Books for boys

For Older Boys

  • The Golden Compass trilogy by Philip Pullman (there is also a film based on the book)
  • Young Bond novels: SilverFin, Blood Fever, Double or Die, Hurricane Gold, and By Royal Command; A Hard Man To
    Kill (a short story,  featured in the companion book, Danger Society: The Young Bond Dossier); Silver Fin: The Graphic Novel; and an online RPG, The Shadow War. All by Charles Higson
  • The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
  • Alex Rider series (Stormbreaker, et al.) by Anthony Horowitz
  • Maximum Ride series by James Patterson (film in pre-production stage, 2010)
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
  • Extreme Elvin; Slot Machine by Chris Lynch
  • Oddballs; Interstellar Pig by William Sleator
  • Burger Wuss; Feed by M.T. Anderson
  • Redwall books by Brian Jacques
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • Rats Saw God by Rob Thomas
  • Ironman; and others by Chris Crutcher
  • Shade’s Children by Garth Nix
  • Copper Elephant by Adam Rapp
  • Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
  • Rats by Paul Zindel
  • Childhood’s End by Arthur C. Clarke
  • Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The Ear, the Eye, the Arm by Nancy Farmer
  • Starship Troopers by Robert Heinlein
  • The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
  • White Fang; Sea Wolf by Jack London
  • Hidden Talents by David Lubar
  • October Sky by Homer Hickam
  • The Hobbit; Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkein

Books for Middle Boys

  • Beverly Cleary books – including the Romona series
  • Redwall series by Brian Jacques, also available in audio
  • Captain Underpants series (comic books) by Dav Pilkey
  • Tintin (by Herge) and Asterix (the old ones by Goscinny and Uderzo): both are classic “graphic novel” series
  • Hank the Cowdog series by John Erickson, also available in audio
  • The Roald Dahl books
  • The Hardy Boys series (they are old but they liked them and there are lots)
  • Madeleine L’Engles series (A Swiftly Tilting Planet and others)
  • Dr Suess has longer stories like Horton Hatches the Egg, Sneetches, If I ran the circus.
  • The original Winnie the Pooh stories.
  • Edward Eager’s Tales of Magic Series including Half Magic
  • Pippi Longstocking
  • Secret Garden
  • The Boxcar Children series
  • The Goosebumps series (You might not like them but some kids do).
  • The Animorphs
  • The Indian in the Cupboard series
  • Louis Sacher’s books – the Wayside school series and others
  • Bailey School Kids
  • Stuart Little
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
  • The Chronicles of Narnia
  • The Myth-o-mania books by Kate McMullan. They are good for laughs and put a bit of a quirky spin on the Greek/Latin myths, these books make a great first approach to the major Greek/Latin stories.
  • Terry Deary’s series: The Groovy Greeks / Rotten Romans / The Awesome Egyptians / The Terrible Tudors The Awesome Egyptians / The Savage Stone Age /The Dark Knights and Dingy Castles Rowdy Revolutions /The Groovy Greeks / The Slimy Stuarts / The Vile Victorians The Woeful Second World War The Blitzed Brits / The Cut-throat Celts /The Vile Victorians The Angry Aztecs / The Rotten Romans
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  • The Baseball Card Adventure Series by Dan Gutman
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
  • Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark edited by Alvin Schwartz
  • Maze; Far North by Will Hobbs
  • Bunnicula by James Howe
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • The Day My Butt Went Psycho by Andy Griffiths
  • This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall by Gordon Korman
  • Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli
  • Be A Perfect Person in Just Three Days by Stephen Manes
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black
  • The Jumping Tree; Finding Our Way by Rene Saldana Jr.
  • Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling
  • Tangerine by Edward Bloor
  • The Beast by Walter Dean Myers
  • Brian’s Winter; The River; Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • Nothing But The Truth; Poppy by Avi
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry
  • Skellig; Kit’s Wilderness by David Almond
  • Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer
  • Smugglers, and Wreckers by Iain Lawrence
  • The Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz
  • Joey Pigza books by Jack Gantos
  • Merlin books by T.A. Barron
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit
  • The Moves Make the Man by Bruce Brooks
  • Chicago by Richard Peck
  • The Tripod Trilogy by John Christopher
  • Frindle by Andrew Clements
  • Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville
  • Among the Hidden by Margaret Haddix
  • Unreal; Undone by Paul Jennings
  • Island Boyz by Graham Salisbury
  • The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
  • Silverwing; Sunwing; Firewing by Ken Oppel
  • The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick
  • Cirque du Freak books by Darren Shan
  • Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliffe

Also highly recommended are:

  • The Redwall books on tape are outstanding
  • All of the stories on tape by Jim Weiss. It was a great way to introduce the boys to Greek and Egyptian mythology, also to Shakespeare. A tape on Galileo and Archimedes interested them in science and history. Jim also has covered many of the Henty books which are a favorite of many homeschoolers for studying History in an interesting way. Odds Bodkin is another good storyteller who has stories like the Odyssey, though my boys didn’t seem to like him nearly as much as Jim Weiss but others like him. Also at this age boys often like to read joke books – limericks that sort of thing. It is often a good way for them to read more as the jokes are short and not overwhelming. It is also better to hear them retell jokes than have to listen to the ones they make up at this age – though that is probably valuable too.

Books for Younger Boys

  • Miserella in Sleeping Ugly by Jane Yolen with a different twist on being beautiful and see the drama version
  • Curious George
  • Amelia Bedelia
  • The Three Wolves and the Big Bad Pig
  • Cars That Go and Things That Go by Richard Scarry
  • The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Crockett Johnson.
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
  • Go, Dog. Go! by Philip D. Eastman
  • Frog and Toad books by Arnold Lobel
  • George and Martha books by James Marshall
  • The Stupids by Harry Allard. Illustrated by James Marshall
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales
  • Caps For Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble and Dr. DeSoto by William Steig
  • Trucks; Trains; Machines at Work by Byron Barton
  • I Spy books by Jean Marzollo, photographs by Walter Wick
  • Dr Seuss books
  • The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs! by Jon Scieszka
  • Jumanji and Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • No, David by Dave Shannon
  • Ted by Tony DiTerlizzi
  • Parts; More Parts by Tedd Arnold
  • Truck by Donald Crews
  • How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
  • The Adventures of Sparrowboy by Brian Pinkney
  • Dinosaur Bob by William Joyce
  • Fire Truck (and other titles) by Peter Sis
  • The Maestro Plays by Bill Martin and Vladimir Radunsky
  • The Wheels on the Bus by Paul Zelinsky


More help from…

“In 2008, Patterson created, a site dedicated to helping parents find books that will get their kids reading…. has categories such as “Robots,” “How to Build Stuff,” “Outer Space, but with Aliens,” and “At Least One Explosion.” It’s a wonderful site for finding books that will turn boys on to reading.,, and’s Kids Reading List are excellent resources, and they’re simpler to use than an iPhone. The American Library Association and the Young Adult Library Services Association have recommendations for terrific books, easily found by searching “ALA reading lists.” has a “Favorite D.E.A.R. Books” tab on its home page. 

Most libraries and bookstores are extremely generous with their time and help. Kids and parents should visit Scholastic and other book fairs. Free or low-cost books for schools are available (while supplies last) at,,”

Excerpted from “How to get your kid to become a fanatic reader” by James Patterson,, Sep 28, 2011

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