Friday, September 19, 2008

Books for Boys: The Middle Grades

In the comments to the Boys Will Be Boys post there is some discussion on what are good books for boys.

warned against too much fantasy and science fiction. We do read both genres but carefully. Lloyd Alexander is a favorite around here although I must admit I have shied away from Madeleine L'Engle, I forget why.

The Deputy Headmistress
and others suggested the new Dangerous Book for Boys along with Ernest Thomas Seton books most especially Two Little Savages.

Linda mentioned good biographies. When Timothy was 5 I began reading out loud "The Story Of" books. We had a blast reading about Dan Beard, Winston Churchill and others. These are not generally recommended for young boys and I suppose they are probably written with a 4-6th grader in mind but we both have good memories of those days.

Instead of listing all the wonderful books for boys we have found over the years, and I am sure I have written about this before, today I will just list a few of the authors or series we have enjoyed.

The Sugar Creek Gang
, older edition. I highly recommend these books. They are quite compelling and enjoyable and their simple values are often a jolt to the modern reader. PLEASE avoid the updates. They lose all the charm of the originals.

Albert Terhune Payson
Walt Morey
Jim Kjelgaard
Jack O'Brien's Silver Chief books are among the best.
Walter Farley

The Great Brain series although I say this with some caution. The Great Brain in the hands of a middle school boy can create a monster.

The Ambleside Online
lists are full of great books for boys. Most classics mentioned for this age group are there for a reason.

Howard Pyle, a not-to-be-missed author including Men of Iron.

I don't really own very many Christian fiction books for boys. I just can't get excited about those books where they have a famous missionary as part of some exciting plot. I may be wrong about that. We have enjoyed a few Robert Elmer books over the years and I mean that we really have enjoyed them. Maybe others can suggest recent Christian publishing successes. On the other hand almost anything from Inheritance Publications is great, especially their Scout series or their Meindert DeJong books.

We like GA Henty, not in large doses or the plots begin to muddle but he really is a great author for boys.

Years ago BJU Press put out several wonderful books that have become family favorites:
A Place for Peter and any books by Elizabeth Yates.
The Stolen Years by Gloria Repp
Zoli's Legacy and sequels,
In Search of name a few.
I commend BJU Press on their great selection of repubs.

James Daughtery
Robert Lawson
Rosemary Sutcliff
Joseph Altsheler
Allen not miss Allen French.
Stephen Meader..don't miss him either.

Black Fox of Lorne
and many others by Marguerite de Angeli.

Christian Liberty Press is also a great place to look for manly books including Iron Scouts of the Conferderacy by Lee McGiffen. My boys have gone on to read more about John Singleton Mosby after reading Iron Scouts.

Reading aloud Childhood of Famous Americans is a great way to get boys interested in historical figures at a young age. Our favorites are Francis Marion, William Penn and Thomas Jackson.

And finally one more great publisher of books for boys: Bethlehem Books.

The problem with recommending books is the same now as it was in Solomon's time. Of the making of books there is no end. This is a sadly incomplete list which basically covers 3rd -7th grades. I am sure I haven't even scratched the surface but for those of you just hitting these years for the first time this should get you started.

I can already feel myself thumping my forehead because I forgot to mention a wonderful book.

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