Reading is the gateway to expanding knowledge and new experiences. Engaging boys in reading can be challenging.
The key is to provide them with reading material that draws on their interests. In order to compile the ultimate reading list for boys, their age groups, areas of interest, and cultural background were taken into account. This was a somewhat daunting task, which was made easier by consulting with my colleagues. As a group of educators (two American, one Canadian and one South African) with nearly 50 years of teaching experience combined, we drew upon our past teaching experiences in other countries and developed this list of books that we hope will be new and engaging for boys.
1. Of Mice And Men by John Steinbeck
The focus of this story is the relationship between George and Lennie as they travel looking for work. Steinbeck uses this powerful story about friendship, loyalty, adversity, and compassion to draw the reader in. The story provides the reader with an enjoyable opportunity to experience many highs and lows.
2. Call Of The Wild by Jack London
Set in the 1890’s during the Klondike Gold Rush; this story explores the instinct to survive. The story follows a dog, which was stolen from California, and then sold to be a sled dog in the harsh conditions of the Klondike. London uses this storyline to demonstrate how harsh conditions bring out the innate primordial behaviours not only in animals but society.
3. Black Stallion by Walter Farley
The first of a series of books, this story published in 1941 demonstrates the powerful bond between people and animals. Alec is a young boy who was stranded with an Arabian stallion after a shipwreck, on his journey home from visiting his uncle in India. Although this book draws the reader in with the plot of training this wild stallion, the true draw of the story is how man connects with nature.
4. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
This book will appeal to a slightly older age group from early teens through adulthood. Albom highlights the impact of a mentor. It examines how young people do not realise the positive impact of mentors until later in life.
5. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Hinton wrote this story at the age of 15. The author’s ability to address the inequality of groups due to socioeconomic status in such a subtle manner is key to the success of this book. Set in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1965, Hinton utilizes many of the ideals and stereotypes of the “American Dream” contrasted with the realities of many underprivileged American teens. This book is great for young teen readers because it provides a storyline that they can relate to, but also addresses the unspoken issues of social divide.
This ultimate reading list for boys is not exhaustive. There is a wealth of other impacting books be added. This list, however, is a representation of outstanding books that have proven to engage readers of all ages across several countries and schools. To add to this list, simply tweet @TEACHUAE_ MAG with the name of a book you think would be a good read for boys. It is my hope that these books will provide boys with the opportunity to expand their knowledge and experiences.
By Dr Thomas Gamboa
Dr Gamboa has nearly 20 years of teaching experience at all levels from elementary to university graduate level. He is currently in his second year as a Cycle three public school English teacher in the UAE.