Books for boys

by - January 30, 2016

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This week my oldest boy turned eight, and the one thing that I caught myself surprised by was the gifts drastically changed. While previous years have brought Lego kits, this year brought books and gift cards for books. In fact, he and his second grade friends take pleasure reading to school every day. As soon as they finish their classwork, they whip out those books and dive back in. They lend out their favorites to each other, make recommendations and talk about them. I don't have many memories of second grade, and I certainly don't recall such a shared love of chapter books with my friends. He especially loves owning books, which is why I love that his school has a yearly event where each child gets to go home with a donated book in their hands. This year he brought home a Hardy Boys hardcover mystery.

It's great to see this love develop, and I try not to hinder it. Some evenings I will tuck my son into bed at night, assume he's asleep, then 40 minutes later, he will come trotting down the stairs laughing and say, "You have to listen to this!" The books that have got him laughing so hard are the Frank Einstein series by Jon Scieszka. While my son is giggling over cow farts, he's being introduced to chemistry, physics, and even sign language.

For awhile, he was cruising through the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. They were actually the chapter books that ignited his love for independent reading. He has taken a break in the series (after reading 39 or so of them) to move on to some other reading. If you want to commit to the series, the most affordable option, other than having a friend lend them to you or going to the library, is to buy them through Scholastic Reading Club. The cost ended being less than $2 a book when you buy the large sets. The first set of 28 will cost you $45. Of course, you do run the risk of your child burning out or of your child wanting to more on to more advanced reading. Amazon sells them in four book box sets, which is a good way to test the waters of your child's interest. 

by R. J. Palacio 
For his birthday, my son received a book called Wonder, which his friend told him was amazing. He hasn't started in on it yet, but it is next on the list. 

From Amazon: "August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance. "

What books are your kids into? I look forward to introducing some of my own childhood classics and mysteries. What books would you add to this young readers' list? At the rate he is going, we will need to hit up the library armed with a list! Comment below, and I will add your suggestions.

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