Sunday, October 26, 2014

My Name Is Not Easy is a powerful story that many boys will find compelling.  It's told in a voice they can relate to.  Inupiaq, the protagonist knows the teachers and other students will call him Luke when he gets to his new boarding school because his native name will be forbidden to be spoken.  Luke and a cast of other colorful characters come together and survive the wraith of an overbearing School Master. This very cool book was a National Book Award finalist and is by Debby Dahl Edwardson. She's an award winning children's writer. Her picture book, Whale Snow was named to the International Reading Association's Notable Books for a Global Society list and was also an Independent Publishers winner. Her novel Blessing's Bead was named to the ALA/Yalsa Best Fiction for Young Adults in 2010. She lives, teaches and writes in a Inupiat community in northernmost Alaska.

To learn more about Debby and her books, click here.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


A year ago, 16 year-old Nick Macklin had it all. He was an A student and a talented hockey player, with a beautiful girlfriend and an awesome dad - a man who was not only there for him when his mom died, but who was also a star player for the Vancouver Canucks.

Then the bottom fell out. His father was convicted of a murder and sentenced to life in prison for a crime Nick is convinced he didn’t commit.

Nick’s life spirals downwards. Angry and bitter, alienated from school and friends, he devotes himself to seeking justice for his father. Who framed him? And why? But Nick’s biggest challenge isn’t getting his father out of jail, it’s coming to terms with the fact that he’s going to be there for a long, long time.

It’s not easy, but Nick finally learns to live with the sadness that he knows will never disappear and starts to put his life together again. Then, just when he has accepted the cards he has been dealt, he stumbles on a clue that eventually reveals the identity of the real murderer. When he is unable to find the evidence to prove it, he uses his own life as bait in order to trap the killer and set his father free.

Click here to access a great article that has very helpful information about BREAKAWAY.

This cool hockey book is by MICHAEL BETCHERMAN.  He's an award-winning screenwriter and author with numerous credits in both documentary and dramatic television. He is the author of two young-adult novels, Breakaway, which was shortlisted for the John Spray Mystery Award, and Face-Off, which was published by Penguin Group (Canada) in 2014 (not yet available in the U.S.). He is also the author of two online novels, The Daughters of Freya and Suzanne. Betcherman lives in Toronto with his wife and daughter.

Monday, April 21, 2014


Dynamo is a story where a mission turns into a quest and where friends discover what it means to take a stand and make a change.  An action-packed novel perfect for twelve and older boys keeps the reader engaged as Matt the protagonist clashes head-first with powerful and violent people.

Sixteen-year-old Matt knows his world is changing. Living in suburbia New Jersey he witnesses a violent crime and doesn't do anything to stop it. He begins a series of secret missions to somehow make himself be able to take a stand when it matters. That personal quest tests the limits of his friendships, and it also kindles a school-wide revolution. The characters are real and charged with teen passion and emotion. It's relatable. It's realistic. It's got teeth and nerves and tension in the interaction between characters. It's got the inner thoughts and emotions associated with facing fears and bullies, which allow readers to find their own voice in their own lives. Readers definitely find pieces of themselves in the different friends in the book. In that sense, it's reminiscent of The Outsiders or The Goonies or The Sandlot. The book inspires debate about friendship, loyalty, risk-taking, courage, self worth, and identity.

This very cool book is by Zach Lichtmann.  Zach earned his B.A. in English at Penn State University. He went on to graduate Arcadia University's Secondary Education program for teaching. He was an English teacher for several years before writing full-time.

Click here to visit Zach's website

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.  A Boys Read supporter highly recommends Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. She says:

Six books in the series (Wolf Brother, Spirit Walker, Soul Eater, Oath Breaker, Outcast, Ghost Hunter).   My son (a reluctant reader, dyslexic) DEVOURED these books.  Books are set 6000 years in the past in the ancient forests of what is now northern Europe.   Follows Torak – 11 years old when the series begins – and a wolf cub with whom he has a spiritual connection.  The world Torak inhabits is animist, mystical, spiritual and brutal.  Paver meticulously researches all her books and they are brimming with beautiful detail about survival, daily life, ancient customs and religious beliefs.  The people in Torak’s world are intensely connected to the natural world – in all its beauty and danger.   The books are page turners – turned my son into….A READER!

I read them as well and loved them.

Thanks for all you do to support boys literacy!


Thank you, Hanna. What a wonderful recommendation for out list of books that boys love.

Click here to learn more about Chronicles of Ancient Darkness.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Goodnight iPAD

A heart warming parody that parents will love.  This hilarious book is by David Milgrim, AKA Ann Droyd.  Click here to read numerous well-written reviews.  Click here to see all of David's unique books.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Want a Boy to Read? Listen First

This article is courtesy of Jake Ball.  Jake started in 2006 after realizing that there was no website that was a truly independent bookstore that is 100% dedicated to juvenile literature. He loves engaging with the authors, illustrators and publishers who work hard to produce high quality children’s literature.

Jake and his wife have 4 children.  Jake tells us his poor children are often used as product testers and they have more books than might be considered healthy.

Below Jake's article offers four solid tips on how to get boys to read.

Want a Boy to Read?  Listen First
The tasks of helping children, especially boys, establish a strong reading habit is a perennial challenge for parents and teachers.  This task has been made more difficult as electronics occupy more space in our daily lives.  As a bookseller and the father of three boys, I am often asked by parents and educators which books are “best for boys”.
I appreciate that parents and educators want to spur an interest in reading through providing books that appear to be popular among boys.  However, encouraging boys to read requires a more comprehensive set of actions than simply providing popular books.
Below are some techniques I have used and observed regarding the task of turning a modern boy into a reader.  This is not an exhaustive list.  Just one with which I have found success.
1. Listen
What do you like to read, historical fiction, True Crime, motivational or some other topic?  If you love to read about sports history, you would not react well if someone were to demand that you read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
Before you place a book in the hands of a boy, you need to listen to what he is interested in.  Pay attention to what he talks about and what hobbies he enjoys.  As you pay attention to his interest, you will learn about what kind of reading material he’ll go for.
If you want to take this a step farther, go to a bookstore and see where he ends up.  It might be in the car section, sports or another topic area that you may not have considered.  If you take the time to listen and present books along his interests or better yet, allow him to select his own books, chances are he’ll be much more willing to read.
When you acknowledge his interests and preferences, he will feel validated and want to demonstrate his knowledge on the chosen subject through reading.
2. Schedule time for reading
If you want to get something done, you need to make time for it.  Schedule a little time each day that is dedicated to reading and nothing else.  In our house, the 30 minutes before bed is set aside for reading.  Our boys use the time to unwind from the day and it is now an indispensable part of our evening routine.  
It may be difficult to start a regular schedule.  But, it will be worth the effort once a habit is established.  A good corollary to scheduling reading time is also making a schedule for electronics.  Having a balanced approach with both electronics and books will help the entire household.
3. What are you reading? 
Children model their parents’ behavior.  The best piece of parenting advice I’ve ever heard is this: You can’t give your child something you do not possess.  If you do not read at home, it’s almost laughable to expect your son to become a reader.  Turn off the TV, pick up a book and conspicuously read it.  Reading isn’t just good for kids.  Consider using the time you’ve set aside for a boy’s daily reading for you to read also.
4. On his level
Boys do not like to struggle through material that is above their reading level.  They want to be successful.  Often a boy in first or second grade does not have the skills to take on a dense chapter book and they have no interest in picture books they consider to be “for babies.”
Enter the graphic novel.  This genre has blossomed over the past 10 years.  The bridge graphic novels build between beginning readers to chapter books is wonderful.  A good graphic novel contains illustration that tells the story along with the words.  The interplay of the words and pictures allows a boy to comprehend the story and feel successful in reading.
We have seen great commercial success with series such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Captain Underpants and more.  However, there are many graphic novels and series that are very good.  Seek the help of a librarian or a bookseller to discover graphic novels that the boy(s) in your life will enjoy.
The above four techniques are the most direct and simple ones of which I am aware.  Of the four ideas, listening is the most important.  Parents and teachers need to listen and observe what reading challenges may exist with a boy.  If there is a stumbling block in acquiring reading skills, it will take a coordinated effort to overcome it.
There certainly is no lack of high-quality reading materials from phonics and very early readers to the growing Young Adult genre.  Making strong reading habits requires adults who are engaged in the task of building readers out of boys.  Attentive parents and teachers can apply the right materials at the right time to build success.  By becoming a partner in reading with a boy, parents and educators will find success and open up a world of literature to new generations.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Black Bottle Man

Forced to move every twelve days, what would happen to your life?
It’s 1927. Rembrandt is the only child in the tiny community of Three Farms and his two aunts grow desperate for babies of their own. Hope and Hell arrive in a mysterious black bottle, and on a moonless night a dark spell is cast. Soon after, a man wearing black top-coat, and a ‘glad-ta-meet-ya’ smile comes to visit. The devil seeks payment, and a dangerous wager is made. Until they can defeat him, Rembrandt, Pa, and Uncle Thompson must embark on the journey of their lives, for if they stay in one place for more than twelve days terrible things happen. But where and when will they find a champion capable of defeating the Black Bottle Man? Time ticks. Lives change. Every twelve days.

The unique book comes to us from Canadian author, Craig Russell.  He grew up on what may be the flattest half-section of land on the planet, six miles north of Carman, Manitoba. He is now a lawyer and lives in Brandon.

Here's the rave from our friends in Canada:

“An extraordinary book. I was completely captivated. You can read it as an adult and be quite moved by a story of profound love, of commitment to family, of humility, of grace under pressure; so rich with metaphor and allegory, depth, complexity. It’s really one of those books you read as a teenager and love it, and then pick it up again thirty years later and have a completely different, equally rewarding reading experience.” — Nikki Tate, CBC All Points West

“One part travel narrative, one part spiritual fable, one part historical fiction, and one part adventure story—this tragic tale pulls readers in with its strong voice, richly depicted setting, and chilling confrontations with a shape-shifting Satan. Russell weaves magic into the narrative.” —Meghan Radomske, CM Magazine.

“Russell has told his fable…and it is done beautifully.”  —Alison Edwards, Resource Links

“Read it.  Because it’s not likely you’re ever going to find anything like the Black Bottle Man again.” — Stephanie Yip, What If? Magazine

“…this fable will intrigue teens who like historical fiction and the satisfying thrill of rooting for a persistent, humble hero.”  — Joan Marshall, Bookseller

“A truly unique story. The author tackles his “fable” with imagination and great turns of phrase.”  — Jury comments, Manitoba Book Awards

“Scenes alternate effectively between an urban present and the various times and places of Rembrandt’s travels, with a particularly moving evocation of the Dirty Thirties.”  — Jury comments, Manitoba Book Awards

Click here to purchase Black Bottle Man.