Thursday, September 21, 2017

Books for Boys ~ Part 1

Best Books for Boys @ Mt. Hope Chronicles

Hello! to those of you joining me from the Storyformed Podcast. Welcome to Mt. Hope Chronicles!

To my regular readers, check out the Storyformed Podcast. Today I’m talking with Holly and Jaime about Favorite Books for Boys.

For newcomers, book recommendations are sprinkled throughout the blog, but you can find most of them at the following links:

Picture Book Picnic
The Reading Child
and Literary Buffet

I’ve been wanting to share more comprehensive lists, and this seems like a good time to start. Favorites lists are always difficult, though. There are so many books to choose from, and I know I’m leaving many great ones off the list.

Part 2, coming soon, will include non-fiction books and book selections for teen boys.

For now, we’ll start with these family favorites!


The Great Mouse Detective by Eve Titus [This is a great easy chapter book series for beginning readers.]

Babe: The Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith [Dick King-Smith wrote a bunch of wonderful easy chapter books for beginning readers, but Babe is my personal favorite.]

Dominic by William Steig [Many readers are familiar with Steig’s picture books (Amos and Boris is a personal favorite), but few people have read his three short chapter books. Dominic is one of my most favorite children’s books, but The Real Thief and Abel’s Island are wonderful as well. Steig’s vocabulary is incredible.]

The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden [This is a delightful story and a favorite from my childhood.]

Benjamin West and His Cat Grimalkin by Marguerite Henry [This simple chapter book is a historical narrative about the artist Benjamin West’s childhood.]

Freddy the Pig by Walter Brooks [This series about a detective pig is incredibly witty and humorous.]


Little Pear by Eleanor Frances Lattimore [Follow along with Little Pear’s adventures and capers in this easy chapter book for beginning readers.]

Hank the Cowdog by John R. Erickson [This series is hilarious. The audio books read by the author are worthy listening.]

Half Magic (and others) by Edward Eager [Delightful and witty.]

Homer Price (and Centerburg Tales) by Robert McCloskey [Homer Price is always my first suggestion when someone asks me for book recommendations for boys! Homer is resourceful and always finds himself in the middle of adventures.]

Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson [More vintage schemes and adventures!]

Owls in the Family by Farley Mowat [Laugh-out-loud adventures of a boy and his pet menagerie.]

The Mad Scientists’ Club by Bertrand Brinley [More vintage capers.]

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster [This hilarious book is full of word play humor and a love of words and numbers.]

The Knights’ Tales by Gerald Morris [The four books in this series are perfect for knight-loving boys. Humor and chivalry make a great combination.]

Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank B. Gilbreth and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey [Hilarious stories of the Gilbreth family, but a tear-jerker warning for the ending!]

Realistic and Survival

The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare [A thirteen-year-old boy is left to tend his family’s cabin in the wilderness.]

My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George [A boy leaves the city and survives alone in the wilderness with a falcon and weasel for company.]

Hatchet (and others) by Gary Paulsen [A thirteen-year-old boy finds himself alone in a wilderness after a plane crash.]

Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls [A young boy and his two dogs become a hunting team. Tear-jerker warning!]

Little Britches and series by Ralph Moody [This autobiographical series is a family favorite.]

The Lonesome Gods by Louis L’Amour [Perfect for slightly older readers, this novel is full of adventure and survival—and a love of books.]

I Am David by Anne Holm [A twelve-year-old boy escapes from a labor camp and makes his way alone across Europe. This is one of my childhood favorites.]

The House of Sixty Fathers by Meindert DeJong [A young Chinese boy is separated from his family during the Japanese invasion. He must begin a dangerous journey in order to be reunited.]


The Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan [This fantasy series is a top favorite for all three of my boys.]

The Squire’s Tales series by Gerald Morris [This series is at the top of my own favorites list, and my boys have loved them as well. Hilarious, witty, simple, stirring, and profound. Strong male and female characters. Full of virtue, chivalry, and what it means to be human (along with foils to show the opposite). Parental warning: these are retellings of Arthurian legends, so they contain romantic situations both positive and negative, including several affairs. The author treats the negative relationships appropriately, never explicit and always showing the steep consequences for actions.]

The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson [Another family favorite.]

The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers [The story of King David loosely re-imagined in the swamps of “Corenwald.”]

The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander [A modern classic.]

Outlaws of Time (and others) by N.D. Wilson [I personally love the Western fantasy adventure of Outlaws of Time, but Wilson’s other books are worthy reading as well.]

Watership Down by Richard Adams [Watership Down may be a book about rabbits, but it probably belongs in the realistic survival genre. This is an excellent novel for slightly older readers as it explores the nature of leadership and various societal structures. Adams is a master at world-building. A classic!]


The Moffats (series) by Eleanor Estes [Meet Sylvie, Joey, Janey, and Rufus in this classic family adventure.]

The Saturdays (Melendy Quartet) by Elizabeth Enright [Mona, Rush, Randy, and Oliver go for independent adventures in New York City circa 1940s.]

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome [This 1930 gem tells the story of the Walker siblings and their parent-less sailing trip to an uninhabited island.]

“Girl Books” Loved by (My) Boys

Jenny and the Cat Club (series) by Esther Averill [Jenny the darling black cat may be the main character, but her cat club friends are just as personable.]

The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic by Jennifer Trafton [Quirky and delightful in every way.]

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin [Chinese folklore-inspired fantasy.]


Katherine Grimm Bowers said...

Thanks! My almost five year old boy loves chapter books either read aloud or as audiobooks, and I struggle to keep up with new suggestions that aren't too mature for him! Finding old fashioned books often helps with this.

Windhover Farm said...

You're the best Heidi! Can't wait for the teen list too.