Literature for boys

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  • hvfth99

    Hello, Friends.

    I am writing on behalf of a friend of mine who is looking for some great literature for her 8 yo son. She has an older daughter who love the American Girl books and the Sisters in Time series. We were discussing the fact that she had a hard time finding good historical fiction for her son. She tried one of the Henty series, but he found it a little boring.

    Does anyone out there have any ideas? She’s looking for a Christian series, but if you know of another great resource, I’ll pass it on. I’m out of my element having 2 girls, but I told her what a great forum I’m part of here and that I would try to get some suggestions for her.

    Thanks in advance for your help.

    Faith 🙂


    We read a book called Gabriel and The Hour Book by Evaleen Stein recently. It’s about a boy who works with monks in creating illuminated manuscripts in the middle ages. It was a sweet story and held my son’s interest. I haven’t read other books by the author yet, but I notice that she has written more books and I intend to get them.

    Other “boy-friendly” historical fiction we’ve liked is Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray. This is also set in the middle ages.


    You could also try Ballyntyne series depending on his reading level. You can find them at VF.


    OK, I’m not promising that any of the above are “great literature” but then, I’m not convinced American Girl books are “great literature” either. And most are not explicitly Christian. But here are some things my boys have enjoyed at about ages 7-10:

    Boxcar Children (the ORIGINAL ones)

    Encyclopedia Brown

    Childhood of Famous Americans books

    Landmark books

    Thornton Burgess animal stories

    The Shakespeare Stealer series

    Indian in the Cupboard books by Lynne Reid Banks

    Beverly Cleary has a number of “boy friendly” books

    Wizard of Oz series books

    Meindert de Jong’s books, about any of them

    Hardy Boys (the ORIGINAL ones)

    Hank the Cowdog books–all 3 of my boys have LOVED these at about the 8ish age

    Elizabeth Enright books, esp. the Gone-Away, they are easy to read, but

    the 4-story Mistake ones are good too

    Pinky Pye and Ginger Pye, and Moffat books, by Eleanor Estes

    Black Stallion series books

    My Father’s Dragon series (often one of my boys’ first chapter books)

    Jean Craighead George has some great shorter books, like There’s an Owl in the Shower and There’s a Tarantula in my Purse

    Marguerite Henry books have great boy appeal–girls are not the only ones who love horses!

    Eric Kjelgaard has some great “dog stories”

    So does Albert Terhune

    Dr. Doolittle series books

    Lamplighter Publishing has oodles of good boy books–they even have a category especially for boys

    Chronicles of Narnia, of course

    Lois Lenski’s fun “Boy” books, like Boom Town Boy

    Homer Price and the sequel which is missing from my shelf and whose name I cannot remember!

    Edith Nesbit’s books, like 5 Children and It and the Treasure Seekers books

    Arthur Ransome’s “sea stories”–never known a boy that didn’t like those!

    Sam Campbell’s nature stories

    This is by no means exhaustive, but I’m on my third 8yo boy and these are ones boys return to again and again and ask “Are there any more of these?” LOL

    Michelle D

    Sonya Shafer

    In addition to the great suggestions above, here are the History books in the Bookfinder for 2nd and 3rd grade. You could also do a search for Literature and Leisure Reading there.

    You might also check the recommendations on Incredibooks. (Karen and I can personally vouch for the values and worldview that you will find in those kids’ reviews. 😉 )

    Karen Smith

    Some corrections to Bookworm’s list. It is Jim, not Eric, Kjelgaard who wrote many dog stories, and some historical fiction, too. Didn’t want you to go looking for Eric Kjelgaard and not find anything. 🙂 And the sequel to Homer Price is Centerburg Tales.

    Other books boys enjoy:

    Edward Eager’s books

    Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain, Time Cat, Marvelous Misadventures of Sebastian.

    Freddy the Pig series by Walter Brooks

    Paddington Bear and Olga da Polga by Michael Bond

    Clyde Robert Bulla’s books

    A Cricket in Times Square series by George Selden

    Dick King-Smith’s books

    Miss Pickerell series by Ellen MacGregor and Dora Pantell (caution some of these contain evolution, specifically the geology ones)

    These are all books my boys enjoyed when they were younger. They still enjoy re-reading some of them.


    Oh, thank you for correcting me, Karen! I’m obviously having Middle-Aged Moments today. 🙂

    Michelle D

    Karen Smith

    Two other suggestions:

    William O. Steele’s books

    The American Adventure series published by Barbour Publishing. This series follows the same family through history starting with the Mayflower and ending with World War II. It is written from a Christian worldview.


    Thank you, Ladies, for all of your wonderful suggestions. I will direct my friend to this page. As usual, you all came through for me! Thank you for your time and advice!

    Faith 🙂

    BTW, this is one of those times that I wish we all lived close and could get together for a cup of coffee and a dish session on a Saturday morning!


    Karen, You mentioned an historical series from Barbour Publishing that followed a family. I have been trying to find this series to no avail. Could you give some additional information.

    Thanks, Jone

    Karen Smith

    The American Adventure series from Barbour Publishing is a set of books for 8-12 year olds. The books are written by several different authors. The events of American history are told from the perspective of the kids.

    I don’t think that the books are still in print but you can find them at used book sellers such as the Reading Well, through Amazon, and maybe even eBay. The Reading Well has a complete list of titles.

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