And now… best books for ten (10) year-old boys


Having written a post on best books for ten year-old girls, Kate felt that she couldn’t not write the companion post on best books for ten year-old boys, not least because it’s another rich seam of terrific writing. Of course, there are many overlaps between books ‘for’ boys and books ‘for’ girls (and the gender divide was really driven by the twitter enquiry that prompted the list of best books for girls), but there are differences too. However much of an old-style Doc-Marten-wearing feminist Kate was (is…), and however much she swore that she would not encourage her own children into gender stereotypes, she’s come to accept differences, whether innate or cultural. in boys’ and girls’ reading and playing preferences. It is better, she thinks, for children to read things that appeal to them, than to try to push them into “appreciating” things that they don’t really respond to.

Once again, the reading levels vary and these are not all literary books. Kate thinks children should be encouraged to read widely.


The Narnia stories by C S Lewis
The Just William books by Richmal Crompton
The Tintin books
The Asterix books
The Silver Sword by Ian Serrallier
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Funny books:

The Eddie Dickens books by Philip Ardagh
The Larklight books by Philip Reeve
The Mr Gum books by Andy Stanton
The Rover books by Roddy Doyle (especially The Meanwhile Adventures)
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
The Jiggy McCue books by Michael Lawrence
Our forthcoming Mega Mash-up books
(And, since this blog post was first published, The Grunts series Philip Ardagh and our Danny Danger books by Adam Frost.)

Time-slip/historical books:

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
Goodnight, Mr Tom by Michelle Magorian
The Wolves of Willougby Chase by Joan Aitken
The Kite Rider by Geraldine McCaughrean
The Legendeer Trilogy by Alan Gibbons
Gladiator by Simon Scarrow and Richard Jones is likely to appeal, and publishes in February 2011
The Eagle of the Ninth and other historical fiction by Rosemary Sutcliffe
Cue for Treason and other historical fiction by Geoffrey Treese
The Machine Gunners and other historical fiction by Robert Westall
Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver
Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

“Ordinary boy”/school stories:

Millions by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman
Three Weeks with the Queen by Maurice Gleitzman
Bless the Beasts and Children by Glendon Swarthout
Goal by Michael Morpurgo
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
The Jamie Johnson football books by Dan Freedman

Fantasy/adventure stories:

The Alex Rider books by Anthony Horowitz
The Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer
The Cherub books by Robert Muchamore
The Young Bond books by Charlie Higson
Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke
The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
The Dark is Rising sequence by Susan Cooper
Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
Charlie Bone books by Jenny Nimmo
Harry Potter books by J K Rowling
Percy Jackson books by Rick Riordan
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (a bit top-end of the age-group, this)
No Such Thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve
Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (a bit top-end of the age-group, this)
Stig of the Dump by Clive King
Our forthcoming Danny Danger books
Varjak Paw by S F Said
Born to Run by Michael Morpurgo
Arthur, High King of Britain by Michael Morpurgo

“Real-life” stories:

The My Story books (actually fictionalised, but still based on real historical events)
The Horrible Histories books
The Horrible Science books
The Horrible Geography books
Boy by Roald Dahl


6 Responses to “And now… best books for ten (10) year-old boys”

  • Doc Martens Kate? I’d like to see that!

    When my son was 10 he liked the Lemmony Snicket Unfortunate Events series and Darren Shan too. Getting him interested in a series was always my priority, because he then vacuumed up the lot. He also read the Lord of the Rings at that sort of age.

  • I was an inveterate Doc Martens wearer in the mid-80s as a student, a look I then exchanged for something much more “professional” when I got a job at Faber: hand-made midi-skirts, worn with cut-off vintage french nighties and lace-up boots. Dear, dead days!

    I agree that, for younger readers series and sequences of books are really powerful: if you are still working out whether it’s worth taking a risk on reading, then having a sort of guarantee that the next experience will be quite like the one you’ve just had is really reassuring.

    I thought that I might do a post on books for younger children, and would make the series point strongly there.

    As it happens, I considered both Lemony Snickett (but I like Philip Ardagh more) and Darren Shan (but I felt he was a little bit old for 10 year-olds).

  • I agree with all the above. Just a few additions..

    The Redwall series by Brian Jacques
    The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell (Towards upper end)


    Science books with disgusting titles : “How Much poo does an Elephant do?’ Mitchell Symons ‘Why is snot green?’ and ‘How Loud can you burp?’ by Glenn Murphy.

    Those vital how to survive meeting a polar bear/being stranded in a rainforest type books :(Dangerous Book for Boys, the Boys’ Book of Survival etc)

  • also recommend:

    Historical novels with animals – eg ‘Tamburlaine’s Elephants’ by Geraldine McCaughrean

    Garth Nix eg ‘One Beastly Beast’

    and the wonderful book for top of this age range ;‘Crusade’ by Elizabeth Laird – such a great story about a Moslem boy and a Christian boy fighting in the Crusades ‘He looked into the enemy’s eyes. And saw a normal boy, just like him..’ Elizabeth Laird is very good at creating boy characters in exciting situations but with very thought provoking dilemmas.

    and ‘The Land of Green Ginger’ by Noel Langley! V funny classic about the adventures of Aladdin’s son.

    P.S. V much approve of Doc Martens detail -I got a pair of pink Doc Martens and a golden retriever puppy for my 40th birthday! Dog still thriving, boots, sadly, worn to death.

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