Book Suggestions for Boys

Book Suggestions for Boys December 3, 2013

Here at Building Cathedrals, we have had several posts dealing with book suggestions for various ages of children, and I am writing today to ask for advice on books for a 4th-grade boy. One issue that we have encountered recently is that our 4th grader has become borderline obsessed with two particular series of books (do I even need to name them? ahem, Harry Potter and Percy Jackson), and is finding all other books unappealing by comparison. He has read and re-read all of these books multiple times, and cannot seem to get into any other book or series of books. So, today I am asking for advice from moms who have found themselves in a similar predicament, and their children in a similar rut! I am partly kicking myself for letting him read these books in the first place, but I also realize that they are a part of what kids read and talk about today. We may need to put all of these books out of sight for quite a while so that he can re-familiarize himself with the world of books that he used to enjoy, and we may also need to be more consistent about reading out loud in the evenings as a method for re-introducing other types of literature.

Have any of you had a similar experience with your children? I would love to hear your thoughts!

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  • Elisa
  • Kathleen

    I love literature and while my oldest is a girl, we’ve found some awesome books. I wept at Ralph Moody’s first books in the Little Britches series. The first book is called Father and I were Ranchers and the 2nd is called Man of the Family. My kids loved it. (The boy goes through some difficult moral dilemmas that any boy or kid can relate to. Some of the cowboys use d*mn and h*ll, but the moral fiber of the book is wonderful.

    If he likes historical fiction Story of Roland by James Baldwin is about a hero of Charlemagne’s time.
    Will James Book of Cowboy Stories”
    Stephan Meader writes great books for boys including Sabre Pilot, Cleared for Action (nautical historical fiction) and Red Horse Hill Mystery.
    Howard Pyle wrote “The Wonder Clock” “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” “Book of Pirates” Men of Iron” medieval adventure book.

    Sorry, I’ll stop! It’s just I get so mad when I go to the book store and they have “Sir Fartsalot and the Buns of Steal” and other gross out humor books for boys. It can be so hard to find the good stuff! Thank God for Amazon Prime!

  • Lucy

    My fourth grade son is currently loving Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events series. I know you may be trying to get away from series, but this one has really been a hit with my son.

    Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and a Swiftly Tilting Planet have been great read aloud books for my 6 year old daughter and my 4th grade son, but I think a kid who can read Harry Potter and Percy Jackson could probably read them himself, too.

    Another read aloud that both my kids loved that I bet your son could read is The Trouble With Tuck. It’s a very sweet story about a dog who goes blind and how the girl who owns him is able to get a guide dog for the dog. It’s an especially good story for a dog lover.

  • Mrs C

    I second Elisa’s suggestion. Superb list.

  • Mary Alice

    Hawthorne’s The Wonder Book and Tanglewood Tales for read aloud, it has the familiar and beloved Greek myths to get the Percy Jackson reader hooked, but the language is rich and the set up is charming. To read on his own, John Scieska’s Guys Read books of short stories have been popular. My kids say: Narnia, as a read aloud because the younger kids will like it too, The Castle in the Attic, (about a boy who goes on an adventure with a toy knight), Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher…we could go on! The Lloyd Alexander fantasy books were not a hit, even though librarians will tell you to move in that direction if you want to improve the literature level. What about some King Arthur? Rosemary Sutcliff has written about him, in addition to her books about Odysseus.

  • Elaine

    Thank you for asking this because we are stuck in a rut with the exact same two series!! Although the kids make me read Harry Potter (only the first two for the little ones) out loud for some reason. Maybe they like my voices? Same with Narnia. Liam does do a literature program for school and has lots of required reading. He’s currently reading Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh and loving it. Next up is the Black Cauldron, so we’ll see. But I do love all the suggestions in the comments, so I may have to change up a bit what I have him reading in literature class!

  • Leslie Fischer

    “A Long Way from Chicago” is an excellent book series and a different genre. This way, he will not be comparing it to Harry Potter. My mom had the same problem with my brother when he was in third grade and when they started reading these books, he was hooked! Our whole family would read these books aloud and at the time, I was 20 and enjoyed listening to it, too!

  • Mrs Gregory

    Have you read seen the historical fiction books by Barbara Willard? On Augustine, Charlemagne, Thomas Becket…

  • knitlet

    We’re tentatively letting our 4th grader read LOTR, even though it gets a bit scary. We haven’t done Harry Potter, but Percy Jackson is reread here on a daily basis, too. I got him real books of Greek and Roman mythology, and he’s been reading those. I’m going to start him on Narnia over Christmas break. He also loved the entire Sarah, Plain and Tall series. They read the first one for school last year and he asked for the rest from the library. Roald Dahl is good, if a bit dark. There’s a Mary Pope Osborne version of The Odyssey that I’m going to start him on soon. Other ones that come to mind are Sooner, Hatchet, The Call of the Wild. Sorry this is disjointed, my teether wakes up at 3:45 like clockwork every morning. 🙂

  • knitlet

    Also Farmer Boy from the Little House on the Prairie books. He read that one for school and ended up reading my childhood copies of the whole series. I don’t think he’d go telling people about that, though.

  • jacki

    The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien)

    The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien)

    Redwall (and rest of series) (Brian Jacques)

    The Lost Years of Merlin series (TA Barron)*

    Over Sea, Under Stone (Susan Cooper)**

    My Side of the Mountain

    The Sign of the Beaver

    Outlaws of Ravenhurst

    Man’o’War (Walter Farley)

    Where the Red Fern Grows

    The Mouse and the Motorcycle (series)

    *might be a bit scary
    **the later books in this series might be a bit hard/scary
    for 4th grade

  • Colene

    Here is a good list of Adventure Books to Inspire a Boy’s Faith