Friday, May 15, 2009

Boys and Books: The Nine and Six Year Old Edition

As expected we've been reading a lot around here. Well, I should amend that: the boys have been reading a lot, and we've been reading to them. Whether I am ever going to finish Bede is entirely up in the air.

Here's a list of what has been keeping them busy this school year:

What One has been devouring on his own:

The Redwall series. He's up to the 13th one now and no end in sight.

The Hardy Boys are still a favorite. He's up through 14. Again, an endless series.

The Percy Jackson series. One talked me into the hardback of the 5th and final book last Friday; he's read it twice since then. These are a favorite at school, so that's extra motivation (as if he needed it).

The Phantom Tollbooth. Two loves the movie, but One complains it's not true to the book. When are they ever true to the book, son? Lesson learned.

The Lord of the Rings. He stalled out toward the end of The Return of the King, but he picked it up yesterday when he visited 4th grade, so I expect he'll be finishing our copy soon.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and its sequel. Long books but very engrossing.

Under Drake's Flag. This was his first Henty and I really wanted him to like it. He didn't love it, unfortunately, but I still may buy him a few more to see if they catch on. In defense of Henty, One was reading and re-reading the 5th Percy Jackson around this one, and it's hard to match that in the non-stop excitement category.

Little Pilgrim's Progress. This was a gift from a teacher at Ecclesia. He's read it four or tive times now.

The Tales of Beetle the Bard

Boy, by Roald Dahl (non-fiction)

The Lost Island. This is from The New York Review Children's Collection. You can see below that Two is even more into these classics than One is.

Husband has been reading aloud to One this year. They've enjoyed Red Planet, The Red Badge of Courage, and are now in the middle of The Sea Wolf. On deck: The Black Arrow, Treasure Island, Kim, and White Fang.

One has covered a lot of history this year on his own as well. He continues to enjoy the Sterling Point biographies: this year he's read The Barbary Pirates, The Swamp Fox of the Revolution, Teddy Roosevelt, John Paul Jones, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin. Three other books he enjoyed were A Young Patriot, The American Revolutionaries: A History in Their Own Words 1750-1800, and Our Island Story. The last is a children's history of Britian, covering ~2000 years. It draws much of its style from Bede (and some of its content in the early years, I think), is easy to read and moves quickly.

Two has entered read-aloud-novel-land with a vengeance! This year we have read together:

All the Hiccup Horrendous books. One has read these to himself as well and really enjoys them. Elizabeth tells me her boys recommend them too.

Some Roald Dahl: James and the Giant Peach, Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The Magic Pudding. It's laugh-out-loud funny and full of fights. Made for boys to love.

The Box of Delights. This is one of the best children's books I have ever read. I had a hard time not reading ahead each night after Two fell asleep. Absolutely magical.

Carbonel: King of Cats

The last three are part of The New York Review Children's Collection. Two has loved each story more than the one before. The books are beautiful paper-covered hardbacks with original illustrations. With their bright red spines they are keepers! Grandchildren will borrow them someday.

Two and I are now three nights into The Hobbit. Next up are The Wonderful O, The Wind on the Moon, Best Stories for Six Year Olds, and The House of Arden. This last will be his first Edith Nesbit - my favorite Fabian Socialist.

The more we read to them, the more they want to read on their own. And the better the quality of the writing, the happier they are. I may have dreamed of reading books like this to my children some day, but I never really thought it would happen. Obviously, it's a pleasant surprise.


max said...

I appreciate any efforts to draw attention to reading, and attract reluctant readers to it.

That's because I grew up as a reluctant reader, in spite of the fact that my father published over 70 books. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries, especially for tween boys, that avid boy readers and girls enjoy just as much.

My blog, Books for Boys recently reached # 1 on Google.

Keep up your good work concerning reading.

Max Elliot Anderson

Tari said...


Thanks! I was a voluminous reader as a child but my husband didn't enjoy reading AT ALL. He mostly remembers teachers trying to make books sound as dull as possible - or at least that was what he heard as a young boy. We have worked to avoid that in our 2, and also to communicate that as a boy you can be good at sports, love guns, swords, dirt, and firecrackers, and still be someone who enjoys a good book. So far, so good.

Thanks again.