GREAT BOOKS FOR GUYS
PREPARED BY MARSHA STEWART
LIBRARIAN, ANCONA SCHOOL
by Derek Munson
It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy!
In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend.
Dan and the dinosaur
By Gennifer Choldenko
A heartwarming father-son story about bravery and facing fears.
Nicholas wants to be as brave as his dad, but he needs help. That’s why he needs a dinosaur. After all, dinosaurs like the dark, bugs are nothing to them, and they eat manhole covers for lunch (and everything under them for dinner).
With his toy dinosaur, Nicholas can scale tall walls, swim in deep water, even score a goal against the huge goalie everyone calls Gorilla. But when the dinosaur goes missing, everything is scary again.
Luckily, his dad knows that even the bravest people can get scared, and it’s okay to ask for help facing your fears. It’s just guy stuff.
By Gaia Cornwall
Jabari is definitely ready to jump off the diving board. He’s finished his swimming lessons and passed his swim test, and he’s a great jumper, so he’s not scared at all. “Looks easy,” says Jabari, watching the other kids take their turns. But when his dad squeezes his hand, Jabari squeezes back. He needs to figure out what kind of special jump to do anyway, and he should probably do some stretches before climbing up onto the diving board. In a sweetly appealing tale of overcoming your fears, newcomer Gaia Cornwall captures a moment between a patient and encouraging father and a determined little boy you can’t help but root for.
Papa and Me
By Arthur Dorros
When I'm with my papá, I can fly like an eagle, an águila. I can climb alto, high, in a tree, And I am the ganador, the winner, of many races. When I am with my papá, I hear the best cuentos, stories, and I give him the biggest abrazos, hugs. A young boy and his papa may speak both Spanish and English, but the most important language they speak is the language of love. Here, Arthur Dorros portrays the close bond between father and son, with lush paintings by Rudy Gutierrez.
Chad can't wait for the camping trip. He just hopes his brother, Ben, won't ruin it. Ben was born with a developmental disability, and though he's five, he doesn't always act it. Ben doesn't like new things, and sometimes his behavior is embarrassing. Chad loves Ben, but life with him can be frustrating. The camping trip is great, and Ben especially loves being in the water. He splashes and plays and holds his hands high, like he's King of the River. But Chad sees some boys who make fun of Ben. The brothers encounter the same boys later and Chad expects the worst. But when he introduces Ben, something surprising—and wonderful—takes place.
Looking After Louis
By Leslie Ely
This upbeat look at mainstreaming is told from the point of view of a little girl who sits next to an autistic boy. Louis, who repeats words he hears and has little interaction with his peers, gets away with behavior that the other children cannot, such as mimicking the teacher. One day, after he shows interest in playing soccer with a classmate, Miss Owlie allows both of them to go outside and play during the afternoon, prompting the narrator to point out the unfairness of this treatment. With her teacher's help, the child comes to realize that what is fair is giving people what they need.
The Invisible Boy
By Trudy Ludwig
A simple act of kindness can transform an invisible boy into a friend... Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine.
Boy, You're Amazing
By Virginia Kroll
Want to meet an amazing boy? Maybe he’s built a snow fort, or he loves to write songs. Or else he can pitch a no-hitter—or perhaps he’s won a spelling bee. He could be a good teammate, a best friend, a great brother, or a terrific son. Maybe he’s YOU!
A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever
By Marla Frazee
When James and Eamon go to a week of Nature Camp and stay at Eamon's grandparents' house, it turns out that their free time spent staying inside, eating waffles, and playing video games is way more interesting than nature. But sometimes things work out best when they don't go exactly as planned. In this moving and hilarious celebration of young boys, childhood friendships, and the power of the imagination, Marla Frazee captures the very essence of summer vacation and what it means to be a kid.
Same, Same, But Different
By Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw
Elliot lives in America, and Kailash lives in India. They are pen pals. By exchanging letters and pictures, they learn that they both love to climb trees, have pets, and go to school. Their worlds might look different, but they are actually similar. Same, same. But different! Through an inviting point-of-view and colorful, vivid illustrations, this story shows how two boys living oceans apart can be the best of friends.
Waylon! One Awesome Thing
By Sara Pennypacker
Waylon has lots of ideas for making life more awesome through science, like teleportation, human gills, and attracting cupcakes by controlling gravity. But it's impossible for him to concentrate on his inventions when he's experiencing his own personal Big Bang.
Arlo Brody is dividing the fourth grade boys into two groups. Waylon would rather be friends with everyone. Well, everyone except the scary new kid, Baxter Boylen. Waylon's older sister, Neon, is shooting away from the family. He wishes everything would go back to the way it was before she started wearing all black and saying "What's the point?" all the time. Just when it looks as though Waylon's universe is exploding, something happens to bring it all together again, and it is, without a doubt, One Awesome Thing.
Life of Ty: Non-Random Acts of Kindness
By Lauren Myracle
Ty Perry’s second-grade life is crazier than ever.
He’s trying hard not to worry too much, but that’s not easy when his brain is filled with so many thoughts, like finally finding a pet for Baby Maggie, his sometimes-crazy classmates, and the dreaded neck-pinch-of-death. And then there’s his upcoming recitation about doing an act of kindness in front of the whole class!
Ty remains his wacky, curious self in this big-hearted second installment of the Life of Ty series. Practicing kindness, random or not, doesn’t take that much worrying after all. Being kind is part of being Ty.
Charlie Bumpers vs The Teacher of the Year
By Bill Harley
Charlie Bumpers’ worst fear is confirmed: he has Mrs. Burke for fourth grade. How will he survive a year with the strictest teacher in the whole school?
Shortly before school starts, Charlie Bumpers learns that he will be in Mrs. Burke’s class. It doesn’t matter that she’s been named Teacher of the Year. He’s still afraid of her. Last year when he was horsing around in the hall, he accidentally hit her in the head with his sneaker (don’t ask). The exasperated teacher declared that if anything like that ever happened again, Charlie would be banned from recess forever. How will he survive a year under a teacher who is just waiting for him to make another stupid mistake?
This fun series for young readers from Grammy award-winning author, Bill Harley uses humor to illuminate important values such as tolerance, helpfulness, kindness, and making the best of a bad situation.
Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things
By Lenore Look
Alvin, an Asian American second grader, is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.
Save Me a Seat
By Gita Varadarajan
Joe and Ravi might be from very different places, but they're both stuck in the same place: SCHOOL.
Joe's lived in the same town all his life, and was doing just fine until his best friends moved away and left him on his own. Ravi's family just moved to America from India, and he's finding it pretty hard to figure out where he fits in.
Joe and Ravi don't think they have anything in common -- but soon enough they have a common enemy (the biggest bully in their class) and a common mission: to take control of their lives over the course of a single crazy week.
By Sharon Creech
With the backdrop of a large family and a theater as its frame, this is a story about twelve-year-old Leo, who has a talent for transforming the ordinary into the extraordinary. That's why he's called "fog boy." He's always dreaming, always replaying things in his brain. As an actor in the school play, he is poised and ready for the curtain to open. But in the play that is his life, he is eager to discover what part will be his.
With the universal theme of finding one's true identity, and set amid a loud, noisy, memorable family, Leo's story is one that all kids will relate to.
By Jerry Spinelli
Just like other kids, Zinkoff rides his bike, hopes for snow days, and wants to be like his dad when he grows up. But Zinkoff also raises his hand with all the wrong answers, trips over his own feet, and falls down with laughter over a word like "Jabip."
Other kids have their own word to describe him, but Zinkoff is too busy to hear it. He doesn't know he's not like everyone else. And one winter night, Zinkoff's differences show that any name can someday become "hero."
With some of his finest writing to date and great wit and humor, Jerry Spinelli creates a story about a boy's individuality surpassing the need to fit in and the genuine importance of failure. As readers follow Zinkoff from first through sixth grade, it becomes impossible not to identify with and root for him through failures and triumphs. The perfect classroom read.
A Whole New Ballgame
a Rip and Red story
Rip and Red are best friends whose fifth-grade year is nothing like what they expected. They have a crazy new tattooed teacher named Mr. Acevedo, who doesn't believe in tests or homework and who likes off-the-wall projects, the more "off" the better. They also find themselves with a new basketball coach: Mr. Acevedo! Easy-going Rip is knocked completely out of his comfort zone. And for Red, who has autism and really needs things to be exactly a certain way, the changes are even more of a struggle. But together these two make a great duo who know how to help each other--and find ways to make a difference--in the classroom and on the court.
Ms. Bixby's Last Day
By John David Anderson
Everyone knows there are different kinds of teachers. The boring ones, the mean ones, the ones who try too hard, the ones who stopped trying long ago. The ones you'll never remember, and the ones you want to forget. Ms. Bixby is none of these. She's the sort of teacher who makes you feel like school is somehow worthwhile. Who recognizes something in you that sometimes you don't even see in yourself. Who you never want to disappoint. What Ms. Bixby is, is one-of-a-kind.
Topher, Brand, and Steve know this better than anyone. And so when Ms. Bixby unexpectedly announces that she won't be able to finish the school year, they come up with a risky plan, more of a quest, really, to give Ms. Bixby the last day she deserves. Through the three very different stories they tell, we begin to understand what Ms. Bixby means to each of them—and what the three of them mean to each other.
The Most important thing
stories about sons, fathers, and grandfathers
Luke sees the ghost of his father but can’t figure out what Dad wants him to do. Paul takes a camping trip with the grandfather he’s just met and discovers what lies behind the man’s erratic behavior. Ryan has some surprising questions when he interviews his prospective stepfather for the job. In a compellingly honest collection of stories, multiple-award-winning author Avi introduces seven boys — boys with fathers at home and boys whose fathers have left, boys who spend most of their time with their grandfathers and boys who would rather spend time with anyone but the men in their lives. By turns heartbreaking, hopeful, and funny, the stories show us boys seeking acceptance, guidance, or just someone to look up to. Each one shines a different light on the question "What is the most important thing a father can do for his son?"
The Seventh Most Important Thing
By Shelley Pearsall
Gr 4–7—A middle school student learns the meaning of redemption in this excellent coming-of-age story. For the rest of the country, it was the year President Kennedy was assassinated. For Arthur Owens, it would always be the year his Dad died. Arthur is struggling to adapt. When he sees his Dad's hat being worn by the neighborhood "Junk Man," it is just too much. Arthur isn't a bad kid, but he picks up that brick and throws it just the same. The judge pronounces a "highly unconventional sentence." At the behest of the victim James Hampton, the "Junk Man," Arthur must spend every weekend of his community service helping to complete Hampton's artistic masterpiece. Inspired by real life artist James Hampton's life and work, "The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millennium General Assembly," the plot avoids religious tones and sticks with the exploration of friendship, love, and life's most important lessons; from the "Junk Man's" neighbor, Groovy Jim, to no-nonsense Probation Officer Billie to Arthur's new best pal Squeak.
How to Be a Supervillain
By Michael Fry
Victor Spoil comes from a long line of famous supervillains and he's fully expected to join their ranks one day. But to his family's utter disappointment, Victor doesn't have a single bad-guy bone in his body. He won't run with scissors, he always finishes his peas, and he can't stand to be messy. Hopeless!
As a last-ditch effort before they give up and let him be a--gasp!--civilian, Victor's exasperated parents send him to apprentice under a disgraced supervillain called The Smear. This matchup starts off as a complete disaster, but Victor and The Smear eventually find that they have a lot to learn from each other. When the stakes get high as Victor is forced to choose between his mentor and his family morals (or lack thereof)...what will the world's nicest bad guy do?
By Gordon Korman
Chase's memory just went out the window. Chase doesn't remember falling off the roof. He doesn't remember hitting his head. He doesn't, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again . . . starting with his own name. He knows he's Chase. But who is Chase? When he gets back to school, he sees that different kids have very different reactions to his return. Some kids treat him like a hero. Some kids are clearly afraid of him. One girl in particular is so angry with him that she pours her frozen yogurt on his head the first chance she gets. Pretty soon, it's not only a question of who Chase is--it's a question of who he was . . . and who he's going to be. Restart is the spectacular story of a kid with a messy past who has to figure out what it means to get a clean start.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher
By Dana Allison
Wait until you meet the family Fletcher! With two dads, four adopted brothers, two cats, and one pug, the Fletchers will have you laughing out loud!
The start of the school year is not going as the Fletcher brothers hoped. Each boy finds his plans for success veering off in unexpected and sometimes disastrous directions. And at home, their miserable new neighbor complains about everything. As the year continues, the boys learn the hard and often hilarious lesson that sometimes what you least expect is what you come to care about the most.
The Losers Club
By Andrew Clements
Sixth grader Alec can’t put a good book down.
So when Principal Vance lays down the law—pay attention in class, or else—Alec takes action. He can’t lose all his reading time, so he starts a club. A club he intends to be the only member of. After all, reading isn’t a team sport, and no one would want to join something called the Losers Club, right? But as more and more kids find their way to Alec’s club—including his ex-friend turned bully and the girl Alec is maybe starting to like—Alec notices something. Real life might be messier than his favorite books, but it’s just as interesting.
By G. Neri
When Cole’s mom dumps him in the mean streets of Philadelphia to live with the dad he’s never met, the last thing Cole expects to see is a horse, let alone a stable full of them. He may not know much about cowboys, but what he knows for sure is that cowboys aren’t black, and they don’t live in the inner city. But in his dad’s ’hood, horses are a way of life, and soon Cole’s days of skipping school and getting in trouble in Detroit have been replaced by shoveling muck and trying not to get stomped on. At first, all Cole can think about is how to ditch these ghetto cowboys and get home. But when the City threatens to shut down the stables— and take away the horse Cole has come to think of as his own— he knows that it’s time to step up and fight back. Inspired by the little-known urban riders of Philly and Brooklyn, this compelling tale of latter -day cowboy justice champions a world where your friends always have your back, especially when the chips are down.
The Aurora County All-Stars
By Deborah Wiles
Twelve-year-old House Jackson--star pitcher and team captain of the Aurora County All-Stars--has been sidelined for a whole sorry year with a broken elbow. He's finally ready to play, but wouldn't you know that the team's only game of the year has been scheduled for the exact same time as the town's 200th-anniversary pageant. Now House must face the pageant's director, full-of-herself Frances Shotz (his nemesis and perpetrator of the elbow break), and get his team out of this mess. There's also the matter of a mysterious old recluse who has died and left House a wheezy old dog named Eudora Welty--and a puzzling book of poetry by someone named Walt Whitman. Through the long, hot month of June, House makes surprising and valuable discoveries about family, friendship, poetry . . . and baseball.
Drums, Girls, And Dangerous Pie
By Jordan Sonnenblick
Thirteen-year-old Steven has a totally normal life: he plays drums in the All-Star Jazz band, has a crush on the hottest girl in the school, and is constantly annoyed by his five-year-old brother, Jeffrey. But when Jeffrey is diagnosed with leukemia, Steven's world is turned upside down. He is forced to deal with his brother's illness and his parents' attempts to keep the family in one piece. Salted with humor and peppered with devastating realities, DRUMS, GIRLS, AND DANGEROUS PIE is a heart warming journey through a year in the life of a family in crisis.
As Brave as you
By Jason Reynolds
Reynolds's engaging middle grade debut stars 11-year-old African American Genie Harris, an inveterate worrywart who considers Google his best friend, and his older brother Ernie, who is well on his way to being a cool dude (sunglasses and all). The born and bred Brooklynites are to spend a month with their grandparents in rural Virginia while their parents take a long overdue vacation and work out their marital problems. It is only after the boys are left in their grandfather's care that they realize that he is blind. They are also surprised to learn that they are expected to do chores and follow their grandmother's strict rules-and that it is possible to exist (sort of) without the Internet. While Ernie crushes on the girl who lives at the base of the hill, Genie writes down his many burning questions so he doesn't forget them and gets to know his proud and fiercely independent grandfather. Genie barrages Grandpop with questions about his past and present abilities and about the quirky aspects of the household, especially his "nunya bidness" room, his harmonica playing, and how Grandpop might not be able to see but still packs a pistol. As the languid days unfold, the boys learn about country life and the devastating loss of the elder Harris' son during Desert Storm and their estrangement from their living son, the boys' father. Grandpop Harris is a complicated, irascible character, full of contradictions and vulnerabilities, the least of which is his lack of vision (School Library Journal)
Darius & Twig
By Walter Dean Myers.
In New York City's Harlem neighborhood, two high school friends approach graduation with different dreams. Narrator Darius knows it takes more than a high school diploma to have the life he wants and, despite mediocre grades, develops his creative fiction for publication in the Delta Review, boosting his hopes for a college scholarship. His best friend Manuel Fernandez, or "Twig," is a long-distance runner looking ahead only as far as the next race. Along with a high grade-point average, Twig has the athleticism to catch the attention of college scouts in the big race but is being pressured to quit the track team and work in his uncle's bodega. Both boys face daily run-ins with Tall Boy and Midnight, two classmates with rap sheets and vengeful thug behavior. Ultimately, Darius and Twig learn of a shooting and are faced with the moral dilemma of coming to the aid of their tormentors. The portrayal of Harlem is realistic and nuanced, describing the sweetness of the neighborhood vibe and its friendly and supportive adults while also showing animosity among ethnic enclaves, and random violence. Darius's alter ego, Fury the peregrine falcon, appears at the beginning of some chapters as both guardian and predator above the city streets. An unfinished story about a boy testing his limits by swimming with dolphins comes to a poignant conclusion, as Darius similarly overcomes his own obstacles. Less gritty than many of Myers's titles, this book will satisfy his legions of fans.-Vicki Reutter, Cazenovia High School, NY
The Stars Beneath Our Feet
By David Barclay Moore
It’s Christmas Eve in Harlem, but twelve-year-old Lolly Rachpaul and his mom aren’t celebrating. They’re still reeling from his older brother’s death in a gang-related shooting just a few months earlier. Then Lolly’s mother’s girlfriend brings him a gift that will change everything: two enormous bags filled with Legos. Lolly’s always loved Legos, and he prides himself on following the kit instructions exactly. Now, faced with a pile of building blocks and no instructions, Lolly must find his own way forward.
His path isn’t clear—and the pressure to join a “crew,” as his brother did, is always there. When Lolly and his friend are beaten up and robbed, joining a crew almost seems like the safe choice. But building a fantastical Lego city at the community center provides Lolly with an escape—and an unexpected bridge back to the world.
David Barclay Moore paints a powerful portrait of a boy teetering on the edge—of adolescence, of grief, of violence—and shows how Lolly’s inventive spirit helps him build a life with firm foundations and open doors.