(I wrote this post a year ago and forgot to post it!)

World Magazine puts out an annual “Books Issue” every year; this is my favorite issue of the year, and I always make time to read it. This year’s issue just came out, and it coincided with an interesting conversation I’ve been having with a friend of mine: what do we give boys to read (boys who are good–even excellent–readers)?

World did a small survey of the Accelerated Reader program (AR; a program in which school children read books and then take small comprehension quizzes on them. Most schools have contests/rewards that are based on the number of points each student/class earns. Books are given points based on difficulty level.). They were looking primarily at the different books that seemed popular across the gender line, or were preferred by girls or boys. This was interesting to me because I have two friends who have each bemoaned to me that there is a lack of good reading material for boys who are excellent readers, but need some censorship on the maturity scale. Both of these boys are/were reading chapter books by age 5 or 6 (one boy is age 5 now and is currently reading Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain series–The Black Cauldron and so forth).

According to World, boys seemed to prefer primarily the same books/authors year after year while girls read a wider variety of material. Captain Underpants books are among the most popular for boys in several grades (sigh). I have to admit that I’ve never actually read a Captain Underpants book, but there would have to be a lot of redemptive qualities about the text for me to get over that title. Girls read all sort of things: Anne of Green Gables, The Series of Unfortunate Events, etc.

So, what are some good choices for our young men? Megan and I have been compiling a list of what we think are some good choices–books which provide some challenge academically and contain appropriate content for a young man (think 1st grade here) to read. Of course, these books would interest boys far older than first grade as well. The list contains books of varying academic difficulty and literary merit, but all are “good reads.” If you would like to add something to our list (we love new ideas!!), then leave us a comment!

Brian Jacques’ Redwall series
The Great Brain
Encyclopedia Brown
Bobbsey Twins
Hardy Boys
Trixie Belden
Horatio Hornblower
Stowaway by Karen Hesse
Series of Unfortunate Events
Katherine Paterson’s books
Dear America series
Treasure Island
Kidnapped
Jungle Books
Bambi
Peter Pan
Pinocchio
George MacDonald’s fairy tales (Princess and the Goblin, etc.)
good translation of Grimm and Andersen fairy tales
Tom Sawyer
Swiss Family Robinson
Shiloh
Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry
Heidi
Secret Garden
Black Beauty
Wizard of Oz
Wind in the Willows
Lois Lenski’s books
Dr. Dolittle
My Father’s Dragon
Where the Red Fern Grows
Old Yeller
The Yearling
The Black Stallion books
Marguerite Henry’s Horse books

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