Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The demon-king Ravana

The demon-king Ravana, born of a union between the holiest of mortals and a demon princess, has risen from an obscure beginning at a hermitage to conquer not just hell but heaven too. No less than a god to his own people, he is the sheer embodiment of evil to his enemies. This arrogant demon brooks no hindrance to snatching his heart’s desire, and his terror seems unstoppable to gods and humans alike. But he makes a mistake when he abducts the wife of Lord Rama, the exiled divine ruler of Ayodhya.

Ravana is a story of a demon, who dared to challenge the gods, and almost got away with it. Ravana’s tale is one that will incite awe and fear simultaneously. Whose side was this enigma on, good or evil? The obvious answer seems to be but one: his own. Or was he really? This graphic novel seeks to explore that question, and others.

Graphic novels are a great way to move reluctant readers who are stuck in a rut. Campfire out of India is producing a prolific volume of high-interest subject matter that will appeal to boys. The graphics are stunning and capture the imagination of all readers. I'm currently reading Jack London's Call To The Wild and White Fang with my eleven-year-old daughter. We're using Campfire's graphic novel as a supplement to our reading.

To learn more about Campfire, click here.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Jimi & Isaac 3a: The Mars Mission

Jimi and Isaac may be the best soccer players that ever started middle school. Isaac's dad coached their rec league team while they were growing up, so they've learned pretty much all there is to know about the beautiful game. Except middle school soccer is different, their middle school soccer coach is completely different, and even middle school music is different. Nothing makes sense anymore. But Jimi and Isaac never quit. They don't know how.

Phil Rink is the author of Jimi & Isaac 3a: The Mars Mission. The book came together for Phil during a cross-country drive from Florida to Washington State. Completing the book took the next eight years. Phil learned to apply mythic structure to modern settings, and to place the story within a technical or business framework without drowning the story in dry details or trite conventions.

Over time, Phil has become more convinced of the need for relevant, updated stories to help boys find their place in the world. Classic myth and modern fantasy are useful to discuss values, but they don't clearly relate to the practical issues of growing up in a quickly changing world where boys may not follow their father's career, play their father's sport, or readily apply their father's life lessons (if they even have a father or father figure). His books help boys understand and accommodate accelerating change, but also give them a stable place to stand while they write the stories of their own lives.

Click here to learn more.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Scary School

You think your school's scary?

Get a load of these teachers:

Ms. Fang, an 850-year-old vampire
Dr. Dragonbreath, who just might eat you before recess
Mr. Snakeskin—science class is so much more fun when it's taught by someone who's half zombie
Mrs. T—break the rules and spend your detention with a hungry Tyrannosaurus rex!


Gargoyles, goblins, and Frankenstein's monster on the loose
The world's most frighteningly delicious school lunch


Join Charles "New Kid" Nukid as he makes some very Scary friends—including Petunia, Johnny, and Peter the Wolf—and figures out that Scary School can be just as funny as it is spooky!

The narrator's an eleven-year-old ghost!

Derek the Ghost is an eleven-year-old ghost who haunts the classrooms and hallways of Scary School writing down all the spine-tingling, often hilarious things that go on there. Despite his ghostly state, Derek still enjoys reading comic books and hopes to one day become a master ninja. If that doesn't work out, he will continue to share the fun of this very special, very secret school, so all kids can experience the scariest school on Earth.

Click here to visit the very cool Scary School website.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Best Holiday Gift Books For Boys

Swords is one of the most amazing non-fiction books for boys that I have ever read. I'm purchasing Fantasy this weekend for my personal collection. PLEASE read more about Ben Boos below. The world has lost an incredible artist, way too soon!

The son of an artist, Ben Boos was born in San Jose, California in 1971 - into a world filled with paint and art. From the earliest years, Ben's imagination was fueled by a love of history and fantasy; swords and adventure. He compulsively doodled his way through elementary school, high-school, and seven years of University study at SJSU. During all these years, Ben enjoyed many world-wide wanderings and adventures, and the resulting exposure to fine art was to have lasting effects on his style.
Ben grew up surrounded with computers and electronic games, so it was a natural fit that he wound up making computer games. Working for Blizzard North as a senior artist, he had the opportunity to paint and create for an audience of millions (The Diablo series sold over 17M units worldwide). "Working on the Diablo franchise for all those years was a delight. It allowed me to have fun and to illustrate in an eclectic, old-fashioned style." Ben said, "It also taught me a lot, and braced me for what I wanted to tackle next...books."
After 8 years of creating swords, monsters, and elaborate scroll-work for several award-winning and top-selling digital games, Ben made a switch to writing and illustrating his own books. He took his love of old-fashioned ornament, arms, armor, and whimsical illustration, and turned it into a 96 page book entitled SWORDS: An Artist's Devotion and later FANTASY: An Artist's Realm. "The making of this book," he says, "was a childhood dream come true."
Ben passed away in 2011 and is survived by his wife and four young children.

Click here to buy books that help support Ben's family.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Three Boy-centric Titles

Below are three new Boy-Centric titles.

1) The Eleventh Plague
By Jeff Hirsch

“The Eleventh Plague hits disturbingly close to home…An excellent, taut debut novel.” – Suzanne Collins, author of The Hunger Games

In the aftermath of a war, America’s landscape has been ravaged and two thirds of the population left dead from a vicious strain of influenza. Fifteen-year-old Stephen Quinn and his family were among the few that survived and became salvagers, roaming the country in search of material to trade for food and other items essential for survival. But when Stephen’s grandfather dies and his father falls into a coma after an accident, Stephen finds his way to Settler’s Landing, a community that seems too good to be true, where there are real houses, barbecues, a school, and even baseball games. Then Stephen meets strong, defiant, mischievous Jenny, who refuses to accept things as they are. And when they play a prank on the town bully’s family that goes horribly wrong, chaos erupts, and they find themselves in the midst of a battle that will change Settler’s Landing forever.

Click here to view a shocking trailer of The Eleventh Plague.

2) Underdogs
By Markus Zusak

Before The Book Thief, Markus Zusak wrote a trilogy of novels about the Wolfe brothers: The Underdogs, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, and Getting the Girl. Cameron and Ruben Wolfe are champions at getting into fights, coming up with half-baked schemes, and generally disappointing girls, their parents, and their much more motivated older siblings. They’re intensely loyal to each other, brothers at their best and at their very worst. But when Cameron falls head over heels for Ruben’s girlfriend, the strength of their bond is tested to its breaking point.

At the age of 30, Zusak has already asserted himself as one of today’s most innovative and poetic novelists. With the publication of The Book Thief, he is now being dubbed a ‘literary phenomenon’ by Australian and U.S. critics. Zusak is the award-winning author of four previous books for young adults: The Underdog, Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Getting the Girl, and I Am the Messenger, recipient of a 2006 Printz Honor for excellence in young adult literature. He lives in Sydney.

3) iBoy
By Kevin Brooks

Before the attack, Tom Harvey was just an average teen. But a head-on collision with high technology has turned him into an actualized App. Fragments of a shattered iPhone are embedded in his brain. And they’re having an extraordinary effect on his every thought. Because now Tom knows, sees, and can do more than any normal boy ever could. But with his new powers comes a choice: Seek revenge on the vicious gangs who rule the South London housing project where he lives, and who violated his friend Lucy? Or keep quiet and move on? Not even the search engine in his head can predict the shocking outcome of iBoy’s actions. A wifi, thriller by YA master Kevin Brooks.

Click here for a very cool iBoy trailer.

To win a copy of all three books, enter our FREE BOOK drawing by clicking here to access our home page. Look for the FREE BOOK entry link. Drawing only valid for the month of November.

Click here to order these three boy-centric books.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Last Great Wizard of Yden

After his father is kidnapped, sixteen-year-old Jon stumbles across a closely guarded family secret--one that will challenge everything he has ever believed about his father and himself. A magical ring his father leaves behind unlocks a portal to another dimension, but in using it, Jon unwittingly unchains the forces of evil. A crisis develops when a malevolent wizard transports to Earth to kidnap one of Jon’s friends. With the help of some unlikely schoolmates, and a warrior princess from Yden, Jon embarks on a dangerous quest to free his friend and his father from the most vicious wizard the magical world has ever known. In the end, Jon will be forced to fight for his life as he attempts to rescue the last great wizard of Yden.

The Last Great Wizard of Yden is a full length fantasy novel. E-book available now through Astraea Press, Amazon, and other fine outlets ($2.99). Click here to learn more.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Tips for Engaging Male Readers

Below are tips from a solid article from Vernon, NJ on how to engage reluctant male readers.

Parents and guardians can encourage boys in their households to read by keeping in mind that:

Most boys love non-fiction.

Most boys love magazines. They’re easy to read and informative.

Encourage online literacy. Monitoring your boy’s reading of tweets, blogs, and other on-line texts not only ensures his online safety but helps the adults in his life to engage and keep connected. Tweets and blogs are short, fun, and topical.

Survey your boy for his personal interests. Pick selections based on those interests.

Males need to have guy role models who like to read.

Graphic novels and comic books count as reading too!

Click here for the full article.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Choose Your Own Adventure (Chooseco)

Widely commended for its appeal to reluctant readers, the interactive, multiple-choice multiple-ending series is among the most popular series for children ever published, with more than 250 million copies sold in 38 languages. Chooseco has sold over 2 million copies since the series re-launch in 2006. Each story is written from a second-person point of view, with the reader assuming the role of the protagonist and making choices that determine the main character’s actions in response to the plot and its outcome.

For every Facebook fan Choose Your Own Adventure receives in November, they will donate one book to a child in need, up to 50,000 books. Click here for more details.

Click here for Chooseco website.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Those Who Walked Before

When fifteen year old Jordan Booker’s parents die in an accident, he and his little sister are sent to live with their aunt in the middle of nowhere. He thinks his bizarre aunt and the broken down house are the craziest things that will ever happen to him. Then he discovers a dusty laboratory and an old man’s journal in a hidden shed. They lead him to artifacts that are unlike anything he’s ever seen. While he is still trying to put the pieces together, a time capsule sends him back in time to a world that defies everything he learned in history class. The ancient world looks more like an alien planet than an earth of long ago.

Jordan must learn to survive in a foreign landscape of stinging trees, multi-eyed birds, miniature dinosaurs, and hostile natives. If he doesn’t find his way back home, his little sister Emily will be alone with their cruel aunt forever. Worse, the Oldtimers who built the capsule have brought him into the past so he can save the future, and he has no idea what they want him to do. A young wolf pup becomes his best friend, and together they learn the true value of friendship, acceptance, and family.

This cool book is by Cara Brookins, a very creative writer, self-proclaimed computer geek, and amazing mom in Arkansas. To learn more about Cara, click here.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Turesobei dreamed of adventure, a way to prove he was no longer a child.

Wizards should be careful what they wish for.

Destined to become his clan's next high wizard, studious Turesobei has constantly struggled to live up to other people's demands and expectations, but now he's had enough.

When his treasure-hunting father arrives with important news to discuss with the current high wizard, Turesobei spies on their secret meeting and accidentally foils an assassination attempt. As a reward his father invites him on an expedition to find an artifact known as the Storm Dragon's Heart.

But when disaster strikes, their quest becomes a race for survival.

Aided by a sassy ninja cat-girl and a mysterious diary that transforms into a winged familiar, Turesobei must face deadly cultists, vengeful spirits, and a mad wizard from a rival clan who's determined to use the artifact to destroy Turesobei's homeland.

The Storm Dragon's Heart will delight readers with a thrilling tale of exotic lands, mystical creatures, forbidden love, and fast-paced adventure. (Ages 10 and up).

This unique book is by D.A. Hayden of Birmingham, Alabama. When D.A. was a boy he had to move from children's books straight to adult because there were few interesting books targeted to his age. That's why he writes YA and MG books. He writes books he wish he would have had to read when he was a boy. To learn more about D.A., click here.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


When 17 yr old Jason Hunter sets out to discover the identity of the mystery girl at Ocean Drive he and his friends find themselves caught up in a risky intrigue.
Jason is delivering newspapers on his motorbike when a Mercedes sweeps out of a driveway in front of him. He loses control of his scrambler and almost ends up under the car’s wheels. An attractive teenage girl leaps out to ask if he is hurt, but before Jason can reply the girl is bundled back into the Mercedes and driven off.
Jason’s instincts warn him that the girl is in trouble.
The following day he sees her in an upstairs window, but when he asks to speak to her he is told that there is no young girl living there. Why?
Jason is not about to give up and he enlists the help of his friends, Mark and David. Together they make a daring attempt to learn the girl’s identity, but just as it seems to be working, things go horribly wrong...
Has Jason’s intriguing mystery now put all three boys in danger?

MYSTERY AT OCEAN DRIVE was a runner-up in the Citizen/Pan MacMillan 2010 YA novel award.

This very cool mystery comes to us from the mind of one of South Africa's best children's authors, Janet Hurst-Nicholson. Janet has lived in Durban, South Africa since arriving from England in January 1972. Trained as a bakery technologist, she worked in Research & Development at Bakers Ltd before turning to writing in 1985 when a humorous article was accepted by Femina magazine. When a second article was published by Cosmopolitan magazine she thought she was the new Erma Bombeck. Unfortunately, editors didn’t agree. After receiving a blizzard of rejections, she decided to do a writing course.

To vist Janet's website, click here.

Click here for the Kindle edition. Print versions are available, too.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Binky Under Pressure.

In Binky's third adventure, our intrepid, sometimes accident-prone hero is shaken out of his routine when he's forced to contend with Gracie, a dainty striped foster kitty who comes to live at Binky's space station (aka his home at 42 Sentinel Parkway). Binky instantly resents the new arrival, whose cute face and perfect manners are downright annoying. Indeed, Gracie seems too perfect. So Binky decides to do some undercover investigating and discovers a shocking truth about the family guest. Soon Binky is thrust full-throttle into a situation that puts all his Space Cat skills to the ultimate test!

The Binky books are by a very talented illustrator and writer, Ashey Spires. To learn more about Ashely, click here.

To learn more about Binky Under Pressure, click here.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Unto the Breach

Unto the Breach is about three boys who set out on a sailing adventure on Lake Ontario, and things go awry. They boys must make life-altering decisions for survival that test their inner strength, their relationships and force them to make decisions most children would never have to at that age. Unto the Breach leaves the door open to a variety of interesting discussions between boys and their friends, with parents, book clubs, special interest groups (like sailing) and online (for those involved in the social network world).

Click here to learn more about Unto the Breach.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Transforming Boys Into Lifelong Readers Workshop

Course Description: Prepare educators, parents and guardians to be more effective in transforming boys into lifelong readers. Focus on reluctant-readers, address the 4th grade reading slump, and narrow the gender reading gap between boys and girls.

You will learn:

• How to better connect with your boy
• The most up-to-date research on gender and learning
• How educators should consider gender as they design and implement lesson plans

New programs should include:
• Energy-focused activities
• Seating and room arrangement
• Graphics Novels and Non-fiction
• Implementation of high-interest fiction into curriculum
• Gender-friendly resources and materials
• Parent and volunteer involvement

You will learn: (continued)
• Strategies to deliver boy-friendly teaching tips and techniques so that each teacher and parent is better prepared to engage boys in reading activities
• Strategies to improve the primarily female teaching staff members’ skills when interacting with boys
• Strategies for fully maximizing schools current resources (books currently in library)

Course Details

Dates: October 21-22 and November 5-6

Times: 9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

Cost: $275.00

Location: Seattle

Continuing Education Credit: Receive one continuing education credit from Seattle University

Limited Seats: To register, email

HOST A WORKSHOP IN YOUR CITY! If you host a workshop in your city, you will receive free tuition. Send an email to for more details.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Welcome Back to School!

Welcome back to school everyone! Boys Read looks forward to supporting your efforts in transforming boys into lifelong readers. Educators and parents are more challenged than ever this year. I'll do my best to keep good books that appeal to boys coming your way. Below are two articles you may find interesting. The first is an interview that I had with Education Week earlier in the summer. The second is an excellent essay
(Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?) that summaries why boys don't like to read. The future of our boys is in our hands! Thank you all very much for your continued interest and support. Please be sure to mention Boys Read as an excellent resource for parents and teachers when speaking to your friends.

Click here for Education Week.
Click here for Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

World War Z

Looking for a book to read with advanced middle grade readers and high school students, try World War Z by Max Brooks. Max's website is awesome, click here to learn more.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Winter's Knight

The battle awaits in Richard Agent's fantastical Crusades novel Winter’s Knight. As a boy, Andrew was touched by the otherworld when the ghost of a dead murderer sought out his village, showing him his fate. And though his father is just a blacksmith, nothing will keep Andrew from riding to the Crusades to seek the honours he has been promised. He lives battles of the imagination, seeing harsh midday sun glint off sword and armour, where he rides his horse into war in a riot of colour and noise. But dead men keep secrets, and much of the future has been kept from him. Andrew may find the glory of the Crusades and skirmish with Saladin's most powerful warriors. Or he may become entangled in Templar politics and wander in the desert haunted by jinn and demons. What is certain is that Andrew will face tests of blade and spirit. And his dreams will be measured in blood before he sees home again.

To learn more about Winter's Knight, click here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Sea Cutter

Whew! Talk about cliff-hanger chapter endings! When 14-year-old Nathaniel Childe decides to search the South Atlantic for a legendary island where he feels convinced his ship-wrecked father is, the adventure never lets up. Nat, no goody-two-shoes, tricks his old friend Wayland into the voyage on Wayland's sloop Sea Cutter, but the trick puts Nat under the power of Snake--one of the scariest villains we've met in a long time. Snake stows away on Sea Cutter and the suspense gets higher.

This seafaring adventure tale is by Timothy Davis. Before he went to college, he wrote In Search of Perlas Grandes and The Indian's Ruby, both published by Accent Books. Afterwards, he earned his doctorate in English and became a professor of Children's Literature. Now, he has decided to return to writing the kind of books that young people read under their blankets at night. He started by completely rewriting In Search of Perlas Grandes into Sea Cutter: Book I of the Chronicles of Nathaniel Childe, and just rewrote The Indian's Ruby into Red Stone: Book II of the Chronicles of Nathaniel Childe.

To learn more about Mr. Davis' books, click here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Your Fifteen Minutes

In the fast-paced image-based world of high school, having a smash hit video on YouTube can be the best thing that ever happened to you... or the worst.

Fifteen-year-old Simon Land has a good thing going. He's finally shed his vegan Oompa Loompa image. With the help of a thrift store full of cheap Abercrombie and Polo, now he's in the running for Best Dressed Prep. Even better, he's caught the eye of serious hottie, Lindsay Booker, and he's just about to take a major step up the high school social ladder. But Simon has a secret. He has an alter-ego, uberlonelyguy16, an emo air guitar fanatic who dreams of Internet fame. Not that it's likely, since his YouTube channel doesn't have any followers. Until one day, when he gets one fan, then another... then another. Now Simon is going to have to choose which is more important to him? Joining the ranks of high school royalty...? Or grabbing hold of his fleeting fifteen minutes of Internet celebrity.

A hilarious romp through the land of internet memes, high school dress codes, and depressed former Numa Numa guys, Your Fifteen Minutes takes on the many varieties of high school celebrity in the era of Rebecca Black.

And a blurb:

"YOUR FIFTEEN MINUTES is a hilarious blend of teenage angst and Internet celebrity that tackles labels and tears them to pieces. The razor sharp wit had me laughing out loud, and begging for just one more page. Uberlonelyguy16 rocks!" -Heather Brewer, New York Times bestselling author of The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod

It is a funny, appropriate book with a male protagonist that will appeal to boys from middle school to high school age.

To learn more, click here.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Schoolboy

It has been said that the game of golf reveals a person's true character. The game also teaches life lessons that cannot be learned in a classroom. This is especially true for junior golfers. The Schoolboy is a day in the life of a reluctant junior golfer who is forced to play in the local junior golf tournament. Tony Rosa captures the angst and insecurities of the protagonist, "Sam, the main character, is in the middle of his first day of being kicked out of the nest himself. His mother has done her work and it is up to him to see if he can fly."

Golf is the least of Sam's problems. His father died and he is feeling his way through his teens as the man of the house. He has a little brother in the tournament, too. Sam's grouping for the tournament is a slice of life from both sides of the tracks. His partners include a country club kid, a cheater, and a hustler. Sam's core values are tested from the first tee until play is stopped.

Set in the 1980s, Sam's world of golf does not include Tiger Woods, PS3, or junior golf programs. He learned the game from his grandfather. His golf resume consists of hitting balls in the park with friends. He is alone, yet he is brave. The Schoolboy was inspired from Rosa's own experiences as a teen, "I asked myself: What was the first time you ever felt like you were on your own? I immediately thought about my mother dropping me off at the municipal golf course to play in a junior golf tournament." He adds, "I signed up on my own and played with a group of strangers and could remember how alone, yet, how different things were going to be for me after I had proved I could do something on my own."

The saga that develops in The Schoolboy is a wonderful paradigm for young readers. Sam is tempted. Sam learns that guilt is a powerful emotion. Readers learn that if you are excluded based on your character and principles, then you have learned that bravery is not immediately rewarded. GOLFChicago highly recommends The Schoolboy for our junior golfers.

To learn more about Tony's book, click here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Young Rupert, with a unquenchable thirst for knowledge and experience, has been raised in complete isolation from the world by his enigmatic grandparents. His life takes an extraordinary turn when a violent storm uncovers a long-concealed treasure. In the tempest’s aftermath, his grandparents vanish. Completely alone, the bewildered boy seizes the opportunity to leave his forest home at last.

Out in the wider world, Rupert encounters new friends, and learns that the kingdom’s beloved royal family had been slain by brutal usurpers, who now ruled with cunning and cruelty. But astonishing revelations convince Rupert that he has a pivotal role to play in restoring justice to the land.

As Rupert and his comrades face imprisonment, bloody skirmishes, desperate conditions, and alluring yet sinister encounters, their darkest moments may reveal thrilling wonders. Unfolding events take on a deeper meaning as Rupert’s mysterious gifts guide him towards the shattering truth about his identity and his destiny.

Marjorie Young is the author of this unique book. The Boy with Golden Eyes was written as a gift for her nephew, Sammy. She currently resides in Seattle, Washington with her two cats. This is her first novel. To learn more about Marjorie's very cool book, click here.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


While their parents can't stop talking about how hard Japan had it during the war, all nine-year-old Kazuo Nakamoto and his friends want is to be Olympic runners, drink real rather than powdered milk, and eat hamburgers like Wimpy in Popeye. Set in working-class Tokyo in 1965, the fifteen interlocking stories in J-Boys illuminate daily life in the period of rapid postwar economic growth, including a widespread fascination with Western culture and the economic and psychological repercussions of World War II on the next generation. Young readers will be fascinated by the intertwining lives of third-grader Kazuo, younger brother Yasuo, and classmates Nobuo, Minoru, and Nishino. In moving and lyrical prose, J-Boys also broaches important social issues like prejudice against ethnic Koreans and the struggles of rural farmers.

This authentic book is by Shogo Oketani. Mr. Oketani was born in 1958 and raised in Tokyo. Following studies in the humanities at Keio University, he became an active writer and translator. He will be touring the U.S. in August.

Below is some great Rave for J-Boys:

“J-Boys gives readers a chance to time travel . . . Rich with details of day-to-day life in 1960s Japan, and enhanced with photographs and notes, J-Boys offers deep and lasting insights into family and school life, foods, seasonal rituals, and the all-important sense of community.”
—Holly Thompson, author of Orchards, The Wakame Gatherers, and Ash

“Boys, boyhood, innocence, and friendship in the rich landscape of Tokyo, 1965 . . . a fascinating and endearing work.”
—Graham Salisbury, author of Under the Blood-Red Sun, winner of the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

“These stories are a sushi plate of delicious morsels, consisting of all flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, umami, and hanbaagaa. Deftly told and delicately translated, these stories capture the crazy aspirations, the naughtiness, the tenderheartedness, and the irrepressible spirit of the J-boys.”
—Margi Preus, author of Heart of a Samurai, a 2011 Newbery Honor Book

“Shogo Oketani's intimately detailed view of life, through the eyes of young Kazuo, captures the excitement of the 1960’s westernization of Japan while at the same time delivering the penetrating sorrow of an ancient culture slowly slipping away.”
—Satsuki Ina, PhD, documentarian, Children of the Camps

“Here, created with affection and skill, is the whole lost world of the present generation, that childhood the memory of which still lives within us.”
—Donald Richie, culture critic and author, The Inland Sea

To learn more about J-Boys, click here.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Rex Riders

In stores June 21, J.P. Carlson’s REX RIDERS is a new book for young adults and adults young at heart. Illustrated by Marvel and DC great Jim Calafiore, it is the first in a series of pulp adventure stories that are as big and bad as the beasts themselves. The cover features artwork from the Italian paleoartist Fabio Pastori.

When fourteen-year-old Texan Zeke Calhoun discovers a juvenile T-rex with a bridle in its mouth protecting an unconscious stranger from a vicious pack of wolves, all he can think about is riding it! What Zeke doesn’t know is that rescuing the rex and his rider would plunge him and his friend Angelina into an incredible adventure in a prehistoric world, fighting a deadly alliance that could destroy both worlds. Imagine riding a juvenile T-rex the size of a horse through a prehistoric forest; fighting off a band of axe-wielding marauders atop feathered raptors; being chased down a riverbed by a ferocious Baryonyx; charging through the middle of a thundering herd of stampeding Triceratops…

To learn more about Rex Riders, click here.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Epic Adventures

Nothing is quite so awe inspiring, or inhospitable to humans as the world's tallest mountains. Journey to the European Alps, the Himalaya, the Karakoram Range, and the polar region of North America with one of the world's great climbers and discover how mountaineers reached the top of five of the world's highest mountains for the first time. Meet the pioneers who braved incredible dangers like rock falls, crevasses, whiteouts, and avalanches to summit against all odds. Large fold-out posters and gatefolds illustrate the story of each dangerous climb, and detailed maps show how later climbers changed the routes to the summit. Throughout it all, readers will explore the fascinating question of what drives these adventurers to reach the top, no matter the cost.

Macmillan's Adventure books are great primers for boys who prefer non-fiction. Click here for the series.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nerd Camp

Elissa Brent Weissman’s hilarious middle-grade novel, Nerd Camp, is perfect summer reading for kids ages 8-12. Gabe’s new stepbrother is impossibly cool, and Gabe, who was looking forward to attending the Summer Center for Gifted Enrichment, is now worried that maybe he’s too much of nerd. With a lice epidemic, a karaoke showdown, a whiz-bang Color War, and a secret kayak trip to Dead Man's Island, Weissman turns a stressful premise into a fun romp that will leave kids laughing all the way to Labor Day.

Click here for Elissa Brent Weissman's books.

Monday, May 16, 2011

One Day The Soldiers Came

Today, in violence-torn regions across the globe, 20 million children have been uprooted, orphaned, or injured by war, famine, and poverty. This is their story . . . and ours.

In this powerful and unforgettable book—by turns painful, funny, terrifying, and triumphant—Charles London takes us into the world of refugee children, celebrating their unique skills for survival and reflection. Their remarkable stories and drawings chill the blood and touch the heart, offering an indelible, first hand portrait of the war that rages beyond the headlines.

Click here to read Mr. London's excellent article on why boys do read. Click here to visit his very cool website.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Death Whispers

Death Whispers, a Futuristic, Paranormal tale of friendship, romance and government intrigue, explores the life of fourteen year-old, Caleb Hart, “normal” teen and corpse-raiser...

Caleb has the most rare of the paranormal powers, Cadaver-Manipulation (aka corpse-raiser). In this world of the future, with Brain Impulse “pulse” Technology’s wide-spread use and influence keenly realized, routine school inoculation has expanded to include a pharmaceutical cocktail, which once administered, unlocks the genetic potential for paranormal abilities. Using this small window of puberty, teens who have the genetic propensity find themselves manifesting extraordinary gifts; some of which garner the full attention of our government. Caleb must camouflage his new “talent” during the mandatory eighth grade Aptitude Test so that he remains undiscovered while establishing choice for his future. However, events beyond his control systematically reveal Caleb and his friends, which force them to fight for their freedom. In the midst of this struggle, his girlfriend's father battles to reassert his abusive dominance in her life while a couple of “peer enemies” thwart his efforts of secrecy at every turn. In the explosive climax, Caleb must protect his friends, and Jade, the one he all costs.

This interesting book is by Tamara Blodgett. She's a 'thinking-out-of-the box' paranormal enthusiast who believes there's a 95% chance zombies do not exist; but loves to write as if they do...To learn more about her work, click here.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Reading Resource Link

Thank you Colorado students and Miss Hill for this excellent Reading Resource Link. You live in a magnificent state. I love backpacking in the summer. Above is a picture of me near the top of Hurricane Ridge. The Olympic Mountains are in the background. For those of you looking for excellent Reading Resource websites, click here for several very valuable links. Enjoy your summer and don't stop reading!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Open Wounds

Cid Wymann, a scrappy kid fighting to survive a harsh upbringing in Queens, NY, is almost a prisoner in his own home. His only escape is sneaking to Times Square to see Errol Flynn movies full of swordplay and duels. He's determined to become a great fencer, but after his family disintegrates, Cid spends five years at an orphanage until his injured war-veteran cousin “Lefty” arrives from England to claim him.

Lefty teaches Cid about acting and stage combat, especially fencing, and introduces Cid to Nikolai Varvarinski, a brilliant drunken Russian fencing master who trains Cid. By 16, Cid learns to channel his aggression through the harsh discipline of the blade, eventually taking on enemies old and new as he perfects his skills.

Evocative of The Book Thief with a dash of Gangs of New York, Open Wounds is the page-turning story of a lost boy's quest to become a man.

This unique book is by Joe Lunievicz. Joe has excelled in many areas over the years – as competitive fencer, public speaker, yoga instructor, and improvisational actor – but in his heart he always knew he was a writer. For years he wrote early in the morning before work and then, after his son was born, late into the night.To learn more about Joe's book, click here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Brothers of War

The Civil War started 150 years ago today. To help boys develop an appreciation for this tragic American conflict, try our book Bothers of War. Below is some rave:

"My son was enthralled with Brothers of War! He read it cover to cover in an evening. The material presented was appropriate for a pre-teen, while the writing and plot were complex enough to hold his attention. He (and I) can't wait for more of Martin's writing."
— Catherine Sovocool, Piedmont, CA

Boys as young as nine years old participated in this American conflict. We have no accurate records of how many boys enlisted for the Northern or Southern armies. Over four hundred thousand were involved directly in the war. National laws now prevent boys from participating in American wars.

Andersonville was one of the largest Confederate military compounds. The site has an award-winning lesson plan for teaching about historical places. More than forty-five thousand Union soldiers were confined here. Over thirteen thousand men died within the prison walls from disease, malnutrition, and gross overcrowding conditions. The prison is now a National Historic Site; and the National Park System has honored it by designating its hallowed grounds to serve as a memorial to all American prisoners of war.

To learn more click here.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Small Saul

From the creator of Binky the Space Cat, comes this hilarious story about an unconventional little pirate. When Small Saul joins the crew of The Rusty Squid, it doesn’t take long for the other pirates to notice something is very different about this tiny fellow. He was born to sing sea shanties, bake pineapple upside-down cakes and redecorate, not to hold a sword and plunder. Being rough and tough just isn’t in his nature.

Small Saul learned at Pirate College that pirates only care about three things: their ship, being tough and lots and lots of treasure. Can Small Saul show these ruffians that despite his gentle spirit, he’s worth his weight in gold? With treasure chests of laughs, Small Saul’s high-seas adventure is a lighthearted celebration of individuality, perseverance and being true to one’s self.

Ashley Spires is the author and illustrator of Penguin and the Cupcake and the illustrator of numerous other picture books. Small Saul is Ashley’s most autobiographical character to date. As a child, Ashley much preferred picking flowers on the baseball field instead of watching the ball. She lives in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

To learn more about Small Saul, click here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Celebrities of Summer

Thirteen year-old Will Ryerson has come to terms with the fact that he's not much of an athlete, will never be part of the school's "cool" crowd and is an average student at best. When he discovers that he's failed 8th grade science, he is devastated. He sits in the back of his summer course classroom and keeps to himself.

But when his beloved dog Riley goes missing, Will is surprised to find that a few of his classmates come to his aid. Equipped with cameras, cell phones and the latest gadgets, his new buddies help him find his dog, and at the same time open a whole new world to Will: the world of the internet. Using YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and all that the internet has to offer, the new friends soon find themselves at the center of attention as they embark on an adventure that will propel them way beyond the "cool" kids and into the ranks of celebrity status.

This unique book is by Ofer Aronskind. Ofer was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and came to the United States at the age of six. He grew up in Little Neck Queens NYC and now lives in Short Hills, New Jersey with his three sons.

To learn more about Ofer and his books, click here.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Dreadful Fates

Here's one for the boy who loves non-fiction. A darkly funny collection of stories about bizarre, ridiculous and completely unexpected fates.

Dreadful Fates is that very rare combination — a book all about death that gets funnier with every page. There's even a chapter about people who laughed themselves into the grave!

You can also read about unusual funerals and curious coffins, murders and executions, fatal mistakes and ironic fates. Plus, find out how the animal kingdom is out to get us, and much more. Read with caution: this book may prove to be fatally hilarious.

Click here to learn more about Dreadful Fates.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Colt McAlister is drawn into a war against things he thought only existed in comic books.
After a car wreck takes the lives of his parents, Colt moves to Arizona to stay with his grandfather. There, an informant tells him that his parents were actually murdered because his mom, a journalist, was getting ready to write a story exposing Trident Industries.
Along with Oz and Danielle, his new comrades at Chandler High, Colt vows to uncover the truth. But the more they learn, the more bizarre reality becomes. Mind control, jet packs, and flying motorcycles only scratch the surface of what they discover.
Colt is recruited by a secret organization called the Central Headquarters Against the Occult and Supernatural. But the battle isn't just against an out-of-control giant corporation. A gateway to another world is opening, and the invasion has already begun.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Genius Files

Prolific author, Dan Gutman has a new book out that is sure to captivate the interest of both boys and girls. Click here to visit Dan's website. Be sure to watch the The Genius Files movie trailer. It's an unstoppable mission that your kids will love!