Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Books for boys

One of our recent posts listed stuff boys like.

Here's another look at those categories, with some reading choices for each one. I also encourage you to post your own suggestions in the Comments.

Gross stuff
Here are some suitably gross books boys love.
Walter the Farting Dog, by William Kotzwinkle, Glenn Murray, and Audrey Colman;

Capt. Underpants, by Dav Pilkey (not my favourite - but boys love them);

Grossology, by Sylvia Branzei (there's a whole series including Animal Grossology and Virtual Grossology);

The Gas We Pass (The Story of Farts), by Shinta Cho; and

Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty.

Lots of boys like to read about wars, especially WWII.

Paschendaele: Canada's Triumph and Tragedy on the Fields of Flanders, by Norman Leach - This book flew off the shelves during our school book fair. (There's also a movie starring Paul Gross.)

Also, see "Superheroes" below. (Superheros spend their days fighting. Punching. Being punched. It's a living.)

Boys love joke books. Joke books are best purchased rather than borrowed from the library, because kids will refer to them again and again. Ask the staff at your local bookstore for a popular one, and then for pete's sake read a few of the jokes before you buy it to make sure that they're age-appropriate but even more importantly, that they're funny - because you'll be hearing them. Again. And again. And again.

Boys also like funny or silly stories. For instance, Chester by Melanie Watt, is a picture book in which the author's cat, Chester, scratches out and rewrites the story to his advantage.

Books that my son confirms are "hilarious," are The Weird School series by Dan Gutman (Miss Daisy is Crazy is the first one) and the extremely popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney.

We've talked before about the Encyclopedia of Immaturity, a Klutz book. It's very funny, and kids will read it over and over.

To help them quench their thirst for all things factual, consider the Guinness Book of World Records, joke books, biographies and magazines.

There's a great "-ology" series (Spyology, Monsterology, Egyptology, Dragonology, Wizardology, Pirateology, by various authors). They can be a bit pricey because they have pop-outs and special features, but boys really love them. They also have factoids and lots of images, which also attracts boys.

You can also buy (or take out of the library) non-fiction books on the topics that most interest your child. Think about what he likes, and Google the topic to find non-fiction books on those subjects. Your librarian can be a great asset here, steering you towards age-appropriate books.

We've talked on this blog before about how important magazines are. Visit any large bookstore, and you'll see tons of kid-friendly magazines on every topic imaginable. For instance, there's a kids' Sports Illustrated, a kids' National Geographic, car magazines, video gaming magazines, etc.

Many of the books in this list are very visual, with bite-sized chunks of text and lots of images, illustrations and photos, including: the -ology series, the Guinness books, the Encylopedia of Immaturity, and Reader's Digest.

Think Superman, Batman and Spiderman - comics and books. But for older boys also consider classics like Beowulf, and Homer’s The Odyssey.

There is a whole list of great superhero books that aren't comics here and here.

The Internet
Here's a "cool-parent" tip. Get the name of one of the video games your son's playing a lot right now. Then Google it, with "cheats" or "walkthrough" like this: "Mario Super Smash Bros. cheats" or "Zelda walkthrough".

You'll get a big long page of tips that will make your son's gameplaying experiencing more fun and more enriched. (Don't worry - they're not "cheating" - they're called cheats, but it really means hidden extras. On the other hand, the walkthroughs are actually cheating, but games are so complicated these days, everyone uses them.)

Your son will love you and think you're uber-cool, because you're showing him something new about his game. And you'll be happy because boy, there is a ton of reading to those cheats and walkthroughs!

All of the above
Reader’s Digest - It has many of the elements boys love: pictures, short articles, games, jokes, non-fiction, competition and it’s compact so it's portable.

The Sports section of your newspaper.

The Guinness Book of World Records and the Guinness Book of World Records, Gamer's Edition.

Please share with us your favourite gross, factual, humorous, visual or non-fiction books boys love.

Please also check out the "Great books" category on this blog for more suggestions, and for more information about many of the books listed here.

For more gross books for boys, check out the blog, Getting Boys to Read.


max said...

It's so important to draw attention to reading, and attract reluctant readers to it,especially boys.

I grew up as a reluctant reader, in spite of the fact that my father published over 70 books. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that avid boy readers and girls enjoy just as much.

My blog, Books for Boys is dedicated to drawing attention to the importance of reading.

Keep up your good work.

Max Elliot Anderson

Joyce Grant said...

Thanks, Max - I'll definitely check out your blog (and your books)!

Terry Agnew said...

Joyce I do know I should be reading your blog daily! Also why were up up at 1am writing it? But mostly, Conor needs a good book. He's really fallen into some bad habits games, tv, texting but no reading...Help me find him a good book. Yes, I will get him something that I saw in your blog for now but what would you totally recommend for him your cousin!