Whenever I meet a boy who doesn’t like complains about reading, I never talk about books. At least not at first. After I understand what he really likes, be it dogs, bugs, cowboys, knights, Mario cart, Minecraft, or basketball, these interests give me a starting point. Boys tend to favor stories with action and adventure. So did I, when I was seven, eight, and nine. Find the right book, the right story and you’ll make that boy into a reader. Reading aloud is so crucial, especially with boys, because they might not choose to sit still long enough to read on their own, but if you have Hatchet playing in the car where he can’t help but listen, or make him sit for twenty minutes after dinner and listen to a parent read about the Pony Express, you’ll get him.

These books are not just for boys either. I loved all these stories as a young girl just as passionately as I loved A Little Princess. Try them out on your daughter. She just might like them as much as I did. If you find yourself with a boy who can’t get enough to read and has a little patience for a slower story, pop over to my lists for girls, although I wouldn’t try to give him A Little Princess just yet. Have suggestions? Shoot me an email.

Eli’s List  |  Kindergarten – 1st Grade

note the books included on this list will more than likely be a step above a Kindergartners ability to read. I always encourage parents to read aloud to their boys especially in the beginning stages of reading, because most readers are so very boring. Interesting stories encourage and capture a small boy’s attention.

  1. Winnie -the-Pooh  |  A. A. Milne ills. E. H. Shepherd
  2. The Best Nest  |  P. D. Eastman
  3. Go, Dog, Go!  | P. D. Eastman
  4. Frog and Toad are Friends  |  Arnold Lobel
  5. The Tale of Peter Rabbit  |  Beatrix Potter
  6. Aesop’s Fable’s  | trans. V. S. Vernon Jones  ills. Arthur Rackham

Curt’s List  |  2nd Grade

  1. Cinnabar, the One O’Clock Fox  | Marguerite Henry  ills. Wesley Dennis
  2. James and the Giant Peach  |  Roald Dahl ills. Quentin Blake
  3. Stuart Little  |  E. B. White ills. Garth Williams
  4. A Bear Called Paddington  |  Michael Bond

Ian’s List  |  3rd-4th Grade

  1. Shiloh  |  Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  2. Farmer Boy  |  Laura Ingalls Wilder
  3. Mr. Tucket  |  Gary Paulsen
  4. Sign of the Beaver  |  Elizabeth George Speare
  5. The Black Stallion  |  Walter Farley
  6. The Indian in the Cupboard  |  Lynn Reid Banks

Benjamin’s List  |  5th-6th Grade

  1. Hatchet  |  Gary Paulsen
  2. My Side of the Mountain  |  Jean Craighead George
  3. Call it Courage  |  Armstrong Sperry
  4. One-Eyed Cat  |  Paula Fox
  5. Bud, Not Buddy  |  Christopher Paul Curtis
  6. The 21 Balloons  |  William Pène du Bois
  7. Bridge to Terabithia  |  Katherine Paterson
  8. A Series of Unfortunate Events  |  Lemony Snicket

Adam’s List  |  7th-8th Grade

  1. Holes  |  Louis Sachar
  2. Sounder  |  William H. Armstrong
  3. Adam of the Road  |  Elizabeth Janet Gray Vining
  4. Johnny Tremain  |   Esther Forbes
  5. The Incredible Journey  |  Sheila Burnford
  6. The Hobbit  |  J. R. R. Tolkien
  7. The Swiss Family Robinson  |   Johann David Wyss
  8. Cheaper by the Dozen  |  Ernestine Gilbreth Carey and Frank Bunker Gilbreth Jr.

Robert’s List  |  9th-12th Grade

  1. Call of the Wild  |  Jack London
  2. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes  |  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  3. Robinson Crusoe  |   Daniel Defoe
  4. Ender’s Game  |  Orson Scott Card
  5. Farenheit 451  |  Ray Bradbury
  6. Beowulf  |  Author Unknown

Philip’s List  |  College and Beyond

  1. Moby Dick  |  Herman Melville
  2. Dune  |  Frank Herbert

Jason’s List  |  Busy Dads

  1. My Ántonia  |  Willa Cather
  2. Dracula  | Bram Stoker
  3. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court  |  Mark Twain
  4. Lord of the Flies  |  William Golding