Book Lists, How I love Thee!

best book lists for boys & moms

I don’t know how it happened but I have become obsessed with book lists. Mandi Ehman has a weekly book club where she shares what she’s read that week (usually four books!!). Jessie pins all her books. And suddenly, I needed to have my own book list!

I wondered, how many books do I really read? All those free Kindle books have got me reading more than ever. So, I decided to start a list. My 2013 Book List gives everything I read and what I’m reading to the kids (in the way of chapter books, not picture books).

It’s crazy but it makes me more diligent and motivated to read! I put my Kindle app on the front screen of my phone (next to Instagram’s highly coveted spot) and instead of mindlessly scrolling through dumb apps (ie Facebook), I open up my Kindle app and read read read!

With all this, I’ve been wanting to be more purposeful in the books I read to the kids. We’re reading the Chronicles of Narnia right now and they are totally in love. But some nights, my husband will put Lydia to bed, while I put Asa to bed. Or Lydia will be at school and I’ll read to Asa before his nap. And I wanted a good boy-book for us to read together.

As I am not a boy, I didn’t have much to choose from on my saved-for-my-kids-from-when-I-was-a-kid-collection. I randomly found a copy of Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary at the thrift store a few years ago and decided to try that with Asa. He loves it already and by the end of the first chapter said, “I think the mouse is going to borrow the little boy’s motorcycle toy.”

I think we’ll be finishing The Mouse and the Motorcycle pretty quickly since he loves it so much, so I asked on our Facebook page about good boy-centric books for bedtime reads. And oh! Did you deliver!! The list is so fabulous that Chelsey asked if we could compile the list to pin and refer to later. And you know I live to serve!

So, here it is: The ohAmanda Readers’ Book Suggestions for Boy-Centric Bedtime Reading (Maybe I should work on that title?)

How ’bout this:

best book suggestions for boys chapter books


{UPDATED 2015: We’ve now read quite a few of these for school and/or my 9 year old daughter has read them on her own. I’ll give my thoughts after the ones we’ve read.}

The Boxcar Children {We read the first of this series for homeschool. Starts off weird in that the kids are totally on their own, but we really liked it. Simple and sweet.}

Adventures in Odyssey: Imagination Station Series {My daughter has read all 16 of these!}

Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis {my all-time favorite books!}

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid {A big 4 stars from my daughter!}

The Ralph Mouse Collection {I read the first of these to my son. My daughter has read them all. Anything by Beverly Cleary is a winner.}

Emil and the Detectives {It was suggested that you find the original version because it’s less “updated” & more fun! Updated: I started reading this with Asa when he was about 5 but I think it was a little hard for him.}

Kenny & the Dragon

Stuart Little {We listened to the audio of this and I thought it was weird. Is it just me? Why is he a boy that looks like a mouse? And not a mouse? Did I miss something?}

Mr. Popper’s Penguins {We read this for 3rd grade homeschool. So fun! Although I think the ending is kinda weird.}

My Father’s Dragon

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory {I love this book!}

Geronimo Stilton {My daughter looooves these. She almost always checks one out at the library. I’ve not read any of them–just flipped through them. They are almost half-comic strip, half novel. Simple fun reads.}

Rascal  {We listened to most of this on audio. I love stories like this–a boy adopts a baby raccoon. One day I’ll make the kids finish it…}

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Book 1) {I wouldn’t say this is for a young boy. But if you’re OK with magic and you’ve got a boy who won’t let his imagination run away with him, the first 1-3 books are the least scary.}

James and the Giant Peach {My BFF just listened to this with her niece and nephew and said it had some language in it. *shrugs* I generally love Dahl but do know this is a weird one.}

Magic Tree House

Choose Your Own Adventure

Henry Huggins {we just listened to Ribsy, which is about Henry’s dog and the kids looooved it. Again, Beverly Cleary is a gem.}

The Cul-de-sac Kids  {Very simple and short first chapter books with Christian values.}

Little Eddie {I adore Carolyn Haywood and read all her Betsy books as a child. I’ve read a few Eddie books with the kids and love them. Carolyn Haywood is the best!}

Nate the Great

Wingfeather series

Animal Friends {We’ve read the Prairie Dog and the Porcupine books in this series. They are sweet animal stories with good morals.}

The Original Adventures of Hank the Cowdog

Trailblazer series

Double Trouble

Guardians of Ga’hoole

Not necessarily about boys, but still awesome enough for our guys:

Pippi Longstocking {Pippi might be a girl, but she is as tom-boy as they get!}

Charlotte’s Web by EB White {I guess Wilbur is a boy, huh?}

Little House on the Prairie series {especially Farmer Boy, my fave!}

The Borrowers {I read part of this to Lydia and I guess I’m getting brain mush from the internet, but it was hard reading. We never finished it.}

Nim’s Island

The Children of Noisy Village {I love this one! It’s written by Astrid Lindgren who wrote Pippi Longstocking. It is actually narrated by a girl, but is about all the kids in her village.}

Oh, and two other lists to peruse: Character Building Books and 65 Read Alouds

Whew! How excited are you about that?! Oh, it’s just me? Well, I love it!

I do have to register a complain with Amazon about updating classic book covers. Ugh! I wish they’d keep the original covers. I refused to link to the new James and the Giant Peach cover or Mr. Popper’s Penguins! </rant>

Got a book to add to the list? Or a few words about one of the above books? Leave a comment!

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  1. Teresa Brewer Lucas says:

    I taught Language Arts, English, and Reading in grades 5-8 for 32 years. My all time favorite book is Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith. A great fact-based book about the Civil War and the role that the Cherokee Nation played in the western theater of the war.

  2. I, too, LOOOOVE book lists and one just for boys is perfect for me and my little guys! Looking through this brought back lots of wonderful memories of childhood favorites I’d read but had forgotten about (e.g. Indian in the Cubpboard)! Another fabulous book for boys if you’re looking to expand your list is My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Thanks for this! 🙂

  3. Great list of books! We use Sonlight curriculum, so we read many great books every year. I was going to suggest Rascal, Henry Huggins, and My Side of the Mountain, but I see you’ve listed them. My oldest son loved The Accidental Detective series. Kildee House and The Great Turkey Walk were favorites, too. And we all love Ralph Moody’s autobiography series beginning with Little Britches. I read those aloud to the whole family years ago. We began them again recently because my youngest has never heard them. (You’ll have to be careful with some of the language since there are cowboys that use some slang. )

  4. I saw your list link on pinterest. My son and I read together at night before bed. That is what got him interested in Boxcar Children. We’ve enjoyed Cul de Sac Kids, a couple Beverly Cleary’s, Puppy Place, and Little House. Tonight we finished a book in the “My America” series, this one the second book about Joshua and his trip to Oregon.

    I have a children’s book review blog.

  5. I started keeping a list of what I’m reading this year for the first time. It has actually been very fun, and appeals to my reader-side and my organizer-side. I’m using Goodreads to do mine, and I have one list of books I’m reading myself, and a list of ones I’m reading with my daughter.

    You listed all the boys books I would have suggested. And a few I hadn’t heard of before. Happy reading!

  6. I hear ya! Totally love book lists!! THanks for sharing these great ones!

  7. Dawn Habegger says:

    We have read so many of those books as a family. It was fun remembering them all at once. Don’t forget “Mrs Piggle Wiggle.” This series is so funny and each book teaches a lesson. For example, one chapter is called The Tiny Bite Taker. But Ms Piggle Wiggle has a sure remedy for it.

  8. What a fun list, Amanda. some well loved ones of our made the list and some new one’s that this boy heavy house will have to look into.

    One of our favorites over here is Homer Price!

  9. Dear Amanda, I follow your blog from Slovakia and am your fan. I just wanted to share that I am concerned to see a suggested book is also Harry Potter on a christian blog. I haven’t read it and I bet it is very fascinating. But I am strongly persuaded that I would not suggest reading about sorcery and such. Is my personal opinion. My best to you. 🙂

    • Lenka: thanks so much for saying something about Harry Potter. I actually meant to make a comment about the book (or not include it) but it was suggested and I wanted to put all the suggested books on the list.

      I agree that we need to protect our kids from sorcery, witchcraft, etc themes (especially when they are as little as my little guy!). I have read Harry Potter…but read them as an adult & won’t be reading them to my littles.

      I so appreciate your comment!

    • Hi! I was actually thinking the same thing as Lenka…surprised to see Harry Potter on the list, and in all honesty, a bit disappointed. However, I do appreciate the effort and the encouragement to start a book list for my kids so thanks for that 🙂

    • I find it interesting when people cry foul about Harry Potter but don’t even blink at Chronicles of Narnia. Both contain witchcraft and sorcery, and both contain messages about love and redemption. That said, I will not be reading Harry Potter to my children and will withhold it until they are much older readers. Although I realize people have different convictions concerning their reading, I’d encourage those who are unfamiliar with Harry Potter to read the books before passing judgment. J.K. Rowlings is not a Christ-follower, but her books follow in the Tolkien and Lewis tradition very well.

  10. Amanda,
    What an amazing list. Thank you so much for sharing this. With 4 boys (3, 5, 7 and 9) I am always looking for great books we can read together. There are several here I’ve never heard of and cannot wait to get. So many of the books we’ve looked in to that are deemed “popular for boys” are filled with content that I just cannot let them read. Thanks again!!!

  11. Jen Pighini says:

    This is a great list! I still remember my second grade teacher reading the Boxcar Children to us. I’ve got girls but will definitely add some of these to our list. At what ages did you start reading chapter books to your kids? I have tried reading the Little House books but my 4 year old does not seem interested (in the meantime I got her some of the My First LIttle House picture books as well as Little House in the Big Woods on CD for her to listen to). I am so tired of reading silly picture books and want to start introducing her to some of my favorite childhood literature!

    • I started reading chapter books to Lydia when she was an infant. I figured if I had to read books to her, I might as well read books that I liked! 😉

      But Asa hasn’t really been into chapter books until this year (4yo). I can’t remember when Lydia really got into them. Probably a little earlier than that as she was the firstborn. Heh.

      One thing they’ve both liked forever, tho’ is what you said–audio books. Especially when the reader does voices. I have a post about some of our faves somewhere…ah, here it is:


  12. Mama Harvals says:

    HEY! I’m totally, completely excited about this and so very thankful. I’ve been asking my male middle school students what books they’ve enjoyed. My first grader has been roped into books thanks to C.S. Lewis – The Chronicles of Narnia. He is on book six and I’m panicking that when he finishes these the well of interest in reading will dry up. So I’m desperate for an arsenal of WINNERS- as far as books are concerned. I’ve found it. Thankyouthankyouthankyou. I could just hug you!

  13. Thanks for your list! You have some great books we love on it and several we will definitely check out. My son and I are reading the Wonderful Wizard of Oz series. We’re on book 2 of 14. They are a little strange to me, but he loves them!

  14. What a great list! I was just looking for something like this. Thank you!

  15. Yay! This list is so awesome, I’m glad you made it into a post for us. I would’ve pinned that Facebook conversation if I could have! 🙂

    We recently switched to homeschooling and my favorite part so far is all the reading aloud we have been doing. I never had anyone but teachers read to me as an elementary student, so so many of the books I’m reading to my kids are new for me too! I’m excited to get into these books with my two little guys, and I’m sure my daughter will love them too!

  16. I’d like to suggest The Adventures of Nanny Piggins and it’s sequel, Nanny Piggins and the Wicked Plan by R.A. Spratt. My six year old son and I have never laughed so much together!

  17. Amanda how might I get you to review my books and see if they might make it on your list? Check them out at

  18. Great list! But the Steve Surname Adventures wasn’t on it….my boys who love Minecraft, just adore reading the Steve Surname Adventures book series!

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