Seventeen Highly Recommended Books for Boys

Henkes, Kevin. Chester's Way. 1988. Greenwillow. Ages 3-7.
The mouse Lilly is one of the bravest, most flamboyant young females around. She rescues her friends from bullies, teaches them how to do wheelies, and always carries a loaded squirt gun. Everyone should meet her!

Pinkney, Brian. The Adventures of Sparrowboy. 1997. Simon & Schuster. Ages 3-7.
In this quick-moving story, a paperboy flies through the air on his bicycle and swoops down to do good deeds. The award-winning artwork uses comic book techniques to add excitement to the story.

Hoffman, Mary. Henry's Baby. 1993. Dorling Kindersley. Ages 3-8.
Henry wants his new friends at school to regard him as, "Tough. Cool. Interesting." He is embarrassed to be seen with his adoring baby brother, until he realizes that his friends think babies are fun.

Kellogg, Steven. The Mysterious Tadpole. 1977. Viking, Dutton. Ages 3-8.
When Louis gets a tadpole from his uncle in Scotland, he never expects it to outgrow a jar, much less the family's bathtub. To keep his beloved pet, Louis has to come up with a place big enough to hold him. Zany pictures suit this popular fantasy.

Lobel, Arnold. Days with Frog and Toad. 1979. Harper. Ages 3-8.
Every child should get to know Frog and Toad. Five short chapters, beautifully illustrated in greens and browns, tell funny, touching incidents about these two friends. One in a series of four outstanding books.

Rylant, Cynthia. Henry and Mudge. 1987. Bradbury, Aladdin. Ages 3-8.
When Henry's parents agree to let him get a dog, the irresistible puppy Mudge enters their lives. Henry and the increasingly huge Mudge have small adventures and come to be best friends. The first in a long, wonderful series.

Jukes, Mavis. Like Jake and Me. 1984. Knopf. Ages 5-10. Alex admires his strong, cowboy-like stepfather Jake, and wishes he could be more like him. To the boy's surprise, he finds out that Jake is afraid of something that Alex himself isn't afraid of: spiders. Beautifully written and illustrated with warmth and humor.

Scieszka, Jon. Knights of the Kitchen Table. 1991. Viking. Ages 7-ll.
This lively book combines adventure, magic, slapstick humor, and droll illustrations to appeal to even the most reluctant readers. Three boys use a magical book to travel back in time and confront a knight, a giant and a dragon. Readers will laugh their way through this and the other books in the "Time Warp Trio" series.

Soto, Gary. The Pool Party. 1993. Delacorte. Ages 8-12.
Ten-year-old Rudy Herrera, whose tight-knit family lives in Fresno, California, knows how to have a good time, whether he is helping with the family's yard work business or hanging out with his best friend Alex. Laced with Spanish phrases, this is a warm, funny book about an engaging boy. -2-

Peet, Bill. Bill Peet: An Autobiography. 1989. Houghton. Ages 8-12.
Children's book illustrator Bill Peet has created an award-winning autobiography by combining a conversational text with energetic, often comical, illustrations. In describing his work as a Disney animator, the pictures include many characters from popular films. With pictures on every page, this is an unusually appealing biography.

McKay, Hilary. Dog Friday. 1995. McElderry, Aladdin. Ages 9-12.
Robin Brogan goes from being afraid of dogs, after one attacks him, to befriending a stray dog that he hopes to keep. While he is waiting anxiously to hear if anyone claims the stray, Robin's quiet life with his mother is disrupted by the hilarious family who moves in next door.

Shannon, George. Stories to Solve. 1985. Greenwillow, Beechtree. Ages 9-12.
Few children can resist the lure of the mini-mysteries in this entertaining folklore book. Each of the fourteen short stories gives the reader a puzzle to solve, then provides the answer on the following page. Readers can stretch their minds, then pose the puzzles to their friends. Great fun.

Alexander, Lloyd. The Book of Three. 1964. Holt, Dell. Ages 9-12.
In this modern classic, an assistant pig-keeper named Taran longs to be a hero. He leaves his home with a kind enchanter to go on a great adventure where he fights battles, makes unlikely friends, and changes his views on heroism. The first in a wonderful fantasy series.

Brandenberg, Jim. To the Top of the World: Adventures with Arctic Wolves. 1993. Walker. Ages 9-13.
Spectacular photographs of an Arctic wolf pack give this memorable book wide appeal. Brandenberg's highly readable text tells the story of his months camping in the Arctic to photograph the wolves. A fascinating nature book.

Mazer, Harry. The Last Mission. 1979. Dell. Ages 12-14.
Jack Raab, who is fifteen years old and Jewish, lies about his age to join the Army during the Second World War. He ends up in the air corps, flying dangerous missions over Europe. Sympathetic characters, vivid descriptions, and an action-filled plot make this a popular novel with boys.

Crutcher, Chris. Ironman. 1995. Greenwillow, Dell. Ages 13-14.
In this powerful story, high school senior Bo Brewster channels part of his anger at his unreasonable father into practicing for a triathlon. Forced to take an Anger Management class, Bo finds a caring teacher, a possible romance, and some strange new friends who help him through hard times.

Beals, Melba Pattillo. Warriors Don't Cry. 1995 abridged edition. Pocket. Ages 13-14.
Beals, one of the nine African-American students to integrate Little Rock's Central High School in 1957, describes the dangers and hate that the students faced, and conveys the extraordinary courage of those who strove for justice. A compelling story about our country's history that all teenagers should know.

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