Public Domain Dime Novel Books for Boys

I always like free books. If you have a voracious reader you likely are constantly looking for cheap and free books as well. If you have ever taken a look into public domain books, you may end up spending loads of time trying to find appropriate books for your boy.

We are here to help and have put together a list of authors and books boys enjoyed a century or more ago. This does not mean your son, born 100 years after these were popular, will enjoy the books. But I think it is worth a try!

But first, here are some things to keep in mind about older, public domain books.

Based on interest level, they will likely be a higher reading level than today’s books.

Subject matter may be less politically correct than you are comfortable with or used to. However, many books of today are based on war, hate and revenge. It is just that public domain books may be losly based on actual people groups and events. So explanations may be needed.

The books will read differently than today’s books. Less magic and created worlds. Typically they will be loosely based on stories of real people and real events, but are often embellished so do not take these books as actual history. Instead, if your son really enjoyed one of the books, then use that to look into the real people and events.

Sooo, if you are still interested to get you started here are a few authors and books to check out:

Percy Keese Fitzhugh wrote several books about boys in the Boy Scouts. Remember that the Boy Scouts originally were for teen boys, so don’t expect the characters in these books to be young boys. You can check out his public domain books on Guttenberg Press here: http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/2132

Dime Novels (actually cost $2.50/year for one book a week) were written specifically for middle and young high school boys. But again, these books were often written for boys who were in their teens. So again, recognize that the reading levels may be more difficult than expected. Also, the layout of these books (if you get copies of originals rather than text conversion) are very “dense” as compared to today’s books. This may be difficult at first.

Here are some books from a series called Beadle’s Boy’s Library of Sport, Story and Adventure

Vol. I, No. 1. Adventures of Buffalo Bill from Boyhood to Manhood by Pentriss Ingraham. Download it here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/15583 His author page has a few other books for boys and can be found here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/6139

Thomas Mayne Reid wrote several Beadle’s Boy’s Library books and was a favorite author of a young Teddy Roosevelt. His Gutenberg author page with dozens of his books is here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/6260

The Lost City by Badger, Jos. E. Badger (Joseph Edward) found here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/783

Harbaugh, T. C. (Thomas Chalmers) has two books on Gutenberg, though I am not sure if they are from Beadle’s Boy’s Library. You can see his books here: https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/author/36351

Old Grizzly Adams, The Monarch of the Mountains, by Frank Powell was very difficult to locate online. I found it, but thought it would be easier to upload the PDF version of it. If you print it on 81/2 X 11 paper, both sides, your son should be able to read it just fine. Online text versions are poorly translated and not very readable. You can download a scan in PDF here: old_grizzly_adams

Four Fellow Scouts, by J. Stanley Henderson can also be downloaded in PDF here: four fellow scouts

Enjoy! And there will be more links to come.

Mark

Meet Susan K. Marlow

Susan K. Marlow is a Christian and author of the Goldtown Adventure Series

       

Interest level: Primarily ages 8-12 (middle grade)

Reading level: 4th grade

The series is comprised of 4 books, all available in softcover. The last two are also available on kindle, nook and google play.

Juvenile Fiction, Historical Fiction

Susan K. Marlow once went after a coyote who carried off one or her chickens. She started with a broom and when that didn’t work, she took out after him with a .22 pistol. The coyote stopped and watched her shoot at him 4 times from about 15 feet away. She missed every time. You can read the full, humiliating tale here.

meet the author of badge of honor

What is the Goldtown Adventures series about?

It’s 1864. The California Gold Rush is about over, but twelve-year-old Jem Coulter and his sister, Ellie, are sure they can pan more gold from Cripple Creek. With Pa’s new job as sheriff of lawless Goldtown, and a cousin and aunt from back East moving in, there’s plenty of adventure for everyone! Whether figuring out why Cripple Creek has mysteriously dried up or getting caught in the belly of an old mine, Jem’s life in a gold-mining camp is always exciting—with plenty of opportunities to learn to trust God. Wholesome adventure from a biblical worldview.

  1. Badge of Honor – Twelve-year-old Jem Coulter and his sister Ellie’s lives are turned upside down when their father takes the job of sheriff of lawless Goldtown.
  2. Tunnel of Gold – When the Midas mine begins to run out of gold, Goldtown may soon become a ghost town. Jem will do anything to find a way to help save the mine. But is his friend Will’s plan too risky?
  3. Canyon of Danger – As “man of the family” for the week, Jem must figure out what happened to their family’s stolen horse and rifle before his father returns home to Goldtown. A former pony express rider may hold the answer, but can Jem trust him?
  4. River of Peril – A trip to Sacramento turns dangerous when Jem tries to help his father keep gold bound for the Union from falling into the hands of Confederate sympathizers. Then Ellie disappears and Jem finds himself trapped on a paddlewheel steamboat bound for San Francisco.

 In the Goldtown Adventures series who will boys relate to?

Share on pinterest Meet the author of badge of honorBoys will relate to twelve-year-old Jem by following him along on his adventures in a gold town. He has chores, he must learn to accept people different from himself, he protects his younger sister, and he worries about his sheriff father (who wears his badge like a bulls-eye for outlaws). Just like real boys everywhere, Jem stumbles and fails, but he knows God is there to pick him up, whatever the trouble may be.

Why will boys enjoy your books?

What boy wouldn’t want to trade places with twelve-year-old Jeremiah (Jem) Coulter? By following Jem’s adventures, boys can pan for gold, flee claim jumpers, explore old mines (and get trapped), meet a pony express rider, solve mysteries, and enjoy the freedom and high adventure of life in an 1864 gold town and the surrounding countryside.

What would you like boys and their parents to know about your books?

The Goldtown Adventures brings the Gold Rush days of California to life through the eyes of a young boy coming to age in 1864. Jem has a good heart but gets into his share of trouble and danger. He’s a good friend to an old prospector, and although his little sister annoys him, he is protective with a strong sense of family. He knows right from wrong and always wins the yearly Sunday school Bible verse memorization contest. Having scripture come to mind during times of fear and danger gives Jem opportunities to comfort those around him.

The series can be enriched by downloading the FREE study/enrichment guides that accompany each book. In the guides you will find a variety of boy-friendly activities that include gold panning, the Pony Express, animal tracking, paddle-wheel steamboats, a hard-rock miner’s life (you can build a real miner’s stove!) and much more. Numerous links help paint pictures of what it was really like back then. Works great as a homeschool literature unit study. To sample the Goldtown Adventures, you can download the first two chapters of each book.

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Susan K. Marlow has a BA in elementary education and is a 20-year homeschooling veteran. She believes the best part about writing historical fiction is tramping around the actual sites. Although Susan owns a real gold pan, it hasn’t seen much action. Panning for gold is a lot of hard work. She prefers to combine her love of teaching and her passion for writing by leading writing workshops, speaking at young author events, and connecting with readers at homeschool conventions.

You can find Susan K Marlow’s books at: www.GoldtownAdventures.com

Meet J Arthur Moore

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Author J. Arthur Moore standing in his home by many of the books he read as a child.

J. Arthur Moore, husband, father, grandfather, teacher, historian, model train set collector, book collector, helpful neighbor, photography enthusiast, and author!

After contacting Mr. Moore (Joel) and asking him if he could send me some information so I can highlight his “boy” books on our site he invited me to his home. I have to admit, I really enjoyed my morning with Joel. As fellow educators we had loads to talk about, not the least of which was our love for getting boys to read.

Joel was a gracious host. He is a retired History teacher but still has a real passion for getting kids into knowing about and understanding history so it will come as no surprise that his 6 books all combine great stories that are engaging and filled with researched history.

While at his house Joel showed me volume after volume of manuals and books compiled from first hand accounts of the civil war. I am pretty sure you could wallpaper a house with the maps and letters he has accumulated. All of which went into providing details to assure accurate historical fiction. But don’t let that scare you from getting his books. They are very fun to read and mostly teach history “on the sly.” Joel has a particular interest in the boys who fought during the civil war. I was shocked when he shared that more than 250,000 boys, aged 17 and under fought in the Civil War.

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J. Arthur Moore even has books his father and grandfather read.

Joel also combined another of his beloved hobbies with his books. He enjoys photography and all of the pictures in his books are his own. One thing I realized about Joel, he treasures relationships. He spoke of several relationships with his children, grandchildren and even neighbors. He also spoke of several former students that he still keeps up with. So it should come as no surprise that the pictures of the book characters are all individuals that are in some way or form involved with Joel personally.

Along with being an author Joel also runs a few websites and speaks to audiences about his books and also about the boys of the civil war.

Joel was kind enough to give me copies of his 6 books. I asked him if Boys Reading Club could use the books for giveaways after they were reviewed and he said he would be thrilled for us to do that! So keep an eye out for multiple book giveaways coming May 2015!

Here are Author J. Arthur Moore’s books, all of which are great for boys middle school and up. However, they are great books for a father and elementary son to read together. I know both generations would bond over the moving struggles of the main characters.

UPDATE: Blake’s Story, Revenge and Forgiveness is now out in a second full color edition. It has also been awarded the bronze medal for fiction-historic-era/period from the Readers’ Favorite book competition.

Also, if  you would like an autographed copy, books can be purchased directly from Joel by contacting him through the website www.acrossthevalleytodarkness.com.

The first 4 books are a novel in four parts called Journey Into Darkness. They are available as separate books or as one large novel.

On the Eve of Conflict – Readers learn about the Civil War while following 10 year old Southern boy, Duane Kinkade’s experiences. With his father away, Duane, his mother, dog Pounder and friend Jamie must survive a difficult winter. In the spring Duane sets out in search of his father.

Up From Corinth – Now 11, Duane finds himself at the battle of Shiloh. There he comes face to face with the harsh realities of the Civil war. After some hardships he finds himself in the care of the Union Army with his identity being concealed by a surgeon and his young ward who befriend him. Finally as spring comes he begins a trek back to the Confederate Army.

Across the Valley to Darkness – Now 12, Duane finds himself in more difficulty. A rapid chain of events carries him from capture along a snowy road by a renegade band of Union cavalry to near death in a blizzard in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, to Lee’s Army of Norther Virginia in its winter camp around Fredericksburg.

Toward the End of the Search – Turning 13, Duane reunites with his Union friends after the battle of Gettysburg. He witnesses several war campaigns. A letter about his pa sends the veteran of 2 and a half years of war heading home.

All 4 of the above books are also available in one volume  Journey Into Darkness

Other books by J Arthur Moore:

Summer of Two Worlds – Born of pioneer parents, prairie orphaned at three, he was adopted by a Sioux warrior. Among the Sioux he was know as Prairie Cub. The name Michael was all he had of his ancestry. He lived the life of a Sioux warrior’s son until his twelfth summer. When the course of history doomed the Indians’s way of life, his father, Thunder Eagle, realizing his son’s white heritage gave him a chance for a future, sent his son back into the white man’s world.

Blake’s Story, Revenge and Forgiveness – Co written by J. Arthur Moore’s grandson, Bryson B. Brodzinski.

Bitter over his father’s death at Shiloh Blake sneaks away from family and friends to get revenge on the Union Army. What he finds will change his life forever.

Here is a video trailer for the updated version of Joel and his grandson’s book:

You can learn more about these books and J. Arthur Moore at these websites:

UpFromCorinth.com

AccrossTheValleyToDarkness

If you are near the Philadelphia, PA area and would like to contact the author about coming to speak or do a book signing, or if you want to drop him a note email me and I will give you his contact information.

Author of 6 historically accurate books for boys. Enjoy and grow in reading and learn history! Learn more at BoysRead.Club

Liam from FL

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Liam’s favorites:
1. Little blue truck leads the way
2. All aboard the Dino train by Deb Lund
3. Blue hat, green hat
4. Curious George makes pancakes
5. Disney adventure team (just a board book….) if that doesn’t counts also likes One Fish Two Fish Red Blue Fish by dr. Seuss

Pete from TN

Pete the Cat: Too Cool for School (My First I Can Read), by James Dean

[easyazon_link asin="148278985X" locale="US" new_window="default" nofollow="default" tag="boysread02-20"]Marc Brown Arthur Books (12), by Marc Brown

Train (DK Eyewitness Books)

Thomas the Tank Engine Story Collection (Thomas & Friends) (The Railway Series

Thomas the Tank Engine Story Collection (Thomas & Friends) (The Railway Series)(Thomas the Train) by Rev. Awdry

I Stink!, by Kate McMullen