Great books: an ingredient for boy-building

Stories are often the best way to capture a boy’s attention, the best way to drive home a moral point, and are also just good fun.  With so many kids' books tied into popular cartoons or shows, I used to fear that my kids (particularly-my boy) were missing out on enjoying and learning from classic books. great books for boys @ Home is where...

We are a book-loving family, but to my dismay, my boy preferred to watch cartoons or read only comics. I know as a homeschool mom, I can get bogged down with trying to tie everything together, to plan the perfect unit study.  I realized, however, that often my boy was best served by just sitting down and reading a good book together.  Simple. No frills.

Sit down, read, enjoy and discuss.  Books on audio from the library count, too!

There are so many great children’s books that highlight character, choosing right from wrong and growing into manliness.  A few classics a boy-heart might enjoy include;

  • Peter Pan- “All children, except one, grow up.” Who can resist such an opening line?  There is something for mom here, too.. “Look at her in her chair, where she has fallen asleep…Her hand moves restlessly on her breast as if she had a pain there. Some like Peter best and some like Wendy best, but I like her [mother] best.” Peter Pan, chapter 16
  • Old Yeller.  The Disney Movie was well done, but there are deeper man-truths in the book, and also, a sequel.
  • The Summer of the Monkeys and Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls.  Yes, mom will cry-and your boy might too.  Real men have real feelings, work hard for what they want, and realize that love is more important than things; a good lesson.
  • Encyclopedia Brown.  Maybe not classic, yet…but good, clean fun and good role modeling of being honest, fair and helping others.
  • The Secret Garden.  Not automatically a ‘girl’ book, there are some boy a bit spoiled -to not be like, and one strong, intelligent hard working boy to emulate.
  • Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  The book in the Little House series your boy will like the best. Lots of getting up early, hard work and lessons about gaining wisdom.

I know, from experience, that a lecture is the most sure way to shut my boy down.  A lecture seems to bounce off some invisible wall between me and him.  The subtle lesson shown, through a story, instead of lectured about, is more effective in reaching the heart.  I will chose a book, after much prayer and thought- with a theme or situation that I hope my son will absorb, make applicable to his own situation, and learn from.

I have a teen-aged son now, a few character-building books for his age include;

  • In His Steps
  • Sentinel by L. Bilbrey
  • Ender's Game
  • Swiss Family Robinson (the original version)
  • How to Eat Fried Worms

Lately, I've shared a few Grace Livingston Hill novels with my two youngest.  Most of them are pretty formula-driven christian romance, (which I have to admit that I dearly love and I re-read her books all the time) but there are a few gems that celebrate the boy. Written in the early 1900's , the books offer rich history of daily life, too.  The few I felt worth sharing with my boy are:

  • A new name
  • The obsession of Victoria Gracen
  • Found Treasure
  • Big Blue Soldier
  • The Witness (a re-telling of Saul)

Well, this concludes my thoughts on how to teach character by stealth to your children, particularly, to your sometimes resistant boys.

Any to add to the list?


*this post is based on a post I originally wrote for The Mothers of Boys Society on August 27, 2010

I Spy {someone is always watching me} guest post

...For your consideration:  if you fudge on your child’s birth date so he can have a facebook page, are you chipping away at your own integrity in his eyes?  Does the end result (a fun facebook page) really justify the means (dishonesty)?  If you sneak snacks into the movie theater, even though a sign at the entrance says “no outside food or drink?” what are you teaching? Everyday, as parents, we are faced with these tiny, little choices.  These tiny little choices will add up to a weight of truthfulness and integrity.

Integrity for our boys will not start in college, when he decides whether or not to cite a reference for a term paper.  I’ve learned that integrity starts at home, with the little eyes that are always watching me.

I am writing today at The Mothers of Boys Society about integrity.  Click over to read the entire article.

I Spy {someone is always watching me} M.O.B. Society

The power of words- guest post at Moms of Boys Society

My boy stood in front of me as his father told me about our son’s testing for a new belt.  Waves of excitement were rolling off my son.  The story was told, my son’s great feats had been re-counted…but something more was needed.
My boy was waiting for something more...

Do you realize the power of your words?  I am writing today over at The Moms of Boys society, click over to read the rest.

The Power of Words- M.O.B. Society

A fresh start for your homeschool over at the M.O.B. Society

I love fresh starts, and I love being a homeschool mom- because I have two fresh starts every year.  Each Fall brings a new school year- new plans, new books.  But, each January also brings me the traditional fresh start/ new beginnings.  I’ve found that January is the perfect time to re-evaluate what we are doing in our homeschool; what is working, what is not, what I need to actually open and use…

 I am writing today about A Fresh Start for your Homeschool over at
the Mothers of Boys Society (M.O.B. Society)

-click on over to read the rest :)

Over at Moms of Boys Society- The Little Red-Headed Girl

...Would *she be there? -(The little red-headed girl). Every other sentence began with anxious questions about when we’d see her again, would she be at such-n-such place…?

His Dad and I looked at each-other with bemused expressions. I was wondering- “when did this happen?” and, “help, I’m not ready for this yet!”...

So, moms- are you ready for your boy's first crush?

I'm writing about such a mom moment over at
The Moms of Boys Society -M.O.B. Society today

*The Little Red-Headed Girl @ The M.O.B. Society

click on over to read my post, and to enter a neat giveaway today.