List of books for when he’s bigger

The little dude loves books. My husband and I are both big readers. We were talking about things we’re looking forward to as the kids get bigger, and one is reading chapter books together, books we loved.

My favourite book as a child was “Little Women”. My husband’s favourite was “Goodnight Mister Tom”. I’ve been trying to think of some other emotionally rich books with male protagonists, and it’s really hard. Books written about boys are more often the adventurous romp type of book. My husband’s favourite – though canonical – is a real outlier among kids books with boys in the lead.   Reading is  well suited to building empathy and helping kids learn how to process feelings because the reader has to imagine in the gaps. More so than visual media, there is a vicarious emotional connection with the protagonist of a book. It’s worrying that so few male literary figures for children inhabit a emotionally challenging plot arc. Not that boys can’t relate to girl protagonists, of course they can. But, for example, in “Inside Out” when the dad’s brain is watching sport and is 100% emotionally clueless in the dinner scene – that’s intended to be funny because the audience knows emotions are for women and girls, not boys and definitely not men. Kids media sends that message all the time, both overtly and through a failure to tell emotionally heavy stories about boys. Not good.

Here’s my list of great books for children in which boys feel big feelings:

“Goodnight Mister Tom”
“Bridge to Terebithia”
“Holes”
“The Giver”
“The Subtle Knife” and “The Amber Spyglass”
“Fig Pudding”
“Two Weeks with the Queen”
The “Harry Potter” series (though it could be better on this front)

This list is too short. More suggestions please!

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4 thoughts on “List of books for when he’s bigger

  1. Good night mister tom was a devastating book for me when i was younger. It was so sad! The commenter above reminded me of Maurice Gee books – not sure how they were with emotions but they were really good. Under the mountain always really freaked me out but i remember it being really good.
    I’ll just put some more recommendations here but again – can’t remember how well they deal with emotive stuff:
    See ya Simon – David Hill
    Two Weeks with the Queen – Maurice Gleitzman
    Roald Dahl books
    The Tomorrow Series by James Marsden – a bit older though I guess.
    The Lion, the witch and the wardrobe
    Theres probably a bunch more. I’ve given my nephew (he’s 8) books from the ‘Weirdo’ series by Anh Do who is an Australian comedian who came to Australia as a kid as a refugee. I haven’t read them but he seems to really like them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also thought of the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. The Indian in the Cupboard series- maybe not big feelings, but deals intelligently with a lot of typical kid feelings/issues (siblings, friendships, secrets from parents, growing up, etc). Maybe surprisingly, the “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” series by Judy Blume (it’s a bit older, but probably an 8-10 book rather than the typical Judy Blume “puberty” book).

    Liked by 1 person

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