Books for Boys (a Gift Guide)

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Books for Boys (a Gift Guide)

Let me start with an admission: I don’t have any boys. For help in compiling this list, I asked my three girls what the boys in their classes liked to read and I checked out some library lists. I also remembered books I had previously bought for my friends’ sons and my own nephew.

There are many wonderful books for boys out there; this is only a single snowflake on the tip of a huge ice-berg. The books in this list are pretty stereotypical – cars, space, spies and dinosaurs – but of course, boys can be interested many other things that also interest girls (and vice-versa); the trick is to find a book that matches the reader.

I wish you all a very happy and peaceful holiday. Merry Christmas!

Picture Books

The Little Yellow Digger, by Betty and Alan Gilderdale – A delightful rhyming story that is hugely popular Down Under. It features not only the Little Yellow Digger, but also the Bigger Diggger and the Bigger, Bigger Digger. They all get stuck and it is the Little Yellow Digger who saves the day. There is also Little Yellow Digger at the zoo.

Lego Man in Space, by Mara Shaughnessy – One for Lego and space fans. This non-fiction comic style book tells the true story of two boys who wondered if they could send one of their Lego figures up into space. It features a ‘how to do it’ section, other related activities and a link to the video footage.

Mousetronaut Goes to Mars, by Mark Kelly – Another one for space fans, and written by a real astronaut. This is the second story about Meteor, a mouse on a mission. When a space trip to Mars encounters a problem, Meteor is the only one who can help. The book includes an afterword with Mars facts.

Monsters on Machines, by Deb Lund; illustrated by Robert Neubeker – Got a wee boy who loves machines and monsters? Here they are combined in one story. Bold illustrations filled with trucks, bulldozers, cement trucks and other construction site machines. All driven by (not scary) monsters in hard-hats. The rhyming text follows this monster construction crew through their day of building, lunching and napping.

Cars and Trucks and Things That Go, by Richard Scarry – A classic that I have included in honor of my cousin Robert, who adored this book when he was little. A fun, lively tale with pages filled with things to find… and lots and lots of cars, trucks and things that go.

Mid-Grade +

T-Wreck-Asaurus (Dinosaur Rescue), by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Donovan Bixley – This is the first book of a hilarious series which introduces us to Arg; a cave boy with a superior brain, and his grunting, hairy Neanderthal family. It is filled with pre-historic poo, farts, and other disgusting things that boys find very, very funny. There are currently eight books in the series: to find more and meet the characters, check out:

The Day My Butt Went Psycho, by Andy Griffiths – To be honest, you could get anything from this wonderful writer and your boy reader would love it! Funny, crazy and sometimes just plain weird, but always right on the mark for what keeps boys entertained.

Holes, by Louis Sachar – A classic tale that has also been made into a movie. A family curse sees Stanley wrongly sent to a strange detention camp where he and the other boys spend their days digging holes in the desert. The mystery unfolds in a story with humor, twists, sub-plots and a great cast of characters.

The Alex Rider series, by Anthony Horowitz – This series will appeal to thriller/spy lovers. Alex, just 14 years old, has been recruited by British Intelligence agency MI6 and embarks on a series of adventures worthy of a junior James Bond. There are 10 Alex Rider books and the first one Stormbreaker was made into a movie.

Graphic Novels

Some parents and teachers feel children shouldn’t read graphic novels (comics) as they deem them to not be ‘real’ books. However, if you have a boy who is a reluctant reader, I recommend giving them a try. True, there aren’t as many words and a lot of the usual descriptive text is provided in pictures; but there is still plot, character, action, plenty of dialogue and it is, after all, something to read. Any book that interests your reader, and keeps them engaged, can only be a good thing. If they enjoy, and finish a graphic novel it may give them more confidence with their reading and encourage them to try a non-graphic title.

About Vanessa Hatley-Owen

A book lover and children's story writer from New Zealand.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” - Dr Seuss.


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