Here are 2 lists (one for upper-elementary, middle graders and one for YA) of books we’ve recommended that boys might enjoy. Girls might like these books as well. We are suggesting these particular books for boys because most of them have male protagonists. (Some books appear on two lists. We thought they were appropriate for both age groups.) FYI: Some of the books such as The City Bear’s Adventures, Jungle Doctor Meets A Lion, Full Metal Trench Coat, etc. are part of a series. May the boy in your life’s summer be rich in reading adventures.

Middle Grade Books

Adventures of Pearley Monroe
Avion My Uncle Flew
Babe the Gallant Pig
The Children’s Book of America
The City Bear’s Adventures
Danger on Panther Peak
Dragon and Thief
Escape from Warsaw
The Forgotten Door
Full Metal Trench Coat
Hatchet
Hero Tales
Incredible Journey, The
Journey Under the Sea
Jungle Doctor Meets a Lion
Operation Rawhide
Night of the Cossack
Running Roselle
Spam Alert
The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets
Tim Tebow: A Promise Kept
Trumpet of the Swan, The
Two Mighty Rivers: Son Of Pocahontas
World War II Pilots

Young Adult Books

Ben Hur
The Bronze Bow
The City of Tranquil Light
Escape from Warsaw
Escape to Witch Mountain
God’s Smuggler
Journey Under the Sea
Les Miserables
Night Flight
Night of the Cossack
9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge
Robinson Crusoe
Tim Tebow: A Promise Kept
Thunder Dog

From Nancy:

To all the dads, grandfathers and uncles who nurture, lovingly discipline, protect and respect children and teens, happy Father’s Day. We celebrate you. Your fathering gives all of us a glimpse of our heavenly Father.

We’ve added a new page–Book Lists. It shows the books we have reviewed sorted according to the age of the reader. One list is of books that we would recommend for upper elementary and middle school children. Another list gives YA fiction titles. A third list shows nonfiction titles for YA. The titles link to the book reviews. We thought this would be easier than scrolling down under the category feature.

At a later date we will add lists of picture books and books for the college age/working adult, but we thought with summer here and the kids looking for good reads, you needed these lists now. Actually, you probably wanted them yesterday. :) Hope the lists make your life easier.

The Princess and the Kiss by Jennie Bishop and published by Warner Press (2000) is a very unusual picture book. It tells the story of a baby girl born to a king and queen in a wonderful mountain kingdom. The royal couple give their daughter a special gift from God—her first kiss. They guard it in a secret room of the castle until she grows up. Then her father tells her, “This kiss is yours to keep … or to give away as you see fit.”

Suitors begin to appear, each impressed with himself, each promising the princess great things if she will marry him. Disappointed, the princess confides in her mother that she does not think she will ever find a man worthy of her kiss. The queen assures her that God will bring someone, or if He does not, that the princess may treasure the kiss forever.

One day a commoner comes to the castle and is taken to the garden where the royal family is walking. With her parents’ permission, he tells the princess why he admires her and offers her his one treasure—his own first kiss.

Beautifully illustrated with colorful drawings by Preston McDaniels, this tale upholds the value of personal purity and the importance of waiting for the right one to marry.

Thirty-two pages long,  The Princess and the Kiss is available on Barnes & Noble.com, Christianbook.com and Amazon.com. It comes in hardcover, paperback, and audio CD.

Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.

Mrs. Fujimoto has a collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge, available as an e-reader at Amazon. Find our review under “N” in the alphabetical listing: Titles We’ve Reviewed.

From Kristina–Summer reading is important for students who are learning and growing in reading skills. It is the opportunity to have an unlikely adventure or read a teacher’s recommendation. Teachers often put together a reading list for their students based on certain types of literature. It is a great opportunity for parents to rediscover reading and literature with their children.

I encourage children of all ages and parents to check out their local library. Many local libraries offer summer reading programs. Such programs give students a reading goal for the summer. Children are often asked to write a report about a book. Younger children draw a picture. Reading provides an alternative to the digital media realm, and an opportunity for children to learn from some great literature.

From Nancy–Reading a novel together can be a great family activity. Even independent readers can enjoy being read to. I asked Books 4 Christian Kids reviewers to recommend some books for such an activity. Here is the list. (The titles are linked to the review. Other titles for middle graders may be found using the Select Category feature on the sidebar menu of the blog. For road trips check out audio books. Our review of Little Women will surely whet your appetite for such material.)

Anna’s Fight for Hope
The Avion My Uncle Flew
Chancey of Maury River
Cheaper by the Dozen
Escape from Warsaw
In Grandma’s Attic
The Incredible Journey

Jungle Doctor Meets a Lion
Little Lord Fauntleroy

McKenna
Meet Josephina
Meet Kaya
Mustang, Wild Spirit of the West
Secret Garden, The
The Tarantula in My Purse and 172 Other Wild Pets
The Trumpet of the Swan

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

You and your older teen may enjoy reading the same book and then talking about it. Here are a few suggestions:
Emma
Found in Translation
God’s Smuggler
Mere Christianity
Night Flight
Night of the Cossack
Scarlet Pimpernel, The

Sophie’s Heart
Soul Surfer
Through Rushing Waters

You can find other book suggestions by using the drop down feature of Select Category on the side bar at the left.

Kristina O’Brien is a mother of twin girls, an avid reader and a credentialed teacher. She has taught both middle school and high school history. She is currently a stay-at-home mom and enjoys raising her two girls.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) Two of her published works for children are Marty’s Monster and Jessica Jacobs Did What?  Her latest work is I Get a Clue, a mystery novel for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

 

 

Even Now, by Karen Kingsbury and published by Zondervan (Reprint Edition, 2013), will stir your heart and keep you reading into the night to find out what happens. It is a story of lost love and the miracle of forgiveness and reunion.

The novel begins with eighteen year-old Emily and her grandparents, Angela and Bill Anderson. She has lived with them her entire life. Emily attends Wheaton College, plays soccer and is studying to become a writer. She has never met her parents and her grandparents haven’t spoken a lot about the past. They have mentioned that when she was about a month old, her mother, Lauren disappeared. The Andersons have never been able to find her, despite hiring numerous private investigators. Emily knows her father’s name is Shane and that he lives in Los Angeles, California. She and her grandparents have always lived in the Chicago, Illinois area.

Emily is home on Christmas break when her grandfather pulls out a large box in the garage and gives it to her. In the box are her mother’s writings.

The storyline goes back to the high school days of Lauren Anderson and Shane Galanter. They are high school sweethearts and their parents are the best of friends. When Lauren becomes pregnant at seventeen, the parents pull away from each other and are determined to separate their children. The teens get engaged just before Shane and his family move to Los Angeles, California.

The Anderson family also moves. The mothers of the teens have decided that their children’s love should be tested and that the teens should have no contact for a time. But Bill Anderson, hoping to protect his daughter, wants the relationship to end. He takes steps to ensure that his daughter’s whereabouts will not be known.

Lauren finds out what they did. She takes out all the money she has in savings and begins a trip across the country with her newborn daughter. Even though she has no address or phone number for the Galanter family, she is determined to look for and find Shane, the love of her life. Halfway there, the baby contracts pneumonia, and Lauren is forced to return.

Although still feeling betrayed by her parents, she enlists her mother’s aid to get the baby to the hospital. The doctor is not hopeful the child will live. Lauren’s mother tries to comfort her and encourages the exhausted Lauren to get some rest; Mrs. Anderson will remain at the hospital in her place. After sleeping at home for ten hours, Lauren calls the hospital. A mix-up involving a baby with a similar name leads Lauren to believe that Emily has died. She packs her belongings into her car and sets out once again to find Shane. She does not find him, but begins making a life for herself in California. She does not contact her parents.

The story fast forwards to the eighteen-year-old Emily. She reads her mother’s writings with gusto, longing to find a clue as to Lauren’s whereabouts. Emily is a strong Christian and asks the Lord to give her the miracle of finding her parents for Christmas.

The rest of the novel shows how God answers Emily’s prayer and even goes beyond her desires. I think young people ages eighteen and up would benefit from reading this tale. It is the story of how things can go wrong when we are disobedient to the Lord’s commands, and yet also, how great are His love and forgiveness. I enjoyed this story very much. It was enlightening and heartwarming.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

My conscience nudged me the other day. I need to make amends. I have not publicly acknowledged the talents and skills of Books 4 Christian Kids’ copy editor, Tom Hird.

Shortening sentences, moving sentences around so ideas flow more logically, inserting or removing commas, etc. may not seem necessary until … until you try to read writing that has not been polished in those ways. It can be a bumpy ride. So today I want to acknowledge and thank Tom Hird for lending us his talents and skills. His efforts help us to better communicate to you our love for books.

The Adventures of Pearley Monroe by Marci Seither (Sawmill Press, 2013) is a fun but also informative novel for upper elementary school kids. Pearley Monroe, who is about twelve years old, is an African-American boy living in California in the latter half of the 19th century. The novel gives young readers a glimpse of his family life and the small town of Coloma, California, where he lives. Most of the story takes place in the summer of 1880.

Gold was first discovered in California at Coloma in the winter of 1848, but by 1880 the wild mining camp has transformed into a small town with hotels, small shops, a school and at least one church. The town has its own sheriff, its own doctor and its own volunteer fire department. Pearley Monroe lives with his family on an 80-acre farm near town.

The prologue shows the arrival of Pearley, his father, mother and brother in 1870. They are met by Pearley’s grandmother, Miss Nancy. She came to California with her husband and their master before California became a free state. She has been separated from her son for twenty years. He was three years old then and a slave.

Pearley loves to hear Miss Nancy tell about coming to California and becoming free. He is fascinated when his friend, another African-American, tells him how his “grandfolks” escaped slavery on the underground railroad and made their way to California. Seither weaves these interesting bits of history and others into her story with skill. She shows us human beings involved in historical events.

The events, though, are only background for the day-to-day life of a boy living in a town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Living in this place and time, Pearley has plenty of opportunity for small and large adventures–a swift river, a school spelling bee, stolen jewelry, a town fire, an angry bear. The adventures are often suspenseful. There are dangers involved, but they are not drawn out and children eventually receive help and support from adults. Pearley knows and interacts with people of different racial backgrounds. With one exception, and that character later apologizes, characters treat each other with respect.

The story of Pearley Monroe and his family is based on the life a real boy and his family who lived and farmed in Coloma. Seither has included a number of photographs to help the young reader visualize the time period.

Nancy Ellen Hird is a mom, a writer and a credentialed teacher. (She taught seventh grade and preschool.) Two of her published works for children are Marty’s Monster and Jessica Jacobs Did What?  Her latest work is I Get a Clue, a mystery novel for girls 10-13. For several years she was a freelance reviewer of children’s and teen’s literature for the Focus on the Family website.

 

The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White (Harper & Row, 1970) is a fanciful children’s book, full of loveable characters. Those who enjoyed Charlotte’s  Web will recognize E. B. White’s style: a child—this time a boy—in close relationship with an animal, and the animals talking and relating to each other in engaging and amusing dialogs. The animal in this story is a trumpeter swan named Louis.

The story begins in Canada, where Sam is vacationing in the wilderness with his father. While exploring, Sam happens upon a pond where a pair of trumpeter swans is nesting. At first the swans fear him, but when he rescues the mother swan from an attacking fox, they become friends. One of their cygnets, who is born without a voice, becomes his special buddy.

Back in Montana, where Sam is from and where the swans winter, Louis attends school with Sam and learns to read and write. With a slate and chalk hanging around his neck, Louis is able to communicate with people.

Father swan, who is prone to long, wordy speeches and is a little vain, nonetheless has a good heart. He realizes his son will never be able to woo a female swan without a voice, so he dives through a music store window and flies off with a beautiful small trumpet on a red cord. This, too, goes around Louis’s neck.

The rest of this fantasy relates how Louis learns to use his trumpet to delight both swans and people, and how he restores his father’s honor, which was besmirched by the act of stealing the trumpet.

There are nuggets of wisdom about love, marriage, parenting, honesty, friendship, and pursuing your dreams, all sweet as cotton candy. This book has no real sense of threat or serious danger. There are a few moments of aggression, concern, and evasion. There are many references to music and poetry, and lovely descriptions of nature and the changing seasons. Readers watch both Sam and Louis grow up and see their stories come to satisfying conclusions.

The 1970’s text is illustrated with black-and-white sketches by Fred Marcellino. His pictures capture the spirit of the writing. At approximately 250 pages, this book is a diverting, pleasant read for a young mind.

Available at libraries, Christianbook.com, Barnes & Noble, and Amazon.com. It can be purchased in book, e-book, and audio book formats.

Donna Fujimoto is a graduate of Alliance Theological Seminary. She has published both devotionals for adults and short stories for teens. Her children love to read.

Mrs. Fujimoto has a collection of short stories, 9 Slightly Strange Stories with an Uplifting Edge, available as an e-reader at Amazon. Find our review under “N” in the alphabetical listing: Titles We’ve Reviewed.

 

 

 

Ruth, written by Lori Copeland and published by Tyndale House (2007), will toss your emotions back and forth between laughter and suspense. Book 5 of Copeland’s Brides of the West Series, Ruth is set in the American West of the 1870’s. The series tells the stories of mail-order brides. In this novel Tom Wyatt, a despicable man, had tricked Jackson Montgomery into bringing a wagon load of brides from Westport, Missouri, to Denver City, Colorado. The young, orphaned women were told that fine, God-fearing husbands were waiting for them. But instead the girls were really being brought West to work in the gold mines. When the wagon master discovered the swindle, he, along with U.S. Marshal Dylan McCall, helped the girls get away.

The novel begins with Ruth’s attendance at the wedding of one of the rescued women. Ruth is also one of those who was rescued. Though she has escaped the hard labor of the mines, this spunky young woman has a new problem. A much older man, a miner, wants to marry her and won’t take no for an answer. Ruth, who has been living with the pastor’s family, decides she has no other options but to leave town. She has a cousin living in Wyoming, whom she believes she can stay with. Marshal McCall will be traveling to Wyoming on a job assignment. Trying to convince McCall to take her ends up with both of them engaged in an argument. They are both so pig-headed that neither one will give in. Dylan McCall says he wouldn’t take her with him if his life depended on it.

Ruth knows that he will be setting out early the next morning, so she decides she will follow him, staying enough away so that he doesn’t know she has come. She hopes that by the time he discovers she has followed him, it will be too late for him to turn back, and that he will have to take her with him the rest of the way.

After a few days, Dylan discovers what she has done, and decides to pretend he is leaving for good to teach her a lesson. She has her horse and only a small amount of food when she realizes he is gone. She almost despairs, but decides to head out and try to find him. Soon, she comes to a deserted wagon with a dead man, another man who is barely alive, and an Indian baby.

Ruth is a Christian. She knows she can’t abandon the man and the baby. As she turns the wounded man over to help him, she sees that he is none other than Dylan. Praying all the while, Ruth takes on the care of Dylan and the baby.

Ruth has recently been told by a doctor she will never be able to have children. She believes no man would ever want to marry her and assumes that she will remain single all her life. But now she finds herself taking care of a baby that she did not birth. She begins to love the child and names her Rose. Ruth finds a cow and so is able to feed Rose. Ruth takes care of Dylan who is in a coma for a few days. As she does, her heart softens towards him and she begins to love him as well.

Many more adventures are in store for this makeshift  little family before they finally settle down and realize they want to be together. Ruth and Dylan see how God has worked amazing miracles in their lives by saving them on numerous occasions and giving them a tremendous love for each other they couldn’t conceive of before.

They eventually marry and return to Denver City.  The novel ends happily. I enjoyed reading this fun, adventurous story, hanging on every word to see what would happen next.  I learned how the Lord uses trials to soften and mold us, and bring us around to His way of serving Him.

Patsy Ledbetter says she has many titles, but her favorite is being mom to her five children. Her two daughters, two sons and one son-in-law are her joy. A teacher with forty years experience Patsy has taught children of all ages and also special needs children and adults. She writes occasionally for a local newspaper and performs in church theater productions on a regular basis. Her husband is the church choir and orchestra director. They have been married for 32 years. She says, “It is my desire to bring honor and glory to my Lord Jesus in every area where He has allowed me to minister.”

 

 

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