Where are all the books for young boys? Seriously, where are they? As the mother of a young boy, I have been shocked at the lack of books, especially diverse books, for young boys. It gives me the same feelings I have whenever I try to shop for my son’s clothing. Enter the kids section and there are endless rows and aisles for girls, carrying everything from tops, bottoms, shoes, accessories and more, but step over into the boy section and you see one or two aisles, maybe a shelf. The options are usually not that exciting and are very limited. With this reality, it is no wonder that we have so many boys who don’t see reading as something for them. There simply aren’t enough books for young boys.
This problem with books for young books is not new. I have been an educator for 16 years and for the majority of that time I have worked, designed and participated in literacy and reading initiatives. The schools where I have worked serve students who receive free and reduced meals and who typically do not have great exposure to books and reading before coming to school. Knowing this, I am especially determined to provide these students with high quality books. It is just a much greater challenge when locating books for young boys.
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Best Books for Young Boys
When people think about the best books for young boys, certain titles and topics come to mind. They think of animal, adventure, sport or even science books. Boys, unfortunately, get stuck in one “reading box” and sometimes don’t get to truly pick and read the types of books that they’re interested in. This is a huge problem because it directly affects the feelings that young boys have about books and reading.
The topic of finding good books for young boys is even more important to me now because of my son. I have noticed that his reading interests are almost limitless. We have books on sport stars, animals, comic and tv characters, space, different cultures and places, food and the list goes on and on. He enjoys books with rhyme and without rhyme and for the most part I do not try to steer him in one way or another. If you’re looking for advice on the best books for young boys, here is my answer. The best book for a young boy is one that he will enjoy reading and that will help him to develop a positive relationship with books and reading.
What are some good books for young boys?
Now, that being said, if you’re not a teacher, a new teacher, a first time parent or maybe had girls before then you may be truly struggling to find good books for boys. In that case, I’m happy to give you some ideas of good starting points.
How to find good books for young boys?
If you need help finding books for young books here are some tips that you can use.
First, speak to your child. Make sure you have a solid understanding of things they like and ask them what they think they might want to read about.
Next, take your child to local bookstores or the library and let them look at and look into different books. Do not go out buying books without doing research. Your child may not like them and then you will be stuck with books and be out of money.
Ask librarians or teachers, in your child’s age group, for recommendations. If the person you speak with is not familiar with your child, be sure to share a little about your child’s interests. When my son and I first started going to our local library, he was a huge fan of the tv series Puppy Dog Pals, so we were encouraged to get books on dogs and animals and rhyming books to help him learn new words. I remember rereading Go Do Go, Paw Patrol and Puppy Dog Pals books over and over because that is what he was enjoying at the time.
Be patient with yourself and your child. Finding good books, especially good books for boys can take some time, but it is so worthwhile in the end.
As my son got older, my opinion on good books for boys changed slightly. We started to include more non rhyming books and also mixed in more non-fiction because he started to become curious about animals like squirrels, turtles and birds because of our morning walks. He also had questions about people, buildings and many other topics, so it made sense to both of us to make that transition.
So, again my answer when it comes to picking the best book for young boys and good books for boys is to involve them in the decision making process. Start out in a library or other space where your child can see and feel the book, help them to look at the picture and read the summary (on the back of the book) to them to give them an idea of what the book is about. Then, start choosing and reading some of those books.
Your child or children’s opinion on good books and the best books, will change, for both boys and girls and you should be prepared to embrace and encourage those changes with them.
Good Books for Boys
If you are dealing with older boys the question of good books for boys becomes trickier, but the added benefit is that when they are older they may have specific interests and you can use this as a guide to help you in choosing or helping them choose good books for boys. For example, as an elementary teacher, I interview all of my students ( second through fifth grade) at the beginning of the year with an interest survey. That survey helps me to take a snapshot of my students’ interests and to make good decisions about the types of books they will enjoy. I also make a habit of asking them about past reading: What authors do they like reading? What types of books have they enjoyed before and also What books they did not enjoy. I will be honest this is more difficult with my boy readers than my girl readers.
Why is it more difficult to find good books for boys? Well, often it has to do with their approach and feelings about reading. My girl readers are usually more talkative and have a positive attitude about reading while my boy readers are more withdrawn and mostly have negative attitudes about reading. Now, this is not always the case. I have had several avid boy readers who devour books and love reading, but unfortunately they are usually the exceptions to the rule. In most cases, my boy readers, especially older boys, see reading as a chore, a box to check and something to complete so they can get to do the things they really enjoy. Here are some additional things that you can do to help boy readers to find good books for boys.
More Tips to Find Good Books for Young Boys
5. Make them a big part of the book selection process
6. Read with them in groups and one on one
7. Have book talks
8. Give them opportunities to write about their reading
10. Suggest books for them to read on topics they enjoy
11. Model how to choose good books and how yo read and enjoy them
These strategies to help boy readers find good books are not foolproof, but they will drastically help break down some of the walls that some boys have built with negative feelings about reading. It will also help you, as their parent and teacher, to bond around the topic of reading and give them a safe space to seek and get help with finding and enjoying good books.
What are the best or some good book series for young boys?
I have been seeking the answer to the question” What are the best or some good book series for young boys?” for quite some time. Honestly, the answer also depends on how we’re defining young boys, too. I try to keep my classroom and personal libraries stocked with good book series, so that once a student is hooked they can keep the momentum going. Some of the most highly liked and checked out books for young boys have been:
Books on Superheroes: Avengers, Batman, Black Panther
Elephant and Piggie
Pete the Cat
Who Would Win
Gordon Korman series (Swindle, Notorious...)
Wings of Fire
National Geographic Animal and Biography sets
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
A to Z Mysteries
Mike Lupica books
My Life as...
The Bad Guys
The Last Kids on Earth
Books for Reluctant Boy Readers
One of the most difficult challenges that I’ve run into as a teacher, thankfully not as yet as a parent, is the problem of finding books for reluctant boy readers. Thankfully, the tips I have mentioned before are not only good to identify good and some of the best books for young boys, but they also help with reluctant readers. The tip I would most highly recommend is getting to know your “would be” boy reader, finding out about their interests and working together as a team to find good books.
I can plainly remember some of my most challenging experiences trying to find books for reluctant boy readers in first through fifth grade. “I don’t like to read” became some of my most dreaded words as a reading teacher. Early in my career, it would discourage me . As I worked to find a solution, it became less intimidating. Even the most reluctant boy readers have something they love and want to learn more about and as long as you can identify that interest or those interests, you will have an opening to help them become readers.
Now, I will warn you about another possible negative when finding books for reluctant readers, they get obsessed with one particular book or series and then shut down again when they have completed it. This is another rookie mistake that I made early on, but then I learned to find not only one book or series, but several that were within the same category or genre so those students would have access to several books that they could enjoy. This way you can have a surplus of books to recommend or provide for your reluctant boy readers.
Books for Diverse Boy Readers
Another issue that has occurred as I’ve tried to find good books for young boys is the lack of diverse books. Diverse books cover a lot of umbrellas, including books that feature main characters who are not white or animals, books that feature children with disabilities, books that share information about a variety of cultures and places . One example of diverse books for boy readers, which is of specific importance to me, is books that weren’t just about sports. I pride myself on being well rounded in the reading opportunities that I present to students and I also believe it is very important that they see themselves represented well and are also exposed to realities or experiences that are different from their own.
If you are like me in this respect and want to find and add more books for diverse boy readers, here are some titles that you can consider:
Becoming Muhammad Ali
Elijah of Buxton
Last Stop on Market Street
8. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
9. Bud, Not Buddy
10. The Watsons Go to Birmingham
Books for Boys Aged 5
An even more interesting issue that I have been facing, as a mom, is finding books for boys aged 5, since that is my son’s current age. He is in a prime stage to develop a solid background in reading and I want to expose him to books that are diverse, expand his vocabulary, are interesting and showcase boys in a positive light. So far, we have discovered that he is still very interested in books about animals and about characters having experiences similar to his own. He also likes books that are silly. Here are some examples of titles he has enjoyed and asks to reread frequently:
Pout Pout Fish Series
Never Touch A...series
How Do Dinosaurs
I Love You Forever
I Love You Stinky Face
Good Night Moon
Ten Apples on Top
Hop on Pop
Books for Young Boys: I Love a Good Book
Because of the issues I have had trying to find good books for young boys in my classes and the difficulty finding books for my own son, I have written a book and started a series for boys. The first book in the series is called I Love a Good Book and is a story about a young boy who loves books. He loves reading books with his dad, mom and grandmother, but he has a secret. Can you guess what it is?!
I Love a Good Book and the other books in the series will feature diverse boys and also diverse experiences for boys. Each book will portray boys in a positive light. One of the main goals of I Love a Good Book and the other books in the series is to help to develop a love of books and promote early literacy in young boys.
Interested in learning more about the series and want to know how to order your copy/copies of I Love a Good Book? Visit iloveagoodbook.com . The book also has an accompanying Coloring and Activity book to encourage children's growth in identifying patterns, numeracy and writing skills. Belong to a school, group or organization and interested in a bulk order of I Love a Good Book, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also purchase copies of I Love a Good Book, at a discounted cost, to be donated.
What is Kickstarter ?
Kickstarter is a preorder crowdfunding platform where supporters, called backers, can preorder creative products like books. Creatives, like authors, set a funding goal of how much money they need to bring their product to like and backers back a campaign by selecting the rewards they’d like to have. It is not a donation, but is a way to preorder new inventions or creations before they are available to others. If the campaign is successful and the funding goal is reached, backers’ cards are charged and then the rewards are mailed to backers, after they are complete. If the campaign is unsuccessful, the backers’ cards are not charged, the creator receives no funding and the rewards are not brought to life. As a reminder, I Love a Good Book will be available for preorder on iloveagoodbook.com from July 30th to July 29th. I’d love to have your support to increase the number of good books that are available for young boys, especially diverse books.
Before You Go
Don’t get discouraged if you are dealing with a reluctant boy reader or struggling to find good books for young boys. It can be tricky whether you’re a parent or teacher, but if you use the strategies I’ve mentioned above and listen to the child or children, you can help them to develop a lifelong love and positive relationship with books and reading. If you enjoyed this post and need additional mom or teacher tips, here are some of my most popular posts. If this post was helpful, as you find good books for young boys, please comment below and share it with any others who may be experiencing the same issues.