When a good friend asked me for recommendations for summer reading for her eight year old grandson, who likes baseball and drums, I thought about those “I” and “R” labels that publishers sometimes tag onto books – Interest Level (I) and Reading Level (R) – a magic formula to find the right book. Of course, labels and grade level lists can be deceiving; what a well-meaning librarian or parent thinks a third grader should read doesn’t always connect to the boy inside the head.
So what do active little boys read? Could you scatter a pile of likely books on a table and hope one would catch his eye? Here are some suggestions that I still enjoy reading – from easy reads to books that you can read aloud together.
What can you add to the list?
Miss Nelson Is Missing by Harry Allard
Clever Miss Nelson finds a way to tame her rowdy class – lots of pictures.
The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey- laugh out loud funny adventures and pictures.
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell – what a boy will do to save face – and win a bet – funny
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Crowell – the Disney movie was based on this book. Horrendous Haddock III must pass a Viking initiation test – first of a series.
Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donal Sobel – Leroy Brown helps the local police solve crimes; the reader gets clues to help as he reads.
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman – A Newbery Medal award winner – a bratty prince and his poor whipping boy find adventure and learn about themselves.
Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – a Newbery Medal winner – a poor boy finds a dog that’s been mistreated and is determined to keep him despite his parents who cannot afford the dog and the owner who wants him back.
The High King by Lloyd Alexander – a Newbery winner – good vs evil in the fantasy land of Prydain.
Any of Roald Dahl’s books – my favorite is The BFG – the big, friendly giant
And, finally, one of my all-time favorites that can be enjoyed reading aloud or quietly alone, especially for someone whose grandmother has an affinity for New York City…
Ah – a topic near and dear to my heart! My son is a little older now, but he has read all of these books and would re-read many of them, and there were a few others at that age that were big hits as well. The Bruno and Boots series by Gordon Korman (or MacDonald Hall series as it is sometimes known). The Narnia series. Dr. Doolittle and The Swiss Family Robinson. He read Harry Potter, at least the earlier ones, in Grade 3. The Fudge series by Judy Bloom. The Ralph Mouse series by Beverly Cleary.
Thanks for adding more great reads to the list.