Book Reviews For Category: Appeals to Boys

While gender doesn’t determine if a book is great or not, it does help if children can identify with some of the characters in the stories. This is especially true for reluctant readers. The books in this particular category are noted for the predominance of boys as main characters.

Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

Children's book - Ms Bixby's Last Day

Published: 2016
Theme: Nurturing Relationships
Best for: 9 to 12

“There are six kinds of teachers in the world. I know because we classified them once during indoor recess…The last kind we simply call the Good Ones…the ones who you don’t want to disappoint.” A beautiful, heart-warming story of three middle-school boys and their relationship to one very extraordinary teacher, who is about to leave them.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

The Best Man

Children's Book - The Best Man

Published: 2016
Theme: Middle-school life
Best for: 11 and up

“We all need goals,” he said. “Here’s one: Stay away from people who don’t know who they are but want you to be just like them. People who’ll want to label you. People who’ll try to write their fears on your face.” This terrific, humorous middle-school story covers bullying, teachers, cliques, change, parental divorce, and gender identity, just to name a few…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

Talking Leaves

Historical Fiction Children's Book - Talking Leaves

Published: 2016
Theme: Historical Fiction Biography
Best for: 9 to 12

“He passes the hammer to me, and I heft it in my hands. It fits my palm perfectly, and it feels good…It seems to be speaking to me, begging to be used, ready to be of service.” So many themes in one book – father/son, developing a written language, Native American struggle. Yet it all holds together beautifully.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Dragon Masters

Children's Book - Dragon masters

Published: 2014
Theme: Dragons
Best for: 6 – 9

“Drake looked over at his friend Bo. he could tell Bo was thinking the same thing he was: How did the king know one of the dragons was sick?” Our school librarian gets a high demand for books about dragons, especially from the lower grade students. So she and I were delighted to find this one.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, First Chapter Book

Ghost Hawk

Historical Fiction Children's Book: Ghost Hawk

Published: 2013
Theme: Injustice
Best for: 11 and up

“To make a tomahawk for your son, you needed the stone blade, and the wooden shaft, and time. In my father’s day, there was still time…” I couldn’t put this historical fiction book down. From start to sad ending, the trauma of the battle for land in early America is a compelling read…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Ruffleclaw

Children's Book - Ruffleclaw

Published: 2015
Theme: Monsters
Best for: 7 to 8

“Yes, he had to admit, Ruffleclaw had been quite a pest. Always hungry. Always tired. And he spat absolutely everywhere. And still… Tommy missed him.” Let’s start by admitting that this children’s book is aimed at being gross, and aimed at young boys who like to be gross…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, First Chapter Book

Will Sparrow’s Road

Will Sparrow's Road - Historical Fiction Children's Book

Published: 2012
Theme: Coming of Age
Best for: 11 and up

“Will Sparrow was a liar and a thief, and hungry, so when he saw the chance to steal a cold rabbit pie from the inn’s kitchen and blame it on the dog, he took it – both the chance and the pie…” First and foremost, this is a beautifully written piece of children’s historical fiction literature. The fact that the story and characters are interesting as well is icing on the cake..

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

James to the Rescue

Children's Book:: James to the Rescue

Published: 2015
Theme: Trust
Best for: 6 – 9

“Marvin sees crumbs under the table, but those are nothing special. The beetles find crumbs all the time. But then he sees something else. Something shiny. Something silver.” My criteria for an good children’s book for emerging readers is that it is not too daunting, and not too dull. This book meets both criteria.

Posted in Ages 5-8, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, First Chapter Book, Waldorf-Aligned

The Master Puppeteer

Children's Book - Master Puppeteer

Published: 1975
Theme: Loyalties
Best for: 6th grade

“Of all the stupid things he had ever done, this was the worst by any measure. He had completely humiliated his kind father in front of Yoshida – the man upon whom all their livelihood depended.” This compelling children’s book has so much going for it that the best advice is to read it. In fact, that’s what the sixth grade class does in our Waldorf school, and I hope parents read along.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Classics, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Will in Scarlet

Children's Book: Will in Scarlett

Published: 2013
Theme: Robin Hood
Best for: 10 and up

“Killing wolves is supposed to teach me to be a great lord of men? Aren’t there any books on the subject?” This children’s book is full of action. While it’s not written as a historical fiction, it gives a good view of the class disparity, and why one would rob the rich and give to the poor.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Crenshaw

Children's Book - Crenshaw

Published: 2015
Theme: Homelessness
Best for: 9 and up

“Robin asked what is a keepsake. My mom said it’s an object you treasure. Then she said things don’t really matter, as long as we have each other.”The most interesting part of this children’s book is that it allows us to see that perhaps homeless people are just the same as you and me, but having a very difficult financial time.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

The Thief Lord

Children's Book - The Thief Lord

Published: 2000
Theme: Adventure and Fantasy
Best for: 9 and up

“A water rat scuttled away as the children felt their way along the narrow passage. It led to a canal, like so many of Venice’s alleys and passages…Someone had painted “Vietato Ingresso” in clumsy letters on the door- No entry.” Once again, I am dazzled by Cornelia Funke and her masterful way of putting characters and plot together that is memorable and exciting…

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Waldorf-Aligned

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet

Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet- Children's Book

Published: 1954
Theme: Space Travel
Best for: boys 8 and up

“Wanted: A small space ship about eight feet long, built by a boy, or by two boys, between the ages of eight and eleven…An adventure and chance to do a good deed await the boys who build the best space ship.” In this delightful early science fiction children’s book, we are introduced to space travel, impossible in 1954, and of course, becoming quite possible only a decade later…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Classics, Waldorf-Aligned

The Legend of Hong Kil Dong

Children's Book - The Legend of Hong Kil Dong

Published: 2006
Theme: Historical Fiction Hero
Best for: 7 and up

“Once there was a boy who could not claim his Father. Kil Dong, as he was called, was the second son of a wealthy and powerful advisor to the king, Minister Hong. But Kil Dong’s mother was not the noble wife of the minister…” This historical fiction, beautifully illustrated ‘graphic’ novel, set in 16th century Korea, tells of the Korean Robin Hood…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Read-Aloud, Waldorf-Aligned

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Catcher

Children's Book: Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher

Published: 1991
Theme: Deep friendship
Best for: 8 and up

“The egg shook in his hands. The dancing colors froze in place. He heard a scratching sound. Suddenly a single, sharp claw pierced the shell. The tiny talon sparkled like a jewel in the moonlight…” This particular children’s book on the theme of raising a dragon has a lovely simplicity and innocence about it…

Posted in Ages 5-8, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Waldorf-Aligned

The Puzzler’s Mansion

Children's Book - The Puzzler's Mansion

Published: 2012
Theme: Against Stereotyping
Best for: 9 and up

“The whole idea that he might try to walk away from puzzles-even for a day- suddenly seemed ridiculous. A weekend of puzzle games at some famous person’s mansion? How could Winston not jump at this?” The most recent book in the Winston Breen series, this one has some wonderful elements in it that surpass the previous books, including culture (music), and pathos (end of life.)

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

Shoeless Joe and Me

Children's Book

Published: 2002
Theme: Baseball
Best for: Baseball fans, ages 10 and up

“I looked at my mother. A few minutes ago, she was refusing to give me permission to travel through time because it was so dangerous. Now she was asking me to go..”. This book is a cross between fantasy– time travel; and historical fiction– we go back to Shoeless Joe’s time…

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The House of Sixty Fathers

Children's book - house of sixty fathers

Published: 1956
Theme: Survival, War
Best for: ages 9 and up

“The family pig, the three ducklings, and the little stone mill to grind the rice for the baby sister– these they have saved from the mud house of the family of Tien…Besides these they had saved absolutely nothing, except Beauty-of-the-Republic, Tien Pao’s baby sister.” It’s never easy to read a story about war, even if it’s packaged in a children’s book. Yet there’s no denying that it is important to help children understand just how difficult war can be.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Classics, Historical Fiction

Roberto and Me

Children's Book - Roberto and Me

Published: 2010
Theme: Responsibility for the Future
Best for: 9 to 12

“Y’know, I like baseball too,” he said quietly. “I’m a Mets fan. They stink I know…But listen, man, there are other things in life that are more important than baseball.” In this 9th book of the series, the author introduces the readers to topics bigger than baseball – like responsibility for the future of the planet…

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

The Puzzling World of Winston Breen

Children's Book - The Puzzling World of Winston Breen

Published: 2007
Theme: Puzzles and Mystery
Best for: 9 and up

“One of his favorite puzzles was: What is something you can break just by saying your name?” “Oh, wait, I know that one,” Winston said. This is the first children’s book in a series of puzzle and mystery books that aim directly for kids who love both puzzles and mysteries..

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

Hawksmaid

Children's Book - Hawksmaid

Published: 2010
Theme: Bravery
Best for: ages 11 and up

“Mattie felt a sudden dizziness. Just for a second or two, it was almost as if she herself were tumbling through the air. And once again the boundaries that separated human beings from birds seemed to dissolve.” A wonderful creative look at the early life of Robin Hood and Maid Marian, with lots of equality for women thrown in…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Inspiring for Girls, Waldorf-Aligned

Hatchet

Children's Book - Hatchet

Published: 1988
Theme: Survival
Best for: boys 11 and up

“…he learned the most important rule about survival, which was that feeling sorry for yourself didn’t work… the self-pity had accomplished nothing.” About a third of the way through the book, when it became clear this was really about survival in it’s truest sense, I was hooked on the mesmerizing story.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

Bud, Not Buddy

Bud Not Buddy - Children's Book

Published: 1999
Theme: Resilience
Best for: 9 and up

“We were all standing in line waiting for breakfast when one of the caseworkers came in and tap-tap-tapped down the line. Uh-oh, this meant bad news, either they’d found a foster home for somebody or somebody was about to get paddled.” Humor, pathos, drama, history, and emotion create an intensely beautiful and impactful piece of children’s literature…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The Watsons Go To Birmingham -1963

Children's book: The Watsons Go To Birmingham - 1963

Published: 1995
Theme: Family
Best for: 11 and up

“”Lona, what you teach these babies up North? Don’t they know how to give no one a proper hug?” Grandma Sands reached up over Byron’s head. “A little short on hair but we gonna get on just fine, what you think, By?” Country kids meet city kids. Northern kids meet life in the South, circa 1963. Sibling rivalry. Delinquency. Parental decisions. The ground this book covers is astounding…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Elijah of Buxton

Children's book - Elijah of Buxton

Published: 2007
Theme: Freedom and Slavery
Best for: 12 and up

“I’d started with ten fish and now I was down to six, and even though I ain’t particular worthy at my schooling, it’d take a whole lot of doggone humbug algebra and trickaration geometry to make ten percent of ten come out to four.” In this skillfully written historical fiction children’s book, we see the world through the eyes of a freeborn child, whose parents had been slaves.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Starry River of the Sky

Children's book - Starry River

Published: 2012
Theme: Forgiveness
Best for: 9 to 12

“It is better to light a lantern than to bemoan the darkness,” Madame Change said softly to herself, as if in a dream. “Can’t we light more lanterns, then?” Peiyi said eagerly, “to make up for the light of the moon?” In another lovely children’s book, Grace Lin deftly weaves a dramatic story of forgiveness around the retelling of classic Chinese tales.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Waldorf-Aligned

The Expeditioners (Books 1 & 2)

Children's book - The Expeditioners

Published: 2012, 2014
Theme: Fantasy Exploring
Best for: 12 and up

“We Explorers have always been redrawing the maps. That map was no less correct when it was made than the ones made by Ortelius or Mercator. A map of the world isn’t a fixed thing. We know only what we can see.” This series is superb. The adventures, the dangers, the daring, the unstated metaphors to today’s warped political world, are both disturbing and important…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

Peter and the Starcatchers

Children's Book- Peter and the Starcatchers

Published: 2004
Theme: Good vs Evil
Best for: ages 10 and up

“As if reading her mind, a large porpoise rose straight up, using its powerful tail to lift its head well clear of the water, dancing on the churning water. It looked at Molly, grinning, and said, “Hello.” ” An action packed pirate story, with lots of fights, heroes, and drama, this is a magical prequel to Peter Pan…

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

Adopted by Indians – A True Story

Adopted by Indians - Children's book

Published: 1998
Theme: Native American lifestyle
Best for: 9 and up classrooms

“I believe that in many instances where the white settlers had trouble with the Indians it all started because the Indians were just curious to know what in the world the white settlers were doing, and not be because they …even knew they were doing any damage.” This nonfiction children’s book is simple and informative, giving a full and loving picture of a culture that tragically has disappeared.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

Benedict Society 2 Children's Book

Published: 2008
Theme: Adventure
Best for: 9 to 12

“The children took off, hurrying away from the castle. Down, down along the twisting cobbled street, weaving through pedestrians, crossing tiled plazas, down and down to where the street grew still more narrow and began to branch off into…alleyways.” Think James Bond, non-stop action, fights, captures, escapes, but no one getting killed, and you have a bird’s eye view of this adventure.

Posted in Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary
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