Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Boys and Books

This is a self-imposed backwards edition of WFMW. To find other ideas please head to "We Are That Family" today!

I do believe I've mentioned that Jim, Evan and I have been reading through the Harry Potter series. Evan and I are finished and Jim just hit a MAJOR point near the end of book six. That's all I'm going to say about that.

My rant here is about the quality of good books for kids Evan's age (he's heading into fourth grade). I haven't done the actual math, but I'm guessing that ninety percent of the books I pick up in the library are geared towards girls. They have a female main character dealing with female issues (hair, make-up, periods, babysitting and the cheerleading team). Or the female lead is off doing heroic things like slaying the dragon (which in my opinion should be a male lead, but that's another topic believe it or not).

So, that leaves ten percent of "literature" with a male protagonist. But how many of that ten percent leave us with a positive male role model taking his leadership position seriously? Evan wanted to read the "Diary Of A Whimpy Kid" series next so I checked them out of the library. In one afternoon he polished off a book and a half. I got through about thirty pages and declared them unfit for, well, anyone. Agreeing with me, Jim will be returning them to the library today. The main character, though a boy, is a middle school boy. These books are written at a second grade level at best. Children who are in middle school *should* be well beyond the level of these books (but again, that's a post for another time!). The main character also showcases blatant disrespect for his own father, his mom, his friend's father and all other adult/authority figures in his life. And that is just in the first thirty pages!

Here's my plea for help. I have a voracious reader with a heart bent towards Christian worldview. What books do you recommend for him? We'd also like the books to encourage boys and men in their God given leadership roles. We'd like him to have some positive reading for the rest of the summer.

So, what would you recommend? Oh, and no pressure here, but library day is Thursday at our house, so if you've got a suggestion please leave it!


ilovemy5kids said...

Have you read the Narnia series by C.S. Lewis? My 10 year old loves these and has read them numerous times.

Hank the Cowdoy series are super cute but are not Christian.

My kids enjoy reading true stories about Godly people. George Mueller, David Livingstone, etc... My library will special order a book for free, if we request it.

Hope this helps!
Blessings to you!

Steve Schaper said...

No Clock in the Forest by Paul Willis. If he treats it very, very well, I would lend it to him.

Sherlock Holmes (I read it in 2nd grade)

Possibly Taylor Caldwell's medieval historicals, but you might want to leaf through them yourselves first.

There is more Tolkien than LoTR. Unfinished Tales and The Children of Hurin are possibilities.

Jerry Pournelle's YAs - the old style of science fiction where liberty and problem-solving are important.

Carol said...

How about some classics? I know Steve has recommended H. Rider Haggard and I agree. One of my favorite classics is "Around the World in 80 Days."

You could check out some of them at and see what you think.

Anonymous said...

Tara, as you know my experience is with books for girls! However...
The Hardy Boys Series
Black Beauty
Beautiful Joe
My Friend Flicka
Where The Red Fern Grows
The Snow Goose
Sherlock Holmes
Robin Hood
Nurses Who Led The Way
James and the Giant Peach
Good children's literature doesn't have to be specifically Christian in nature.
Books written for kids in the olden days promoted traditional values anyway.

steadymom said...

Honey for a Child's Heart and Honey for a Teen's Heart both have wonderful selections for boys!


Bennett Family said...

Try some biographies. I have a hard time even getting my son to read, but he likes Biographies of sports stars, famous people, etc.

M said...

Wow! You have a lot of great recommendations here. Wish I could help you more on the boy front, but I've no experience.

I am with you on the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I read through them because my daughter was interested in them (she's going into 2nd grade) and while I saw the humor in them, I wouldn't let her read them because of all the disrespect issues you mentioned.

Jenny said...

My son LOVES the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riodan as well as the Warriors Series by Erin Hunter. These are both mythology and fastasy type series.

Matt Christopher writes alot of books that revolve around sports themes. They all have a "message" to them and are very good.

Also, Gary Paulsen writes books geared toward boys with outdoor survival themes.

Hope this help some.

groovie mom said...

My 8-year-old son LOVES to read. Have you tried the Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Not necessarily Christian, but a good literature series and best of all there are tons of books in the series. My ds also likes the Matt Christopher books and Flat Stanley just to name a few off the top of my head. Another good reference for you is The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease.

Keri Ann said...

Hi! I just came over here from WFMW (I know - I'm sixe days late!). I used to be a middle school Language Arts teacher, and one of my favorite books - with both female and male protagonists -- was The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. It's not from a Christian worldview, but it's not offensive in any way, and it has some great moments where choices have to be made regarding friendship, responding to bullying, etc. I'm pretty picky (and conservative) about the books my children read, and I will definitely encourage them (my girls AND my boy) to read this one when they're old enough.

If some more titles from my teaching days come to mind, I'll post another comment here. :-)