35 Books Boys Will LOVE!

By on Jul 31, 2014 in Books | 5 comments

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When I was a middle school English teacher, I realized that getting some boys to read was like pushing a gigantic bolder uphill. I could do it, but I’d be tired and worn out in the end. Then it hit me, boys—like everybody else—will read books as long as they’re interesting and relatable. Duh!

Too often the books our boys are asked to read in school have nothing to do with their lives, or are just downright boring. Books about kids on farms? Psh! Novels about kids in 18th Century America? Uh, NO! Books about ruthless kings who conquered faraway lands in middle England? Hmm….maybe.

Once I realized that my students would read as long as they could to see themselves in books and relate to the stories (or just be straight up entertained), then the old notion that boys don’t like to read quickly fell away.

During my 6 years in the classroom (and 8+ years as a mom), I’ve built up quite a library of books brown boys actually enjoy.

So here are 35 books brown boys will love to read (or have read to them)!

Books for Black boys

Ages 0-5

Whose Toes are Those? By Jabari Asim (view it on Amazon here)

Boy of Mine by Jabari Asim (view it on Amazon here)

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (view it on Amazon here)

Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel (view it on Amazon here)

Sam and the Firefly by P.D. Eastman (view it on Amazon here)

Yertle the Turtle and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss (view it on Amazon here)

The Ghanaian Goldilocks by  Dr Tamara Pizzoli (view it on Amazon here)

books for boys

Ages 6-12 

The Dreamer by Pam Munoz Ryan (view it on Amazon here)

Ellray Jakes Walks the Plank by Sally Warner (view it on Amazon here)

Petty Crimes by Gary Soto (view it on Amazon here)

American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (view it on Amazon here)

One Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean (view it on Amazon here)

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look (view it on Amazon here)

De Colores and Other Latin American Folksongs for Children by Jose-Luis Orozco and Elisa Kleven (view it on Amazon here)

The Meanest Thing To Say: A Little Bill Book for Beginning Readers by Bill Cosby (view it on Amazon here)

The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose (view it on Amazon here)

The Music in Derrick’s Heart by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert (view it on Amazon here)

When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrick Hill (view it on Amazon here)

Miracle’s Boys by Jacqueline Woodson (view it on Amazon here)

Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales (view it on Amazon here)


Ages 12+

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (view it on Amazon here)

Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco Stork (view it on Amazon here)

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins (view it on Amazon here)

Bang by Sharon G. Flake (view it on Amazon here)

We Were Here by Matt De La Peña (view it on Amazon here)

145th Street Stories by Walter Dean Myers (view it on Amazon here)

Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper (view it on Amazon here)

Mexican White Boy by Matt De La Peña (view it on Amazon here)

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie (view it on Amazon here)

Monster by Walter Dean Myers (view it on Amazon here)

books for boys

Ages 17+

Down These Mean Streets by Piri Thomas (view it on Amazon here)

Drown by Junot Diaz (view it on Amazon here)

 The Beautiful Struggle by Ta-Nehisi Coate(view it on Amazon here)

The Dew Breaker by Edwidge Danticat (view it on Amazon here)   

If Beale Street Could Talk by James Baldwin (view it on Amazon here)

What books do your boys love? Share them below!


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  1. Erin

    August 1, 2014

    Post a Reply

    What an excellent list! My 9 year old loves so many of these. I’m looking forward to checking out some of the ones we haven’t heard of as well :)

  2. Val

    August 7, 2014

    Post a Reply

    My oldest read “The Great Greene Heist” this summer by Varian Johnson. He really enjoyed it.

  3. Toria

    August 16, 2014

    Post a Reply

    What a great list. I also have Whose Knees Are These which is a great bundle with Whose Toes Are Those. The Ellray Jakes series looks fun. I will have to take a look into those with my 6-year old son!

  4. TJ

    August 25, 2014

    Post a Reply

    Some interesting books. I will see if I can get my 15 year old son to read a few of these. He is into mythology and suspense. He LOVES the Percy Jackson series. He will read them books over and over again.

  5. Tricia C.

    March 18, 2015

    Post a Reply

    The Bronxwood series by Coe Booth are very popular right now with my students. Also, I would highly recommend Boy 21 by Matthew Quick. Every boy I’ve handed it to has loved it.

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