Books for boys. Sometimes it’s tricky to find books for boys and to get boys reading, especially when there are so many other things that are nearly as exciting to do instead. While nothing I write is aimed deliberately at boys, a lot of it, I hope, has good boy appeal – might be something to do with the aliens, explosions, and the dinosaurs. Several recent books have been graphic novel adaptations of best-selling novels like the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer and The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud. Turning a prose book into a lovely-smelling posh comic isn’t just fun for me, it’s also a great way into the original series for everyone, and especially a great way to get boys reading. I learned to read on a diet of Target Doctor Who books and a weekly dose of black and white smudged reprints in The Mighty World of Marvel.
Here are a few suggestions of books that might help turn the boys in your life from reluctant readers into budding bookworms as suggested by parents, teachers, and galactic overlords…
VIKING BLOOD – It’s 1008 AD, and after being injured in a raid that goes horribly wrong, Tor Scaldbane is devastated at losing his chance to be a legendary warrior. But then he remembers the sagas of his ancestors; glorious, bloody battles, ancient heroes, powerful gods … and realizes that all might not be lost after all… I’d wanted to write a book retelling the Norse Myths of Thor and Loki and Odin for just about forever. VIKING BLOOD gave me the chance to do just that as well as invented a whole village of new Viking characters and probably featuring more blood and gore than any other book on this list. A book for boy warriors of all ages. Age 8+
ARTEMIS FOWL: THE GRAPHIC NOVEL – This adaptation of his genre-busting, award-winning novel Artemis Fowl has been a labour of love for lifelong graphic novel fans Eoin Colfer, and Andrew Donkin. It has art by Giovanni Rigano and colour by Paolo Lamanna. If you’ve been hiding under a rock for the last decade and don’t know who Artemis is… Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a brilliant criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn’t know what he’s taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren’t the fairies of bedtime stories. These fairies are armed and they’re dangerous. Artemis thinks he’s got them just where he wants them, but then they stop playing by the rules . . . This is a great gateway read for boys to the world of Artemis Fowl – eight novels by Eoin Colfer and four graphic novels by Eoin and yours truly. Age 8+
The WEIRD WORLD OF WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE – You’ve probably heard of William Shakespeare. He is world famous for: – writing a few plays – having a bit of a way with words – creating characters like romantic Romeo and murderous Macbeth. But have you heard that William: – did a seven-year vanishing act – nearly had his head chopped off by the Queen – nicked an entire theatre? Yes, even though he’s dead, William’s still full of surprises. Now you can get the inside story with William’s secret diary, find out the news of the day in the Shakespearean Sun and prepare to be amazed as the curtain is raised on Shakespeare’s most dramatic acts. This funny and lively biography is packed with gags, maps, cartoons, odd bits of history, and strange facts about our William. Masterfully illustrated by the witty and wise Clive Goddard. Age 8+
HARRY’S BATTLE OF BRITAIN: THE STORY OF A WORLD WAR II EVACUEE. Evacuated to the countryside to escape the nightly German air raids in London, Harry and his friends decide to play their own Battle Of Britain. But as a German plane, chasing a British Spitfire, steams into the sky little does Harry know how dangerously real his battle is about to become. This is a shorter 48 pages story for younger readers (7 to 9 years) with atmospheric artwork by Linda Clark.
This page isn’t intended as an exhaustive list, but if you are a parent or teacher looking for inspiration to get your boys reading more these might do the trick. I hope so.