Read these comments before looking over the book list that follows:
For boys to become life-long readers, they need books that interest them as boys.
Even before children learn to read, they should acquire a love for books and this can be accomplished easily if parents are in the habit of reading aloud to their children. I encourage all parents to require their children to read (or be read to) for a specific length of time each day thus establishing the habit of reading. I read aloud to my sons even after they had acquired a healthy reading habit.
What books are worth your child’s time? With the following list, you will never have to wander through the library wondering which books would be good for your son(s).
Use these titles to create a permanent library for your boys to read again and again. (Then, consider giving the library to your first grandson).
You will find other titles under both the Literature and History sections in each of the Recommendations by Age/Grade drop-down menus.
Many of the titles are also available as audio books for the auditory learner among your boys.
The titles are grouped by age (recommended by the author or publisher). I consider these somewhat arbitrary groupings as even books written for the very young are treasured by adults (a good example is The Giving Tree)—some books are simply “ageless”. If your son does not like a particular book, don’t worry, as not every book interests every person.
I welcome feedback, especially if you believe I have left out one of your favorite boys’ books. Email me at ChrisDavis@PioneerHomeschooler.com.
Books for ages to 6 years old:
- The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. Since it was first published fifty years ago, Shel Silverstein’s poignant picture book for readers of all ages has offered a touching interpretation of the gift of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return.
- The Story of Ferdinand. “Ferdinand” is one of the best-loved children’s books of all time, and with good reason. This timeless tale of a little bull in Spain who doesn’t mind being different from the rest of the herd strikes an instant chord in youngsters and oldsters alike. Ferdinand is a gentle creature who would rather sit around and smell the flowers than butt his way through life; but when he planks himself down one day on a bumblebee, he gets a jolt that propels him into the bullring in Madrid. The story is funny and endearing, and the illustrations are hilarious. Generations of preschoolers have loved this book, and it looks good for generations to come.
- The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne. Happy 80th birthday, Pooh! The Bear of Very Little Brain and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood have delighted generations of readers since Winnie-the-Pooh was first published in 1926. This deluxe anniversary edition of Winnie-the-Pooh is the perfect way to celebrate the enduring popularity of A. A. Milne’s classic work. The interior features the unabridged text and Ernest H. Shepard’s charming illustrations in full color on cream-colored stock. It is an impressive package for new fans and collectors both. Three cheers for Pooh!
- Frog and Toad Storybook Treasury (I Can Read Book 2) by Arnold Lobel. From writing letters to going swimming, telling stories to finding lost buttons, Frog and Toad are always there for each other—just as best friends should be. A family favorite in our home for years.
- The Tale of Three Trees: A Traditional Folktale Featuring the wonderful illustrations of Tim Jonke, this best-selling children’s book tells the Easter story from a new and unusual point of view. Children will be deeply touched as they understand, perhaps for the first time, the significance of Christ’s life and his atoning sacrifice on the cross.
- The Prince’s Poison Cup by R.C. Sproll. When Ella gets sick and has to take yucky medicine, she wonders why something that will help her get well has to taste so bad. When she puts the question to Grandpa, he tells her the story of a great King and His subjects who enjoyed wonderful times together until the people rebelled against the King and drank from a forbidden well. To their horror, they found that the beautiful water in the well made their hearts turn to stone. To reclaim His people, the King asks His Son, the Prince, to drink from a well of horrid poison. The poison will surely kill the Prince but He is willing to drink it to please His Father and help His people. Richly illustrated, The Prince’s Poison Cup will help children appreciate the great love of God for His people and the awful price Jesus had to pay because of sin. A For Parents section provides assistance in unfolding the biblical elements of the story.
Books for ages 6+
- Nate the Great Collected Stories: Volume 1: Nate the Great; Nate the Great Goes Undercover; Nate the Great and the Halloween Hunt; Nate the Great and the Monster Mess by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat. Nate, with the cool detachment of a Sam Spade, immediately plunges into any new and baffling case. Getting all the facts, asking the right questions, narrowing down the suspects. Nate, the boy detective who “likes to work alone,” solves the mystery and tracks down the culprit. In the process he also discovers the whereabouts of Super Hex, the missing cat.
- The Absent Author (A to Z Mysteries) by Ron Roy. In the first book of the A to Z Mysteries—an early chapter book mystery series featuring strong boy and girl characters—Dink writes to his favorite author, mystery writer Wallis Wallace, and invites him to visit Green lawn. Wonder of wonders, Wallace says yes! In fact, the famous writers says the only way he won’t come is if he’s kidnapped. But when the big day comes, Wallis Wallace is nowhere to be found. The police think he just missed his plane, but Dink knows better. It’s up to Dink and his two best friends, Josh and Ruth Rose, to find Wallace – before it’s too late! Each book includes a map and a letter from the author. Parents, teachers, and librarians agree that these highly collectible chapter books are perfect for emerging readers and any kid who love mysteries!
- Mr. Putter & Tabby Pour the Tea by Cynthia Rylant. The gentle, affecting first volume introduces elderly Mr. Putter, who decides that a cat will keep him from feeling lonely. Rylant’s texts reflect admirable concern for brevity and meticulous consideration of every word. They are in perfect sync with Howard’s expressive sketches, which slip abundant visual jokes into sunny, transparent watercolors and gouaches, and fluid pencil and pastel scribbles.
- Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings by Shel Silverstein. From the outrageously funny to the quietly affecting — and touching on everything in between — here are poems and drawings that illuminate the remarkable world of the well-known folksinger, humorist and creator of The Giving Tree.
- A Light in the Attic Special Edition by Shel Silverstein. Here in the attic of Shel Silverstein you will find Backward Bill, Sour Face Ann, the Meehoo with an Exactlywatt, and the Polar Bear in the Frigidaire. You will talk with Broiled Face, and find out what happens when Somebody steals your knees, you get caught by the Quick-Digesting Gink, a Mountain snores, and They Put a Brassiere on the Camel. From the creator of the beloved poetry collections Where the Sidewalk Ends and Falling Up, here is another wondrous book of poems and drawings.
- The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo. The cherished Newbery Medal winner receives a stunning new treatment in a slipcased edition featuring 24 new full-color illustrations. The story of Despereaux Tilling —- a mouse in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea —- has enchanted children and adults around the globe. Now this instant classic by Kate DiCamillo, America’s beloved storyteller, takes on new life with the addition of twenty-four color illustrations by the incomparable Timothy Basil Ering, specially created for this collectible gift edition.
- The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame is an English classic loved by adults and children alike. Spend a season on the river bank and take a walk on the wild side…Spring is in the air and Mole has found a wonderful new world. There’s boating with Ratty, a feast with Badger and high jinx on the open road with that reckless ruffian, Mr Toad of Toad Hall. The four become the firmest of friends, but after Toad’s latest escapade, can they join together and beat the wretched weasels? Plus a behind-the-scenes journey, including author profile, a guide to who’s who, activities and more…Kenneth Graham (1859-1932) was born in Edinburgh, but grew up with relatives in Berkshire where he developed his love for the countryside surrounding the upper parts of the River Thames. He was educated at St Edward’s in Oxford, but instead of going on to Oxford University he joined the Bank of England, where he rose to become Secretary. He wrote several books including The Golden Age and Dream Days which includes the short story ‘The Reluctant Dragon’ (later made into a Disney movie). Kenneth Grahame developed the character of Toad in The Wind in the Willows to amuse his young son, Alistair. It was published in 1908 and still remains a best-loved children’s classic.
- The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling. The Jungle Book is a collection of fables by noted 19th century author, Rudyard Kipling. Drawing upon his own childhood in India, the tales collected in this whimsical volume concern the life of a young boy raised by wolves and his jungle companions, as well as other stories of animals which embody human virtues and vices. Kipling’s characters, including the boy Mowgli, the bear Baloo, the nefarious tiger Shere Khan, and the valiant mongoose Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, have inspired many adaptations, and continue to enchant new generations in these original stories.
Books for ages 8+
- Paddington Treasury (Paddington Bear) by Michael Bond. In 1958, the story of a little bear found in London’s Paddington Station wearing the sign “Please look after this bear” was first published and has been beloved by children around the world ever since. At the time of its publication, one reviewer said, “It should be compulsory reading for all children from six to sixty.” This deluxe anniversary edition includes full-color art throughout by the original artist, Peggy Fortnum.
- Tales of King Arthur: The Sword in the Stone (Books of Wonder). After sixteen years, the secret is ready to be told. The true king of England is near! But first he must pull the sword from the stone.
- Encyclopedia Brown Box Set (4 Books) by Donald J. Sobol. This set contains the first four books in the classic Encyclopedia Brown series. Whether Encyclopedia Brown is solving cases for his neighborhood friends or his chief-of-police dad, he always has an intriguing mystery to crack.
- Sugar Creek Gang Books 1-6 Set (The Swamp Robber/The Killer Bear/The Winter Rescue/The Lost Campers/The Chicago Adventure/The Secret Hideout) by Paul Hutchens. The tales and travels of the Sugar Creek Gang have passed the test of time, delighting young readers for more than fifty years. Great mysteries for kids with a message, The Sugar Creek Gang series chronicles the faith-building adventures of a group of fun-loving, courageous Christian boys. Your kids will be thrilled, chilled, and inspired to grow as they follow the legendary escapades of Bill Collins, Dragonfly, and the rest of the gang as they struggle with the application of their Christian faith to the adventure of life.
- Frindle by Andrew Clements. Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? He really just likes to liven things up at school — and he’s always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he’s got the inspiration for his best plan ever…the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle? Things begin innocently enough as Nick gets his friends to use the new word. Then other people in town start saying frindle. Soon the school is in an uproar, and Nick has become a local hero. His teacher wants Nick to put an end to all this nonsense, but the funny thing is frindle doesn’t belong to Nick anymore. The new word is spreading across the country, and there’s nothing Nick can do to stop it.
- Jigsaw Jones Boxed Set, Books 1-5 by James Preller. Wingnut’s hamster is missing! Jigsaw and his partner, Mila, are on the case. They are searching for clues adn piecing together the mystery. This is a job for Jigsaw Jones, Private Eye.
- Wayside School Boxed Set: Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, Wayside School is Falling Down, Sideway Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. There was a terrible mistake-Wayside School was built with one classroom on top of another, thirty stories high! (The builder said he was sorry.) Maybe that’s why all kinds of funny things happened at Wayside-especially on the thirteenth floor.
- Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater. A classic of American humor, the adventures of a house painter and his brood of high-stepping penguins have delighted children for generations. “Here is a book to read aloud in groups of all ages. There is not an extra or misplaced word in the whole story.”–“The Horn Book.” Newbery Honor Book.
- Judy Blume’s Fudge Box Set by Judy Blume. Fans young and old will laugh out loud at the irrepressible wit of peter Hatcher, the hilarious antics of mischievous Fudge, and the unbreakable confidence of know-it-all sheila tubman in Judy blume’s five Fudge books. brand-new covers adorn these perennial favorites, and will entice a whole new generation of Fudge—and Judy blume—fans.
- Emil’s Pranks (Emil in Lonneberga, #2) by Astrid Lindgren. Irrepressible and irresistible, Emil is always in trouble. He looks like a little angel, but his daily pranks cause havoc in his family and in his surroundings. No wonder he is famous throughout Lönneberga, the small Swedish village where he lives. Emil and his family are off to the market and this is where his adventures begin…..
- The Ralph Mouse Collection (The Mouse and the Motorcycle / Runaway Ralph / Ralph S. Mouse) by Beverly Cleary. Mrs. Cleary wrote her first book in response to a boy’s question, “Where are the books about kids like us?” Kids can’t help but love Ralph, the spunky little mouse with big dreams, who lives in a hotel and wants nothing more than a chance at riding that red motorcycle, the motorcycle that will lead him into countless adventures with his human friends. In Runaway Ralph, Ralph’s visit to a summer camp turns out not to be at all what he expected. Can he avoid the more unpleasant kids in the cabin, and get back to his hidden motorcycle? In Ralph S Mouse, Ralph goes to school in a human friend’s pocket, unaware of the new adventures in store, that will earn him the name of Ralph S-for-smart Mouse.
- Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald. Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle lives in an upside-down house ans smells like cookies. She was even married to a pirate once. Most of all, she knows everything about children. She can cure them of any ailment. Patsy hates baths. Hubert never puts anything away. Allen eats v-e-r-y slowly. Mrs Piggle-Wiggle has a treatment for all of them. The incomparable Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle loves children good or bad and never scolds but has positive cures for Answer-Backers, Never-Want-to-Go-to-Bedders, and other boys and girls with strange habits.
- Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon by Mary Pope Osborne. Get ready for a world of adventure with the first four titles in the beloved Magic Tree Houseseries! Jack and his little sister Annie are just two regular kids from Frog Creek, Pennsylvania. Then they discover a mysterious tree house packed with all sorts of books…and their lives are never the same! Soon they are traveling through time and space in the magic tree house and having amazing adventures. Whether it’s watching baby dinosaurs hatch, finding a secret passage in a castle, helping a ghost queen in an Egyptian pyramid, or finding pirate treasure, readers won’t want to miss a single story!
- E. B. White Box Set Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan. What other books even approach these masterpieces of children’s literature in humor, poignancy, and long-lasting influence? E.B. White’s three award-winning classics have been brought together in a very welcome gift set for any young reader. The hardcover editions feature the original, oh-so-memorable pictures by Garth Williams for Charlotte’s Web andStuart Little, and wonderful, all-new illustrations by Caldecott Honor artist Fred Marcellino for The Trumpet of the Swan. White’s ingenious blend of fantasy and the natural world has a timeless appeal. After reading Charlotte’s Web, what child has not cried out to save a spider from a cruel, crushing heel: “Wait! That could be Charlotte!” Read them once or a hundred times. The memories will linger forever.
- The Indian in the Cupboard, The Return of the Indian,The Secret of the Indian, The Mystery of the Cupboard : Lynne Reid Banks Box Set by Lynne Reid Banks. A young man receives two presents that will change his life: a plastic miniature Indian that magically comes to life inside a mysterious old cupboard.
- The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1 (Tintin in America / Cigars of the Pharaoh / The Blue Lotus) by Alexander Irvine. The comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. Tintin is the eponymous protagonist of the series; a reporter and adventurer who travels around the world with his dog Snowy.
- The Hardy Boys Starter Set (5 Volume Set) by Franklin W. Dixon. Classic stories of boy detectives. Few books have stood this test of time.
- The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick. Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo’s undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo’s dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery. Became an Academy Award winning movie.
- The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop. William has just received the best present of his life—an old, real-looking stone and wooden model of a castle, with a drawbridge, a moat, and a fingerhigh knight to guard the gates. It’s the mysterious castle his housekeeper has told him about, and even though William is sad she’s leaving, now the castle is his! William can’t wait to play with the castle—he’s certain there’s something magical about it. And sure enough, when he picks up the tiny silver knight, it comes alive in his hand! Sir Simon tells William a mighty story of wild sorcery, wizards, and magic. And suddenly William is off on a fantastic quest to another land and another time—where a fiery dragon and an evil wizard are waiting to do battle…
- The Underland Chronicles: Books 1-5 Paperback Box Set by Suzanne Collins. When Gregor follows his little sister through a grate in the laundry room of their New York apartment building, he hurtles into the dark Underland beneath the city. There, a conflict is brewing between the humans and the giant creatures that live below. Gregor must find his place in the frightening prophecies he encounters, the strength to protect his family, and the courage to stand up against an army of giant rats. This is an action-packed and masterful series by bestselling author Suzanne Collins.
- The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. Although he faces responsibility bravely, thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt realizes he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself. When Matt meets Attean, a boy in the Beaver clan, he begins to better understand their way of life and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier. Elizabeth George Speare’s Newbery Honor-winning survival story is filled with wonderful detail about living in the wilderness and the relationships that formed between settlers and natives in the 1700s.
- The Yearling (Aladdin Classics) by Patricia Reilly Giff. No novel better epitomizes the love between a child and a pet than The Yearling. Young Jody adopts an orphaned fawn he calls Flag and makes it a part of his family and his best friend. But life in the Florida backwoods is harsh, and so, as his family fights off wolves, bears, and even alligators, and faces failure in their tenuous subsistence farming, Jody must finally part with his dear animal friend. There has been a film and even a musical based on this moving story, a fine work of great American literature.
- The E.L. Konigsburg Newbery Collection: From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler; Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth; The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn’t just want to run from somewhere she wants to run to somewhere–to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother, Jamie, has money and thus can help her with the serious cash flow problem she invites him along. Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie, find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn’t it? Claudia is determined to find out. This quest leads Claudia to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.
- Ribsy (Avon Camelot Books) by Beverly Cleary. Henry Huggins’s dog, Ribsy, didn’t mean to get lost in the huge shopping mall parking lot . . . but after a comical mix-up one rainy afternoon, he finds himself in the wrong station wagon with the wrong children. Now Ribsy’s on a quest to find Henry, and home—but there’s plenty of excitement to be had before he gets there.
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory is opening at last! But only five lucky children will be allowed inside. And the winners are: Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde, Mike Teavee, and Charlie Bucket, Our Hero, a boy who is honest and kind, brave and true, and good and ready for the wildest time of his life!
- James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl. James Trotter loses his parents in a horrible accident and is forced to live-miserably-with his two wicked aunts. Then James is given some magic crystals that give him hope. But when he accidentally spills these crystals on an old peach tree, strange things begin to happen. A peach starts to grow and grow until James is able to climb inside and escape his awful aunts! And through this adventure, he makes some interesting friends, including Grasshopper, Earthworm, Miss Spider, and Centipede, and finally finds a place where he belongs.
- The Mysterious Benedict Society Collection by Trenton Lee Stewart. “Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule is that there are no rules. As our heroes face physical and mental trials beyond their wildest imaginations, they have no choice but to turn to each other for support. But with their newfound friendship at stake, will they be able to pass the most important test of all? Welcome to the Mysterious Benedict Society.
- Bunnicula in a Box: Bunnicula; Howliday Inn; The Celery Stalks at Midnight; Nighty-Nightmare; Return to Howliday Inn; Bunnicula Strikes Again; Bunnicula Meets Edgar Allan Crow (Bunnicula and Friends) by Deborah Howe. BEWARE THE HARE! Is he or isn’t he a vampire? Before it’s too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household — a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits…and fangs!
- How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell. Because of a bet, Billy is in the uncomfortable position of having to eat fifteen worms in fifteen days. The worms are supplied by his opponent, whose motto is “The bigger and juicier, the better!” At first Billy’s problem is whether or not he can swallow the worm placed before him, even with a choice of condiments from peanut butter to horseradish. But later it looks as if Billy will win, and the challenge becomes getting to the worm to eat it. Billy’s family, after checking with the doctor, takes everything in stride. They even help Billy through his gastronomic ordeal, which twists and turns with each new day, leaving the outcome of the bet continually in doubt.
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien. Mrs. Frisby, a widowed mouse with four small children, is faced with a terrible problem. She must move her family to their summer quarters immediately, or face almost certain death. But her youngest son, Timothy, lies ill with pneumonia and must not be moved. Fortunately, she encounters the rats of NIMH, an extraordinary breed of highly intelligent creatures, who come up with a brilliant solution to her dilemma. And Mrs. Frisby in turn renders them a great service.
- The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford. Instinct told them that the way home lay to the west. And so the doughty young Labrador retriever, the roguish bull terrier and the indomitable Siamese set out through the Canadian wilderness. Separately, they would soon have died. But, together, the three house pets faced starvation, exposure, and wild forest animals to make their way home to the family they love.The Incredible Journey is one of the great children’s stories of all time–and has been popular ever since its debut in 1961.
- Hank the Cowdog Gift Set by John R. Erickson. Hank is a serious-minded cowdog and the self-appointed “head of ranch security”. Hank is always on the lookout for ranch intruders. Everyone and everything is suspect from the hateful cat to the airplane flying overhead. The books are funny enough in themselves; however, the author has created a series of CD’s where he reads each book and acts out the various characters with their own personalities and voices. The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog / the Further Adventures of Hank the Cowdog for CDs. These are some of the most hilarious books you will ever read or hear. Guaranteed to captivate your children whenever they are in the car or whenever they have time to sit and listen. An all-time favorite of our boys.
- Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) The Harry Potter series has been hailed as “a spellbinding saga” by USA Today. And most recently, The New York Times called Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows the “fastest selling book in history.” This is the ultimate Harry Potter collection for Harry Potter fans of all ages!
- My Indian Boyhood, New Edition Although the traditional Sioux nation was in its last days when Luther Standing Bear was born in the 1860s, he was raised in the ancestral manner to be a successful hunter and warrior and a respectful and productive member of Sioux society. Known as Plenty Kill, young Standing Bear belonged to the Western Sioux tribe that inhabited present-day North and South Dakota. In My Indian Boyhood he describes the home life and education of Indian children. Like other boys, he played with toy bows and arrows in the tipi before learning to make and use them and became schooled in the ways of animals and in the properties of plants and herbs. His life would be very different from that of his ancestors, but he was not denied the excitement of killing his first buffalo before leaving to attend the Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania.
- Where the Red Fern Grows Author Wilson Rawls spent his boyhood much like the character of this book, Billy Colman, roaming the Ozarks of northeastern Oklahoma with his bluetick hound. A straightforward, shoot-from-the-hip storyteller with a searingly honest voice, Rawls is well-loved for this powerful 1961 classic and the award-winning novel Summer of the Monkeys. In Where the Red Fern Grows, Billy and his precious coonhound pups romp relentlessly through the Ozarks, trying to “tree” the elusive raccoon. In time, the inseparable trio wins the coveted gold cup in the annual coon-hunt contest, captures the wily ghost coon, and bravely fights with a mountain lion. When the victory over the mountain lion turns to tragedy, Billy grieves, but learns the beautiful old Native American legend of the sacred red fern that grows over the graves of his dogs. This unforgettable classic belongs on every child’s bookshelf.
- Bridge to Terabithia This Newbery Medal-winning novel by bestselling author Katherine Paterson is a modern classic of friendship and loss. Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.
- Holes (A Yearling Book) by Louis Sachar. Louis Sachar received great recognition for his groundbreaking story of Stanley Yelnats – a boy with a history of bad luck. As School Library Journal predicted in their starred review of the book when it was first published, “Kids will love Holes.” A decade later, the book is still quenching young readers’ thirst for a gripping story about a far-reaching family curse, friendship, adventure, and endurance.
- Tumtum And Nutmeg Collection 7 Books Set Emily Bearn Series Pack by Emily Bearn. Deep inside the broom cupboard of Rose Cottage, two mice live in great style. Tumtum and Nutmeg lead cozy and quiet lives, secretly looking after Arthur and Lucy, the disheveled human children of the cottage, never dreaming that so many exciting adventures will soon find them. But when evil Aunt Ivy, a squeamish schoolteacher named Miss Short, and pirating pond rats threaten the safety of those they hold dear, the courageous pair will stop at nothing to save the day. In three thrilling tales of daring and wit, Tumtum and Nutmeg-along with veteran hero General Marchmouse, Ms. Tiptoe’s bouncing ballerina army, and a team of caged gerbils–prove that small-size mice can have world-size hearts.
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: 100th Anniversary Edition (Books of Wonder) by L. Frank Baum. The classic of Dorothy searching for “home”.
- The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss. A shipwreck; a deserted island; a single family, wondering if they can survive. Rich in suspense and surprises, The Swiss Family Robinson entices young readers to come along on a wonderful adventure, where each moment brings a new thrill. Featuring amazingly resourceful characters and a wondrous landscape bursting with exotic wildlife and plants, it’s an irresistible tale of ingenuity.
- Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner. John Reynolds Gardiner’s action-packed canine adventure story of a thrilling dogsled race has captivated readers for more than thirty years. Based on a Rocky Mountain legend, Stone Fox tells the story of Little Willy, who lives with his grandfather in Wyoming. When Grandfather falls ill, he is no longer able to work the farm, which is in danger of foreclosure. Little Willy is determined to win the National Dogsled Race—the prize money would save the farm and his grandfather. But he isn’t the only one who desperately wants to win. Willy and his brave dog Searchlight must face off against experienced racers, including a Native American man named Stone Fox, who has never lost a race. Exciting and heartwarming, this novel has sold millions of copies and was named a New York Times Outstanding Children’s Book.
- The Bears of Blue River by Charles Major. The Bears of Blue River describes the adventures of a young boy growing up in early nineteenth-century rural Indiana. Little Balser lives with his parents, a younger brother, and a baby sister in a cozy log cabin on the bank of the Big Blue River. Although only thirteen or fourteen years old, he is quite familiar with the dangers and rigors of frontier life. As the story unfolds, the boy becomes lost in the forest, encounters the fierce one-eared bear, and is nearly caught by a bear as he dozes next to what he thinks is a bearskin. This is a book for children or adults who love nature and tales of early pioneer life.
- Chronicles of Narnia Box Set by C. S. Lewis. For over sixty years, readers of all ages have been enchanted by the magical realms, the epic battles between good and evil, and the unforgettable creatures of Narnia.
- Treasure Island (Sterling Illustrated Classics) Yo ho ho! Sail off on an exciting high-seas adventure, complete with memorable characters, menacing pirates, a deserted tropical island, and buried treasure! In his latest illustrated classic, award-winning artist Robert Ingpen has crafted a stunning new edition of Robert Louis Stevenson’s beloved novel, featuring more than 70 action-packed pictures.
- The Phantom Tollbooth Illustrated in black-and-white. This ingenious fantasy centers around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth’s gates and begins a memorable journey. He meets such characters as the foolish, yet lovable Humbug, the Mathemagician, and the not-so-wicked “Which,” Faintly Macabre, who gives Milo the “impossible” mission of returning two princesses to the Kingdom of Wisdom.
- Redwall (Redwall, Book 1). I received an email from a homeschool mom that I must include the Redwall Series in my list of Books for Boys. She said her sons absolutely loved them. I am not familiar with these, but the comments on Amazon definitely agree with Mom! Consider purchasing the entire series of 6 books as the set is much less expensive than purchasing them separately: Brian Jacques Redwall Series 1-6 (Redwall, Mossflower, Mattimeo, Mariel of Redwall, Salamandastron, Martin the Warrior)
- Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers by Ralph Moody. Moody was eight years old in 1906 when his family moved from New Hampshire to a Colorado ranch. Through his eyes we experience the pleasures and perils of ranching there early in the twentieth century. Auctions and roundups, family picnics, irrigation wars, tornadoes and wind storms give authentic color to Little Britches. So do adventures, wonderfully told, that equip Ralph to take his father’s place when it becomes necessary. Little Britches was the literary debut of Ralph Moody, who wrote about the adventures of his family in eight glorious books, all available as Bison Books. Beloved by Christian readers. Begin with this book and, if you like the story, continue with the rest
Books for ages 12+
- A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle’s Time Quintet) Madeleine L’Engle. It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger. “Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.” A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem. A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.
- The Boy’s King Arthur (Dover Children’s Classics). Retold by the famous American poet and writer Sidney Lanier, the stories are adapted from Sir Thomas Malory’s Le Morte d’Arthur, written in the fifteenth century.This is a most gorgeous book, well produced on beautiful paper, with wonderful reproductions of the original NC Wyeth pictures. A collectible to treasure!
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery. Few stories are as widely read and as universally cherished by children and adults alike as The Little Prince. Richard Howard’s translation of the beloved classic beautifully reflects Saint-Exupéry’s unique and gifted style. Howard, an acclaimed poet and one of the preeminent translators of our time, has excelled in bringing the English text as close as possible to the French, in language, style, and most important, spirit. The artwork in this edition has been restored to match in detail and in color Saint-Exupéry’s original artwork. Combining Richard Howard’s translation with restored original art, this definitive English-language edition of The Little Prince will capture the hearts of readers of all ages.
- The Hobbit: Illustrated Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien. In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat: it was a hobbit-hole, and that means comfort. Written for J.R.R. Tolkien’s own children, The Hobbit met with instant critical acclaim when it was first published in 1937. Now recognized as a timeless classic, this introduction to the hobbit Bilbo Baggins, the wizard Gandalf, Gollum, and the spectacular world of Middle-earth recounts of the adventures of a reluctant hero, a powerful and dangerous ring, and the cruel dragon Smaug the Magnificent.
- The Lord of the Rings: 50th Anniversary, One Vol. Edition by J.R.R. Tolkien. Beloved throughout the world as the creator of The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion, was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford, a fellow of Pembroke College, and a fellow of Merton College until his retirement in 1959. His chief interest was the linguistic aspects of the early English written tradition, but while he studied classic works of the past, he was creating a set of his own.
- Robinson Crusoe (Norton Critical Editions). What most readers do not know is that this book is an Christian allegory. The edition chosen includes notes explaining biblical passages and words not used today. Be aware that it also includes some opinions against the author.
- Old Yeller (Perennial Classics) by Fred Gipson. When a novel like Huckleberry Finn, or The Yearling, comes along it defies customary adjectives because of the intensity of the response it evokes in the reader. Such a book, we submit, is Old Yeller; to read this eloquently simple story of a boy and his dog in the Texas hill country is an unforgettable and deeply moving experience.
- The Tracker by Tom Brown. One reviewer stated that reading this book might just reawaken your memories of being a child when the outdoors offered everything fascinating. This is one of my sons’ favorite true tales of a young boy who met an old Apache Indian who taught him the ways of The Tracker. This boy grew up to become a modern-day hero and legend as he helped law enforcement personnel track individuals who had become lost in the New Jersey wilderness. A boy’s book if there ever was one!
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain. There is no need to describe this timeless tale of a boy and a companion. It will forever be a true Classic.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. The unforgettable novel of a childhood in a sleepy Southern town and the crisis of conscience that rocked it, To Kill A Mockingbird became both an instant bestseller and a critical success when it was first published in 1960. It went on to win the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was later made into an Academy Award-winning film. Compassionate, dramatic, and deeply moving, To Kill A Mockingbird takes readers to the roots of human behavior – to innocence and experience, kindness and cruelty, love and hatred, humor and pathos. Now with over 18 million copies in print and translated into forty languages, this regional story by a young Alabama woman claims universal appeal. Harper Lee always considered her book to be a simple love story. Today it is regarded as a masterpiece of American literature.
- The Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway. Told in language of great simplicity and power, it is the story of an old Cuban fisherman, down on his luck, and his supreme ordeal — a relentless, agonizing battle with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream. Here Hemingway recasts, in strikingly contemporary style, the classic theme of courage in the face of defeat, of personal triumph won from loss. Written in 1952, this hugely successful novella confirmed his power and presence in the literary world and played a large part in his winning the 1954 Nobel Prize for Literature.
- The Call of the Wild by American author Jack London was published in 1903. The story is set in the Yukon during the 19th-century Klondike Gold Rush, a period when strong sled dogs were in high demand. The novel’s central character is a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living on a ranch in California. Stolen from his home and sold into the brutal existence of an Alaskan sled dog, Buck reverts to atavistic traits. Buck is forced to adjust and survive cruel treatments, fights to dominate other dogs, and survival in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of civilization, relying on primordial instincts through lessons he learns, to emerge as a leader in the wild.
- The Zion Chronicles: Books 1-5 by Bodie Thoene. Opening on the night in 1947 that the UN voted for Israel’s independence, this series follow the events that lead up to May 14, 1948 through the eyes of several fictitious characters. As the events unfold, we are drawn into the lives of Ellie, David, Moshe, and Rachel and share their struggles, fears, hopes, and joys in the midst of a real war going on for the survival of Israel and the Jews.
- The Autobiography Of George Muller. What can be accomplished in an ordinary man who trusts in an extraordinary God? George Muller discovered the endless possibilities! These excerpts from his diary allow Muller to tell his own story. Join him on his journey from a life of sin and rebellion to his glorious conversion. Share his struggles and triumphs as he establishes orphan homes to care for thousands of English children, depending on God’s response to his prayer of faith to supply all things. Muller’s unwavering, childlike dependence upon his heavenly Father will inspire you to confidently trust the God of the impossible in every area of your life.
- Mere Christianity. In this timeless classic, C.S. Lewis, perhaps the most important Christian author of the 20th century, explores the common ground upon which all of those of the Christian faith stand together. Bringing together Lewis’ legendary broadcast talks during World War II from his three previous books The Case for Christianity, Christian Behavior, and Beyond Personality, Mere Christianity provides an unequaled opportunity for believers and nonbelievers alike to hear this powerful apologetic for the Christian faith.