My son is eleven and three-fourths and in the sixth grade. He enjoys reading, but has never been one to read huge tomes from cover to cover. It’s been a challenge for me (yes, even me, a library assistant in the Children’s Department) to find books at his grade level that interest him enough that he’ll want to finish them, and still just short enough that he’s able to finish them.
He’s not a Harry Potter fan, and although he loves Rick Riordan’s series, he only wants to listen to them on CD at bedtime. Those fat books are just too much for him. (He could possibly have an issue with his eyes/brain, but we’ve never had him officially diagnosed beyond a screening, and so far he’s been capable of reading well enough to do whatever he needs to do. And he has excellent reading vocabulary, so I’m not worried. He just can’t read thick books with itty-bitty print at this point.)
I thought I’d take a moment to share a few books that have really been favorites for him in the hopes that these titles may inspire a deeper love for reading in other boys.
The first thing to know is that my son adores the Minecraft software and will happily open any book I hand him that has “Minecraft” in the title. Unfortunately, not all Minecraft books are worth the paper they’re printed on. Many are self-published by people taking advantage of the current obsession and the desire for chapter books that relate. However, we’ve found many to be lame attempts. They don’t stand up to literary standards in any way, shape, or form.
But, we have found several Minecraft chapter books that are high-quality and deserve a chance to intrigue and entertain your boys the way they have mine. By clicking on the pictures in this post, you will be redirected to the Amazon page for that book where you can read the reviews of others.*
Journey to a Different Dimension was so good, I actually wrote to the author requesting that he write more. Thankfully, he did just that, and we have book #2 …
I just ordered this today and can’t wait to surprise him with it!
A couple other Minecraft books my son has read and approved of include these:
As I said, Rick Riordan’s books, as books, are a bit too much for this boy, but the stories themselves are what he enjoys. He listens to them on audio at bedtime every night. But then I came across this gem, a #1 bestseller! Although it’s physically big (over 12 x 9 inches), the print is also big, and it’s got glossy pages with gorgeous illustrations. And it’s got individual stories, so he only has to get through one story at a time. This book is “written by” one of Riordan’s most famous characters, Percy Jackson … a kid about the same age as mine. I bought it yesterday and am eager to read it myself!
When my guy is waiting for me to find another treasure for him, he still enjoys reading these shorter chapter books from publisher Focus on the Family. One of the benefits of these adventure books is that each tells a history story (fictionalized) with recurring characters, cousins Patrick and Beth, in each book. Geared to the 6 – 9 age range, they’re good, wholesome stories with some history facts thrown in for good measure. They’re an adventurous diversion that he always enjoys.
My guy has always had a great sense of humor, so we’re always on the lookout for funny stories. This gets tricky because I don’t necessarily want him reading certain stories that encourage kids to be disrespectful. However, I do a lot of reading on my own, so I don’t always have time to pre-read every chapter book he might get his hands on. Thankfully, I put the time in early on teaching him to read with a critical perspective, evaluating personalities and the actions of the characters. We did this early, while reading picture books together, so I’m confident now that he can do this as he reads his novels.
One of my son’s favorite humor series is the “Origami Yoda” series by Tom Angleberger. It’s a great series for the 8 – 12 age range, especially if they’re Star Wars fans! However, my son is not, and he still loves these books. This is another series that would make a great Christmas or birthday present and will keep them reading through the cold weather months.
This list is a great place to start if you’re looking for chapter books that are interesting, yet not too burdensome for either young readers or those with a reading challenge. If you’d like more ideas, give me a few details in the comments section and I’d be happy to be your own personal on-call librarian!
Happy reading and teaching, Friends!
*These are affiliate links, which means I get a teeny-tiny portion of the sale if you buy through the link. So far, I haven't earned a dimi, so don't worry that I'm getting rich over here by doing this. This is a look into the real Jane ... I love to share what we love, and give you an easy way to read reviews of what I'm recommending. If you happen to buy something, I'll get to do a happy dance someday!