This week’s Top Ten Tuesday prompt from The Broke and the Bookish was to make your own Top 10 Must Reads For… your choice. Awhile back I wrote a post suggesting books for the reluctant tween reader. I had a lot of fun with that and have been meaning to write more posts like it so today I’m tackling a new list of suggestions – books for 10 year old boys (though honestly, your daughters will probably love these books, too) – based off the reading habits of my own ten year old boy.
He is a voracious reader and would probably have his own list of ten to add to this but I’m sticking to books that I have also read that I thought were excellent and can vouch for. Some are more complex than others – I tried to give you a varied list so that you can find something for your ten year olds regardless of reading level. And there aren’t any Diary of Middle School Zombies in Underpants here. You’re welcome.
- My son’s favorite: I couldn’t start this list with anything except my son’s self proclaimed favorite book ever. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins (yes, that Suzanne Collins) was probably the first book that made him cry – the first book that he came to me somewhat distraught over because a beloved character was clearly in real danger (but ended up being ok). This series captured his heart and consumed his mind and he’d insist that your ten year old read it immediately.
- My favorite: One of my favorite books growing up was From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankeweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. This was a hide under the covers with a flashlight book and I still think of it today. My son read this in school this year and also really loved it so I can vouch for modern day kids still enjoying it. Read it together and dream of running away to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
- The Modern Classic: I shouldn’t have to tell you to read Harry Potter but if your son hasn’t read the books yet, this is a good time to dive into the series. At ten, the boys are nearly the same age as Harry who turns 11 in the first book, so the characters will be easy to relate to. This book series is coming of age meets magic and fantasy and adventure and should really be required reading.
- The Old Classic: Another book my son read this year in school is The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. (They actually read The Magician’s Nephew first which comes first chronologically but was published later. I personally think you could start with either.) He loved both books just like the rest of the world. Filled with fantasy and adventure and childhood antics, this one is a classic for a reason.
- A shorter pick: If these are all feeling too literary or stuffy or just too long, I recommend The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket. These books are both short and sweet and hilarious. These are a great introduction to a reluctant reader that are likely to turn your kids into avid readers. And if they like this, there are at least twelve more books to enjoy not including Snicket’s other books outside of the series.
- For your budding brainiac: Be sure to check out The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart which is like Hogwarts for Geniuses. If your son likes brain teasers and has ever felt like he doesn’t fit in – or even if he does – he’ll enjoy this book. It’s another series that’s excellent from beginning to end. You’ll want to read this one with him, it’s that good.
- The surprising hit series by that kid from Glee: I was so pleasantly surprised by The Land of Stories by Chris Coelfer. I was not expecting much but it was excellent. I really loved his re-imaginings of various fairy tale characters and the story as a whole. My son loved this one and is eager to read the follow up stories in the series.
- The Slightly Less Well Known Fantasy Series: The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman was excellent and despite having a terrible movie made for it it’s managed to stay somewhat under the radar. This one has gotten passed around most of the family and loved by all. It has such rich imagination and fantastical adventures. This is one to pass on to your kid when they loved all the other fantasy books I’ve already mentioned. It’s slightly lofty in writing style so maybe don’t start with this one if they aren’t already voracious readers. Instead I’d recommend trying…
- For When You Can’t Get Enough Harry Potter: Magyk by Angie Sage and the rest of the books in the series are fantastic. There are definitely some similarities to Harry Potter but in my opinion the series holds up well on its own and has a unique premise. It also boasts six more books in the series which is awesome. I think series books are excellent for readers this age because it keeps them reading, reading, reading and gives them an obvious next title to check out.
- For when they don’t want to read a whole book: Allow me to be the 1 millionth person to recommend Shel Silverstein to your reluctant readers. Where The Sidewalk Ends takes everything your kid thinks he knows about poetry and turns it on it’s head. Hysterical, silly and easy to read for ten minutes here and there. If he doesn’t already know about these books, it’s time to change that. Silverstein has more than one collection of poetry but this one is probably his best.
What books am I forgetting?
Share your favorite recommendations for this age range in the comments section!