How to Keep Boys into Books this Summer

FictionHuman InterestAl CaponeCheshireRoberto Clemente Jr.Sandy KoufaxChris Gall

Summer break is fast approaching, and keeping reading skills sharp is always a challenge, especially for boys.

Author and children's book advocate Bridget Heos has a few ideas to keep boys reading and engaged.

Boy Books Stats:

According to the 2010 Kid and Family Reading Report, only 39 percent of boys rated reading outside of class as important, while 62 percent of girls said it was "extremely or very important."

A 2010 study by the Center on Education Policy found on state reading tests, girls scored seven to eight percent higher than girls. The gap increases after fourth grade and into high school.

Boys and girls tend to like reading different type books. Let boys read what they want to read. Comic books, magazines, nonfiction, genre fiction.

Here are some types of books boys tend to enjoy:


  • Shark vs. Train, Chris Barton, ill. by Tom Lichtenheld
  • Dinotrux, Chris Gall
  • Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site, Sherri Duskey Rinker, ill. by Tom Lichtenheld


  • Baseball Books
  • All Star! Honus Wagner and the Most Famous Baseball Card Ever, Jane Yolen, ill. by Jim Burke
  • Henry Aaron’s Dream, Matt Tavares
  • You Mean You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax? Jonah Winter, ill. by Andre Carrilho

Chapter Books:

  • Satchell & Me, Dan Gutman
  • We’ll Never Forget You, Roberto Clemente, Trudie Engel
  • Whatever topic interests them: war, current events, killer animals—let them be obsessed with a topic.


Gr. K-1:

  • Ogg and Bob, Ian Fraser, Mary Ann Fraser

Gr. 2-6

  • The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda, Tom Angleberger
  • Darth Paper Strikes Back (Coming out in late summer.)
  • Knuckleheads, autobiography Jon Scieszka

Gr. 7-High School

  • Carter Finally Gets It, Brent Crawford
  • (Sequel: Carter’s Big Break)

True to Life:

  • Al Capone Does My Shirts, Gennifer Choldenko
  • (Sequel: Al Capone Shines My Shoes)
  • Escaping the Tiger, Laura Manivong
  • The Wave, Todd Strasser


The Last Apprentice, Joseph Delaney—boy must save his homeland from the evil water witch, but can he survive training with his new hard-nosed master

The Clockwork Dark, John Claude Bemis—Ray discovers that stories about the heroes of American folklore, such as John Henry and Johnny Appleseed, are true, and that he must draw from their powers to fight the evil Gog.

I’ve Read That, Now What? Beyond the Blockbusters

Main Point: Kids often fall in love with a series, but unsure of what to read next, stop reading for a while. Here are some ideas to keep them reading through the summer.


  • Fancy Nancy…Big Bouffant, Kate Hosford and Holly Cliffton Brown--graphic
  • Pigeon Books…Is Your Buffalo Ready for Kindergarten, Audrey Vernick and Daniel Jennewein

Gr. 1-3

  • Captain Underpants…How to Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid…Big Nate, Lincoln Peirce
  • old Encyclopedia Brown books…Saxby Smart, Private Detective, Simon Cheshire, ill. by R.W. Alley

Gr. 3-6

  • Nancy Drew…Echo Falls, Peter Abrahams
  • Hardy Boys…Brixton Brothers, Mac Burnett
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid…Origami Yoda, see above.
  • The Dork Diaries…The Popularity Papers, Amy Ignatow
  • Lighting Thief series…Olympian series of graphic novels, starting with Zeus and Athena, George O’Connor

Gr. 7-High School

  • Twilight…The Vampire Academy, Richelle Mead
  • The Hunger Games…Graceling and Fire, Kristin Cashore
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