The importance of keeping kids reading over the summer is a well-documented refrain echoed by teachers, librarians, and media this time of year (check out this Op-Ed “Read, Kids, Read” in the New York Times). I have one voracious reader, and one for whom reading is a bit of a chore, so I’m always on the lookout for great books for boys that will appeal to both of them. The reading list I posted last summer turned out to be a pretty popular post, so here’s this years update. Happy reading!
The Kane Chronicles, Rick Riordan – Fans of the Percy Jackson series will appreciate this series, which is similar except that its focus is Egyptian gods and mythology. The first book, The Red Pyramid, sets the stage when Dr. Kane accidentally unleashes the Eygyptian god Set, sending his children on a dangerous journey across the globe.
Divergent Series, Veronica Roth – Made popular by the movie that came out earlier this year, the Divergent Series was recommended by a friend who teaches 4th grade. It’s a story about a teenage heroine living in a dystopian world divided into factions. I read this series first, as I was worried the content might be too adult, but it’s really fine and it’s fun to find a series that everyone in the family can enjoy.
Wonder, R.J. Palacio – This book is SO good and has such an important message about kindness. The main character is a middle school aged boy with a severe facial disfiguration who is going to public school for the first time. It’s about the friends he makes, the mean things kids say and do, and (above all) the importance of always being kinder than necessary.
Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins – I have a couple of friends who will absolutely not allow their children to read or see the Hunger Games, which I understand. Kids fighting to the death is a pretty disturbing premise. However, my reluctant reader is sinking his teeth into this series this summer and I’ll admit, I loved it.
I Funny, James Patterson – I Funny, and the sequel, I Even Funnier, tells the story of Jamie Grimm, a wheelchair bound middle schooler determined to be the best stand up comedian in the world. The story weaves elements of empathy, grit, determination, and humor into an entertaining story with a great message for kids.
Brotherband Chronicles, John A. Flanagan – Another series by the author of the Ranger’s Apprentice series, the Brotherband Chronicles is a seafaring adventure full of epic battles and lots of action. In a nutshell, if your kids liked Ranger’s Apprentice, the Brotherband Chronicles will probably be a hit.
Maximum Ride, James Patterson – The Maximum Ride series follows the adventures of the 14-year old main character, Max, who is just like other kids– except she has wings and can fly. She and her “flock” of friends were part of a lab experiment, and are on a journey to discover their pasts….all while fighting the “Erasers” who have orders to kill them so that the world never discovers that they exist.
Lemonade War, Jacqueline Davies – This book and its sequel, The Lemonade Crime, swept through my son’s 5th grade this year and seemed to be a universal favorite among boys and girls alike. The story starts with two siblings with competing lemonade stands, and offers a glimpse into the shrewd business of selling lemonade, competition, marketing, and how an a disagreement can go much further than anticipated.
Pie, Sarah Weeks – My oldest loves cats. And he loves pie. This is a book about a famous pie recipe that is left to a beloved, and very fat cat named Lardo. It’s fun and entertaining, and brings in the importance of friendship and family.
The Unwanted Series, Lisa McMann – Another dystopian action adventure series with teenage heroes, this series is billed as “the Hunger Games meets Harry Potter.” My son tore through the entire series.
Any great books you’re kids have enjoyed? Please share them in the comments!