My brother-in-law, Michael Jennings, is a fifth grade teacher extraordinaire in a public school outside of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He is a prolific reader who goes the extra mile to find good young adult literature to engage his students with. He’s a young teacher who knows the trends and interests of his students, so when he says there’s a book or series boys love, it’s a book or series boys love. I asked him to give me a short list of titles that have appealed to the boys in his class.  The following suggestions are generally geared for kids between the fourth and eighth grade. It is a diverse selection of material: sports, literature, historical literature, science fiction, fantasy, and outdoor survival. All are topics that appeal especially to boys!

  • Mike Lupica writes young-adult sports novels. His book Summer Ball is a follow-up to the extremely popular Travel Team, a novel about a boy who ends up coaching a basketball travel team. Great books for Sports Enthusiasts!
                                Michael Ford- Spartan Quest Series. The popular adult novelist (who writes fiction about ancient Greece) has written a series directed at younger readers. A young slave in ancient Greece loses the mysterious pendant he wears around his neck and sets out on a quest fraught with danger to retrieve it.  A great historical series with action-filled battle scenes!     
                      Suzanne Collins- The Hunger Games Series. The writing is geared toward younger people but the themes and the content is quite adult; preview this series first! Michael warns me that it’s quite violent.  The story takes place in a post apocalyptic world: think The Running Man or Children of Men. The plot is supposedly riveting; in fact, later today I am running to the library  to see if I can grab a copy. If you want a series that is   
going to capture the attention of your  child AND that                        gives him a lot to think about, this is it!




 John Flanagan- The Ranger’s Apprentice Sseries. A gripping fantasy series about a boy named Will who is assigned as an apprentice to a mysterious ranger. The first book is entitled The Ruins of Gorlan. This series is full of the stuff boys love… danger, gigantic scary beasts, fighting, etc. 


        Gary Paulsen- Hatchet This novel has been a boy’s fave for years and years. Brian survives a plane crash and is on his  own in the Canadian wilderness. Check out other  Paulsen books as well. 


What books or series aimed at boys have you had success with?


{ 25 comments… add one }

  • Michael

    I loved choose your own adventure books as a child! I’ll definitely have to check out R.A. Montgomery!

  • erreauk

    Never Let Me Go by Ishiguro (A futuristic plot where clones are created in order to harvest organs. Disturbing. Ishiguro is fantastic… I love this book!)


  • Rachel

    My son loves the Baseball Card Adventures by Dan Gutman. He has been reading every day since we found this series.

  • Anonymous

    I want to recommend a great book that was released this year called: Third House Down Hidden Cove. The author, Kevin D. Garrahan, is a 6th grade teacher in Northern Virginia and has been teaching for almost 18 years. Boys just love his book and it has a great message. You can visit his web site at:

  • Sue

    For older teens there are some other great books that I’ve found boys love to read:

    “Wheel of Time” series by Robert Jordan (there are a total of 12 or 13 books in the series and I’ve had boys who’ve read the whole series)

    One of the ultimate favourite for boys is a book by a Canadian named Richard Scarsbrook. The book is called Cheeseburger Subversive and the it can be read as a series of short stories or as a novel as it follows a boy through elementary school and ends at the end of high school. The novel is laugh out loud funny and very insightful!

  • Anonymous

    Do you have a list for younger boys? 1-4 grade? my boys love to read the series: Stink, Dinosaur Cove and Nate the Great. Any other suggestions? Thanks!

  • Jackie

    Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series is a HUGE hit with my 10 year old (started reading this in 4th grade) and his peers. 5 books: Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters, The Titan’s Curse, The Battle of the Labyrinth, The Last Olympian. Bonus book: The Demigod Files. Greek Mythology and Tween/Teen concerns. I got hooked on them too. Will be the theme for the next bday party after I was told themes were out. :-)

    AND there is a movie coming out in Feb 2010. Our family tradition is to read or reread the book before seeing the movie and we talk about how the movie is different and why. Has worked for Harry Potter books (still a fave) and Lord of the Rings (yes we read first, saw movie after).

    Artimis Fowl was also on the must read before Percy Jackson. Not sure I miss it; didn’t read it myself so my reaction is a little lopsided.

  • DWEmma

    For Teens:

    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

    Be More Chill by Ned Vizinni

    Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

    anything by Scott Westerfeld (though only the Uglies series if they can get beyond the female protagonist problem that Hunger Games also poses.)

    Valient by Holly Black (also female protag)

    Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, and Paper Towns by John Green, if your teen can deal with drama. (All strong, relatable male protagonists.)

    Middle Grade:

    The Last of the Really Great Wang Doodles by Julie (Andrews) Edwards was the only book my kid brother liked other than Matt Christofer books when he was growing up. He still lists it among his favorite books, now that he’s finally taken up reading for pleasure at the age of 23.

    Holes by Louis Sachar

    Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black. Make sure you get him the field guide, for the “nonfiction” component.

    (obviously) Artemis Fowl, Hoot, Hatchet, and Percy Jackson.

  • Anonymous

    The City of Ember series is exceptional. My fourth graders were on the edge of their seats when I read it to them.
    Anything written by Carol Haiassen is perfect as well as the books by Lupica.
    City of Thieves is a perfect book.
    Boys also like the books by James Patterson-Alex Cross(middle school)

  • Anonymous

    The City of Ember series is exceptional. My fourth graders were on the edge of their seats when I read it to them.
    Anything written by Carol Haiassen is perfect as well as the books by Lupica.
    City of Thieves is a perfect book.
    Boys also like the books by James Patterson-Alex Cross(middle school)

  • Ann

    My son began reading Alex Cross in 4th & we had to go out and buy the new one just recently when it came out.  He also likes Maximum Ride and Alex Rider even though those are typically older series.

    My suggestions for 1-4

      Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants, Ralph and the Motorcycle, Tales of Despereaux, and Roald Dahl books for the older ones.  My son did not care for Magic Tree House, but many of his friends liked them.  Certainly any Dr. Suess for the younger ones, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Don’t Eat the Teacher, my son even pulled out his old Sandra Boyton books the other day, clearly below his reading level, but they still make him laugh.  There was also a book with a farmer, a duck, and some typewritng cows that my son thought was funny so he read it alot, but I can’t think of the name off the top of my head.

    Hope those help!

  • Anonymous

    The Last Olympian. Bonus book: The Demigod Files. Greek Mythology and
    tiffany silver jewelry Tween/Teen concerns. I got hooked on them too.

  • McCain

    Thanks God there is no J.K.Rollings Harry potter :) here. Jokes apart very interesting choice of books.
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  • Ang

    Percy Jackson series is awesome – my 9 year old couldn’t put them down. This is the 1st year that he has really liked reading. Because I read the twilight books with my daughter my son wanted me to read these books with him. I really thought that I would be bored with them but I had a hard time waiting for him to finish a book before I started it. So many times there were 2 bookmarks in 1 book! Recommended reading. 39 clues is also a great series.

  • Anonymous

    My son loved the Magic Tree House Series and Michigan Chillers series.

  • Robin

    I was reviewing this website for a library science class and I compiled a list for personal use but thought it was useful so I decided to post it to share with all. I broke it down by age range and merely compiled a list based on all the posts with a few additions of my own.

    Young Ones
    Dr. Seuss
    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
    Don’t Eat the Teacher
    Sandra Boyton
    Click Clack Moo Series

    Grades 1-4
    Geronimo Stilton- Series about a mouse who has great adventures
    Stink- series
    Dinosaur Cove
    Nate the Great
    Diary of a Wimpy Kid
    Captain Underpants
    Ralph and the Motorcycle
    Tales of Despereaux
    Roald Dahl
    Magic Tree House Series
    Michigan Chillers Series
    Jimmy Jonjones series

    Grades 4-8
    Mike Lupica- Sports novels
    Michael Ford- Spartan Quest Series Ancient Greek Fiction
    John Flanagan- Ranger’s Apprentice Series Fantasy series.
    Patricia C. Wrede Enchanted Forest Chronicles
    Gary Paulsen- Hatchet wilderness survival story
    Gennifer Choldenko- Al Capone Does My Shirts
    Susan Campbell Bartoletti- The Boy Who Dared
    39 Clues Series
    Jeanne DuPrau- City of Ember
    Joseph Bruchac- Code Talker
    Gordon Korman- The Dive, Everest, and Island Series
    Andrew Clements- Frindle
    Carl Hiaasen- Hoot
    Lemony Snicket- Series of Unfortunate Events
    Gary Soto- Taking Sides
    Sylvia Branzei- Grossology Series –gross science facts
    Andrew Clements- Jake Drake Series
    Jean Craighead George- My Side of the Mountain Series
    Dan Gutman’s- Million Dollar Shot- basketball contest
    RA Montgomery’s- Choose Your Own Adventure Series
    Megan McDonald—Judy Moody Series/ Stink Series
    Dan Gutman- Baseball Card Adventures
    Kevin D. Garrahan- Third House Down Hidden Cove
    Percy Jackson and the Olympian Series- Greek Mythology
    Julie EdwardsLast of the Really Great Wang Doodles
    Louis Sachar- Holes
    Holly Black- Spiderwick Chronicles
    Carol Haiassen
    Lupica (author name)
    James Patterson-Alex Cross

    Grades 9-12
    Kevin Kling- The Dog Says How
    Norman McClean- A River Runs Through It
    David Benioff- City of Thieves
    Larry Doyle—I love you Beth Cooper
    Darren Shan- Cirque du Freak
    Eoin Colfer- Artemis Fowl Series
    Kite Runner & Thousand Splendid Suns
    The Forgotten Fire – Historical
    Terry Pratchet- Nation
    Suzanne Collins-The Hunger Games Series (warning slightly violent content) action
    SA Bodeen- Compound
    Neal Schusterman- Unwind- futuristic survival
    Sharon Draper- Hazelwood High Series
    Pearl S.Buck
    Jon Krakauer’s- Into thin Air and Into the Wild
    Michael Crighton
    Jon Grisham
    Terry Brooks- Fantasy
    Robert O’Brien- Z for Zachariah- nuclear holocaust novel
    Neil Gaiman- Neverwhere: a Novel
    Robert Jordan- Wheel of Time Series
    Richard Scarsbrook- Cheeseburger Subversive
    M.T. Andersen- Feed Satire of American consumerism
    Ishiguro- Never Let me Go- futuristic
    Cory Doctorow- Little Brother
    Ned Vizinni- Be More Chill
    Sherman Alexie- Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
    Scott Westerfeld
    Holly Black- Valient
    John Green

  • Nelson

    Lol you lil racoons!

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  • Sandra

    My (male) students also enjoy the Five Ancestors series by Jeff Stone. My nephew (10th grader) who loves Terry Brooks books also enjoyed the Night Angel Trilogy by Brent Weeks.

  • Anondsymous

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  • Paul Gray

    The scholars in my class enjoyed an electronic book discussion with preservice elementary education students at a local college.  I selected the books and the fifth graders read them with one of the college students.  They communicated periodically using Blackboard.  The college students were encouraged to stretch their partner’s thinking beyond what was on the pages to a more interpretive level.  I was very impressed with the results and can’t wait to do it again next year.  Even those most reluctant to write about their thoughts were compelled to share with the college students.  One of the titles selected was Wolf Brother from the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver.  The two boys who read this book raved and have gotten most other boys in the class to read this title as well as others in the series.  Parents have commented that they can’t get their son to stop reading!  I hope they don’t try too hard.  The girls are now beginning to read the books wondering what the excitement is about.  Rules was another popular title from this collaboration.

  • Smiley Mary

    For boys in 3-5 grade

    The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieska are great…
    Jerry Spinnelli books…
    Chet Gecko Mysteries
    A to Z mysteries
    Of course Captain Underpants

    A great series for early readers are the frog and toad series by Arnold Lobel
    Henry and Mudge series

    Check out Scholastic book orders!! They have a HUGE selection of non-fiction, informational books on subjects that boys seem to love…

  • Samuel

    I must admit, great tips for students about reading.
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