Fiction, Historical Fiction, Living Books, Top Picks

Top Picks: For Boys

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes
If your children on read one book about the events leading up to the American Revolution, it should be this. Apprenticed to a silversmith, the hero of this story learns the hard and valuable lesson of humility. After enduring an incredible set-back, Johnny finds his place in the world of colonial Boston, joining the patriots and witnessing the battles of Lexington and Concord. Newbery Award Winner of 1944, for upper-elementary readers through adult.

Blow, Bugles, Blow by Merritt Parmelee Allen
Allen’s books are very popular with boys in our library. This is the story of a boy serving under General Sheridan, sympathetic with the Northern side, though respectful of his southern opponents. For upper-elementary readers and beyond.

Clear for Action! by Stephen Meader
Meader wrote during the Golden Age of children’s literature, historical fiction that often centers around the sea. This story tells of an American boy aboard a cargo ship who is impressed into service for the British Navy, and after the War of 1812 is declared becomes a prisoner of war. For middle-elementary readers through adult, high action and strong characters mark Meader’s fiction.

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham
One of my very favorite biographies. Nathaniel Bowditch (1773-1838) was such an inspirational character—and should be the poster-child for home-educated students. Latham was told by her publisher that there was no way she could write the story of Nathaniel Bowditch and make it interesting the public proved him wrong as this book won the Newbery Award, and no one I know has been able to put it down once they’ve started it. Bowditch was pioneer of modern navigation, and his book is still used today, a feat considering the technological advances since the 19th century. A wonderful story for lovers of history, wars, ships and sailing, astronomy, math, learning, or who just loves a good tale.

Deathwatch by Robb White
For boys who love hunting and adventure, this book will sure to be a hit. Alone in the wilderness, sole witness to a murder, this book for teen boys is gripping, even for those who don’t love to read.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
Classic adventures of Tom, the kind of boy who does everything most boys wish they could do set in the early frontier days on the Mississippi River. For middle-elementary readers on up.

Zeb by Lonzo Anderson
Early pioneer story, a younger brother is picked to journey with his father to prepare a homestead and clear land after harvest so that the rest of the familly can join them for a spring planting in their new home. Not far into their travels disaster occurs and Zeb is left to face the winter wilderness alone.

The Home Ranch by Ralph Moody
This book, whose events taken place during Man of the Family, relates Ralph’s adventures during his summer at the ranch. Trick riding, cattle rustling, and Ralph’s tenacity when faced with the impossible make this, and all the rest of the series, Don’t-Miss-Books. Readers of MOST ages will enjoy these books.

The Greatest Cattle Drive by Paul Wellman
The true story of Nelson Story an intrepid young man in the Wild West, just after the Civil War, whose ingenuity and determination led him to see a need and find a solution. Story began the trade of Texas longhorn cattle north to Montana, through incredible obstacles. Not only is this story inspiring for his accomplishment, but also details the particulars of a cattle drive.

Men of Iron by Howard Pyle
During the days of King Henry IV of England a young boy is accepted into training to become a knight and must earn his knighthood all the while becoming entangled in a sinister plot. A wonderful tale of honor and chivalry, for upper-elementary readers onwards.

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The classic pirate story by the great adventure writer, told from the perspective of a young boy named Jim who is tricked aboard a sailing vessel and ensnared in a mutiny by the pirate crew. Boys of all ages enjoy this story.

Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties by Dan Beard
This is THE book to give to your wilderness loving sons. Written by the founder of the Boy Scouts of America. Teaches lads how to build extremely functional structures from a birch-bark shack to a sod house to a log cabin. In-Print for almost 100 years, this survival guide is as practical today as when it was written in 1914.

Captain Blood by Raphael Sabatini
A swashbuckling tale of piracy and treachery. Lots of twists and turns in the plots, the main character must navigate the turning tides of two countries and overcome great odds to triumph. For middle- and high-school readers.

Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
Set during Napoleon’s exile, this is the post-French Revolutionary tale’s hero must rise above impossible circumstances to win back his family’s honor. He also learns the true nature of vengeance and mercy. For middle- and  high-school readers.

Call it Courage, Armstrong Sperry
This is an inspiring story of a boy, from the Pacific Islands, whose fear of the water cripples him. How he overcomes his fear and learns the true meaning of courage makes this Newbery Award winning book an important story for upper-elementary and above readers.