In my experience, most boys have different interests than most girls. YES, it’s a generalization. Although in this case, it’s for a specific purpose — FOR READING. Boys (and girls) like to read what’s interesting to them. They also want good books. And that’s why I’ve made this list of books that generally appeal to a boy’s interests. Because sometimes it just takes that right book to get a boy into reading.
I really hope you find that make-him-read book today.
I hope you find a book that compels a love of books with a heap of reading and reading and reading.
As always, please comment if you have any other book suggestions to share!
Best Books for Boys Ages 6 – 9
Captain Awesome by Stan Kirby
Can Eugene aka. Captain Awesome, save the town from villains without revealing his secret identity? Totally funny — and a great action-packed adventure series for boys.
Stink and the Shark Sleepover by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
I loved this adventure because it’s an exciting adventure as well as it includes a lot of factual information about marine life. Stink gets to sleep over at the aquarium. While he’s there, he learns more about sharks, gets to solve a mystery, learns a ghost story, and has tons of fun. I like that kids can easily relate to the characters in the story, as well as the setting. Of course, the Peter H. Reynolds illustrations are ah-mazing as always.
Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot The Voodoo Vultures from Venus by Dav Pilkey, illustrated by Dan Santat
This is an action-packed, engaging series for young readers with colorful illustrations about a mouse named Ricky, his best friend Mighty Robot, and their space adventures.
Dragon Slayer’s Academy by Kate McMullan
Galaxy Zack Hello, Nebulon! by Ray O’Ryan, illustrated by Colin Jack
This is an easy chapter book that’s simple, fun, and entertaining about a boy who moves to a new planet.
Bird and Squirrel on Ice by James Burks
Bird’s over-confident, laissez-faire character pairs perfectly with Squirrel’s logical, fearful one. The duo crash land in the Penguin world where Bird is thought to be the “Chosen One” meant to save the penguins from the Great Whale. This is my new favorite laugh-out-loud graphic novel series.
Mal and Chad Belly Flop! by Stephen McCranie
Boys are going to love this hilarious graphic novel about Mal, a young inventor, and his best sidekick, his dog Chad.
Diary of a Minecraft Zombie Book 1: A Scare of a Dare by Herobrine Books
Short sentences with witty observations on life from the perspective of a Minecraft zombie make this a great choice for Minecraft enthusiasts.
A to Z Mysteries by Rob Roy
This addictive mystery series will keep your kids reading for hours and days and months because they’re great and if you like one, there are 25 more in the series.
Hilo The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick
Hilo can’t remember much before D.J. finds him crashed into the earth. But evil robots have followed Hilo to Earth and it’s up to Hilo to protect the earth. This is one page-turning adventure!
Eerie Elementary: The School is Alive! by Jack Chabert, illustrated by Sam Ricks
Sam isn’t thrilled about becoming a hall monitor. Especially when he discovers that the school is ALIVE and trying to harm him and the other students. Sam has quite a wild adventure trying to save the students from the school. I think kids who like sort of scary things (it’s not too bad) will enjoy this book.
Best Books for Boys Ages 7 – 10
The Magic Tree House by Mary Pope Osborne
Jack and Annie discover a magical tree house in their woods that transports them back in time. Mystery, history, magic, and adventure!
Crime Biters: My Dog Is Better Than Your Dog by Tommy Greenwald
Jimmy is convinced (rightly so?!) that his dog is a crime-solving, vampire, genius. He’ll have all the proof he needs, especially after his dog solves a real crime.
Just Jake by Jake Marcionette
A humorous realistic-fiction novel with cartoon illustrations about a boy who moves to a new school and how Jake turns from loser to cool because of his art. A fun and entertaining story!
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
A BOY FAVORITE. Mischievous friends George and Harold hypnotize their school principal so he believes he’s a comic book superhero, Captain Underpants, who chases bad guys in his underwear. I know about a kazillion boys who think these are the BEST, FUNNIEST books ever. (Even though they aren’t my favorite.)
My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara
Hysterical and totally believable . . . because if your goldfish dies, you bring him back to life but it doesn’t work so your goldfish becomes a zombie. The trouble with zombie goldfish? They can mesmerize you with their powerful eyes and you’ll do anything he wants.
Frankie Pickle by Eric Wight
Frankie is an imaginative boy whose wild adventures are written in comic form — it’s very entertaining and a sure hit with boy readers.
Dog Man by Dav Pinkey
Weird. Quirky. Funny. I think all three describe this new graphic novel from the creator of Captain Underpants. In this story, a police officer and a dog are joined together — the top from the dog, the bottom from the officer to make: Dog Man. Dog Man solves crimes and has adventures, the likes of which will entertain you (most of you) for hours.
Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon
Hysterical! I couldn’t stop laughing! Danny Dragonbreath and his best friend, Wendell, always seem to be headed for disaster. Love the comics throughout the narrative text. Great characters and plots in this recommended book series.
Bad Kitty: Puppy’s Big Day by Nick Bruel
A KID-FAVORITE!! Ever book in this series is consistently good. Well, in this case, hilariously good. Bad Kitty is raging so Puppy calls for help. Uncle Murry to the rescue. Only Uncle Murry’s in for some trouble when he takes Puppy out of the house –without a leash, or a poop bag, or a license!
The Zombie Chasers by John Kloepfer and Steve Wolfhard
Filled with cartoon illustrations, this easy chapter book series highlights the bravery of a group of friends (and siblings) who will save the world from zombies.
Geronimo Stilton #1 Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
Geronimo Stilton is a newspaper writer / adventurist. These books share his adventures with interesting fonts and colorful illustrations. I personally find the design of the books distracting as did my kids but for many kids, the style adds to the engagement and entertainment factor.
Star Wars Jedi Academy by Jeffrey Brown
A young boy, Roan dreams of becoming a pilot . . . but gets sent LATE to Jedi school instead. He has ups and downs, as one does at a new school, but finds his place at the school and new friends by just being himself.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Peter is fed up with his three-year-old little brother. How can he survive his pest of a brother and fourth grade?
The Vanishing Coin (Magic Shop Series) by Kate Egan and Mike Lane, illustrated by Eric Wight
Killer Species by Michael P. Spradlin
Boys love this fast-paced adventure book series about a mad scientist who creates a hybrid crocodile-dinosaur-bird killer creature in the Everglades. Emmet and his father arrive to investigate but when his father is kidnapped, Emmet and his friend, Calvin, know it’s up to them to find where the kidnapper is holding Emmet’s father.
Big Nate Welcome to My World by Lincoln Peirce
These books are just so stinking funny! Lincoln Peirce “gets” kids and their struggles — the episodes will keep both you and your kids cracking up.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School by Jeff Kinney
KID FAVORITE! Greg’s mom petitions the town to take a break from electronics, Greg goes to a wilderness school, and grandpa moves in. This is another funny story to add to your ever-growing Wimpy Kid chapter book collection.
Weird But True 3 by National Geographic
Boys love these weird and random facts but that’s not the only awesome thing about Weird But True books! The book makes readers think they’re not reading. Why? Because there are lots of colorful photographs with minimal text. Perfect to entice even the most reluctant of reader, don’t you think?
The LEGO Adventure Book Robots, Planes, Cities & More! Nearly 150 Models + 40 Brick-by-Brick Breakdowns by Megan H. Rothrock
My kids LOVE this book!! Like, couldn’t put it down love it. The reason is it an action-packed photo / cartoon story plus instructions for making what’s in the story. New characters and models are introduced in each story vignette. If you’re going to get a LEGO book, I highly recommend this one.
Favorite Books for Boys Ages 8 – 12
Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen
I can’t recommend this book enough — it’s life-changing and profound! Angry at the world, 15-year old Cole beats a classmate into a coma and brain damage. To avoid the jail time, Cole agrees to spend a year by himself on an island in Alaska, thinking he’ll escape as soon as possible in a form of Native American justice. But after Cole almost dies, he decides to give the year-long process a chance. Throughout the experience, you’ll feel Cole’s pain and anger deeply which makes his healing and transformation that much more intense and powerful. Totally amazing. I just finished it and want to reread it already.
Edge of Extinction The Ark Plan by Laura Martin
Action from the first page draws in readers. It’s a dangerous, futuristic world filled with dangerous, gigantic dinosaurs. Sky and her fellow humans live below ground in safety with Noah as their supreme ruler. When Sky leaves the underground city to find her dad, she discovers that other humans exist above ground. But they’ll face more than dinosaur danger — Noah’s soldiers are after them, too. But, why?
Eddie Red Undercover: Mystery on Museum Mile by Marcia Wells (9-12 years)
My goal has been to not only read and recommend fantasy books so finally, I proudly bring to you a mystery! And, I was excited to discover that the hero, Edmund, is a boy of color. Finally. Anyway, this story is about Eddie, a kid who is enlisted to help the police solve a crime because of his unusual skills – a photographic memory and amazing drawing ability. It’s a great adventure, and I think your kids will love it.
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, illustrated by Kevin Cornell
Check out the hilarious adventure of two pranksters who start as enemies but eventually work together to pull off the biggest prank of all time — a prank that will ensure they get April Fool’s Day off from school.
Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi
This popular graphic novel series follow two siblings trying to save their mom in an underground world of elves, demons, robots, and talking animals.
Nick and Tesla’s High-Voltage Danger Lab by Science Bob Pflugfleder and Steve Hockensmith
Siblings Nick and Tesla are shipped off to live with their mad-scientist Uncle Newt for the summer while their parents are . . . doing something with soybeans in Uzbekistan? The duo discover something very suspicious happening at the old mansion down the street. These books are filled with inventions and experiments that kids can do at home.
Space Case and Spaced Out by Stuart Gibbs
This sci-fi murder mystery series is AMAZING! Set in 2040, the moon group’s second-in-command is dead. Dashiel Givson is just a kid but he suspects murder. With just enough breaking the rules, can Dashiel and his friends can figure out who did it?
Stranded by Jeff Probst and Chris Tebbetts
Step-siblings on a sailboat trip with their uncle are sunk in a storm. They barely make it to a deserted island. But it’s hard to work together to survive when they hate each other so much.
Vordak the Incomprehensible by Vordak T. Incomprehensible
I haven’t laughed like this when reading a book in years – it’s so funny! Vordak is a super-villian whose sights are now set on the SCHOOL. MUAHAHAHAHA.
School for S.P.I.E.S. Playing with Fire book 1 by Bruce Hale, illustrated by Brandon Dorman
When Max gets kicked out of another foster home, he’s sent to an Orphanage which is actually a training school for spies. Great action and plotting will hook you right away. I enjoyed this book and am glad the 2nd book is already out.
The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry
While on a class trip to Washington D.C., Wyatt and his best friend, Matt, are positive they’ve discovered a plot to blow up the White House. As you can imagine, disaster and hilarity strike. Great for kids who love humor and realistic fiction.
Chasing the Falconers by Gordon Korman
The Falconer parents are facing life in prison unless Aidan and Meg can follow a trail of clues to prove their innocence. The problem? Right now they’re trapped in a juvenile detention center. The Falconer kids must use their wits to escape, make it across the country without recapture, and find the proof they need. Fast-paced and totally engaging.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan
This is one of the most popular books for boys because it’s relatable, action-packed, and filled with cool adventures. Percy has always struggled in school, getting kicked out of several. He learns that it’s because he’s a demi-god, a half-human, half-Greek god. But that means that monsters are trying to kill him so he escapes to a special camp for kids like him. There he starts training and is sent on a quest to try to stop the Titans from destroying the world.
Masterminds by Gordon Korman
Eli and his friends are riding bikes when they accidentally discover that some of them are physically prevented from leaving their utopia-type town. But there’s more. Then Eli discovers that his “father” is the leader of a group of scientists who are using the town and some of the kids, in a secret and unapproved science experiment. And you won’t believe what that experiment is!! (Hint: the title gives you a big hint.)
Nightmares! by Jason Segel and Kirsten Miller, illustrated by Karl Kwasny
Charlie’s dad remarries, moving Charlie and his younger brother into the stepmother’s frightening purple mansion. Once there, Charlie begins to have the most horrible nightmares — nightmares that blur between reality and dream. When his brother is kidnapped, Charlie and his friends must learn to face their fears in order for the nightmare world not to have access to the real world.
Sports Illustrated Kids Football Then to Wow!
This amazing nonfiction book makes ME, a non-sports fan, get interested in football. The layout and design plus the photographs make me want to devour all the football facts and info. I highly recommend this for any football fan – it’s packed full of information about football back in the day (1930s) and now days. Excellent!
Tunnels series by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams
In pursuit of his missing father, Will finds a crazy, cult-like subterranean group controlled by frightening leaders who will stop at nothing to maintain control and order in their tunneled colony below the surface.
39 Clues by various authors
This series has about a billion books so if your boys like it, they’ll be reading and reading and reading. Two orphan siblings are told in their grandma’s will that they belong to the very famous and powerful Cahill family. They have a choice to either get 1 million dollars or a clue. Amy and Dan choose the clue and race around the world in order to reveal the family’s biggest secret of all — the source of their power.
Guinness World Records Amazing Body Records!
Kind of gross but fascinating, these body records might be just what your children want to read! The longest mustache? The longest toenails? Yup. See what I mean?
The Kid Who Only Hit Homers by Matt Christopher
Matt Christopher is a go-to author for many sports-loving boys. A mysterious stranger teaches Sylvester how to hit home runs every time. Is it true talent or something else?
To Catch a Cheat by Varian Johnson
Someone is trying to frame Jackson for a prank he didn’t even commit but it will take months to prove the incriminating video is falsified and by then Jackson will have missed the robot contest due to his punishment. Jackson and his friends are determined to prove their innocence but it won’t be easy.
Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis
These are wonderful, timeless fantasy adventures about good versus evil and characters you can love.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard: The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
If you like action, humor, fantasy, and intrigue, this is your story. Magnus is a smart and snarky kid who is thrust into a crazy situation — like dying right away in the story. He’s taken to Valhalla, one of the Norse Mythology afterlife locations but he won’t stay there long because he must find his dad’s missing sword somewhere in the Nine Worlds.
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict by Diana Sudyka
“Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?” When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. In the end, just four very special children succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete. To accomplish it they will have to go undercover at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened, where the only rule: there are no rules.
Strange But True! Our Weird, Wild, Wonderful World DK
The photographs grab your attention right away — then the headlines — and then the text. This is a GREAT book for your reluctant readers because it’s practically irresistible to read through it. Love it for a gift idea!
Eddie Red Undercover Mystery in Mayan Mexico by Marcia Wells
Eddie, his best friend Jonah, and his parents are on vacation in Mexico. When their new friend Julia’s family’s Mayan mask is stolen from their hotel, an Eddie’s dad is a suspect so Eddie and Jonah decide to solve the mystery themselves. Only they don’t speak Spanish all that well, and there’s more to this mystery than just a stolen mask.
The Ruins of Gorlan: Ranger’s Apprentice book 1 by John A. Flanagan
SO AMAZING! We follow a boy named Will as he’s apprenticed to become a Ranger, a spy for the kingdom. When an old enemy of the kingdom sends out dangerous beasts to attack Will’s master, can Will get help in time? Action, fantasy, adventure, friendship, and excellent writing — this book has everything and is very popular with boys!
Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland (series)
These dragonets might just be the long-awaited dragonets of the prophesy that will end the dragon wars for good. Or they might not. One thing’s for sure: when the dragonets are captured, things don’t look good.
Five Kingdoms: Sky Raiders by Brandon Mull
When trick-or-treating with his friends, everyone of Cole’s friends get kidnapped and taken to another, very unique world. Cole follows the kidnappers, who are really slavers, and is discovered. Once sold into slavery, Cole determines to escape no matter the dangers and search the Five Kingdoms for his friends.
The Iron Trial (Magisterium) by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Even though Callum tries to fail the entrance trials, he is admitted the mage school his dad says is evil. There, Call learns about his elemental powers, forges bonds of friendship with his teammates, and rescues a wolf puppy who is unfortunately infused with the evil magic of Chaos. Be prepared not to sleep because you’ll want to keep reading this compelling story and the following books in the series all night.
Lockwood and Co. by Jonathan Stroud
If your boys like reading scary stories, this Victorian ghost mystery with competent, crime-solving kids, is a series you’ll want to try. It’s very well-written with fantastic plotting and characterization.
Animal Planet Animals A Visual Encyclopedia by Animal Planet
Beautiful photographs and bite-sized chunks of information showcase more than 2,500 animals from the seven major animal groups: mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, insects and arachnids, invertebrates, and fish are featured in 1,050 stunning full-color photos, plus dynamic illustrations, maps, and charts.
Urban Outlaws: An Unstoppable Team by Peter Jay Black
Best Books for Teen Boys
The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Michael Vey #1) by Richard Paul Evans
He has electrical powers, and so do other kids who were part of a medical experiment. Now an evil group wants to control the kids in order to rule the world.
Wereworld by Curtis Jobling
Drew is raised on a farm, ill-prepared to live on the run, which he must when his were powers emerge. Fortunately, he meets a WereBear Lord who is willing to help him. Kidnappings, revenge, murder, and a prophecy — this book has all the elements you’ll want in a fantasy adventure series. Engaging story, writing, and characters.
Infinity: Chronicles of Nick (Chronicles of Nick Book 1) by Sherrilyn Kenyon (SERIES)
The Chronicles of Nick series is a magical, mythical creatures landscape of intrigue. It’s a fast-paced, action-packed adventure about a teenager who possesses powerful magic that could destroy humanity.
Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson
In this world, the Epics are super-powerful individuals with extraordinary powers and no goodness who control the cities. David’s father was killed by Chicago’s Epic, Steelheart, and David wants revenge. He joins the Reckoners to assassinate Steelheart, all the while studying the Epics to know their weaknesses. This is a page-turner and completely entertaining.
Undertakers: The Rise of the Corpses by Ty Drago
What a great kids-save-the-world book with a unique zombie/alien twist. Aliens are taking over corpses and reanimating them with no one knowing except special kids who can see the real zombie beneath the alien “masks”. When our hero gets zombie sight, he is rescued by a group of zombie fighters called Undertakers before being killed. He convinces the Undertakers group to stop being defensive but to be more aggressive and start killing the corpses.
Eye of the Minds by James Dashner
Gamers, you’re going to love this YA book for it’s totally compelling and unique plot (with the craziest plot twist at the end!). How to explain . . . Imagine our world with more advanced technology that lets you “live” in a game world. Players hook up their bodies to to the game, and while their in the game, food and bathroom breaks are taken care of. It’s crazy action and adventure that will keep you reading late into the night!
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
Love, love, love this YA series— it takes place on Mars with a caste society, color coded by the level of your caste. Darrow, a low-caste Red, infiltrates the ruling Gold caste’s special training school. His training? Kill or be killed. Lead an army or be enslaved. I think it’s better than Hunger Games – especially for boys who don’t want to read about romance and really get enthralled with battle strategy.