40+ of the absolute BEST books for boys in their pre-tween, tween and teenage years.
Let me start by saying that my now-teenage boys are not avid bookworms. They’re decent readers, but my boys don’t just hunker down with a book whenever they’re bored. They’d just rather be doing something rather than reading – like throwing a baseball or watching hockey game. However, my boys always loved ME to read to THEM, and I did, every night, from the time they were babies until they were far too old for bedtime stories. I won’t tell you exactly how old my guys were when I stopped reading to them at night. They’d never forgive me.
Want to know a secret though?
As much as I adored reading to them when they were toddlers and little boys, for me, it got better and better as they got older! We’d dive into these great chapter books, and tackle trilogies and series’, and just get lost in them for an hour or more every night. It took us the better part of a year to get through through the Lemony Snickett series. When we turned the final page of the 13th book in that series, we were all filled with a sense of sadness and loss. Our wonderful year-long, nightly adventure had come to an end. And those characters that we’d come to love and know so well – well, our nightly visits with them were over.
I cherish the memories of us snuggled on the bed together, them listening, and me doing the different voices of all the characters. That was so much fun – making up and maintaining the proper character voices night after night. High falsettos, southern twangs, and gruff, rough voices that sometimes left my throat raw. And the accents, oh my… I think I drummed up every accent known to man during those years.
Some chapters would have us howling with laughter, like the time Count Olaf’s hilarious antics had us laughing so hard I could barely read. Tears were running down my face, and at one point, I think the boys shifted from laughing at Count Olaf to laughing at Mom laughing so hard. When we finally calmed down and the laughter had subsided, the boys said “Read that part again, Mom”, and so I did, and we laughed just as hard as I read through the Count’s escapade a second time.
And there were other times when we sobbed our way through chapters filled with heart-break and sorrow. and come to mind. Books like those touched our hearts and taught us about the bravery and heart-ache and struggle that life can present.
It’s been several years since my boys and I last cozied up and read together at bedtime, but they do still get some of their own reading in. They keep me up to date on the books they read for school book assignments, and I encourage them to choose a few novel to read over the summer break. When they read one that they love, they’re keen to tell me about it, and they often suggest that I read it too. I usually do, and I have to say: when they say a book is really good, it’s REALLY good. I’ve never been disappointed by their recommendations.
As a result of all of the reading we’ve done together, and some that they’ve done on their own, my boys have an extensive list of all-time favourites novels which I’m sure they’ll read to their own children one day.
It makes me so happy to share these favourites with you today.
Books for pre-tween boys (ages 8 and up):
– Lincoln Pierce
Every book in the series is a winner. My 14 year old has been a Big Nate fan for years, and he’s read them all. Written in comic book fashion, the Big Nate stories revolve around Nate, an energetic and rebellious 6th grader whose shenanigans are are always landing him and his friends in hot water.
– Jeff Kinney
Both of my sons are huge fans of the books in these series. My husband and I have read several of these a well, and we’ve been known to laugh ourselves into tears at some of the situations that the main character, middle-school student Greg Heffley, gets himself into.
– George Seldon
A heart-warming and entertaining tale about the adventures of a musically talented cricket who finds himself living in a newsstand in a New York City subway station where he befriends some other small animals and the news vendor’s son.