Best Books for Boys

My 14-year-old son gave me this list of books that his brothers need to read. Unless my initials accompany a comment, all commentary is his. 

The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
This trilogy is a must-read for every boy. A beautifully written, epic fantasy.

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
Another classic. This cast-away story tells how Mafatu, the boy who was afraid, conquered his fear and won honour among his people.

John Paul Jones: Fighting Sailor by Armstrong Sperry
This book is more than just a biography; it is an epic of the legendary sea captain who kept the British at bay for the eight long years of the American Revolution.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London
Buck, a mistreated sled dog of the Alaska Gold Rush, finally finds his home in the wilds of the Yukon. Ages 11 and up. (It gets a little graphic when the dogs fight each other.)

Holes by Louis Sachar
The perfect combination of an easy read and a good book. It is also somewhat of a mystery. KCI: An excellent book! It won both a Newberry and a National Book Award. Deservedly. Tightly braided story lines weave past and present together seamlessly for a delightfully satisfying read.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The prequel to The Lord of the Rings. It is more light-hearted, which makes it appropriate for younger readers.

The Wilderking Trilogy by Jonathan Rogers
Set in a Louisiana bayou-like fantasy world, these retellings of the Biblical David story are fun, funny, and well-written. The perfect books for boys ages 8-12.

A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
Lord-of-the-Rings like world of wizards and mages where a boy’s quest is to save the world from the evil he has unleashed. KCI: The world is similar to Lord of the Rings, but the book itself is much shorter and easier to read.

Boat Building and Boating by Daniel Carter Beard
Written by one of the first Boy Scouts, this book teaches real outdoorsmanship and includes very practical instructions for building boats.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
Another story about a legendary captain, but this time he is a brilliant mathematician who overcomes severe personal hardship. He turns his rowdy crew into loyal, obedient, and educated men. KCI: A must-read for every child! This super engaging biopic tells the story of the man who wrote what came to be known as The Sailor’s Bible. A story of perseverance, compassion, and the transformative power of education.

Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
This is the first book in a series (I recommend the others, too) of fun and adventurous books that will get you familiar with basic nautical terms and basic sailing, and whet your appetite for your own adventures in the great outdoors. KCI: These are delightful but somewhat difficult books, so I recommend reading them aloud, or getting an audio version. Once your child is hooked, he can read the rest on his own. 

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