I'm a voracious reader, and have been since I was a child, so I naturally wanted to pass this love on to my children. With two boys, though, I soon discovered that there aren't as many obvious book choices for boys, especially in the early and middle elementary school years. We've spent a lot of time trial and erroring books for my sons, so I thought I'd round up their favorites.
While there are lots of great choices of single books out there, we love having a series in play, since the choice of next book is always easy. Whether your boy is an early reader or an accomplished one, he may love to check out these series (and, of course, girls too!)
1. Geronimo Stilton, by Geronimo Stilton. My younger son absolutely adores these books about a journalist mouse who is always getting caught up in misadventures. If you can stand the constant cheese puns, it's a good series to use for transitioning to independent reading. There are at least 55 books in the series so far, with additional spin off series like The Kingdom of Fantasy, which my son also loves. Rated Age Level: 7 - 10; Grade Level: 2 - 5.
2. Horrible Harry, by Suzy Kline. Harry actually isn't that horrible. This early chapter book series follows the adventures of a class of second graders as they navigate school life. Rated Age Level: 6 - 8; Grade Level: 1 - 3.
3. Encyclopedia Brown, by Donald J. Sobol. You may remember these books from your youth; my husband certainly did. He was a huge fan of mysteries and the boy detective in particular, and he introduced them to our kids. Fun stories that make kids pay attention to detail in order to solve the mysteries. Rated Age Level: 7 and up ; Grade Level: 2 and up. Because really, you are never too old for a good mystery!
4. NERDS: National Espionage, Rescue, and Defense Society, by Michael Buckley. My older son is a huge fan of this series by the author of The Sisters Grimm. A group of elementary school kids run a spy network from inside their school and defeat a series of James Bond-type villains. Rated Age Level: 8 - 12 years; Grade Level: 3 - 7.
5. The Aldo Zelnick Comic Novel Series, by Karla Oceanak and Kendra Spanjer. These illustrated novels follow the adventures of Aldo Zelnick, a kid who just loves to draw. They read like Aldo's journals, with doodles on every page. As you can tell by the main character's name, this "A-to-Z" series will, when all is said and done, contain 26 books, each one starting with a letter of the alphabet. Get started with Artsy Fartsy. Rated Age Level: 9 - 12; Grade Level: 4 - 7.
6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. I know, I know. I wasn't super excited for my kids to read these books, since there's a lot of "You're a moron!" and other questionable content. But the fact is, they love these books. My older son re-read a bunch of them, and my younger son is now devouring them. Whatever gets them to love to read, I'm on board; we use some of the more blatantly bad behavior or attitudes as a springboard for conversation.
7. Big Nate, by Lincoln Pierce. This series is very similar in content and aesthetic to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. Nate is a sixth grader, and the series follows his adventures. Rated age range: 8 - 12 Years.
8. Herbert's Wormhole, by Peter Nelson and Rohitash Rao. We just discovered this series, so we haven't finished the whole thing yet. But my older son loves it. Herbert and his neighbor discover a wormhole and travel 100 years into the future. Hilarity and adventure ensue! Rated Age Level: 8 - 12 ; Grade Level: 3 - 7.
9. A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket. The events certainly are unfortunate; the first book begins with the death of the three Baudelaire children's parents. In spite of the depressing events, these books are funny and linguistically playful, and kids adore them. Rated Age Level: 8 - 12; Grade Level: 5 and up.
10. The Strange Case of Origami Yoda, by Tom Angleberger. Got a Star Wars fan in the house? This clever series traces the exploits of sixth grader Dwight, who talks to people through his finger puppet, Origami Yoda. The book also contains instructions to make your own origami Star Wars figures. Rated Age Level: 8 - 12; Grade Level: 3 - 7.
Do you have boys, and do they have a favorite series of books? Let us know in the comments! (I'm always looking for new suggestions!)
(Image credits: as linked)