Books for the boys in our lives

By Vickie Hardin, Outreach Specialist August 22, 2013
Here is a twist to an old adage, 'You can lead a boy to a book, but you can't make him read it.'  That is not true in every case because some boys love to read.  But for the ones who avoid it there is probably a pretty good reason why and it is not just because they are being stubborn. It has more to do with the subject matter and how it is presented.  Guys are not interested in warm and fuzzy books. 
So what kinds of books do they like?  Nonfiction books about sports, animals, vehicles, and to many parents dismay---gross stuff.  Action and adventure novels with fast moving plots and great illustrations entice these reluctant readers.  They like Fantasy and Science Fiction too. 
Kids’ magazines like “Sports Illustrated,” “Ranger Rick,” “Maps,” “Boys’ Life”, and “Kids National Geographic” have all of the elements that interest boys.  Graphic novels are very popular, but do not be put off because they resemble comic books.  They have stories with plots and action and believe it or not, substance. 
Start them out with a series that will hold their interest and have them looking forward to the next book.  Elementary students like Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver’s “Hank Zipzer” and Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.”  Middle school boys like “Joey Pigza” by Jack Gantos and Todd Strasser’s “Help! I’m Trapped.”  The series “Born to Rock” by Gordon Korman and “Parent Swap” by Terrance Blacker are good picks for high school level. 
Eventually the classics will have to be reckoned with.  Thankfully there is solution for that dilemma.  Classic retellings ‘are modern takes on the original story,’ like “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Jane Austen and Seth Gramhame-Smith.  There are plenty more suggestions in “Serving Boys Through Readers’ Advisory” by Michael Sullivan.     
If you still need help Jessica McCart, Bossier Central Children’s Librarian, suggests bargaining with your reluctant reader.  In other words, for every chapter book he has to read let him read a book of his choice. 
So guys, ‘Book it to the Bossier Parish Libraries’ for your kind of books.