No App Can Replace Your Lap

Why we need to read more to our boys.

The human connection is so important. This week I attended a seminar on Attachment Trauma. One thing we learned: Our children not only depend on us for safety and love, but they depend on us physiologically (the body functioning well.) As caretakers and parents we need to give dozens of points of contact each day. From kisses, hugs, verbal affirmations, eye contact, and our full attention. Children not only desire, but need these connections.

A wonderful way to connect with your son in body, mind and spirit is to enjoy a great book together! By letting your son sit on your lap while reading to him you will be giving him physical touch, engaging together mentally as you both follow the same story and even emotionally as you both “experience” the story.

And you will be expanding his brain as well.

So stop putting it off. Find a great book that your son will love, let him crawl up on your lap, at least for part of the time and start reading to him!

To learn more, including a set of questions to help with comprehension also read: Read to Your Elementary Son

10 Mind Expanding Questions to Ask While Reading Out Loud

timmy_paReading out loud to our sons is great for bonding and enjoying common experiences. We know it develops vocabulary, increases listening skills, facilitates bonding and so much more.

But did you know you can supercharge his “mind expansion” by asking the right questions? Here are 10 questions to ask your child during or after reading a book which will help develop and grow not only his vocabulary and listening skills, but also help expand his mind.

  1. Using the cover art, the teaser text, the inside flap and introduction, what do you think this book will be about? What led you to that conclusion?
  2. How is the author telling us this story, from what or whose point of view?
  3. What do we know about the main character and why do we know this about him/her?
  4. Is the author setting us up to think something might happen, and if so, what in his writing leads you to believe that?
  5. What mistakes and what wise choices has the main character made and are they deserving of criticism or respect?
  6. What does the author mean when he/she uses a certain word/phrase/sentence? Why do you think the author use this word/phrase/sentence instead of some other description, explanation, etc.?
  7. How is the world the book characters lives in different from my world?
  8. How would you solve the problem the characters find themselves in?
  9. What was the plot of this book and how is this book different from other books we have read in this genre?
  10. Why do you think the author chose to tell this story, does the author have a bias or strong opinion that is coming through in the book?

Keep these questions handy and use them. But beware, your child might start thinking more independently and much deeper than his peers. This may cause problems with his teacher who may try keeping him quiet during book discussion time!

How Parents Can Help Struggling Readers

The Literacy Journey

back_to_booksMaybe you don’t care why someone else’s Johnny can’t read you only care “Why can’t my Johnny Read?” You may find yourself frustrated with how much effort this whole learning to read journey is taking. Have you found yourself asking “Wasn’t it easy to get kids to read in the good old days?” Well, actually it has never been easy to get boys to read.

In reality, today our literacy rates are high when taking into consideration the history of literacy in the United States.

In the US in 1870 the illiteracy rate (those over 14 who could not read) of whites stood at 20%. For blacks in the it was at 79.9%. Then in 1950, the supposed “good old days” it dropped to 3.2% for whites and around 10% for blacks. By 1979 the illiteracy rate fell to .6% for whites and 1.6% for blacks. (National Center for Educational Statistics –

We should be thankful for the many tools we have which make learning to read “easier” today than at nearly any other time in our Nation’s history, right? Well, I am guessing since you are reading this article you already know we still face a large problem getting boys to read and “your Johnny” may be one of the boys struggling.

Let’s get a grip on the problem. As many educators know, a child has to be able to decode or recognize words. The bulk of K-2 is spent on this process.  Once decoding and recognizing words is being practiced with some degree of regularity (at least with “easy” words) schools begin to work on fluency. All of this work is in hopes that by 4th grade a child reads fast enough to keep the words and ideas he is reading in his short term memory so he can make sense of it all (aka – comprehension). Fifteen percent of children in 4th grade read less than 74 words per minute – the rate needed to comfortably keep those ideas in the short term memory and thereby easily comprehend what is read. If a child cannot read with fluency reading tends to be painful.

If your son is a struggling reader, either because he cannot recognize words or because he lacks fluency there is hope. The key job for you as parent is to keep hope alive in your son by working at providing a joy of stories and the ability to get needed information from texts while school intervention and maturity bring your son to a place where he can read fluently on his own.

Let me explain why this is key.

There are many factors that come together to help a child read. Here are needed skills* –

  • knowing the letters
  • decoding the letter sounds (typically through phonics, note: some words cannot be decoded and need to be memorized, something teachers call sight words)
  • word recognition
  • fluency
  • text comprehension
  • a desire (motivation) to read

So, here is our present day problem. The first 5 skills take practice and the last skill takes multiple experiences. For some boys reading may come very naturally. But for other children reading takes a large amount of practice. Frustration for parents of a son who struggles to read develops because a struggling reader is not likely to voluntarily practice reading. It most likely is a real challenge to get him to read at all! So the very act that will help him improve is resisted because of his need to improve. (I realize that some educators never acknowledge this very real parental frustration and as an educator, I apologize – I know it is a REAL struggle.)

books_boysIf you have a son that is struggling to read, as his parent you have the opportunity to play a vital role in getting him over the “I don’t want to read!” syndrome so that he in turn can get the practice he needs to improve.

The following advice is meant to be followed together with working closely with your school. When a child is struggling always seek help through your school district. Reading specialists will be able to determine if your child has a physical issue (poor eyesight, difficulty tracking, etc.) or a processing issue or a low ability, etc. After 30 years of experience with education I can tell you that there are very specific strategies which can be used to help the struggling reader no matter what is causing his problems. However, the strategies differ widely depending on what is preventing him from reading, so work with your school to find out what strategies will work for your son.

While the school will play an important role, don’t underestimate how important you are in working through your son’s reading issues. There are several steps parents can do at home to help boys with the all important “practice” and “experience” in reading he needs. And, I believe that parents who follow these steps will get a bonus. Like many generations before us, reading together and engaging in stories through books brings a special parent-child bonding experience, not easily duplicated through other activities. It is a bonding through working together, shared experiences and cooperative intellectual pursuits.  The type of bonding that will help parents be a major influence for years to come.

Following these steps is something I call the Literacy Journey. This journey is made up of following some consistent practices that will set the stage to motivate and enable your son to get the all important ingredient of “reading practice” in order to boost his ability to read and read well. Think of it as a literacy vitamin! The journey won’t produce miracles, but it most definitely helps!

#1 Supply Motivation Through a Mutual Love of Stories

First and most importantly – give your son a love for stories and a love for discovery! Then demonstrate how his love for stories and discovery can be met by reading books! You can do this by discovering together through books. To begin with, think about the types of stories your son loves. Is there something he wants to learn more about? At first you may need to sit down with him and interview him to find out what he is interested in. Once you find out, get together with your local librarian and let her know what you are looking for. Then read together. Which brings us to #2.

#2 Regularly Read to Your Son

When I was in undergraduate school a professor asked us what was the best indicator of whether or not a child would become a great reader. We all took our turn guessing what the indicator was. Some said “phonics curriculum” and another “a loving engaged teacher” yet another “wonderful books.” The teacher shook her head “no” and just smiled and smiled. Finally we all gave up. She told us – the number one indicator was whether or not the parents consistently read to the child from birth on. Yep, that was the number one indicator! This is especially important if your son is having difficulty. You want him to “enjoy” stories and discovery to keep the motivation going. So read to your son often.

#3 Purposely and Consistently Expand Your Son’s Vocabulary

Recently while attending the Philadelphia Read by 4th! launch meeting we were told of the vocabulary gap among inner city poor children. Typically 4 year olds have a vocabulary of between 4,000 and 6,000 words. Unfortunately those who are not nurtured, spoken to and read to often have less than half the expected vocabulary. When entering kindergarten they already have a word deficit which will turn into a reading deficit which then turns into a graduation deficit. Parents who spend time in meaningful conversations – about the world, about life, about whatever boys like to talk about, can naturally expand his vocabulary. The better the vocabulary, the easier reading will become. Make sure you spend time every day engaged in meaningful conversation with your son.

#4 Work Closely With Your Son’s School

two_boys_readingWhile reading methods are better researched and more and more effective, many schools are struggling with measurable results due to a lack of cohesiveness in implementing reading strategies. If your son has a reading specialist get together with her and his teacher to ask how everyone can work together. Offer to implement and support reading strategies at home. When the parents and school work together the well researched methods will be much more effective.

#5 Compensate for the Frustration Reading Causes Your Son

The value of compensating for frustration is often underestimated or even missed by teachers and reading specialists. In my 30 years as an educator, when I have seen this put into action it has been remarkably effective. The concept is simple. For many boys, Struggling to read leads to frustration. Frustration leads to discouragement and a lack of effort. Discouragement and lack of effort means less practice. Less practice compounds the problem. Parents, you can help stop the downward spiral. Compensate by making reading homework a bearable if not enjoyable experience and especially by creating non school related times of reading out loud to your son.. This can be done by giving comfort, love and whatever it takes to make it enjoyable. If you cannot think of how to do this, think about how you really bond with your son. You know your son best as to what makes him tick so a list from me is not helpful. But here are some suggestions to get you thinking. For boys who like to talk and reflect, spend time talking about the books after you are done reading. For boys who love physical touch, cuddle while reading. For boys who like to be silly, joke a bit when reading.

Don’t forget to work with your son’s school for specific compensatory strategies which will bring down his frustration. Three compensation strategies I have seen work: The adult reads the sentence first, then lets the child read. Read every other sentence with your son. Allow your son to practice before he reads. Remember, reading specialists are very helpful.

Perhaps most important, make sure you spend time reading “fun” books (not part of school curriculum) to your son. Compensate and make home reading times enjoyable. This will supply the motivation your son needs to keep fighting.

— A note here. Some have raised concerns that if compensatory strategies (education jargon for how you compensate) are used a child will become lazy and just depend on the strategies and will not work at learning to read. Honestly, this does happen at first. Some boys are so exhausted from the struggle of learning to read that once compensated for they simply stop working at it for a bit. But it has been my experience, that boys nearly always come back around and once they are no longer hating every moment they have to read, they begin to work at it again. Remember, if they resist every chance to read, they will not become proficient readers anyways. Giving them a respite, then encouraging them to work at it again, will not harm them any more than the present course of action.

#6 Never Give Up

Sometimes the battle is long and hard fought. It may mean you have to read Social Studies and Science texts to your son until his reading catches up. It may mean many more evenings of reading work than you would like. You may find yourself looking for specialists in the field to bring added insights. Through your struggles, keep the focus because the opportunities and the “freedom” reading will bring to your son will be well worth the effort. Even if it takes time. Don’t give up!


When a boy struggles to read some parents feel helpless. However, parents really do have an important role to play in getting their son to read. Don’t feel hopeless, instead roll up your sleeves and begin to implement the above strategies. Reading success won’t be instant, but over time you will be glad you did.


Mark Strohm is an educator with over 30 years experience and as a school principal has led schools in reforming reading curriculum and strategies and improving reading scores in the elementary grades.

*If you are a special education teacher, I know my “list of skills” is a list which assumes a child has normal executive function and processing skills. A parent dealing with a child who has these larger “special” needs will likely not be looking for advice from an article like this, though many of our recommendations could help them as well.

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.


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:

Meet J Arthur Moore


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.


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

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:


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

10 Free eBooks for Late Elementary and Middle School Boys

Some boys are voracious readers. It is not that you mind paying for books, after all authors have to eat too. But if your son reads a book every day or so, that can get expensive!

So here at Boys Reading Club we set out to find some great eBooks you can download for free. All you will need is an e-reader device, a tablet or even a smartphone.

10 Great Books for Boys You Can Download for Free (if you hover over the book and see a price, that is likely for the printed version. Click on the title and you will go to Amazon and then look for the free kindle version.)

With a tablet, e-reader or phone you can download and read e-books. But did you know that many e-books can be downloaded for free? Here is a list of 10 free e-books we think boys will find worth reading. As most of the books are available as kindle versions you can use a computer kindle reader.

Editor’s Note: It has been reported that clicking on the book jackets may bring you to the printed editions which of course will cost money. Keep searching – both on Amazon and on Guetenberg – you should be able to find all of the following books as ebooks for free!


  1. The Red Badge of Courage or Amazon 

for ages 6th grade and up, deals with the theme of war and has battle scenes.
The Red Badge of Courage is a war novel by American author Stephen Crane (1871–1900). Taking place during the American Civil War, the story is about a young private of the Union Army, Henry Fleming, who flees from the field of battle. Overcome with shame, he longs for a wound, a “red badge of courage,” to counteract his cowardice. When his regiment once again faces the enemy, Henry acts as standard-bearer. (Wikipedia)

  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer 

For ages 5th grade and above, deals with some rebellion, smoking, and cursing.
This book by Mark Twain is an 1876 novel about a young boy growing up along the Mississippi River. The story is set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, inspired by Hannibal, Missouri, where Twain lived

  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Tom Sawyer’s Comrade 

For ages 8th grade and up, deals with some content and expletives that may concern some parents.
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (or, in more recent editions, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn) is a novel by Mark Twain, first published in the United Kingdom in December 1884 and in the United States in February 1885. Commonly named among the Great American Novels, the work is among the first in major American literature to be written throughout in vernacular English, characterized by local color regionalism. It is told in the first person by Huckleberry “Huck” Finn, a friend of Tom Sawyer and narrator of two other Twain novels (Tom Sawyer Abroad and Tom Sawyer, Detective). It is a direct sequel to The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. (Wikipedia)

  1. Treasure Island 

For late elementary and up, but also a great read-a-loud book for elementary. Can be scary at times.
Treasure Island is an adventure novel by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, narrating a tale of “buccaneers and buried gold”. First published as a book on 14 November 1883 by Cassell & Co., it was originally serialized in the children’s magazine Young Folks between 1881 and 1882 under the title Treasure Island or, the mutiny of the Hispaniola with Stevenson adopting the pseudonym Captain George North.

Traditionally considered a coming-of-age story, Treasure Island is a tale noted for its atmosphere, characters and action, and also as a wry commentary on the ambiguity of morality – as seen in Long John Silver – unusual for children’s literature. It is one of the most frequently dramatized of all novels. The influence of Treasure Island on popular perceptions of pirates is enormous, including such elements as treasure maps marked with an “X”, schooners, the Black Spot, tropical islands, and one-legged seamen bearing parrots on their shoulders. (Wikipedia)

  1. Window Boy 

Ages middle school and up. Deals with difficulties of being in middle school in a wheel chair.
Window Boy is a 2008 novel written by Andrea White, author of Golden Spur Award winning, and Texas Bluebonnet Award nominated novel, Surviving Antarctica. The book is about a boy with Cerebral Palsy who has an imaginary friend, Winston Churchill. (Wikipedia)

  1. The Call of the Wild

Ages middle school and up. Dogs die and some intense situations.
The Call of the Wild is a novel by Jack London published in 1903. The story is set in the Yukon during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush—a period in which strong sled dogs were in high demand. The novel’s central character is a dog named Buck, a domesticated dog living at a ranch in the Santa Clara Valley of California as the story opens. Stolen from his home and sold into service as sled dog in Alaska, he reverts to a wild state. Buck is forced to fight in order to dominate other dogs in a harsh climate. Eventually he sheds the veneer of civilization, relying on primordial instincts and learned experience to emerge as a leader in the wild.

London lived for most of a year in the Yukon collecting material for the book. The story was serialized in the Saturday Evening Post in the summer of 1903; a month later it was released in book form. The novel’s great popularity and success made a reputation for London. Much of its appeal derives from the simplicity of this tale of survival. As early as 1908 the story was adapted to film and it has since seen several more cinematic adaptations. (Wikipedia)

  1. White Fang 

Ages 10 and up.
White Fang is a novel by American author Jack London (1876–1916) — and the name of the book’s eponymous character, a wild wolfdog. First serialized in Outing magazine, it was published in 1906. The story takes place in Yukon Territory, Canada, during the 1890s Klondike Gold Rush and details White Fang’s journey to domestication. It is a companion novel (and a thematic mirror) to London’s best-known work, The Call of the Wild, which is about a kidnapped, domesticated dog embracing his wild ancestry to survive and thrive in the wild.

Much of White Fang is written from the viewpoint of the titular canine character, enabling London to explore how animals view their world and how they view humans. White Fang examines the violent world of wild animals and the equally violent world of humans. The book also explores complex themes including morality and redemption. (Wikipedia)

  1. The Trumpet of the Swan

Ages 3rd grade and up, though written at a 5th grade level.
The Trumpet of the Swan is a children’s novel by E.B. White published in 1970. It tells the story of Louis (pronounced “LOO-ee” by the author in the audiobook), a Trumpeter Swan born without a voice and trying to overcome it by learning to play a trumpet, always trying to impress a beautiful swan named Serena. (Wikipedia)

  1. The Three Musketeers 

Age late middle school to high school
The Three Musketeers is a novel by Alexandre Dumas

Set in the 17th century, it recounts the adventures of a young man named d’Artagnan after he leaves home to travel to Paris, to join the Musketeers of the Guard. D’Artagnan is not one of the musketeers of the title; those being his friends Athos, Porthos and Aramis, inseparable friends who live by the motto “all for one, one for all” (“tous pour un, un pour tous”), a motto which is first put forth by d’Artagnan.

  1. The Boy Scouts’ First Camp Fire or, Scouting with the Silver Fox Patrol 

Age late elementary and up
About a group of 8 boys who join the boys scouts and go on their first campout.


If you would like to look for more free eBooks here are some great sites to use. – simply search for “free books” or “free classics” then when you find a book you like, scroll down to see what others have purchased, chances are much of those books will also be free.

Another great place to look is They do not always have good descriptions, but they have thousands of free books.

Don’t forget about your library. Many libraries now participate in eBook lending programs. Next time you are in the library ask them if they have such a lending program.

If you know of some great free eBooks boys will enjoy let us know below.


Meet Wayne Roe

Wayne Roe is the author of:

Interest Level: 5-10

Reading Level: 7-10

Soft cover book is available from Amazon, Barns and Noble and

Genre: Children’s book

Wayne Roe loves drawing cartoons, photography, golf, basketball and traveling.

What is Franky the Son of Frankensteen Goes to School about?

A boy named Franky and his dad move from Transylvania to the USA. Their appearance is quite different from most fathers and sons, green skin, metal bolts in their necks, and flat level heads. Franky finds out the hard way at his school that being new and different can be scary. Find out how Franky finds a way to “fit in” with his new classmates! This book is about acceptance.

In Franky the Son of Frankensteen Goes to School, how will boys relate to Franky?

We all have to go through new beginnings in life. Examples would be moving, going to a new school, joining boy scouts, joining the track team, etc.

Why will boys enjoy your book?

Franky is different looking but is easy to relate to. He also has a pet that is hard not to like. One of the hardest things about childhood is not being accepted by others. Most of us have gone through this or might be going through this right now. I feel boys will be able to relate to this struggle and realize they are not alone.

What would you like boys to know about your book?

Author Wayne Roe

Author Wayne Roe

I wrote the book to show the bond between a father and his son and also if read by an adult it is an excellent conversation starter.

Some concepts boys and their parents can think about:

In the book because the principal is not able to start her car Franky’s dad is presented with an opportunity to help her with her car problem. What does he do?

A sign on the wall in the lunch room says “welcome your new classmate Franky”. How many students are sitting with Franky that first lunch period? Why do you think that is so?

When he brings his pet to school what are the reaction of the other students and what happens then?

Franky’s slogan is “Be awesome, read a book.” Do you think Franky’s teacher and friends like his slogan? Why or why not?

Note from Boys Reading Club:

If your child is the new student or is struggling with being “different” this book can be very valuable to help you with talking to your son (or daughter) in helping them realize that others have faced the same issue and that it is possible to be friends with others who are different.

be-awesome-read-a-book-4-coFind out more about Wayne Roe’s book, Franky, the Son of Frankensteen Goes To School at the book’s website:

Authors Bio: As long as I can remember I have been drawing cartoons. My step brother taught me how to draw Fred Flintstone when I was in the 5th grade. I have been hooked on drawing cartoons and Illustrations with a passion ever since. I have tried my hand at oil painting, Web design and computer graphics. I realized for me there is nothing that I love more than drawing. This is my first children’s book to be published, but certainly not my last. There’s an awesome quote by C.S. Lewis that reads: “You are never too old to set another goal or dream a new dream.” God Bless!

Books are available at Amazon and:
Barns and Noble

Black Rose Writing


Meet Daffney Whitefield Carlton

Faye (Daffney) Whitefield Carlton is author of

Interest level: 2 yrs old through children of all ages

Reading level: 6 – 12

Soft cover and ebook available to buy through most online bookstores including, and

Juvenile Fiction, Elementary Reader Level

Author Faye "Daffney" Carlton reading to school children.

Author Faye “Daffney” Carlton reading to school children.

Faye (Daffney) Whitefield Carlton was born on a small remote island of the ‘Bay Islands Of Honduras’ In the western Caribbean. She grew up as a child living the life of adventure and exploration in her simple and humble surroundings of island life while at the same time possessing a strong will and a mind of her own. Daffney has made many friends and achievements in life and was always known by everyone who knew her to be friendly funny and outgoing. She moved to the United States in her late teens where she married a minister and became the proud mother of three beautiful and wonderful children who have made her the proud grandmother of six. She resides in Florida with her husband surrounded by her children and grandchildren. Daffney frequently visits her island and enjoys reminiscing about her childhood life that was fun and full of adventure. Her stories are born from her real life experiences and her desire is to share them with children all around the world. Her stories are educational within themselves while at the same time offering children the opportunity to take a look into another culture in which they can open up their minds to a whole new world of imagination. Join her on this journey through time where you are sure to be excited and amused to find out what Daffney will come up with next!

What is Daffney’s Island Adventures about?

The book title is ‘Daffney’s Island Adventures is about a little girl living on a tiny island in the Caribbean. She loves to climb trees and use tricks to get out of doing stupid chores! And she’s always on the lookout for Pirates! Just in case they sneak unto her island to steal her or something! This book is packed full of adventure! And guess what? Book No.2 will be coming in time for Christmas of this year 2015.

In Daffney’s Island Adventures  who will boys relate to?

All the boys will love Daffney because she’s just like one of them! She loves to go fishing in her canoe and can even dive for lobsters. She hates chores and loves to run all over her island beach climbing coconut trees! Daffney can do anything that a boy can, and she thinks – even better! Except her mouth gets her in trouble all the time.

Why will boys enjoy your book?

Boys will relate to Daffney’s adventures. She loves to explore. She teases crazy chickens and Iguanas which try to catch her. Boys will love joining her as she has to run for her life from all sorts of crazy things!

What do you want boys to know about your book

First of all, all my stories are funny and hilarious. I want boys and their parents to know that my stories are based on my very own experiences as I lived them and that by reading my book you will see how important it is to take the time to think before make decisions.

One really fun fact about reading Daffney’s Island Adventures: ‘with the help of Daffney’ you will learn step by step how to make a kite, and more.

Every child who reads Daffney’s Island Adventures will experience fun and adventure while learning about important everyday lessons. From thinking before you speak, to dealing with the realities of limited resources and taking initiative to earn your own money, this fun, sometimes outright silly book will delight boys and parents alike.

Join Daffney’s fun and adventure!