Classical Childrens Books

Best Books for Boys

Whether reluctant or avid readers, boys enjoy stories filled with heroes and adventure. This list of great books for boys will head him down the path of reading and history.

Boy Reading and Dreaming

What child doesn't like the excitement of adventure, the thrill of overcoming danger and malice, and the satisfaction of seeing right prevail when evil rises?

The great classics that have been read by boys for generations provide that and more.

They teach that character impacts others, that courage takes many forms, that heroes come in all sizes and personalities.

The best books for boys do more than encourage reading.

They teach. They inspire. They contrast mediocracy with greatness.

Of course, the fact that they do all this while entertaining helps too.

Boys are the Heroes of these Great Books

The Golden Goblet

By Eloise J. McGraw

Historical fiction, this story takes place in Egypt about 1500 B.C. A young goldsmith apprentice discovers a theft from the tomb of the Valley of the Kings. The young apprentice needs to solve a mystery with danger and intrigue. The customs of ancient Egypt are described.

More Ancient Literature.

The Door In the Wall

By Margeurite de Angeli

Historical fiction from Europe in the 1300's. Robin is a fictitious son of a nobleman who will someday become a knight. But he finds himself alone, deserted, and handicapped. Then even greater danger faces him as the castle is attacked. A reflection of life and dangers in the Middle Ages.

Matchlock Gun

By Walter D. Edmonds

True Story
New York
1756 - French and Indian War
An exciting, true story of a ten year old boy who saves his family during the French and Indian War with his great-grandfather's matchlock gun.

The Last of the Mohicans

By James Fenimore Cooper

The best known historical fiction of the French and Indian War, this book was also one of the first successful American novels. A woodsman and his two Native American friends try to rescue two American sisters as conflict between settlers and warring Indians escalates.

Great stories from the 18th Century.

Johnny Tremain

By Esther Forbes

Johnny, a silversmith apprentice in Boston, is injured and no longer able to do the work of a silversmith. His life is changed when he joins the Sons of Liberty. Historical figures, including Paul Revere, are part of the story.

Kids Stories from the American Revolution.

Treasure Island

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Starts in England, Sail to a fictitious island
A fast moving adventure story from the days of pirates. Almost everyone is familiar with the dreaded Long John Silver and Captain Flint. Enjoy the tale that got the pirate movement started.

Old Yeller

By Fred Gibson

Two pioneer brothers on the Texas frontier are united only by their love of an old yeller dog. There are changes for the family and dog, and not all of them are good.

The Black Arrow

By Robert Louis Stevenson

Historical fiction from the time of the War of the Roses, this is an adventure story set in the mid-1400's in England. A young knight, Richard Shelton, seeks to learn the truth of his father's murder. He meets the outlaws known for their use of black arrows. Meanwhile, his own guardian threatens his life.

Call It Courage

By Armstrong Sperry
A young native boy on a Pacific Island is stigmatized because of his fear of the ocean. However, when he takes a canoe to an island by himself and faces cannibals, he discovers he has courage he didn't know he had.

Moby Dick

by Herman Melville
A large novel of the epic battle between a whale and mankind. This accurately portrays life on board ship in the early 19th century. The unabridged version is too weighty for elementary and many middle school students; making abridged versions famous with boys who enjoy the story of the indefeatable whale.

More Stories of the Ocean.

In the Shadow of the Pines

By Karen Newell

Alfred is the oldest boy in a sharecropping family that struggles to survive in Texas during the Great Depression. His last promise to his mother is that he will make sure the children get to school. But what if it means they won't be able to eat? Is there anyway he can help his family and keep his promise to his mother?

Other Stories of the Great Depression.

Where the Red Fern Grows

By Wilson Rawls
Billy works hard to own the money for two coon pups because his family living in the Ozarks is unable to afford them. When tbey become first rate hunters, Billy and his dog are challenged by other hunters.

More great dog stories.

The Trumpeter of Krakow

By Eric Kelly

Historical fiction filled with mystery and intrigue, The Trumpeter of Krakow is set in Krakow, Poland in 1462. Joseph is a fictitious fifteen year old who learns the true story of the trumpeter of Krakow who died two hundred years earlier. He also discovers his ancestors have been the caretakers of the legendary Tarnov Crystal (philospher's stone.) Now his family is in great danger from the Russian czar. This book gives students the opportunity to explore how authors may incorporate fiction, history, and legends in a single story.

More Medieval Literature for Kids.

Rifles for Watie

By Harold Keith

Historical fiction from the American Civil War, the main character is sixteen year old Jeff, a Union soldier. Jeff becomes involved with both the Union and Confederate armies, and becomes close friends with individuals on both sides. In addition, he uncovers an intriguing plot against the Union.

Find other Civil War adventures.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

By Mark Twain

The most famous of Mark Twain's book, the Adventures of Tom Sawyer tells the fictitious story of a high-spirited boy living on the Mississippi River in the late 1800s. Some of the adventures - and misadventures - are based on true events that happened in the author's home town of Hannibal, Missouri. v

Across Five Aprils

By Irene Hunt

Historical fiction, this is one of the most popular Civil War stories for children. The main character's family is divided between the Union and the Confederacy. Trouble occurs with their family and with the residents of the area. The effect of on-going struggle through the years of the Civil War demonstrates the far-reaching impact the national conflict had on individual families.

Three Muskateers

By Alexander Dumas

High action story about a young swordsman who wishes to join the elite fighting force of the French court. Treason, international intrigue, conspiracy and romance - not to mention plenty of sword fighting - await him and his three famous companions.

Oliver Twist

Oliver is a poor, forgotten boy in an orphanage. Hungry and abused, Oliver longs for another place. The twists and turns of his life lead him from mistreatment in an orphanage to an unwitting accomplice to a criminal gang. Meanwhile, someone wants to dispose of gentle Oliver. Is it possible for the child to survive the dangers growing around him?

More Books by Charles Dickens

The Black Stallion

By Walter Farley

Realistic Fiction Series
A teenage boy and a beautiful stallion are shipwrecked on a deserted island where they need each other to survive.

More classic horse stories.

The Hardy Boys

By Franklin Dixon

While it may be argued that the Hardy Boys are not exactly literature in the strictest sense, no one can debate they are truly classic books and amongst the best books for boys. The two brothers investigate mysteries, solve crimes, travel widely and have plenty of fun with their friends - and never neglect their own education of course. Many readers request another book after reading one of these mysteries.

See other sets of kids classics.

The Major, The Poacher, and the Wonderful One Trout River

By Dayton O. Hyde

Major Quillaine is a world renowned fly fisherman who works fervishly to fulfill his dream of catching the largest trout on record. Plumming Pittock is a boy who relies on fishing to feed his impoverished family. What will happen when the two neighbors compete for the giant trout? A touching story with important lessons.

Around the World In Eighty Days

By Jules Verne

Middle School and Above

The calm, sensible, and highly predictable Phileas Fogg bets his fortune that he can beat the odds and travel around the globe in an unheard of 80 days (unheard of for the 1800's.) He uses every form of transportation then known to mankind to complete his task, but alas for the obstacles encountered by he and his servant Passepartout. A literary starting point for the casual study of cultures (don't take any of it tooooooo seriously) and geography. Interesting list of methods of transportation of the era as well.

The Legend of Bass Reeves

by Gary Paulsen
4th-9th Grade
Historical Fiction (based on true story)
The American West
Bass Reeves was one of the most successful, valiant, and honest marshals of the Wild West. He started life as a slave, became a fugitive, and eventually became one of the most trusted federal marshals.

The Underneath

By Kathi Appelt

Age: 10 - 14
This 2008 Newbery Award tells the story of an abused, abandoned hound dog and his adopted cat family who unearth an ancient mystery of a family adopted by the Caddo Indian tribe. This story of friendship is a nice read aloud tale for younger elementary children.

Banner in the Sky

By James Ramsey Ullman

Middle School and Above

Mountain Climbing in the Alps, about 1940's

16 year old Rudi dreams of climbing the unconquerable Citadel, the mountain no-one else has climbed. Strictly forbidden by his mother and uncle, he weaves an unintentional net of lies and deception to carry out his plan. But when another person's life is at stake, will he continue his quest at all costs?

Rob Roy

by Sir Walter Scott
Scotland, early 1700s
12 to adult
Those who like reading Kidnapped by Robert L. Stevenson will like to read about the Scottish outlaw that inspired Stevenson's writing. Francis Osbaldistone is the disgraced son of a wealthy merchant who uncovers a plot against his family and finds himself mixed up in the warring sides of the Jacobite rising. The famed outlaw, Rob Roy, unexpectedly comes to his aid.

Boy Reading and Dreaming

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