Books for Boys: Young Adult Literature to Inspire Kids

Boys often need more motivation to read than girls. Fortunately, even aside from Harry Potter, there are more literary great heroes who survive adventures. Here are some tips on how to make reading appealing to boys in particular.

Books for Boys: Young Adult Literature to Inspire Kids

The wonderful world of reading: immersing yourself in the plot of a good book can power up the imagination and let you leave the stresses of everyday life behind. However, young boys often need a bit more motivation to develop a passion for reading. In fact, a report published in 2015 by the National Literacy Trust found that while 61.2% of girls aged eight to eighteen said they enjoyed reading, only 47.8% of boys in the same age range said the same. Experts explain that even if young boys are regularly read to from an early age, other interests such as sports or video games can take the place of a blossoming interest in literature - boys often need a very good reason to sit down and read a book.

That’s why comprigo has created a list of tips and reading recommendations to get kids interested in reading (applicable, of course, to any age and any gender). These tips were adapted from recommendations by the Stiftung Lesen, a non-profit reading foundation based in Mainz, Germany. Read on!

Get Kids, Especially Boys, Excited About Reading

Two boys reading

Tip 1: The book should include themes that are interesting to the individual

While some children who are passionate about reading may have no problem exploring different literary themes and topics, a child who struggles with reading for enjoyment may need a book more tailored to their interests. Try to consider a child’s hobbies or favourite things before suggesting a book for them to read.

Tip 2: Readers often need a character to identify with

Children (and adults!) of all genders are more likely to enjoy a story which has a character to which they can relate. This doesn’t necessarily mean that these “relatable” figures should share a gender with the reader, but since our article aims to give advice on building boy’s confidence or passion for reading, our book suggestions all feature relatable male characters. 

Tip 3: Find stories with an existing media presence

If a television series or film has been released based on a book, chances are that a kid is already familiar with the characters or the story. This can be a convincing reason to start reading a book!

Tip 4: Get kids hooked on books with a series

Books with multiple instalments are perfect for promoting literacy. Reading a series is easier for some children because they are already familiar with the main plot line, setting, and characters. A good example of this is Jeff Kinney’s wildly popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series.

Tip 5: Exciting from the start

An ideal story for children struggling with literacy should be concise and clearly structured. If the book is already fascinating within the first five to ten pages, it’s likely to keep the reader hooked. 

Great Books to Get Boys in the Mood for Reading

Harry Potter Box Set

20 years ago, Harry Potter not only took over the children’s library section but also sparked a reading storm among adults. However, there are plenty of other characters in the children’s literature scene besides Harry, Hermione and Ron. We've compiled a list of some exemplary young adult literature books which should inspire reading in boys (and girls!) of all ages.

Bobbie Peters: William Wenton and the Luridium Thief

Bobbie Peters: William Wenton and the Luridium Thief

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William Wenton is not a normal boy. He consists of five percent Luridium (living metal) and can crack the trickiest of codes. However, he’s totally clueless to any of these facts at the beginning of the story. Everything starts at his home in Norway, where he lives a normal life with his parents. Little does he know: they are actually hiding from an enemy. The story develops rapidly when William unintentionally cracks an unsolvable code. William’s long-lost grandfather and girlfriend Iscia also play important roles in the story. What kind of adventures will William’s newfound skill of code-cracking bring into his previously mundane life?

Author Bobbie Peers pairs wonderful wordplay with high-speed storytelling, wit and a lot of imagination. Young readers are sure to quickly immerse themselves in the book and stay interested. His light, humorous narrative style draws readers of all levels into the story.

Details:

  • Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • Published April 2017
  • Series with 3 books
  • 256 pages
  • 9 to 13 years
  • Walker Books
Armand Baltazar: Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic

Armand Baltazar: Timeless: Diego and the Rangers of the Vastlantic

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Thirteen-year-old Diego Ribera is a child of the new age. He lives with his parents in New Chicago - a peaceful Chicago in which people from the past, present and future live together in harmony. This reality is a result of the time collision, a catastrophe of cosmic proportions that split time and space and tore the earth apart. The survivors come from different cultures and epochs. But not everyone is interested in peaceful coexistence in this new age. After his father is kidnapped, Diego sets off on a long journey to save him and undo the time collision with his friends Petey, Lucy, and Paige. He gets help along the way from a handful of pirates and a special gift.

The 624-page book by author Armand Baltazar is enriched with gorgeous images which turn this novel into a storytelling experience. Only about 60% of this novel is text, whereas the other 40% contain illustrations, so don’t let the large page number scare off any unsure readers.

Details:

  • Fantasy, Science Fiction, History
  • Published October 2017
  • 624 pages
  • 9 to 13 years
  • Harper Collins Children’s Books
Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl

Eoin Colfer: Artemis Fowl

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Paperback £5.93 Amazon

Artemis Fowl, the youngest successor in an old Irish gangster dynasty, wants to put an end to the financial ruin of his family with an incredible plan. With the help of the Book of the Elves, which has come into his possession, he uncovers a mystery of which no one has suspected anything before. Deep under the earth, the elves keep a legendary treasure of gold. Artemis is only twelve, but highly gifted and with the help of his powerful butler he sets out to steal their treasure...

The Artemis Fowl series by author Eoin Colfer is a face-paced mixture of crime thriller, fairy tale and fantasy. Colfer’s imaginative and unique characters lead to absurd, heartwarming, and hilarious situations. 

Details:

  • Fantasy, Science Fiction
  • April 2001
  • Books 1 to 7
  • 320 pages
  • 9 to 11 years
  • Puffin
Rick Riordan: The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle

Rick Riordan: The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle

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The Greek god Apollo falls from the sky directly into some rubbish bins - he has fallen out of Zeus’ good graces and robbed of his immortality as punishment. He is promptly attacked at the start of his mortal excursion, but luckily Meg jumps to his side - cheeky, pugnacious, at most twelve and undoubtedly a demigoddess. Together they set off for Camp Half-Blood.

The author of the Apollo series is no stranger to young adult literature: Author Rick Riordan is also responsible for the popular Percy Jackson series, which was also adapted to a popular film. With the Apollo series, the Texan author once again succeeds in pairing classic Greek mythology material with an adventure story perfect for young adults.

Details:

  • Fantasy, Mythology
  • August 2017
  • Series with 3 books, more to follow
  • 400 pages
  • 9 to 16 years
  • Puffin
Adam Blade: Beast Quest: Ferno the Fire Dragon

Adam Blade: Beast Quest: Ferno the Fire Dragon

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Fields are burning and rivers are drying up thanks to Ferno the dragon and his breath of fire. The protagonist, Tom, must defeat him to prevent further damages. But all he has for this dangerous mission is a sword and a shield. The beasts that once protected the land have been enchanted by the evil magician Malvel and now threaten the kingdom of Avantia. Young Tom has been chosen to free the beasts from the evil spell. In each book of this series, he fights against a new creature, accompanied by the brave Elenna, her Wolf Silver and his black stallion Storm. 

Author Adam Blade describes the harrowing adventures of Tom using simple, easy to read language. Tom is not a hero at first, but his cleverness and courage make him a role model for the inhabitants of Avantia, as well as readers of this exciting series.

By the way: The Beast Quest Game for Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC was released in March 2018 for boys who grew up with the hero but outgrew the books. Based on the bestselling book series of the same name, it takes players on an epic journey to save the ancient land of Avantia from the destructive dark magic that has befallen its creatures.

Details:

  • Fantasy
  • June 2015
  • Series with over 100 instalments 
  • 144 pages
  • 6 to 11 years
  • Orchard Books