February 28, 2007

Boy Books and Girl Books

We checked out and are listening to the Anne of Green Gables books as we drive around town these days, and my seven year old son loves them. I've read before that boys tend not to like stories about girls, but this has not proved true in my son's case. He was fond of Laura Ingalls, he listened with interest to all the Ramona books and he likes Anne Shirley too.

I love reading to my children some of the favorite books of my youth, but I don't want to make my son into a sentimental sissy and I'm afraid my tastes in books tend towards the good, but feminine. It's not hurting him to hear about some girls, I'm sure, but I don't want him to be missing out on something important.

What's good to read to a seven year old boy? We've already gone through all the Great Brain books and all the Roald Dahl books. I just started reading the Henry Reed books to him, but I'm not sure where to go after that.


I read the first two Anne books to my third grade classes when I was a teacher, and the boys LOVED them! There are enough hilarious moments and Gilbert stories that it held their interest.

My sons have also enjoyed Roald Dahl books, along with Beverly Cleary. Also, they got into the a set, which I can't remember the exact name--they are abridged versions of classic stories. My 8-year-old just told me that he also loved The Magic Treehouse books last year, and he also started on Harry Potter at seven.

Posted by: chewymom at February 28, 2007 06:37 AM

Andrew is eating up the Magic Treehouse series. It's not as classic, say as the Great Brain, but they do a good job of putting history in context. They feature a brother and a sister on adventures together.

Someone will be getting a copy of "Volcanoes On Vacation" in his Easter basket.

Posted by: Meredith at February 28, 2007 06:40 AM

Your article made me laugh! I've been intending to write you all week, asking about good chapter books for my 5-year old boy. I loved hearing you talk about books at Meredith's house, so I wanted to seek your advice. Then you post my very question!

We're only on our 3rd chapter book, but so far we've read Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web and we're currently reading The Family Under the Bridge.

I look forward to reading other people's comments!

Posted by: Ann Saylor at February 28, 2007 07:05 AM

My son has read all the Magic Treehouse books many times over. They are good ones, but not something I particularly enjoyed reading out loud. I try to keep the easier books for him to read to himself and more of the classics for me to read to him. Not that I stop him from reading them to himself and he will often reread to himself whatever book I read to him.

Posted by: Jordana at February 28, 2007 08:11 AM

A wonderful read aloud book is Tal: His Marvelous Adventures with Noom-Zor-Noom by Paul Fenimore Cooper.

Wonderful book that was out of print for a while, but it is back and is just as good as I remembered.

Posted by: Sarah G. at February 28, 2007 08:25 AM

My favorites back then were the Danny Dunn series by Jay Williams and Raymond Abrashkin, which were about science, and one called Alvin's Secret Code, by Clifford Hicks. Then there are always the Hardy Boys, but they weren't exactly fine literature back then, and I think the later editions have gone downhill.

Posted by: Tom Jackson at February 28, 2007 08:38 AM

A few that both my boys and girl have loved: The Classic Pooh books, the Narnia series, Charlotte's Web, Trumpet of the Swan, The Wind in the Willows.

Posted by: Tricia at February 28, 2007 09:21 AM

Here are several that I liked that I don't think are too "girly":
The Indian in the Cupboard, Lynne Reid Banks
Sounder, William H. Armstrong
The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin
Tuck Everlasting, Natalie Babbitt
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing and Superfudge, Judy Blume
and, of course, the Encyclopedia Brown series, Donald J. Sobol.
He might drive you crazy reading Encyclopedia Brown, but I bet he'd love them.

Posted by: Frazier at February 28, 2007 09:53 AM

Lots of good ideas though some, of course, we have already read. I loved Encyclopedia Brown as a kid.

Posted by: Jordana at February 28, 2007 10:24 AM

My older brother loved Danny Dunn!

Posted by: Lenise at February 28, 2007 12:38 PM

For the younger crowd, the Carolyn Haywood books are delightful (Eddie and Gardenia, Betsy and Billy, etc.). If the 7 year old were your youngest, then the books might be too young, but he's not.

For the 7 year old: Albert Payson Terhune's dog books- marvelous for all ages, although if you aren't currently a dog owner brace yourself.

Posted by: Adelaide at March 1, 2007 11:25 AM

You mustn't forget Homer Price.

Then there's Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn, but maybe those should wait a year or three.

Posted by: Tom Jackson at March 1, 2007 02:07 PM