During my time as an elementary school teacher, I taught both 2nd and 4th Grade. I absolutely love children’s books at any age, but this age is a rare window when children fall in love with independently reading longer books. It thrills my soul, I tell you!
One of my own children is currently in this stage and is such an avid reader! He is the type to fall asleep with a chapter book and a flashlight. This makes my teacher-mom heart so very happy.
Earlier this week, I published two book lists on my blog: one of books I recommend from last year, and the other list of books I plan to read this year.
Keeping with the spirit of book-list making (because boy, do I know how to party), I’m sharing a list of books for your own early-independent, chapter-book-reading, flashlight and a book, little guys!
I’ve put this list together as both a former teacher (hello, potential for educational mini-lessons and deep character trait conversations) and as a mom (hello, wholesome values and well-mannered role models.) I’m only recommending the best here, friends. These books include both boys and girls as main characters. They are a mix of realistic fiction, historical fiction, classics, and adventures.
Several of these books are best when read alongside parents who can guide meaningful and thoughtful discussions. While all of these books could be read as a family and have thought-provoking and wholesome content, some simply need a bit more guidance from parents. I’ve marked the books with necessary parental-conversation topics with an *asterisk.
1) The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (and all Narnia books)
3) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
4) Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder (This is book #3 in the series. While I think it’s a great read for boys, the boys in my classroom always loved the first two books just as much: Little House in the Big Woods and The Little House on the Prairie. This entire series is a must-read for all children.)
5) The Tale of Desperauex by Kate DiCamillo
6) Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
8) The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
9) The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
10) The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
11) Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo This book is the most wholesome of stories. However, in one scene, Miss Franny tells Opal that “War is hell.” When reading this to children as a real aloud, I had the advantage of holding the book and changing the language to “War is bad.” If your child reads this book independently, you can have a conversation to explain Miss Franny’s use of strong language or perhaps (even better) you might each take turns reading a chapter aloud, in which case you can choose your chapters wisely in advance. The rest of this book is completely appropriate and good for elementary eyes and ears.
*12) The Watsons Go to Birmingham: 1964 by Christopher Paul Curtis This book is best read with an adult when children are ready for deeper conversations and topics. It was a favorite read aloud in the Fourth Grade, so it’s a stretch for this particular list.
13) Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
14) Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
15) Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
16) The Magic Tree House Series by Mary Pope Osbourne The fantasy genre is not typically my favorite, but this series leans mostly in the direction of exciting, historical fiction, adventures. It is much more educational than mystical.
17) Stuart Little by E. B. White
In addition to this list, I am looking forward to several books that have been highly recommended. I haven’t read the following titles yet, but I plan to read them with my boys soon!
18) Billy and Blaze by C. W. Anderson
19) The Prince Warriors by Priscilla Shirer
20) Trail Blazers: A Christian History Series
21) John Henry by Julias Lester
22) Swiss Family Robinson by Johann D. Wyss
23) Doomsday in Pompeii and other Imagination Station books
24) James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
25) Treasure Island by Robert Lewis Stevenson
26) Little Men by Louisa May Alcott
27) My America: Freedom’s Wings: Corey’s Underground Railroad Diary, Book One by Sharon Dennis Wyeth
28) Shoeless Joe and Me by Dan Gutman
29) A to Z Mysteries Series by Ron Roy
30) Hank the Cowdog Series by John R. Erickson
Fellow mom, I hope this list will be a resource for us both for years to come as we nurture a love for reading in the hearts of boys.
Here’s a hug. We’re raising the men of the future.
From my teacher-mom heart to yours,
Bekah D. says
It’s like you made a list of my favorite childhood books! When I was teaching Gifted, we use “Farmer Boy” and “The Indian in the Cupboard” as read-alouds and all the kiddos loved it! We also read “Pippi Longstocking” (which I distinctly remember watching the movie in your van with your boys!).
Haha! That’s so funny that you remember watching Pippi Longstocking with my boys! I’m all about introducing classic stories with good storylines and characters! I’m glad you love these books, as well. They are such great stories!
I love this!