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Good reads for boys (who don't like mysteries or adventure stories)

N. B. Kennedy
The list author says: "I have a hard time finding books for my son to read. He doesn't like adventure or mysteries (Hardy Boys, The 39 Clues), fantasy (Harry Potter) or science fiction (can't even make a guess here). He likes humor and situations he's lived, like school, camp or summer vacation. The protagonist HAS to be a boy and if it's a series, so much the better. My requirement is that the book be free (or nearly so) of objectionable scenes and dialog, adjusting my expectations as my son gets older and is facing situations that I want him to have the capacity to think about and make good decisions about."
The Class Trip from the Black Lagoon (Black Lagoon Adventures, No. 1)
The Class Trip from the Black Lagoon (Black Lagoon Adventures, No. 1)
"The Black Lagoon books were an early favorite of my son's, maybe in 2d or 3d grade. Mike Thaler also has a series for the Christian reader. I'll list that next."
Preacher Creature Strikes on Sunday (Tales from the Back Pew)
Preacher Creature Strikes on Sunday (Tales from the Back Pew)
"Tales from the Back Pew has the same author-illustrator pairing. They're not as clever as the Black Lagoon series, but they extend your child's series reading experience and they have a faith angle."
My Weird School Daze #1: Mrs. Dole Is Out of Control!
My Weird School Daze #1: Mrs. Dole Is Out of Control!
"Dan Gutman's series about elementary school kids and their teachers is a good one for 4th grade or so."
Miss Child Has Gone Wild! (My Weirder School, Book 1)
Miss Child Has Gone Wild! (My Weirder School, Book 1)
"Dan Gutman began a second series after Weird School Daze. The kids are one grade older in the second series."
Wayside School Boxed Set: Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, Wayside School is Falling Down, Sideway Stories from Wayside School
Wayside School Boxed Set: Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger, Wayside School is Falling Down, Sideway Stories from Wayside School
"Another school-based series my son liked, although not as much as the School Daze series."
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon
"The Magic Tree House kept us going for a very long time!"
The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body
The Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body
"The Magic School Bus series gave us another long run. The pages have so many things going on visually and information-wise that you can adjust your reading to suit your child's age and interest."
My Life as a Smashed Burrito With Extra Hot Sauce (The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle #1)
My Life as a Smashed Burrito With Extra Hot Sauce (The Incredible Worlds of Wally McDoogle #1)
"The Wally McDoogle series is great for a humorous read with a Christian message. The books would be good for an elementary school child."
The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks #1: Secret Identity Crisis
The Amazing Adventures of Nate Banks #1: Secret Identity Crisis
"This series is a mix of comic book and sustained narrative. It's another male protagonist in a school setting and has plenty of humor. Great for an inbetween stage."
How Fast Is It?
How Fast Is It?
"This is a series of nonfiction books with large, colorful and funny photos and drawings, but they have enough text to interest the reader in the topic; in this case, speedy things."
How Big Is It?
How Big Is It?
"Another Ben Hillman book."
How Weird Is It?
How Weird Is It?
"And another..."
The Kid Who Only Hit Homers (Matt Christopher Sports Classics)
The Kid Who Only Hit Homers (Matt Christopher Sports Classics)
"What would we have done without Matt Christopher! A great collection of books for sports-mad kids."
Babe & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure
Babe & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure
"Yes, I know, adventure. But his love for baseball trumps his aversion to adventure tales. Great time-travel series, although there are a few scenes I didn't like."
The Knights of the Kitchen Table #1 (Time Warp Trio)
The Knights of the Kitchen Table #1 (Time Warp Trio)
"An adventure series but with a historical twist that made it palatable for my son."
Do Not Open
Do Not Open
"This is a graphics laden encyclopedia of oddities, mysteries and crimes. Great for the reluctant reader, though not younger ones, I'd say."
Cool Stuff and How It Works
Cool Stuff and How It Works
"Gadgets explained in colorful photographs and short bursts of text."
Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 6)
Cabin Fever (Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 6)
"Of course, Jeff Kinney's books are providing another good series read... if only they came out more often!"
Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)
Redwall (Redwall, Book 1)
"I love these books; my son, not so much. But I wanted to mention this series anyway."
The Chronicles of Prydain Boxed Set
The Chronicles of Prydain Boxed Set
"In fifth grade, my son read the first book of the Prydain series. I guess it could be called fantasy. His teacher obviously had a lot to do with motivating him! They had a morning reading club in which they went through the entire series."
Where the Red Fern Grows
Where the Red Fern Grows
"Another book my son read in his 5th grade classroom. Though he liked it, between this book and Because of Winn Dixie, he told me, "No more dead dogs!""
No More Dead Dogs
No More Dead Dogs
"And there actually is a book by that title!"
The Absolute Value of Mike
The Absolute Value of Mike
"Our first experience with Kathryn Erskine and we both loved this book. It's a story about a boy whose math genius father doesn't understand him and sends him to live with his eccentric great aunt and uncle for the summer."
The Kid from Tomkinsville (Odyssey Classics (Odyssey Classics))
The Kid from Tomkinsville (Odyssey Classics (Odyssey Classics))
"I'm going to try this classic series with him next. It's a good one for baseball fanatics like my son."
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko
"This was a reading requirement for the summer between 6th and 7th grade. He liked it so much, he was happy to read the second Capone book, which I'll list next."
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
Al Capone Shines My Shoes
"As good as "Does My Shirts," my son says."
As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth
As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth
"This is the story of a boy whose summer camp is shut down and he has to find his way back to his parents, who are on vacation. My son read it over the summer between 7th and 8th grade."
The Worst-Case Scenario Survive-o-pedia (Worst-Case Scenario: Junior Edition)
The Worst-Case Scenario Survive-o-pedia (Worst-Case Scenario: Junior Edition)
"I keep forgetting my son likes nonfiction better than fiction. This is a picture-heavy book that will appeal to kids who want to imagine surviving crocodile attacks, mudslides and the Bermuda Triangle."
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World
"This is the first "adult" book my son wanted to read. He loves animals. Not only did he want to read this book, he wanted to own it. Now, there's a children's edition, Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story, that younger children might like. My son was 11 when he read it."
Dead End in Norvelt (Norvelt Series)
Dead End in Norvelt (Norvelt Series)
"The story of a boy who is "grounded for life" and spends the summer helping a neighbor write obituaries of their town's founders. My son's 8th grade summer reading choice."
The Worst-Case Scenario: Amazon (An Ultimate Adventure Novel)
The Worst-Case Scenario: Amazon (An Ultimate Adventure Novel)
"This is a 3-book series in which the reader has to make choices in order to survive a trek to either the Amazon, Everest or Mars. The choices determine the trajectory of the story. My son read it in 8th grade, although a much younger child could read it."
The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
The Lightning Thief: The Graphic Novel (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
"OK, so I said my son didn't like adventure stories. And, it's true, he tried this book a few years ago and didn't like it. But in 7th grade he studied Greek mythology and now he's tearing through the Olympians series (summer before 9th grade)."
Flip
Flip
"A teen boy wakes up to find himself as another boy, and he has to figure out how to get his own life and body back. This is a fast-paced thriller with a lot of plot."
Things Not Seen
Things Not Seen
"This is another story about a boy who wakes up to find his whole world upside down. In this case, he wakes up to find himself invisible. He has to figure out what happened and how to return to the self he knew. It's the first book in a series, followed by "Things Hoped For" and "Things That Are.""
Bob: No Ordinary Cat
Bob: No Ordinary Cat
"This is a true story about a homeless man in London who takes in a stray cat, and how his compassionate act turns his life around. A good book for animal lovers and a great way to work nonfiction into your child's reading list."