Article, Book Lists

Books to Engage Boys

  • Grades: PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8

Teachers know that boys can be more reluctant to read than girls. But it has been shown that boys can be hooked when they feel that they can connect with the story and become completely immersed in the experience of reading. To win over even the most unenthusiastic boys in your classroom, we've chosen books with more action, humor, and real-life situations.

When picking books on your own, keep in mind that male readers tend to be less interested in features of the text itself and more engaged by the situation in the book and the presentation of the narrative. For more information on selecting books to encourage male readers, check out this article from Instructor magazine. Go now.

Henry and Mudge Series by Cynthia Rylant (PreK3)
This popular series is comprised of warm picture books detailing the adventures of Henry and his larger than life dog, Mudge.
A Henry and Mudge Collection is available in the Teacher Store.

Like Jake and Me by Mavis Jukes (PreK3)
This Newbery Honor winner is the story of young Alex and his love for his big strong stepfather, Jake. But Alex realizes that he's just as strong when he notices that Jake fears something that he doesn't.

Henry's Baby by Mary Hoffman (PreK3)
Henry wants his friends to see him as cool; he doesn't want to have to hang around his uncool baby brother until Henry finds out that his friends actually like babies.

The Pool Party by Gary Soto (14)
Rudy has just been invited to his first pool party and can't think of a good gift to give his friend. Soto delivers a lot of humor during Rudy's search for the perfect gift while showing us pieces of Hispanic life and how Rudy deals with an insecure teenage sister, wild grandfather, and many other interesting family members.

The Boys'War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the Civil War by Jim Murphy (47)
Using old diaries, memoirs, and letters Murphy pieces together the emotions running through the young soldiers who fought on the Union and Confederate sides of the Civil War.

Lord of the Deep by Graham Salisbury (47)
This is not only a story about deep-sea fishing, but also about the transition of a boy into a man. Mikey has great admiration for his stepfather, Bill, but after meeting two surly fishermen, Mikey's trust in Bill is shaken.

Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen (47)
Bully Cole Matthews finally realizes the error of his ways once he is banished to an Alaskan island. Here he begins to hunt a legendary white bear only to face the fact that he is not as tough as he thought he was.
This book is available in the Teacher Store.

Damage by A. M. Jenkins (7+)
Damage follows young football star Austin Reid and his battle with depression. Austin must go through rigorous training with his football coach, while dealing with the death of his father and the reality that he no longer wants to feel.


  • Subjects:
    Literacy, Literature, Literature Appreciation, Teacher Tips and Strategies
top