For the last few years, I’ve been posting a list of books that middle school boys might totally dig as a public service to parents who are out Christmas shopping for their kids. You see, I really DO believe that books should be under every tree simply because gifting books sends the message that reading is special — and that’s a message that every kid needs to hear.
So if you are the proud owner of a twelve-year old boy, think about picking up one of these titles. They are guaranteed to capture your kid’s attention and/or imagination:
Howtoons – Tools of Mass Construction: Over the past few weeks, there’s been a buzz coming out of the Guys Read club run by my buddy Mike Hutchinson — and that buzz centers around the Marshmallow Shooters that he’s got kids making. When I asked him where he got the idea, he pointed me to the Howtoons website, which is committed to introducing kids to scientific principles through graphic novels and really cool tinkering projects. That’s when I picked up Tools of Mass Construction, an encyclopedia of tinkering projects — think stomp rockets and do-it-yourself tripwires — that will keep every middle school boy busy for months.
Steelheart: Steelheart is the first book in Brandon Sanderson’s The Reckoners Trilogy. It’s set in a screwed up future version of the United States where small groups of citizens woke up one morning with super powers. The hitch: Everyone gifted with super powers — known as Epics in the story — is corrupted, using their unique strengths and abilities to grab power and abuse everyone else. The only group brave enough to stand up to these villains are the Reckoners — who through careful study and crazy weaponry work to take down each of the Epics one-by-one. Steelheart details the work of the Reckoners to take down the strongest of the Epics — a guy with no apparent weaknesses that can turn anything he touches into steel.
Gregor the Underland Chronicles: One of the simplest truths about middle school readers is that they are WAY into fantasy stories — and one of the most engaging fantasy series that I’ve read in a while tells the story of Gregor the Overlander — a boy from New York City who stumbles into an amazing world of adventure after his baby sister falls through a hole in the floor of the laundry room in his apartment complex. The challenge for Gregor is that the new world that he’s discovered is in the middle of a Civil War. Talking rats are trying to wipe out a nation of humans living underground. Worse yet, Gregor learns that whether he likes it or not, HE is the key to saving his new friends and restoring peace to the Underland.
Anyone else have suggestions for titles that might resonate with middle school boys? If so, leave them in the comment section. The way I see it, turning boys into readers — which is no easy task — is a goal that we should ALL care about.
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