Thursday, June 14, 2012

Boys and Books

I can remember having many fears as a new homeschool mom.  Mostly I was worried that I wouldn't know how to teach certain subjects because I wasn't naturally inclined towards them.  However, I was quite certain that there were some things I would have no problem teaching.

I mean certainly, in no time at all, I would be producing a slew of artsy, crafty, book loving, young authors.  After all, those were all things that I excelled in.

Alas, my children were not exact replicas of me. 

And at the end of 2011, only one of my large brood had really caught "the reading bug".  However, they were all enamored with techie gadgets.  And this gave me an idea.

For Christmas, we decided to purchase our crew a Kindle.  Since I already had the Kindle app on my IPad, I knew the convenience of e-readers firsthand.  I loved being able to instantly download a book and have an entire library at my fingertips.

The Kindle was the turning point for G11.  He immediately began devouring books.  Generally, we limit access to any "screens" (tv, computer, handheld games, etc.), but he pretty much had free reign over the Kindle which he obviously thought was super cool.  Also, I know he used to be intimidated by thick novels thinking they were too long for him to read.  But with the Kindle, that wasn't an issue.  He didn't realize how big the books he had read were until we saw some of them at our library.  He is now reading both print and ebooks at a pace that I certainly cannot keep up with. 

I quickly realized that I needed some help as "boy books" were a bit of uncharted territory for me.  I searched the internet and made a SOS call to our local homeschool group and came up with a list of books that should keep my young man busy for awhile. 

Gregor the Overlander was the first book that really hooked G11.  This five book series is full of fantasy and adventure, not to mention including a fair amount of battle gore.  Unlike The Hunger Games, which Collins also authored, however is that the battle scenes take place between a brave, young hero on a quest to rescue his lost father and giant, talking rats instead of kids battling kids to the death.  Now, I'm not saying I don't recommend reading The Hunger Games trilogy...which I thoroughly enjoyed...but I didn't feel that G11 was ready for that material.  Gregor the Overlander has appropriately been marketed for a younger audience....though, I thoroughly enjoyed reading these as well. 

The City of Ember is a four book series that G11 and I also enjoyed.  This one has both a young hero and heroine living in a small community surrounded in darkness.  The city stays in existence because of a large underground generator which provides electricity to the entire city.  But the generator is quickly breaking down and no one knows how to fix it.  The only option is for the two children to brave the utter darkness beyond the city limits on a search for help.  

I haven't read Peter and the Shadow Thieves but E8 has really been taken with this series.  Based on the story of Peter Pan, these adventures apparently take place before Peter meets Wendy so that the reader learns more about the Lost boys, how the feud with Captain Hook started, meeting Tinkerbell, etc.

This type of fantasy is really beyond my realm of interest, but The Ranger's Apprentice Series comes highly recommended by G11.  It's a relatively new series, but with multiple books.  And we've heard a rumor that a movie is in the works.

Other books that came recommended, but we haven't read yet are...

Redwall Series by Brian Jacques
The Wolves of Beyond by Kathryn Laskey
Eragon by Christopher Paolini
The Dark Hills Divide by Patrick Carmen
The Blue Umbrella by Mike Mason
Crispin and the Cross of Lead by Avi
Hatchet by Gary Paulson
Mismantle Chronicles by M I Acallister
The Children of Red King by Jenny Nemmo
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Kingdom Series by Chuck Black
The Cooper Kids Adventures by Frank Peretti
Percy Jackson by Rick Riordan

Also, check out Jenn's post on this topic: Summer Lovin'-Boy's Favorites .  (She also has Girl's Favorites and Mom's Favorites.)  And Marcy has posted tons of Free Kindle books for Kids.
. I'd love to add your suggestions to this list! What books do your boys love?

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  1. I will definitely check out the other Suzanne Collins series. I didn't realize it existed. I really, really did not like The Blue Umbrella for my boys. I reviewed it on my blog a while back, here:

    I did love Redwall! We listened to it on road trips and Chris and I enjoyed it, too. I forgot about it and need to introduce the girls to it now.

    I like The Cooper Kids series and I enjoyed Percy Jackson a LOT, but I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the boys reading it. We're getting into that transition age and I think I'm more unready to let them read stuff than they are unready to read.

  2. Jenn, do you mind sharing with me why you are hesitant to let your boys read Percy Jackson? Mine want to, but I have put them off until I have time to read them myself...but that's not exactly at the top of my to do list right now. :)

    I'll check out your review of The Blue Umbrella. I really haven't researched that one at all.

  3. That is a smart way to get your oldest to read! I never thought about it because we don't have an e-reader, but the length of books would definitely be less intimidating that way. Thankfully my oldest daughter loves to read, but I can see my middle daughter preferring to use a techie gadget in the future.



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