I am remiss! Back in 2013, I posted our list of favorite kids’ books about awesome girls, but I haven’t given the boys their spotlight! Let’s remedy that. From quiet to loud, here are the boy-led stories that have made both the grownups and the kid in our house very, very happy.
Any suggestions for more? Leave ’em in the comments!
The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey. If you know the name “Dav Pilkey” and think “Captain Underpants,” try to push that aside. The Paperboy is a beautifully painted, quiet story about a young African-American boy and his dog going out in the pre-dawn hours to do the boy’s paper route. It’s almost a set of feelings more than a story, from those quiet magical hours when it seems like you’re the only one awake in the whole world. You need to see it!
Max’s First Word by Rosemary Wells. Very few board books have actually made me laugh out loud, but this is one of them. Worth tracking down even for kiddos as old as six or seven because they’ll get the joke on a whole different level. At seven and change, Boy Detective just re-found this recently in his library and laughed quite a bit at the ending.
Big Plans by Bob Shea, with art by Lane Smith. This guy? He’s got big plans! They are really big! I have no idea what they are, but they are not small plans! I love the typography in this, and the plans, they are really big. Just so you know. It’s a lot of fun.
Weslandia by Paul Fleischman, with art by Kevin Hawkes.
When school’s out for the summer, misfit Wesley needs a summer project. Why not start his own civilization, based on a staple food crop? Combines history, agriculture, math, and a not-hitting-you-over-the-head lesson in pursuing your own interests. Boy Detective wasn’t quite old enough at four to “get” some of the evolution of Weslandian society, but he enjoyed the story anyway. Re-reading it, I’m realizing I’d forgotten the sharp anti-suburban edge. (I’d also forgotten how ridiculous Wesley’s mom’s hair is.) Definitely a book that adults and kids will appreciate on different levels.
Oliver by Judith Rossell. Any children’s book with jetpacks is likely to grab me, I’ll admit. But it takes more than jetpacks to make me happy when Boy Detective asks “read it again?” I gladly obliged with this one because insatiably curious Oliver’s adventure was charming and fun, with just the right amount of quirk. The art is cute, especially Oliver’s little toes. And the penguins. I want to party with the penguins.
(We re-read this again when Boy Detective was 9 and the story wasn’t quite complex enough, but he did enjoy the jetpacks.)
Thanks so much for reading, and please leave any suggestions in the comments! And if you enjoyed the post, I’d appreciate any sharing to help others find it.
And that’s the list of our favorite children’s books about boys! If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments – and thanks for sharing on social media or with friends!