Thursday, December 13, 2007

Gifts for Boys

Okay, are you looking for some stocking stuffers for the older elementary or middle school boys on your list but are at a loss for anything other than video games and iPods? Not that there is anything wrong with those items, they are fun and many boys love them. However, getting boys books that they will love is important too, but the key is finding something that might hold a 10-year-old's interest. Not always an easy task.

I recently received a whole stash of books from the Penguin Young Reader's group that would be of interest to boys of around middle school age. I took a look at them and read through one of them by author Mike Lupica called Hot Hand. The book is the first in a series entitled Comeback Kids and is quite engaging. It is about 10-year-old Billy who is dealing with the divorce of his high-powered lawyer mother and basketball coach father. I like that in-between sports talk--there is a great narrative dealing with the psychological dynamics of divorce, family and how to cope with the pain of a family break-up. However, the author stays up to the task of keeping boys interested in the story without alienating them with too much focus on relationship issues and feelings.

There are two other series that I just skimmed through that you might want to check out--one is a new fantasy series entitled The Ranger's Apprenticewritten by John Flanagan. The other is the Alex Rider Adventures by Anthony Horowitz, which is a young adult thriller series that looks fun if you know a 5th to 10th grade guy who likes mysteries.

Of course, there is always the old standby if you are at a loss for a book, The Dangerous Book for Boys although this would have to go under the tree as it is too big to fit in a stocking. If you have a book suggestion for gifts for boys of older elementary, middle school or early high school age, drop it in the comments.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for something more hands-on, this electronics project kit seems to be pretty popular.


Blogger Jason said...

The book Hatchet, and its sequels. They're practically wilderness survival guides. Any of the Heinlein juveniles, culminating with Starship Troopers. All of them are coming-of-age stories in science fiction settings.

And I can also endorse the Snap Circuits. I actually got a set for my wife last Christmas. (I know, romantic, aren't I?) But she's a biologist who felt that she'd missed out on the topic of electricity. She knows a lot more now! I would recommend getting the teacher's guide that goes with it. The project guide shows you how to put together a circuit, but explains nothing about how it works.

9:22 AM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Marbel said...

Most of Jean Craighead George's books.

Duct tape. OK, it's not a book. But it's on my 10 year old's list. And it will fit in a stocking.

10:49 AM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Soccer Dad said...

My nearly 9 yo has completed Harry Potter and has now found a new love in the Garth Nix books.

11:51 AM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

Earlier this year you did another post on books for boys.

I did a post on my own blog about an Alex Rider movie.

1:15 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks for the link to your movie post!

1:58 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

Ok, Trey complimented me yesterday for my unusual politeness, and I'd like to keep up the streak, so let me ask this as gently as I can because it's crossed my mind more than once and you only learn by asking, right?

Do you and or your husband earn any commission by plugging the Dangerous books? Other than the freebie book, or any other products sent to you by the publishers is there a financial reason you both seem to be championing this one again and again and again?

Would you alert your readers if there are incentives you receive by plugging merchandise here, other than the typical straightforward paid advertising on the sideblog? (and as a follow up since some people can answer sneakily, would you answer honestly here if there was some sort of beneficial arrangement set up for the publicity?)

I don't mean to sound too suspicious, but I just can't understand why the two of you who presumably are not in the target market continually push this product well above the sometimes even multiple mentions products typically receive when a blog writer finds them useful. Is there some kind of link to the publisher or author, or do you both really think this book is that good?

No offense meant because if you are benefitting financially certainly there's nothing wrong with that, but surely I'm not the only one wondering if there's some link other than "I read this good book some of you might like too."

6:13 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


We don't receive any money from publishers who send us books. We just like the Dangerous books and that is why we mention them often--we even did a podcast on the Dangerous book for Boys that you can find here:

We do get a small commission from any amazon sales, as do most bloggers but we don't boost any particular product, just what we like.

7:57 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

Thanks for the reply.
I remembered the podcast, which another reason I asked.

9:08 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Derve Swanson said...

Should read:
"which IS..."

9:11 PM, December 13, 2007  
Blogger Obernai said...

Thanks Helen, for the suggestions. I and my wife struggle with this issue. We have two boys and two girls, ages 5-10. The American Girl series is great, lots of good-old American values and interesting historical stuff. We got my older daughter the Felicity movie for her birthday, it was very well done.
Wish there was something like this for the boys....

12:50 AM, December 14, 2007  
Blogger Unknown said...

I'll also suggest some older books which boys love:

Durrell, Gerald "My Family and Other Animals," "Birds, Beasts and Relatives," "The Garden of the Gods."

Mowat, Farley "The Dog Who Wouldn't Be." (He'll bust a gut laughing.)

3:35 AM, December 14, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Books? OK, books are good. I got a book every now and then. And if you give your son a book about the outdoors, don't forget to take him out there, so he can get his head and his hands around what he just read. I got cap pistols, cowboy hats, superman pajamas, erector sets, Lincoln Logs, baseball mitts, Tonka Toys. I also got told to carry my ass outside and get some sunshine. Ever played catch with you dad? As you got better, he'd burn one in every now and then. Man! I thought he was God.

I hope I'm not seeing a pattern. Girls are not boys. Boys are not girls. Don't EVER take your son to a unisex hair salon. Take him to a frigging barber shop.

7:00 PM, December 14, 2007  
Blogger Jamie said...

Our oldest just received, from English friends, a companion book to Dangerous Book, entitled The Pocket Dangerous Book For Boys: Things To Do, which IS stocking-sized and absolutely fabulous (as is Dangerous). He's setting aside time this weekend to search for goosefeathers so we can make a quill pen. (Dangerous told how to grind an Italian nib, but you had to start with an actual pen there. Not as much fun as making your own from scratch!)

Mary, I can categorically state that I make not one dime from anyone's buying any book in the whole world, but I tell all my friends about Dangerous, and I hope Daring (for girls) is as good, because we got it for our middle kid for Christmas. When you read a great book, don't you want to share it?

10:13 AM, December 15, 2007  
Blogger Jamie said...

Oh, and I second the vote for the Heinlein juvies, and I'd add the Alan Dean Foster Pip and Flinx books, though I read them long ago and my memory is dim. I don't recall anything that might rock a pre-adolescent's world, but perhaps a parental pre-reading might be in order, just to make sure. I remember they were fun, fast reads, exciting stories, and how can you go wrong with a winged snake?

10:15 AM, December 15, 2007  
Blogger Helen said...


Thanks for letting me know about the Pocket Dangerous Book for Boys--I went to amazon to order it but see that it is pre-order only. Nice that your English friends sent it to you.

11:34 AM, December 15, 2007  
Blogger Warren D. said...

As an uncle in grad school (read: poor) with a newphew of 6, I highly recommend Nerf guns like this one:

A great gift if you have already given out the DBfB and will definatly get the kids outside quick. Plus, you can make targets out of all the card board laying around after Christmas. The gun is $8.00 at Target so cheap enough to get an additional one for a brother and/or sister.

12:45 PM, December 17, 2007  
Blogger Casey said...

Well, Jason beat me to the Heinlein "junvenile" books.

A long time ago I also read Fosters Pip and Flinx books (the first three or four, anyway) and there's not much there to worry about, although IIRC the occasional bad guy gets killed by Flinx, as he's venemous.

Another good possibility is Bertrand Brindley's The Mad Scientists Club. I still enjoy reading it today.

4:32 PM, December 18, 2007  
Blogger Serket said...

Casey, I just read that last month.

12:06 PM, December 19, 2007  
Blogger Jeteraus said...

A book I would suggest for boys is "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card.


2:29 PM, December 21, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

情色文學sex383線上娛樂場情色小說情色視訊情色交友情色論壇ut聊天室情色網台灣a片王免費視訊a咆哮小老鼠麗的情色小遊戲台灣情色網視訊 美女 168論壇情色遊戲情色小遊戲情色小站情色影片情色貼片美女視訊18禁地少女遊戲巨乳

3:39 AM, June 08, 2009  

Post a Comment

<< Home