been edited or proof-read with any real care, despite claims inserted in introductions of some volumes.
    Once the habit of reading is well established, then the Kindle is a very useful alternative. For adults, in particular, it is a wonderful remedy for the time otherwise wasted in waiting rooms, airport lounges, and on flights.
    For teens, however, I submit that the Kindle device is preferable to the Kindle app on a tablet, for the simple reason of avoiding all those distractions of the latter. So that also means I suggest the e-ink devices, rather than the LCD.

    Browsers are fine and essential tools; the Internet a tremendous treasure, but we are too easily distracted, and a good novel is a blessed escape from our troubled world.

  37. adriennep says:

    The spectacular G. A. Henty (spelled with a t) novels come highly recommended by homeschool families with boys. They are written before 1900 but so dense and historically accurate. He wrote about diverse eras and time, like ancient Egypt for Cat of the Bubastes. Any adult is also going to gain knowledge and sense of history coming alive. So we all should read these! His American ones like True To the Old Flag and With Lee in Virginia are great. But check out: To Herat and Cabul, a story of the First Afghan War. There’s a place and time for you.

    Thanks to this topic, I searched for and rediscovered an adventure series I had discovered as a kid furtively scanning the Young Adult shelves at my local ivy-covered library. The series is called The Famous Five by Enid Blyton. Because it has mixed age family and was British, I was more attracted to it than Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys. So these books are ideal for younger 8-10 year old boys or girls, loving a full-blooded series.

  38. David says:

    Hopelessly low rent, many would say, but I would indeed recommend the Hardy Boys series, but only the originals, not the re-written PC ones. I learned from them a very long time ago what it meant to have a “chum”, and thought it was super-exciting that the brothers drove fast cars, flew airplanes, had fist-fights with bad guys, and shot guns.

  39. Kathleen10 says:

    Thank you so much to one and all for these great recommendations. I have jotted them all down.
    I work with children, and the other day we read together Old Mother Hubbard. None of the children were familiar with it! We all laughed at it. I think it’s a tragedy for children to not hear Nursery Rhymes like Old Mother Hubbard, and most of today’s children are not being read them. In addition, I know stories like Grimm’s Fairy Tales and Aesop’s fables make quite an impression. They aren’t sugar-coated either, and they shouldn’t be sanitized by PC, I’d get older versions to be sure.
    Now that I think of it, wouldn’t the story of Mowgli in The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling, qualify as a good boy’s book? I admit to loving the Disney film.

  40. bookworm says:

    The discussion of print vs electronic books is of particular interest to me. A couple of years ago my husband and I discovered self-publishing and we started a mini business (Monroe St. Press)that creates new, quality paperback editions of books from the Victorian and Edwardian eras. Originally we were targeting the Steampunk crowd (we still do) but seeing how many parents and others crave quality literature for children and youth, we have been expanding our titles for young readers. I think this list has given me some ideas for new titles…..

  41. jilly4life says:

    I am not a boy, and my own boys are too young for a lot of this. But for younger boys I would suggest My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George, Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli and Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.

    Girls are almost easier because there are classic books/series like Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women. Also Secret Garden, The Little Princess, and Heidi (not that boys can’t enjoy these too, just the heroines are girls and the male characters are a mixed bag. (Dickon in The Secret Garden is a good boy character, but Colin is not, and the Grandfather in Heidi is a great character, but Peter the goatherd is not the best).

    Reading out loud is great, if difficult with little kids. You can really read to kids about 2 grade levels above their own reading level which gives you a wider library to read. You also really find out which books are written well. Charlotte’s Web, for all it being “popular” is a really well written book, and it deserves its place in children’s literature. One of my complaints about Lewis’ Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is the language. Individual sentences are generally okay but paragraphs and ideas seem to end abruptly. My kids paid more attention to Charlotte’s Web than they did to more “popular” books that we have read out loud, like Ella Enchanted (a really good book actually with decent writing and some good morals, greed is bad and will lead to bad ends, love is doing what is best for the other not necessarily what you want, etc.).

    I have actually been listening to a lot of audiobooks as an easy way to “read” books that might be easy to get bogged down in (ahem Dickens). I just finished The History of Rasselas, Prince of Abissinia. It was a great listen, though I was skeptical going in.

  42. OldProfK says:

    Reading aloud is a great suggestion too. I read Black Beauty, Treasure Island, and The Hobbit to my sons as bedtime stories.

    Took a while. :-)

  43. Sportsfan says:

    G.A. Henty wrote a book on the war in the Vendee called No Surrender! A Tale Of The Rising In La Vendee.