Boys reading

Boys don’t read as much as girls. It’s a fact, according to

Thankfully it’s not something we’ve experienced in our own home. Both my boys love to read — especially my oldest son, who is 12. He devours book series like Cookie Monster devours cookies. He reads for hours on end. It's great, but sometimes it’s actually a real struggle to get him to stop reading so he can do his chores or homework.

It also presents a struggle to keep enough books at hand. We seem to constantly be looking for another series to satisfy his voracious appetite for books.

In our ongoing quest for the next great series, I have often found myself falling back on the tried-and-true series I read when I was his age. Here are three great older book series for your child who loves to read:

1. "Hatchet" series by Gary Paulsen. When I was a kid, we read "Hatchet" in sixth grade and I loved the adventure. Back then, I didn’t realize there was an entire five-book series, so that was a nice surprise. The first book starts almost immediately with a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness. The main character, a young teenage boy, is the only one who lives. He’s left to figure out how to survive in the wilderness. Through his struggles, he is transformed. For ages 11 and older.

2. "The Hardy Boys" series — originally written by Franklin W. Dixon. This classic series about two brothers who solve mysteries began with the first book in 1927. Over the years, the series has evolved and I guess you could say there were some spin-off series as well, but they always have “Hardy Boys” somewhere in the name to help you find them more easily. Since this series has been around for so many years, there are a huge number of books to keep an avid reader busy. For ages 8 and older.

3. "Surviving the Applewhites" by Stephanie S. Tolan. You couldn’t really call this a classic from my childhood since it came out in 2002, but it still has that kind of feel in some ways. The story is about a kid who gets kicked out of all the schools and now the only place that will take him is a homeschool run by a family of eccentric, hilarious artists. The humor in this series is what really makes it stand out and shine in my opinion, but there’s still a nice undertone message about the joys of being part of a family. For ages 10 and older.

Sometimes, the secret to finding great literature for our kids isn’t looking for the next best thing. It’s going back to the adventures of the past that take our kids to a time before electronics when life was a little slower and maybe even a little simpler.


Jenni DeWitt is married and has two sons, the youngest of whom battled childhood leukemia – and won. Jenni writes weekly for She is the author of "Forty Days" and "Why Won't God Talk to Me?" You can read more about Jenni here.

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