10 Books You Must Read to Your Son

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After 10 Books You Must Read to Your Daughter, I thought the boys were getting rather left out. Having never been a boy, this list didn’t come as naturally. But, being the mother of a boy it seems equally important. Basically, I want my son to be a confident, thoughtful, compassionate, strong-minded, and virtuous man like Mr. Knightley, not a weak, desire-driven, selfish cad like Willoughby. So here goes (with some help from Daniel)…

1. The Once and Future King by T.H. White: I cannot wait to read this to Benjamin. This retelling of the King Arthur story is delightful and full of important questions of honor, justice, and manhood. Also, there’s adventure galore and falconry. So, what more could you want?

2. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien: The Lord of the Rings is the foundation for a huge amount of modern fantasy literature, movies and video games.  It would not be exaggerating to say that even the genre of “fantasy” became nearly synonymous with the general aspects of Tolkien’s world. Beyond the fantasy genre, LotR has influenced everything from Harry Potter to Star Wars. Despite this far reaching influence, Tolkien’s imagined world remains unmatched in depth, history, richness, and detail. But more important than all of this, The Lord of the Rings teaches virtue in an incredibly powerful way. Of course, there is Aragorn; wise, strong, courageous, and skilled in warfare. But, despite what the LotR movies would have you believe, Tolkien was not enamored with war. Battles make up a very small percentage of his books and he does not romanticize fighting.  The true heroes, Sam and Frodo, are neither physically strong or all that knowledgeable and they spend almost no time engaged in any sort of physical combat. Their great feat is their faithfulness to the task given to them, their courage in the face of overwhelming odds, and their willingness to sacrifice their own lives for others.

3. Beowulf: Get yourself the Seamus Heaney translation and introduce your son to some epic Anglo-Saxon manhood. There are dragons, monsters, and really strong guys who can rip monsters apart with their hands. But it’s not really about brawn, it’s about honor, courage, responsibility, and sacrifice.

4. The Iliad by Homer: Just in case Beowulf didn’t thoroughly saturate your kid with epic poetry, read him the Iliad. It’s kind of a classic.

5. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings: I’m not a huge fan of the YA Fiction “coming of age” story, but this one is pure gold. On the surface, this Pulitzer Prize winning novel follows Jody Baxter, a young boy living in backwoodsy Florida, and his friendship with a deer, but there are deeper themes of family, sacrifice, and the painful process of growing up. There are enough bear hunts and snake bites to keep any boy’s attention but this fine novel can wring tears from a grown man.

6. Anything Jane Austen: I know, I know, you think they’re just for girls, but you’re wrong. The heroes of Austen’s six novels don’t slay dragons or hunt bears but they are fighting everyday battles of self-sacrifice, honor, and compassion. I hope Benjamin grows up to be a chivalrous Mr. Knightley or a noble Colonel Brandon and I want him to understand the consequences of acting like a rakish Willoughby, Henry Crawford, or Wickham: everything gets ruined, especially the cad’s own soul. These novels aren’t about weddings, they’re about virtue. A thorough knowledge of Miss Austen’s novels also won’t hurt a young man’s ability to win the heart of his lady love.

7. The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: It’s no secret that these books are favorites in the Stewart household. When I was pregnant with our firstborn I said to Daniel in a horrorstruck voice, “What if our kids don’t like Harry Potter?!” We decided to just dismiss the thought because it’s too ghastly to consider. So, many fine male characters, friendship Aristotle would approve of, a view of evil that’s thoroughly Augustinian, beautiful depictions of sacrificial love, and a high view of family are just a few things that the series has to offer.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis: First of all, I can’t believe I left this series off the girl’s list. They’re worthy of a place in every kid’s childhood. Benjamin’s almost three and I really want to give these wonderful books a try for reading aloud at bedtime.

9. The Boy Scouts Handbook: Daniel tells me that an old-timey version of this book about gaining cool skills was one of his favorites as a child. I think it’s important for young boys (and girls) to be outdoorsy savvy.

10. Moby Dick by Herman Melville: OK, so I should confess that I haven’t read this one, but Daniel wrote his thesis on it and says it’s a must read, so it makes the list. The theme of Man vs. Nature is sure to appeal to your young man and the book also includes ships, whales, and sharp objects. Most boys really like the idea of going into the wild and being tested by the forces of nature, or at least that’s what I’m told.

Here’s some more titles highly recommended to me that I didn’t include in the list because it’s been too long since Daniel or I have read them: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (more man vs. nature), The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas (The Count of Montecristo is also really great), Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain, and Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Got any suggestions? What would be on your list?

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  1. says

    Your son is adorable!

    Those are really interesting titles. I dont really have any suggestions cause I’m not a mother yet, so I still have time to think of them.

    • ginny says

      I haven’t read all the comments to see if these have been added, but my 6yo twin boys have loved Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Trumpet of the Swan by EB White. Anything by EB White, really. They didn’t really have the attention span for longer books until 5 or so, but we worked our way up. The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame is a great longer picture book they loved that is a sort of lead-in to chapter books. I LOVE your girl’s list by the way, and found a few to add to mine and daughter’s reading lists.

  2. says

    Love this list. Now only if my nephew could grow a little bit older to be able to appreciate me coming up with all the Hobbit voices.

    PS. your family is like the cutest family ever.

    • says

      Not sure if I should confess this because it makes us sound beyond nerdy but Daniel read all of Tolkien to Benjamin starting when he arrived home from the hospital and began with the Silmarillian. Now it’s on the internet and I can’t take it back 🙂 I’m sure your nephew will love your painstaking attention to each hobbit’s voice 🙂

      And thanks!

  3. says

    The Aeneid is a must. Vergil’s epic hero is humbler, more devout, and ultimately more human instead of god-like Achilles, who is certainly awesome, but kind of out of our reach.

    I would suggest the Redwall series as precursors to Lord of the Rings. It builds a good foundation and is easier to read earlier.

    Kipling’s poem “If”

    Finally, when he’s a middle adolescent, give him Russian literature. If he has any inkling toward self-aggrandizing pity, this will be quickly clipped by true soul suffering of Russian mystics, hedonists, and social revolutionists. Start with “Notes from the Underground.”

    • says

      Yes! All good ideas. I need to reread the Aenied. And I have the first Redwall book but I’m not sure if his attention span is quite ready for it. Hopefully soon because those are great. And how did I forget the Russians?! Maybe it’s my subconscious guilt that I never finished The Brothers K.

  4. Jane says

    The Once and Future King is my all-time favorite! I would add The Wind in the Willows, I have really happy memories of my dad reading that out loud to us. Also on the girl’s list I would add Catherine, Called Birdy. It’s not technically a classic, but my mom and I read it together and both loved it.

      • Anapam says

        We are struggling through this with my 5 year old son. He just still doesn’t have the attention span if there aren’t pictures. My 8 year old daughter is loving it though!!

  5. Heidi says

    Good suggestions! All of these are great books, but I worry that they might be a little dense for a more fidgety boy. I know children have an easier time with comprehension when they’re being read to rather than trying to tackle the book on their own, but might you have any tips for keeping boys and girls engaged during read-aloud time?

    Another great adventure book for an adolescent or advanced pre-teen is Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott. It’s got King Arthur, Robin Hood’s gang, knights, damsels, and villains. I read it my senior year of highschool and loved it.

    Something that a younger boy or girl would be able to handle are Jack London’s The Call of the Wild and White Fang. Especially good for an animal-lover.

    • says

      I’ve never read Ivanhoe but I love all things Arthurian so I’ll have to get my hands on it! And I remember really liking Jack London books as a kid. Great ideas.

      As for advice about fidgety kids during reading time…let me know if you find some! 🙂 I’ve got the fidgityest little guy around, haha. He’s turning 3 next week and now he can sit through books like Dr. Seuss, Frog and Toad, etc with no problem but if there’s no pictures…forget it. On a good night he can sit through a chapter of Little House on the Prairie.

      The only tips I can think of are to make reading time a special time when your attention is completely on the kids and to give squirmers something for their hands to do. My little guy is constantly squirming and moving his hands so sometimes giving him a stuffed animal to snuggle and play with helps him not get distracted. But I long for the day when his attention span is long enough that we can read chapter books aloud to him.

  6. Amy Robertson says

    If it helps to inspire, Laith couldn’t sit still for a story without pictures to save his sweet little life until he hit about 3 and 3/4ths. I actually remember the moment I started reading him The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. I felt like something very magical and secretive was going on (and I myself felt powerful anbd sneaky and like I was hanging in the air)…and I think we read a good third of the book that afternoon while Bela crawled around on the floor. It was bliss. It was that parenting moment I had always dreamed of (of which I had…)

    Anyhow. Now we are working through the Wind in the Willows at night, but Bela is so uninterested. We’re about halfway through so I don’t want to quit, but I may try to find something better for all. (like the Chronicles?)

    Chapter books the boys (and little baby girl, I assume) have loved over the past few years include: The Incredible Journey (we all LOVE this one and have read it more than once – most children love animal tails), Chitty Chitty Bang Bang :The Magical Car (quirky and dry and packed with light adventure), My Side of the Mountain trilogy (more animal and nature stories, favorites of my childhood), the Chronicles, of course, and some old retro/vintage chapter books that were from my mother’s childhood library, like taking a dip in the 50’s, 60’s (Secret of the Old Post Box, Mrs. Coverlet’s Magicians, The Pink Motel, Jeptha and the New People.)

    I would highly recommend all of these.

    Also, just for transparency’s sake, Bela is 3 and one half and cannot sit still to save…

    He actually likes to throw things at us, bite us, and cause all kinds of trouble while we read chapter books. I’m trying to find simple, animal stories to ease him into it. Any advice? He loves animals, and is hardly ever human.

    I DO hope we can see you all in March! Zach just (TODAY!) got a job teaching science and doing a garden at a charter school in a tiny little town about half of an hour south of San Antonio. So, I do hope we will be buying a little home and filling up the outside with raised beds, as you all have. I am so inspired by your set of gardens.

  7. Mandy says

    Ok so of course this is not for bedtime reading but I will tell you what works best for reading chapter books during the day – play dough. My 3.5 yr old son sits quietly while I read chapter books to his 7 and 5 yr old sisters and does some listening himself! During the warmer weather I read to him while he plays in the sandbox. The girls never needed it but my son really needs to have something to do with his hands. Just found your blog today – love it!

  8. says

    I think every boy (and girl) should read Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary. A lot of the thoughts children have, but never share with the adults in their lives are addressed in this book. I loved it!

  9. says

    All of Terry Pratchett’s young adult stuff, especially Tiffany Aching but start with Nation

    Call of the Wild and White Fang by Jack London

    Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

    To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle

    The Giver by Lois Lowry

    I also want my son to read Pullman’s Dark Materials Trilogy, but I understand that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

    My husband suggests A Day No Pigs Would Die, I haven’t read that one. Our son is young yet, so it’s mostly Seuss at this point.

  10. Paul says

    Two books/series I recall with great joy are:

    – “From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler”, by E.L. Konigsburg

    – “The Black Stallion” series, by Walter Farley

    I read the former with my kids, as it was read to me in school when I was young. My daughter loved the latter, as did I as a young boy.

  11. Dawn says

    The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. It’s an awesome series that is like a cross between Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings. The boy has a prophecy to fulfill but he is in a magical land full of mythical creatures. A must read for any boy!

    • Dawn says

      Also Hatchet by Gary Paulson. It is about a young man surving in the wild after he survives a plane crash.

  12. says

    Thank you for this reading list! My son is 20 months old and he LOVES when we read the Harry Potter series to him. He also loves all the Dr. Seuss books. He seems to be fond of books with a lot of percussive words. I am fascinated with Greek Mythology and it would be great to introduce my son to Homer’s works : ) Great suggestions!

  13. Stacy says

    I would recommend the Wilder King Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers. It is a fantastic read aloud. You won’t be able to put it down!

  14. Kim says

    RANGER’S APPRENTICE series by John Flanagan… full of chivalry, knights, rangers (of course), kings, princesses (who are tough, not girly), and honor. My son read them when he was 8 and loved them! You have a great list! We’ve read at least half those already! 😀

  15. Nickalli says

    My just 9 year old son and I have started reading the Percy Jackson Olympians series together . I read them years ago and loved them and got them for his birthday. He begs for story time!

  16. K says

    I have two boys, a 6 and an 8 year old- they both have enjoyed Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and Homer Price as well as Pipi Longstocking. We are now on Farmer Boy by Laura I Wilder- they are eager to try popcorn with apples! Thanks for all the other recommendations.

    • Haley says

      Great recommendations! I loved Mrs. Frisby. And my son is ALMOST ready to sit still enough to listen to the Little House books. I can’t wait to dive in!

  17. Liz says

    Yes! The Ranger’s Apprentice totally grabbed my sons attention! I read all ten books to him at bedtime over the span of a year when he was in 2nd grade. He has since read the series to himself twice (he’s now in 6th grade). Such wonderful lessons for young boys with the perfect amount of humor and action.

    I also recommend Ender’s Game and Ender’s Shadow. Both my oldest (20) and youngest (11) loved these books. I read them to both when they were about 6 or 7 and they both read them again a few time on their own.

    My youngest was not the type of kid who liked to read or be read to when he was younger so we stayed with simpler shorter stories longer than we did with his brother. The series that really got reading into his bones was The Time Warp Trio. These simplify classics down to child friendly reads and seem to really draw boys in. To name just a couple: The Knights of the Kitchen Table, Tut Tut, Your Mother was a Neaderthal, and a bunch more.

  18. Kathryn Coe says

    We loved: Narnia, Ranger’s Apprentice series, LOTR, Potter, & Redwall series. For younger boys that aren’t quite ready for 200+ pages: Encyclopedia Brown and Hank the Cow Dog are both engaging series.

    • Haley says

      I loved the Redwall books and have just started reading them to Benjamin! And I remember Encyclopedia Brown from my childhood 🙂

  19. says

    Ditto on Where the Red Fern Grows–excellent! The Boxcar Children also captivated our kids, although we got a little tired of it after book 6, and the boy characters are quite responsible as well as being very real. They loved Farmer Boy.

    Definitely Swiss Family Robinson! Adventure, morals, family, everything!

    Now we’re exploring the Viking Quest series and the Jungle Doctor series and they seem to like them too.

    We had to “train” the kids to sit and listen longer. In the daytime, we let the boys play with a few legos quietly and it seems to actually help them pay attention. At night, we snuggle everyone in bed and they are already set to be quiet and listening is better than lights out. Knowing the story ahead of time and being able to use voice and inflection also helped.

    • Haley says

      Ok, I just love your legos idea. Benjamin desperately needs something to do with his hands at all times, haha. And I’m thinking about starting him out with some Farmer Boy. We tried to get through all of Little House in the Big Woods, but he wasn’t quite ready for it a couple months ago. His attention span has increased, though and maybe reading about a little boy would help,too. I’m gonna try it!

  20. Michele says

    Summer of the Monkeys is one of my favorite all time books for boys. Swiss Family Robinson as well. And don’t forget Little Britches!!

  21. Mandie says

    I’m going to second Prydain. A major theme of the series is “what is honor and how do you get it?” Taran is both an orphan with no parents, and an assistant pig-keeper (he’d much rather be a knight or a prince – at least at the beginning). So there is some of the same dynamic you mentioned with LOTR – about doing the task he’s given faithfully, even if it’s not the most glamorous job.

    Another series I love is the Queen’s Thief series by Megen W. Turner.

    And for little boys, don’t forget the classics like Peter and the Wolf, The Brave Little Tailor, Jack and the Beanstalk, and The Steadfast Tin Soldier.

  22. Kelsey says

    I think The Giver is great. Also Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and the Glass Elevator.

    My husband said anything by Shel Silverstein was a must have when he was younger, especially Where The Sidewalk Ends.

  23. Kara says

    April Morning by Howard Fast for boys or even girls is a great look at growing up quickly during the American Revolution. I read it in high school and it changed the way I looked at books. I became an avid reader after finishing it.

  24. Caleb says

    Bridge to Terebithia
    The Giver (and Messenger)
    Don Quixote
    The Aeneid
    Hunchback of Notre Dame
    Faerie Queen (at least book 1)
    Song of Roland

  25. says

    First, a word of warning about the Three Musketeers — the full version is mainly about how all four (yeah, they are actually four) all maneuver their way into as many women’s beds as they can conveniently get away with….they are pretty poor role-models. 😛

    And, after I saw someone had mentioned it, I wanted to give a shout out to the Redwall books by the late, great, Brian Jacques. — for BOTH boys and girls — strong, awesome characters of both genders populate that world. A world that deals with love, live, sacrifice, good, evil, friendship…… and some very good feasts. 😀 I grew up on those books, and I’m still in love with them.

  26. MattC. says

    Thanks so much for this blog. I’ve really enjoyed your book lists. My wife and I don’t have any kids yet, but this list and the one you wrote for girls makes me excited for the day when I’ll get to read them to my own kids. I would also like to recommend “The Bears of Blue River” by Charles Major. It’s not as well known as some of the others, but it’s about a young boy living on the frontier with his family and dealing with the adventures and dangers of frontier life. Specifically dealings with bears (hence the title). My fourth grade teacher read it to my class and I have loved it ever since. One other suggestion would be “My Side of the Mountain” by Jean Craighead George. It’s about a boy who runs away from home and lives in a hollowed out tree in the Catskill Mountains. He teaches himself how to live off of the wilderness and there are a lot of cool pictures that show how he makes his own slide whistles, fish hooks, snares, and much more. As a kid I loved this book like crazy. I tried to make all the stuff he talked about. None of my stuff worked really well, but I loved trying. It’s a great book for all boys to read.

  27. Autumn says

    I love your list. I’ve read all of these and everything on the girl’s list too. I have a three year old son who’s not the best at sitting and listening, but we’re working up to longer stories all the time. I also have five nieces who I’ll be recommending books too, especially the oldest who is getting tired of all the princess and Barbie movies and books that my sister keeps around. I’d also like to suggest for parents to read “A Jane Austen Education” by William Deresiewicz. It’s a great book, that does an amazing job of explaining the life lessons that are taught in each of Austen’s books.

  28. Heather says

    Just want to second “Little Britches” since it was only mentioned briefly in one of the comments. I read this book a few years ago and LOVED it. So many wonderful lessons…just waiting for my five-year-old to get a tad older before we start it. It’s said to be “Little House” for boys. Don’t miss this one!!

    • Haley says

      Thanks for the suggestion! I haven’t acquired Little Britches yet, but I keep meaning to pick it up at the library and see if it’s a hit!

    • says

      Little Britches is the first of a series, and all of them are terrific boy books. They are true stories as well, which makes them even better! Our family of all girls loved them and still re-read them, so I would definitely give these a go.

  29. Kathryn says

    You should read “Around the World in 80 Days” by Jules Verne. I named my son Phileas for the amazing hero Phileas Fogg.

  30. Tiffany says

    This is an awesome list. The evil realm of video games entered our house long ago via unknowing parents and relatives. I limit them a lot, but I need to limit them more and encourage (require) more reading of my wee bairns.

    I recommend The Whipping Boy. There are such good lessons in that book. It is relatively short. My son {one of them} read it when he was 7, I think, and he loved it. I so very much enjoy your blog, by the way!

  31. Desarae says

    This year I finished reading The Ranger’s Apprentice series by John Flannagan. It’s an amazing series from start to finish. I believe it was written for about a twelve year old reading level. This makes it very clear and and easy to read, but it is still engaging and funny. I can’t wait to read them to my boys who are 6 and 7!

  32. says

    Just landed here in a roundabout way, but so enjoyed your post and the one for daughters. I have three boys and my contribution would be not to rush into chapter books—-there are great and beautiful picture books to be enjoyed and your son will outgrown them so soon. Relish as many as you can (I’m keen on Oliver Jeffries’s books).
    We started with Charlotte’s Web, and I felt terrible as we neared the end but it was such a gift to talk about that book together—to begin those hard conversations about loss and grief in such a nonthreatening way. Love that book even more now.
    The Secret Garden—Dixon was a hero to my sons, and boys after age 9 wouldn’t be caught near this kind of book so you have to take advantage of their age and how much they love reading anything while snuggled up next to you. I’d recommend me this at age 6—Mary is such a dry pill and then…she’s not! A great story about transformation and personal responsibility.
    Farmer Boy gave my boys a better perspective of how easy they have it with their few chores.
    When they become more independent readers, The Mysterious Benedict Society is a great series. Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. And the series I loved as a child, I loved even more as I listened to my sons read them aloud as their first books: Frog & Toad.

  33. Savannah says

    I love both your lists for girls and boys and can’t wait to read books off both of them to my four year old girl. Can I add a few though? When I was younger I loved anything by Roald Dahl. The Witches, the Bfg, and Charlie and the chocolate factory are smashing. Also, The Princess Bride is another one I can’t wait to read to my daughter when she’s a bit older and understands it better. Keep up the good work!

  34. C. Bramble says

    Kudos for including this list of books for boys! I am a mom to a boy and a girl and it does seem that boys tend to be left out. If I could add The Hobbit. My 10-year-old son got a copy for Christmas and it has been a delightful treat!

  35. Kara says

    For a young boy, Pinnochio by Carlo Collodi, especially the edition illustrated by Roberto Innocenti.

    Kara, a kindred spirit in Central Texas

  36. Step13 says

    I gotta say Where the Red Fern Grows, and My Side of the Mountain, those two books are why my brother reads today, and I also loved them both. WRFG is about a boy and his hunting dogs, but it is about working for what you want, doing what is right, sacrifice, and love of family and friends. Also MySM is about man vs. nature, and it’s really good. =)

  37. Greg says

    This will probably be a few years off yet, but The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt is an amazing book to inspire boys and men to live life vigorously and on purpose! Teddy barely survived childhood and his parents were told he would spend his life sickly and weak. I guess he never got the message.

  38. MimiT says

    I always loved a selection of book my mother got through Bethlehem books- my brothers didn’t always get into reading, but I DEVOURED the boy’s stories of adventure!
    Allen French has a good selection- The Red Keep, The Lost Baron, Wolf and the Viking Bow…and, as I reread one of them last week, just for fun, I realized that the girl characters in these are pretty good too!
    Another series I recommend is Midshipman Quinn – you get pirates, highway men, spies… but mainly, you get a good example of using one’s intellect, what honor is supposed to look like, and it also features a girl of resourcefulness and bravery along side the hero!

  39. Kristen says

    Great list I just stumbled upon! My son is only 8 months, but I hope he will love reading as much as I do.

    I also want to endorse the Redwall series. I loved them, and so did my younger brother, who was never much of a reader. My brother does like Jane Austen though, so it definitely can be for boys!

    • Haley says

      Oh Redwall is great! I tried to start them last year with my son and he wasn’t quite ready for them. Maybe this fall! I’m dying to re-read them 🙂

  40. Mara says

    Has anyone mentioned My Father’s Dragon and the subsequent books in the series? Those are lots of fun as early chapter-book read-alouds. If your son is about 4 or 5 he may enjoy them now.

  41. Christina says

    Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder A must read for little boys. We have read it many times with our son and daughters.

  42. kiki says

    Hi just left a message on the girls’ reading list and came over here to see what was on offer! I was a children’s librarian for some years and got the chance to read some excellent books. I wholeheartedly endorse My side of the mountain and Hatchet as awesome coming of age books, excellent adventure stories. I love Jenny Nimmo and have read the Charlie Bone series to my two boys ( weirdly enough similar to Harry Potter but written before HP!) I also love the Snow Spider Trilogy. I also agree with Bridge to Terebithia. There was a great one called Someone was Watching, can’t remember the author which was unputdownable! Read it in one day!! Beverley Cleary’s series about The mouse and the motorbike(?) is such fun for the slightly younger reader. The “how to train your dragon’ series is such fun too although the writing is not always consistantly good, no offence intended. The Dark id Rising trilogy is wonderful and my best for the older boys is Ursula le Guin’s Wizard of Earthsea!!!! Thanks again for your interesting blog, and as the list of boys books is shorter than the girls I will be revisiting and leaving you some more of my favourites, whether you want them or not lol!!

  43. says

    I’m 50 and my daughters are 15, 15 and 18 so I don’t really fit into this category at all but I have read and loved almost all the books on your list. The Once and Future King is one of my all time favourites.

    Others you might like to look at are Goodnight Mr Tom, anything at all by Michael Morpurgo, Tom’s Midnight Garden, Stig of the Dump, The Silver Sword, The Little Grey Men, The King of the Copper Mountain, anything by George MacDonald, Skellig, The Box of Delights, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase.

    Oh I could go on and on 🙂 I might have to go and re-read some of them myself.

  44. says

    Combine your two reading lists. They are both fabulous lists, but I think girls can benefit just as much from the books on this list as the boys can from things like Anne of Green Gables. It sounds a little odd at first, I’ll give you that, but think about it like this. Your son is a small one now, but someday he will be a man in a society that says men are logical and understandable but women are emotional and irrational. How best to dispel this myth for him and to help him understand our differences and how that makes marriages stronger than to give him books written from a reliable female point of view. We may have different ways of discussing the same hardships, but that’s a human thing, not just a gender thing. Also, sometimes a girl just needs to read about epic battles and dragons and even bears.

    Oh, also, I don’t know if you’ve read it or heard of it, but my mom read Up a Road Slowly to me as a child. I can’t for the life of me remember the author’s name at the moment but it’s the same author as Across Five Aprils. Great books.

  45. Melody says

    ‘The Boxcar Children’ series. They’re paperbacks so easy to get through. My husband is obsessed with buying the entire collection (over 150 titles apparently). Thats how much of an impact those books had on his childhood. Ive never read them but I keep meaning to since we own so many..

    ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar – That is the #1 book from the year 2000 when I discovered that book when I was 11. Perfect book for the perfect age group. The characters are all preteen boys and the only evil character is a woman BUT that said, it is a fantastic book. Dark humour, themes of dealing with injustice, family history and digging holes in the desert to find answers in your life lol.

    The very first book my mother read to me was the Hobbit at age five. Thats what started it all for me. Although some may call it trashy tween reading I was also obsessed with ‘The Babysitters Club’ and ‘Animorph’ series. Im not saying its a high classic literature but I believe reading those books gave me an unprecedented endurance for reading bigger chapter books later on. Immediately after reading those books I found paperbacks too short and I moved onto classics. By age 13 I was reading LoTR, Jane Austen, Bronte, Alexandre Dumas anything with an interesting plot. My love for historical novels turned me into a major history nerd. Phillipa Gregory and Edward Rutherford got me reading english history textbooks for fun. Dostoyofsky got me reading russian history. Dumas and Victor Hugo got me reading French history and so on. Now I read biographies as an adult and I still love it. Ive almost finished reading the bible in its entirety but I realized halfway through I wouldn’t understand what I was reading til I read up on ancient Mesopotamian, Greek, Persian, Maccabean and Roman history.

  46. Dan H. says

    Great list. You accidentally left out the best books of all, though. I kid you, but Ender’s Game and the entire series with Ender, Bean, Peter, Valentine and Petra is amazing. My son and I listened to the audiobooks when he was 9.


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