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Best books for seven year-old boys

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Way back in October, we did a post about the best books for ten year-old boys. A twitter enquiry prompts me to write a post on the best book for seven year-old boys. This is, in some ways, more of a challenge, as there is a huge difference in reading levels at seven. I know this is true at any age, but while some seven year olds are reading fluently by themselves, others very definitely are not.

So I have included a fairly wide (and, I am aware, quite UK-skewed) range here.

Funny Books

In my experience as a publisher, seven year-old boys love funny books, and I think it’s no surprise that I could think of lots of good books in this category.

Our very own Mega Mash-ups by Nikalas Catlow and Tim Wesson of which there are now a rollicking six titles. Each is a unique combination of a novel and a drawing book. As a reader, you draw your own adventure.
(And, since this book was originally written, I would add our own Vulgar the Viking series by Odin Redbeard), which are sort of Horrid Henry in a horned helmet.)
The Grubtown books by Philip Ardagh
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
The Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey
The Astrosaurs books by Steve Cole
My Brother’s Famous Bottom (and other books) by Jeremy Strong
Bill’s New Frock by Anne Fine
George’s Marvellous Medicine, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Twits and Charlie and The Chocolate Factory (here in the order of easiest to hardest to read) by Roald Dahl
Any Horrid Henry book by Francesca Simon
Mr Majeika by Humphrey Carpenter
The Legend of Captain Crow’s Teeth by Eoin Colfer
Ug by Raymond Briggs
Any Mr Gum book by Andy Stanton
Any Buster Baylis book by Philip Reeve
Any Charlie book by Hilary McKay
Any Nate The Great book by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
And – controversially, because it’s all about girls – any of the Iggie books by Jenny Valentine
Any Frog and Toad book by Arnold Lobel
Any Henry and Mudge book by Cynthia Rylant

Animal books

I was surprised that there weren’t more books that came to mind in this category (and the next two, for that matter). Here are some good ones, though.

The Hodgeheg and The Sheep Pig by Dick King Smith
The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
One Dog And His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

Real life books

Buried Alive and Cliffhanger by Jacqueline Wilson

Adventure books

Any of the Beast Quest books
The Iron Man by Ted Hughes
The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton
Any Magic Treehouse book

Non-fiction

I’d really welcome suggestions in this area, quite possibly because it’s not something that I’ve been thinking a lot about recently, and I struggled to think of really stand-out examples of great non-fiction books for seven year old boys.

Any Horrible History book, but particularly the Horrible Histories Handbooks because they’re a bit younger (I think Horrible Histories is really 8 or 9+)
Why is Snot Green? The Science Museum Question and Answer Book Again, this is a bit old for seven year-olds
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl
The Guinness Book Of Records
Ripley’s Believe It Or Not (I don’t love this brand personally – I’m more of a Guiness Book Of Records gal – but I’ve seen boys discovering it and thinking it’s great.)

Picture books

Lots of boys don’t want to tackle screeds of unrelieved text, so here are some picture books for older children in which the illustrations supplement the text… or tell a whole other story.

The Enormous Crocodile by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake
Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs
Solomon, the Rusty Nail (and lots of others) by William Steig
The Wolves in the Walls and The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman
Wolves and Meercat Mail by Emily Gravett
The Arrival by Shaun Tan
Beware of the Story Book Wolves and That Pesky Rat by Lauren Child
Leon and the Place Between by Angela McAllister
Farmer Duck by Martin Waddell and Helen Oxenbury
Where’s Wally by Martin Handford
Any of the Asterix books
Any of the Tintin books

But what have I missed out?

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8 Responses to “Best books for seven year-old boys”

  • Great list! I would add anything by Steve Jenkins to your non-fiction list (e.g. Never Smile at a Monkey, Actual Size, How Many Ways can you Catch a Fly?). A picture book my first grade boys love is Oh No (or How my Science Project Took Over the World) by Mac Barnett.

  • I have just given my nephew who is 7 today (Happy Birthday Billy!) some Mega Mash Up books as part of his present. Steve Hartley’s ‘Danny Baker: Record Breaker’ series is also definitely worth a mention.

  • Tove Jansson’s Moomin picture books are about right for seven year-olds, I think, and they’re brilliant. For slightly less confident readers, It Was a Dark and Stormy Night by Janet and Allan Ahlberg absolutely can’t be beat.

  • I’d say you definitely need some Greek myths in your list! Seven year-olds love all that hero/monster stuff—Heracles, Theseus, Perseus, the Minotaur, the Hydra, Medusa—and of course, all the magical gods and goddesses too. Being slightly immodest here (but I do know boys of that age really love them), I’d recommend my own Greek Beasts and Heroes series featuring the sandal-maker Atticus on his quest to win The Great Storytelling Competition at Troy.

  • Great list. I would add the ‘Secret Agent Jack Stalwart’ books by E. Singer Hunt, which are just right for newly independent readers. And for football-mad boys, Tom Palmer’s ‘Football Academy’ series. And Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven are still really popular with seven-year-old girls and boys. In non-fiction, the ‘I Wonder Why’ series is good.

  • The Traction Man books by Mini Grey for picture books.
    The Hamster Massacre et al series by Katie Davies.
    My son had read all the Wimpy Kid books by age 7.
    The Switch series by Ali Sparkes
    Dirty Bertie by Alan MacDonald
    Jack Stalwart series
    In comics, my son has really enjoyed some of the DFC comics, especially Vern & Lettuce.

  • Great list, thanks for the suggestions. In the adventure category my son loves all of the Zac Power spy series. We are both big fans of Usborne kids books, and their Beginner Series has a great range of non-fiction books on all sorts of topics that could appeal to boys (e.g. weather, space, London, rubbish and recycling, castles, planes).

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