Best Books for Boys

Books for Middle Readers

Many readers come into their own in the early elementary grades as they master the basics of language arts. They develop their own interests and read about them voraciously. It's also common for boys this age to return to favorite titles over and over.

But other boys start to turn away from books at this age, frustrated by the difficulty of deciphering text-heavy tomes. If you find your son losing interest in reading, try some tips to encourage him. If he has outgrown the content of easy readers but isn’t comfortable reading a longer chapter book, borrow some good audiobooks from your local library (many of the titles below are available on CD). Sometimes falling under the spell of a great book provides boys with the motivation they need to keep reading.

Don't feel bound by these suggested age ranges. Boys will read age-appropriate books in school; let your son choose the titles he loves for pleasure reading. Reading books below his reading level may help a struggling boy build the confidence he needs to tackle new titles.

A word about selection: you may be surprised not to find classics like Huckleberry Finn or popular titles like Harry Potter listed here. Although these are wonderful books, they aren't included because many parents are already familiar with them. If you have a cherished childhood classic, be sure to share it with the boy in your life. He'll feel more connected to you when he knows what you read at his age.


The Adventures of Captain Underpants: An Epic Novel Book CoverThe Adventures of Captain Underpants: An Epic Novel (series)
by Dave Pilkey

Pilkey combines two of boys’ favorite preoccupations — superheroes and potty humor — in this popular series. Gross can be good if it inspires a lifelong love of reading, so join George and Harold for these underwear adventures. (Ages 9-12)

Laugh-eteria Book CoverLaugh-eteria
by Douglas Florian

You and your child will laugh out loud at Florian's outrageous poems. Simple pen-and-ink drawings help make these hysterical poems come to life. If your child enjoys this collection, try Florian's other collections, including Bing Bang Boing and Insectlopedia. (Ages 7–9)

Sideways Stories from the Wayside School Book CoverSideways Stories from the Wayside School (series)
by Louis Sacher

There had been a terrible mistake. Wayside School wasn’t supposed to be built with thirty classrooms one on top of the other ... thirty stories tall! (The builder said he was very sorry.) That may be why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside School ... especially on the thirteenth floor. (Ages 59)


It's Disgusting and We Ate It!: True Food Facts From Around the World and Throughout History Book CoverIt's Disgusting and We Ate It!: True Food Facts From Around the World and Throughout History
by James Solheim

This book is filled with outrageous stories, facts, and fascinating tidbits about food from around the world. If your child has an interest in unique historical facts, this is the book for him. (Ages 69)

Radio Rescue Book CoverRadio Rescue
by Lynne Barasch

Detailed illustrations present facts about Morse code in this book. Information is skillfully integrated into the exciting, true story of Robert Marx, a 10-year-old boy who becomes an amateur radio operator and saves a family stranded by a hurricane in Florida. (Ages 59)

Odd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein Book CoverOdd Boy Out: Young Albert Einstein
by Don Brown

One of the greatest thinkers of our time, Albert Einstein starts out life as different and set apart from others. From early on, Einstein perceives mysteries that challenge his active mind for solutions. The book makes a case for accepting differences, even of someone with an exceptional intellect. (Ages 6–8)

Boys of Steel: The Creators of Superman Book CoverBoys of Steel: The Creators of Superman
by Marc Tyler Nobleman

Boys of Steel, an all-ages picture book, is the first-ever standalone biography of writer Jerry Siegel and artist Joe Shuster, the two young men who dreamed up the world's first superhero. The story is both inspirational and cautionary in that it encourages creativity and also protecting one's ideas. (Ages 6–10)


Oliver's Game Book CoverOliver's Game
by Matt Tavares

Oliver finds a Chicago Cubs uniform in his grandfather's closet, and his grandfather tells him how his dream of playing for the Cubs was interrupted by the onset of World War II. Unable to play when he returned from the war, Oliver’s grandfather came to realize that the baseball experience is about more than just the players on the field. (Ages 6–9)

Baseball Saved Us Book CoverBaseball Saved Us
by Ken Mochizuki

Children will love this moving tale in which hope triumphs over evil. In this picture book, a young boy tells the story of his parents' internment in a camp for Japanese Americans in 1942. Despite the deplorable conditions in the camp, the prisoners use an improvised baseball game to keep their hope alive. (Ages 7–9)

Yang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear Book CoverYang the Youngest and His Terrible Ear
by Lensey Namioka

Yingtao is the only one in his family with no musical talent. His father, however, insists that he continues to play the violin. How will he survive daily music lessons and recitals when all he really wants to do is play baseball, his true, natural talent? (Ages 812)

Kickoff! Book CoverKickoff! (series)
by Tiki and Ronde Barber

Inspired by the childhood of NFL superstars Tiki and Ronde Barber, Kickoff! is a story of teamwork, perseverance and what it takes to be a champion. (Ages 9–12)

Animals and Nature

Insectlopedia: Poems and Paintings Book CoverInsectlopedia: Poems and Paintings
by Douglas Florian

These creative poems and colorful paintings about spiders, worms and other creepy-crawly critters will delight and inform both young and old readers. If your child enjoys this poetry collection by Douglas Florian, he might also like Beast Feast and In the Swim. (Ages 5-9)

Slinky, Scaly Snakes Book CoverSlinky, Scaly Snakes (DK Readers: Level 2: Beginning to Read Alone)
by Jennifer A. Dussling

For those fascinated with snakes, this book describes how snakes from around the world are well adapted to fulfill their needs for food and protection. (Ages 6–8)

Mystery and Adventure

Nate the Great and the Mushy Valentine Book CoverNate the Great and the Mushy Valentine (series)
by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat

Nate has a new case to solve: who left his dog, Sludge, a mushy valentine heart? Early readers won't be able to put down this book until Nate solves this tricky mystery. (Ages 6-8)

Owen Foote, Frontiersman Book CoverOwen Foote, Frontiersman
by Stephanie Greene

Two second-grade boys build a tree-house fort that becomes the headquarters for their adventures in the woods. Their hero, Daniel Boone, inspires their bravery in the face of real-life bullies. The two friends protect their fort and conquer their fears in the process. (Ages 79)

Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye Book CoverLost Treasure of the Emerald Eye (series)
by Geronimo Stilton

Meet Geronimo Stilton, the mouse editor of The Rodent’s Gazette. Even reluctant readers love these whisker-licking stories as much for the rollicking adventures as for the eye-catching graphics and pop-culture references. (Ages 7–12)


Knights of the Kitchen Table Book CoverKnights of the Kitchen Table (Time Warp Trio, Volume 1) (series)
by Jon Scieszka

Disappointed Joe can't believe his magician uncle gave him a smelly old book for his birthday. However, his attitude changes when the book sends him back to the time of King Arthur with his friends Sam and Fred. Other great books for children in the Time Warp series include Sam Samurai and Tut, Tut. (Ages 7–9)

The Whipping Boy Book CoverThe Whipping Boy
by Sid Fleischman

Prince Brat, the world's most rotten child, and his whipping boy, Jemmy, run away from the castle, only to be caught by two rough characters in the forest. Young readers will enjoy finding out how they gain their freedom as friendship develops in unexpected places. Newbery Medal, 1987 (Ages 8–10)

Poetry and Wordplay

Where the Sidewalk Ends Book CoverWhere the Sidewalk Ends
by Shel Silverstein

Shel Silverstein illustrates his own humorous poems about a range of topics, from not wanting to go to school to arguing with siblings. Silverstein's poems address issues that children really care about. (Ages 6–12)

Winter's Eyes Book CoverWinter's Eyes
by Douglas Florian

Winter’s Eyes is a beautifully illustrated collection of poems about winter. Each poem celebrates some aspect of winter such as sledding, icicles, woolen socks, and the mood of a blustery day. Your child is bound to find at least one poem that introduces him to the joys of a snowy winter or reminds him of a favorite winter activity. (Ages 5–8)

Feelings and Relationships

Dog Friday Book CoverDog Friday
by Hilary McKay

Ten-year-old Robin is terrified of dogs and is desperately trying to overcome his fear. His courage is put to the test when a new family with a dog moves in next door. (Ages 8–12)

Shiloh Book CoverShiloh
by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Marty Preston finds himself in a world of trouble when he takes in a mistreated beagle puppy. To make matters worse, the puppy belongs to the unfriendly and armed next-door neighbor. If your young reader loves animals and stories about courage and conflict, he will adore the award-winning Shiloh. Newbery Medal, 1992 (Ages 812)

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing Book CoverTales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
by Judy Blume

Fourth grader Peter Hatcher's biggest problem is his little brother, Farley Drexel Hatcher, also known as Fudge. Fudge gets into Peter's belongings and causes all kinds of trouble in the Hatcher home. Children love finding out about Fudge's antics, and those with siblings can likely relate to the relationship between the brothers. Sequels to this book include Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, and Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. (Ages 8–12)

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