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Book Lists Just for Boy/Girl Interest

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on November 6, 2010

     One of my readers asked me the following: “…Would you be able to direct me to some picture books, living books, classics, etc. that highlight male/boy characters to add to my son’s reading? I have found so many lovely books that feature girls as the main character but really want to find some that feature boys. My son loves Lentil (we kept it checked out of the library for 6 weeks and are going to ask for it again!) along with Mike Mulligan, Peter Rabbit, and other books about animals like The Story about Ping. But any suggestions you can share on books that have resonated well with your sons would be great. Thanks a bunch!”

        I have to admit that I’ve never sat down to make a book list just for boys (even though I have 3 of my own),  but I thought I’d see what I could think up.  Since I was going to make a list for boys, I figured I might as well  make a list for girls, too. 

        I tried to find books that might be especially appealing to boys or girls…books that included their special interests.  For boys that meant cars, planes, cowboys, animals (especially dogs and dinosaurs), and adventure stories–and for girls, I looked for books about relationships, animals (especially cats and horses), and family life.  I also looked for books that had strong male/female characters (especially those that give children heroes to look up to.) 

        This was harder than I thought!  After all, my children–both male and female–enjoy both kinds of  books if they are well written.  Almost all the books on the picture book list, for example, would be enjoyed by boys OR girls.  It was often hard to decide which list the books should go on.  I really had to go through my shelves to get even a basic list (and yes, this is only a basic list!)  I tried looking around online for other lists, but found little (only radical “feminist” lists for girls, LOL!) and Heart of Dakota’s list, which is partially divided by boy or girl interest (it looks really good.)        You should know that there are many, many more classic books listed in my book, Homepreschool and Beyond.   A note for those of you who already own it:  There are books on the boy/girl lists that are NOT in the book, so you might want to bookmark them or print them up. 

        Finally, be sure to remember that elementary aged children can listen to books (being read to them) that are 1-3 grade levels above their own reading levels (or more.)

        Anyway, here’s part one of the list—for boys.  I’ll post the list for girls in a day or two.  I’d love it if you would add your favorites as well by adding comments.  I love comments! 

        Enjoy!    ~Susan

Book List Just for Boys

Picture Books–

Beady Bear by Dan Freeman (a boy and his teddy bear)

Harry the Dirty Dog, Harry by the Sea, and others by Gene Zion

 Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virgina Lee Burton

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight, How do Dinosaurs Clean their Room, and others by Jane Yolen

Biggest Bear, by Lynd Ward

Little Red Lighthouse and the Great Grey Bridge, The, by Hildegarde Swift

Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig, by Helen Oxenbury

True Story of the Three Pigs, by A. Wolf, by Jon Scienszka

The Story About Ping, by Marjorie Flack and Curt Wiese

Lentil, by Robert McCloskey

Ticki Ticki Tembo, by Arlene Mosel 

Verdi,  by Jannell Cannon

Boy Who Held Back the Sea, The, by Lenny Hort, Thomas Locker, and Mary Mapes Dodge 4-5+

The Raft, by Jim LaMarche

The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper

Little Toot, by Hardie Gramatky

Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

Boy Who Loved to Draw: Benjamin West, The, by Barbara Brenner and Olivier Dunrea J 4-5

Note:  The author, Gail Gibbons has written a series of non-fiction books that cover topics of interest to boys, including firefighters (Fire! Fire!), policemen, science, sports (Baseball, Football, Soccer),  and many other topics of interests to boys  including Sunken Treasure, The Boat Book, Trains, Knights in Shining Armor, How a House is Built, Lighthouses, New Road!, and many more. If there is a topic your son is interested in, be sure to see if there is a Gail Gibbons’ book to go with it!

 Longer Picture Books

Billy and Blaze series, by C.W. Anderson (a boy and his horse)

Calico the Wonder Horse, OR the Saga of Stewy Stinker, by Virginia Lee Burton

Merle the High Flying Squirrel (and others) by Bill Peet (note: One or two of his books are inappropriate, but most are wonderful.)

Yonnie Wondernose, by Marguerite De Angeli

Glorious Flight:  Across the Channel with Louis Bleriot July 25, 1909, The, by Alice and Martin Provensen 4-5+

Island Boy, by Barbara Cooney

Lentil, by Robert McCloskey

Obadiah the Bold, by Brinton Turkle

Hollings C. Hollings books:  Of special interest of boys are Paddle to the Sea, Minn of the Mississippi, Tree In the Trail, The Book of Cowboys, The Book of Indians

McBroom’s Wonderful One Acre Farm (part of a series) by Sid Fleishman  (we avoid the titles with ghosts.)

Dangerous Journey: The Story of Pilgrim’s Progress,  by Oliver Hunkin

Questions and Answers about Mighty Machines, by Adam Hibbert, Chris Oxlade, and James Pickering

First Readers—

The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto (Step Into Reading book), by Natalie Standiford and Donald Cook

Frog and Toad, part of a series by Arnold Lobel  

Nate The Great, (part of a series of mystery books) by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat and Marc Simont

First Flight:  The Story of Tom Tate and The Wright Brothers, (I Can Read series), by George Shea and Don Bolognese

George Washington and the General’s Dog (Step Into Reading) by Frank Murphy

First Chapter Books/First Longer Read Alouds-

Poppy and Ereth’s Birthday, by Avi (There is another book in this series called Poppy and Rye that I skip because one of the characters is rather rebellious and talks in slang.)  Although the main character in these books is a girl mouse, it is an exciting adventure story for boys.  It also includes strong male characters—and I mean characters—such as Ereth the porcupine, who often speaks his “curses” in alliteration, such as “Green grasshopper guts!” or “Bouncing bear burps!” Despite being old and grouchy—and complaining a lot—Ereth does what is right.)  Note: These books may not be for everyone.  I do have to self-edit some of Ereth’s exclamations, but my boys love this series, and Ereth’s colorful exclamations crack them up.

A House Inside Out  (all about the lives of those “others” who often live in our houses with us, such as spiders, mice, pill bugs, etc—fun fiction.)

 Stuart Little, Mouse on a Motorcycle, and others by E.B. White

Henry  Huggins, Ribsy, and Henry and Ribsy, by Beverly Cleary (a boy and his dog)

Encyclopedia Brown (series) by Donald Sobol

Homer Price and Centerburg Tales, by Robert McCloskey

Hollings C. Hollings books, especially Sign of the Beaver, Tree in the Trail, Minn of the Mississippi, The Book of Indians, and The Book of Cowboys

Carry on, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham

Matchlock Gun, by Walter D. Edmonds

Louis Braille, by Margaret Davidson

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl 

Great Family Read Alouds/Books for Older Boys to Read Independently–

Hank the Cowdog, (series) by  John R. Erickson and Gerald L. Holmes. This is our current family read aloud series.  All of us participate and take turns reading to the boys—me, my husband, and my 18 year old daughter.  We all love this series…it’s a hoot.)

Smokey the Cowhorse, and Will James’ Book of Cowboy Stories, by Will James

Treasure Island , by Robert Louis Stevenson

Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann David Wyss

21 Balloons, by William Pene Dubois

Black Stallion Series by Walter Farley

By the Great Horn Spoon, by Sid Fleishman

Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, Journey to the Center of the Earth, by Jules Verne

Wilderking Trilogy, by Jonathan Rogers

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, by  Robert C. O’Brien (contains magic.)

Summer of the Monkeys, by Rawls

Teens and tweens shouldn’t miss–

Little Britches series by Moody

Call of the Wild and White Fang, by Jack London

Treasure Island  by Robert Louis Stevenson

Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss (the unabridged version challenging and great to assign as independent reading.)

Wilderking Trilogy, by Jonathan Rogers

 © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.


2 Responses to “Book Lists Just for Boy/Girl Interest”

  1. Kim said

    This is SO great! Wow – what a list! And I love the girls’ list too which will work out great for my daughter when she’s a little older (only 18 months right now.) thank you again – I really appreciate your hard work on this 🙂

  2. Cheyenne said

    Thanks so much Susan. This list is just what I needed for my 7 year old son. We will definitely be going to the library soon to see what we can find!

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