49 TRULY OUTSTANDING CHAPTER BOOKS FOR BOYS (AGE 6-16)
It makes all the difference for a boy to have the opportunity to read fantastic books as he’s growing up. This list of truly outstanding chapter books for boys might be the only list you’ll need to refer to from here on out!
(First, I know the girls would enjoy many of these too) but my focus on this list is quality books that boys are often drawn to. As a mom of 5 boys, that’s my area of expertise!
All books are certainly not created equal. Therefore, it’s quite important for parents to be selective about what books their kids read!
Here are 47 outstanding options to let your son choose from when he wants to start a new book or series!
What determines a good chapter book for boys?
- Well written stories! (There’s such a difference between the captivating and engaging way The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is written and something full of “poddy humor” that make one feel like a fifth grader wrote it.)
- Stories that edify and encourage the reader! (You know, the kind of books that simply make you a better person from having read such a wonderful tale!)
- Stories that build character in the reader! (This happens when the reader sees how the characters overcome and persevere in the midst of their trials.)
- Books that teach valuable life lessons! (Stories illustrate life lessons far better than direct instruction many times!)
- Books that engage and inspire the reader! (A priceless benefit of quality books for boys)
Each book on the following list truly meets these requirements as a wonderful chapter book for boys!
All it takes is getting a quality book in a boy’s hands, and he will often go from a reluctant reader to an avid reader growing by leaps and bounds!
These are NOT in an order from best to “least best”! They are all equally outstanding chapter books for boys!
1- The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
I have to start with the best of the best! The Chronicles of Narnia epitomizes outstanding chapter books for boys! These fantasy stories are full of adventure and character building plots for readers of all ages! Your son (or daughter) will only benefit from reading these wonderful books about the fantastical world called Narnia!
2- My side of the mountain trilogy by Jean Craighead George
This book and the other two titles, On the Far Side of the Mountain and Frightful’s Mountain) are super captivating to adolescent boys! Sam is a contemporary Robinson Crusoe learning to survive and live with nature in the Catskill Mountains.
3- Captains courageous by Rudyard Kipling
What’s better than a sea adventure about a spoiled American kid who becomes a man? He becomes a man while growing through tough experiences on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. A wonderful character building chapter book for boys!
4- Submarine Spy: The Mike Danford Adventure Series by Arnold Ytreeide
Your older boy will not be able to put this book or any of the other books in the series down! (Arnold Ytreeide is the truly captivating writer of the Jotham’s Journey series I’ve written about in several posts!) This adventure is about a seventeen-year-old, Mike Danford, and his best friend Josh building their own submarine. But somebody doesn’t like the idea, and the boys are the victims of constant attacks. The character lessons are wonderfully intertwined throughout the exciting story!
5- Homer Price by Robert McCloskey
Seriously, you can’t let your boy grow up without reading Homer Price! It also makes a great read aloud for the whole family because the adults will enjoy the wit and charm of McCloskey’s writing! It’s a funny, inventive tale that every boy will love!
6- Imagination Station chapter books by Marianne Herring
Your young reader can feel like he’s stepped into the Imagination Station filled with action-packed adventure to inspire his imaginations. With each book, your son will be whisked away with cousins Patrick and Beth to embark on a new journey around the world and back in time. These easy-to-read chapter books are special too, in that the characters journey through actual historical times with Patrick and Beth.
7- The Prince Warrior by Paula Shirer
This is the first book in an exciting series about a group of boys learning how to defeat the enemy. Shirer used Ephesians 6:10-18 as her inspiration for these character building chapter books your son is sure to enjoy!
8- On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness (The Wingfeather Saga) by Andrew Peterson
This exciting fantasy series of chapter books for boys is full of smart, courageous, and heart warming characters! Your son will not want to stop reading these books! The series chronicles the adventures and transformations of a family called Igiby, as they discover secrets of their family history, run from the evil Fangs of Dang who are occupying the country and so much more!
9- Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
My goodness- this is such a fun story! House Painter Mr. Popper’s pet penguin becomes quite lonely, so much so, that Mr. Popper borrows a penguin from the zoo to help him out. Your son will be delighted with this well written classic!
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10- Stuart little by E.B. White
What boy wouldn’t be so entertained by the story of the adventures of a brave and debonair mouse? Again, reluctant readers will be drawn in by this well written and fun tale!
11- The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
E.B. White knows how to write a captivating novel for sure! This is about Louis, a trumpeter swan who has no voice. Louis learns to play a trumpet and finds success, fulfillment, and even fatherhood!
12- Light Keepers Ten Boys.. by Irene Howat
Boys will see that some of the greatest people in Christian history were once kids just like them who grew up to influence the lives around them. When they read these true stories about great men of faith, they’ll be encouraged to change the world!
13- George Muller: The Guardian of Bristol’s Orphans by Janet and Geoff Benge
The Christian Heroes Then and Now books are all fantastic. This story about George Muller has always been one of my boys’ favorites. This tells of the inspiring and powerful trust and faith Muller had, and what amazing things happened with the orphans in his care! Books in this series build character and faith in their readers!
14- The Voyages of Dr. Doolittle by Hugh Lofting
This is about the crazy impossible and hilarious adventures of a doctor who learns the languages of animals. There are other books in the series. These are classics for older readers!
15- Treasure island by Robert Louis Stevenson
Oh the adventures of Long John Silver and the complexities of pirates! These exciting plots are everything a boy would want to read about! This copy has 140 illustrations which help to bring it all to life even more.
16- Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
I know there have been many movies made on this book. But there is truly no comparison to the charming, brilliant way that Mark Twain writes this funny and captivating story! An absolute MUST READ for boys!
17- Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer are two boys whose adventures touch the heart, make them laugh, and delight them from the first page to the last! Huck Finn may be best suited for older readers! Another MUST READ classic!
18- The Indian in the cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Omri can simply turn the key in the cupboard and the small plastic figures come to life- and quite an adventurous life! Boys will love the captivating battles and passionate characters!
19- George Washington‘s Breakfast by Jean Fritz
History taught to young readers in a most palatable way! Once your son reads one, he will want to read all the others! This is one of my boys’ favorites!
20- What’s the big idea Ben Franklin by Jean Fritz
Ben Franklin was so fascinating in his inventiveness and pursuit of learning! Every boy can benefit from Fritz’s teaching through writing for young readers!
21- Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong
This is about the truly amazing survival story of English explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and his ship, Endurance! The true story written by Shackleton called Endurance is better suited for adults. But this telling is from the point of view of a young stowaway on the Endurance.
Shackleton and twenty-seven sailors attempted to cross the frozen Antarctic continent. They faced being trapped in an icepack, losing their ship, surviving the incredibly harsh winter, and being attacked by sea lions! A truly compelling story!
22- Where the red Fern grows by Wilson Rawls
Billy wants two coon hounds more than anything in the world, but he has no money to buy them. The way Billy gets the dogs and what they mean to him is bringing a tear to my eye right now! A truly beautiful and touching story!
23- Call of the wild by Jack London
This book will captivate your son and he will hardly put it down until the end! Buck is a dog who is stolen from the comforts of his home in California. He has to learn the hard job of being a sled dog in the Yukon. In this tough environment, Buck truly becomes a hero!
24- Shiloh by Phylis Reynolds Naylor
This is a great story to enjoy and talk through with your son! Marty Preston rescues a beagle, Shiloh, from his cruel master. Marty then faces the dilemma of returning Shiloh (but for more cruel treatment) or what he decides to do, keeping Shiloh and hiding him! This story and it’s two sequels (Saving Shiloh and Shiloh Season) handle the solving of this dilemma!
25- Lassie come home by Eric Knight
Lassie is Joe’s prize collie and forever friend. But when Joe’s father loses his job, Lassie must be sold. She escapes from her new owner three times, and three times she returns home to Joe! But finally she is taken to the remotest part of Scotland―too far a journey for any dog to make alone . . . But Lassie is not just any dog.
26- Way of the Warrior Kid series by Jocko Willink
These fabulous books are written by a decorated retired Navy SEAL officer. That right there brings a powerful punch in his story telling! The series is about a kid who learns to be a Warrior Kid after his Uncle Jake, a Navy SEAL comes to stay for the summer. He teaches Marc about hard work and that almost anything is possible! He teaches Marc to take responsibility for his life and circumstances. Your boys ~9 and up will adore and want more and more of these!
27- Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
Bring out the tissues! But wow, you can’t not read this heart warming and touching story of a boy and his faithful dog! A boy will remember it forever!
28- A Bear called Paddington by Michael Bond
This is the first book in a series about the Paddington the bear traveling from Peru. He is found in a train station and constantly lives on the edge of disaster! But he always makes it out triumphantly!
29- Swiss family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
You have probably seen the movie but the book is wonderful! After a shipwreck at sea, the Swiss Family find refuge on an island where they create a new home and a new life. The adventures and difficulties are inspiring making this a timeless story. This particular book has many illustrations which will help your son to enjoy it even more!
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30- Black beauty by Anna Sewell
This is a moving story of the most wonderful horse! This original version is far better than the simplified versions for young children! A must read classic!
31- Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This delightful novel is about the actual experiences of Wilder’s husband, Almonzo, when he grew up on a farm in the 1860s. It covers one year of the 9 year old boy’s life, and the DETAIL. The detail of what life was like back then has painted lasting pictures in all of our heads that we refer to often! An amazing picture of the endless chores to run a farm and keep food on the table. Your boys will be captivated by the adventures of Farmer Boy!
32- Call it courage by Armstrong Sperry
Boys must read this memorable story of a Polynesian boy who faces his fears and a raging sea with great COURAGE! This is an outstanding and character building chapter book for boys.
33- The Berenstain Bears Ride like the wind–by Stan Berenstain
There are a handful of Berenstain Bear chapter books and some of my boys enjoyed these in their early reading years. They are mostly silly type stories but easy to read and entertaining for young ones!
34- The Blind Colt by Glen Rounds
This a fabulous story about a blind mustang colt who learns to “see” with his nose and his ears with the help of a 10 year old boy named Whitey. Boys love this tale of survival and friendship!
35- The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
What’s more fun than a story about a cricket from Connecticut spending the summer in a New York subway station helped by three friends: a boy, a cat, and a fast talking Broadway mouse? Your son will be delighted!
36- Tuckers Countryside by George Selden
This book is a sequel to The Cricket in Times Square that delightfully tells the story of Chester Cricket needing help in the country. Harry Cat and Tucker Mouse make the trek from the city to help their friend in an endearing story with lots of great lessons in friendship!
37- The Magic Treehouse books by Mary Pope Osbourne
This chapter book series tells about Jack and Annie’s many magical adventures that often include topics in science and history weaved in. This series has turned many reluctant type learners into full fledged readers!
38- Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary
Boys greatly enjoy the hilarious adventures of Henry and how his life is turned upside down by his mischievous dog named Ribsy! This for sure qualifies as an outstanding chapter books for boys!
39- Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Early readers certainly love the charm and wit of Frog and Toad! You simply can’t go wrong with this one!
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40- Patriots, Redcoats and Spies (American Revolutionary War Adventures) by Robert Skead
This is the first book of the wonderful American Revolutionary War Adventures historical fiction series. When their father is injured, twins John and Ambrose must deliver a crucial secret message to General George Washington, facing danger from both the war raging around them and a British soldier who is after them!
41- Hatchett by Gary Paulsen
This is a great coming of age story of a 13 year old boy forced to learn to survive when he’s the sole survivor of a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present.
42- Young Whit and the Traitor’s Treasure by Phil Lollar
This Odyssey book series explores the history of the much-loved character John Avery Whittaker. The series introduces newcomers to the larger world of Odyssey. And for readers who are already fans of Odyssey, the novels provide the history of the franchise’s most important character- Mr. Whittaker.
43- Sugar Creek Gang series by Paul Hutchens
The Sugar Creek Gang series chronicles the faith-building adventures of a group of fun-loving, courageous Christian boys. These classic stories are character building chapter books sure to inspire your son to grow in their faith and love of reading!
44- The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Beginning, Book 1 by M.J. Thomas
Your son will easily enjoy the story of the mysterious scroll that transports a brother and sister back in time to God’s creation of the world! This is the first book in an action-packed series for emerging readers.
45- Opening Moves (The Blackgaard Chronicles) by Phil Lollar
A conniving city councilman is secretly carrying out plans against John Avery Whittaker and Whit in this first book in the series. The Blackgaard Chronicles introduces stories based on classic episodes of the Adventures in Odyssey audio program. Your son will enjoy these chapter books especially if he enjoyed the radio series “Adventures in Odyssey”!
46- The Hardy boys books by Franklin Dixon
If your son likes mysteries and detective stories, this classic series is great! For the best experience, the first 16 books of the series stay true to the authorship. After that, it changes as books were continued to be written and published for 50+ years!
47- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner
This is a wonderful series about orphaned siblings- Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden as they explore the world on their own, solve mysteries, and search for home. Similar to the Hardy Boys series, the first 19 books would be the original author and content while the later books are written by different authors etc. Your son will definitely enjoy the adventures of the boxcar children!
48- Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales such as Underground Abductor by Nathan Hale
These are fun and engaging graphic novels that are historical fiction for kids! They are wonderfully humorous at times as well. The Underground Abductor is a favorite of my boys but they are all engaging. You will see that your son remembers the historical details quite well after reading these!
49- Sackett’s Land by Louis L’Amour
Teenage boys will do well to read these fabulous westerns which embody the adventure of cowboys of the west! Great qualities of manhood and character are weaved throughout.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ON THIS LIST OF BEST CHAPTER BOOKS FOR BOYS…
This is a list you can refer to over and over again. When your son needs or wants an amazing adventure and well written tale, he can choose literally any of the books in this list! Each of these chapter books for boys is truly outstanding!
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A good article on teaching your children to read the most important book- the Bible- is HERE!