When I was six, I hated reading. All I wanted to do was build forts with sticks and gather lots of pinecone hand grenades. It didn’t help that most of the books around the house related to my older sister’s passion for a certain brand of dolls. But, eventually, due to my mother’s persistence, I developed an enthusiasm for reading.
Years later, I still enjoy reading, but as a father of three daughters, I don’t often think about reading options for boys. But my friend and BJU Press illustrator Zack does. In fact, he says that reading education is geared towards girls and that often boys are alienated. His helpful blog post is worth reading in full, but one paragraph is particularly important:
Publishers themselves provide a few obstacles to male literacy. Simply put, publishers target girls more than boys because girls share and recommend books. Boys typically read in isolation from one another. Boy-friendly publishing brings greater financial risks than girl-friendly publishing. . . . This is easily rectified. If books that honor boyhood sell a bunch of copies, publishers will produce more. This means that parents have to be discerning consumers and reward publishers who take boy-friendly risks.”
Thankfully, when I was a boy, my parent’s provided me with books that honor boyhood. My mother was always looking for fiction books that I would appreciate and that would not threaten my walk with the Lord. Here are four titles that I enjoyed when I was younger and that parents can provide for their boys today.
A Father’s Promise
A book I read several times, A Father’s Promise tells the story of a Christian Jew named Rudi, who must survive the Nazi occupation of Poland. Rudi’s close escapes into the woods were my favorite part.
Mice of the Herring Bone
This is a fantastic adventure story about two mice that sail the high seas and frequently encounter pirates. I loved Mice of the Herring Bone and the other four books in the series! When my cousin was struggling with reading, we shared these books with him, and he loved them too.
As a family struggles to keep their farm, a young boy named Matthew watches his father’s resourcefulness and strength. In the final pages of Pulling Together, the family’s hope rides on their work horses in an exciting local fair competition.
Based on a true story, Zoli’s Legacy centers on a young man in post–World War I Hungary who is seeking a path to success in a nation devastated by war. Even though my dad read this book to me at a time when I still hated reading, I enjoyed the account of Zoli’s journey to manhood.
These are a few of my favorite stories for boys. What are some of your favorites?