Thursday, July 13, 2006

Sieg Heil!

I was looking for some BOOKS for my kids to read, in a hopeful attempt at raising the level of literature from Captain Underpants and the Case of the Bouncing Bionic Booger Boy, (or something like that) and am astonished once again, even though I've noticed this and thought this before, at:

1)The number of fantasy novels with pagan godess worshipping majyck heroine themes.

2)The fact that most all of the "series" of historical fiction books are about girls and their experience. American Girl, Dear America, Royal Diaries, etc. etc.

3) That there seems to be NOTHING comparable for boys. At least not on the scale and scope.

4) The stuff geared towards boys are dumbed down sports stories readers.

It's insulting. I'll say it again: It's insulting. I am not just the mother of daughters, I am also the mother of a SON, and at this point in my life I feel like there is hardly any societal support for the raising of him.

Now, from the perspective of enriching the lives of my daughters, these books (with the exception of the first-mentioned type of book) are GREAT. I don't, however, want to give them an inaccurate picture of history in so doing. Buut perhaps it's' just adding balance. Or perhaps not. I look at my own self, and if I'd been a girl or woman in those days and times I'd very much be interested in what I'm interested in now: Hearth and Home.

But from the perspective of being a mother of a SON, I am frustrated. He's a white male, and his kind seems to be the new outcast. There is nothing that is specifically designed to appeal to him except for junk literature: Captain Underpants, Marvel Comics, and junk series like Bailey School Kids and Scooby Doo. I don't much cotton to the notion that as long as kids are reading SOMETHING, it's OK. That's gov'ment grant money dependant public school talk.

He came away with a bigger and better Narnia book, all in one with nice illustrations. We are currently working through Horse and His Boy as our Family Read-Aloud. I encouraged my oldest to read "My Side of the Mountain" in hopes that eventually my son would love that book, too. She has alot of positive influence on him.

Meanwhile, I guess I just keep on trying.

14 comments:

abundanceinsimplicity said...

Might I suggest The Bridge to Terabithia? It is a sort of coming of age story. Also, Hatchett and might be a good choice. Hope this helps. :)

Susan Sophia said...

Now that you mention it....
hmmmmm, what will I do?
I have 2 girls who have had no problem finding great historical fiction. And 2 boys who will be joining the ranks of schooling soon.

Maybe there is a market for a great writer here.

Liz in Seattle said...

Try "Carry On, Mr. Bowditch," one of my favorites for boys (my oldest is entering fifth grade). As a rule of thumb, Newbery Award winners are almost always great. Laura Ingalls Wilder is wonderful (the boys can start with Farmer Boy if they want). And remember to check Paidea Classics. Also, there's nothin' wimpy about the story of a martyr!

Liz in Seattle

Amy said...

I totally cheat and go by the Sonlight curriculum catalogue for ideas (which they'll send you for free, just for the asking). If I'm really ambitious, I will plug those books into amazon and see what else they recommend. It takes a lot of time to find books this way, and then search/request them from the library, but I think it's worth it.

Anita said...

There's a companion series to the Dear America series for boys: http://www.kidsreads.com/series/series-myname.asp

alana said...

Valuable suggestions! Thanks everyone!

Susan said...

My son loved "Where the red fern grows" It made me (and him) cry every time we read it.
He also enjoyed The call of the Wild, and The Yearling.
My son is 27, but I know only to well the problems of raising a well adjusted boy.
Lots of prayers sent up for him along the way.
He turned out to be a fine man:)

Theodora said...

Johnny Tremain, The Great Brain Series, Summer of the Monkeys, Encyclopedia Brown, Tom Sawyer, Huck Finn, the Black Stallion series, Tuck Everlasting, anything by Roald Dahl, The Phantom Tollbooth, Hardy Boys, Trumpet of the Swan.

Anne said...

MY SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN WAS GOOD
dont know about the other two in the trilogy
My Side of the Mountain
Jean Craighead George
Illustrations by Jean Craighead George
Young Sam Gribley lives a comfortable life in New York City. But tired of urban living, he, with his parents' knowledge, runs away to the Catskills Mountains, determined to live on the site of his great-grandparents' old homestead. Leaving the city with few possessions, he sets off on the adventure of a lifetime. His initial nights on the mountain prove difficult as he struggles to stay warm and find food. Eventually, Sam adjusts, learns much about himself and becomes a true backwoodsman, eating off the land, making deerskin clothes, hollowing out the base of a large tree to live in and becoming part of the wilderness environment. He steals a baby peregrine falcon from its nest and adopts the bird he names Frightful. They become inseparable as Frightful helps his new 'parent' hunt for food. This is a richly detailed book, filled with tales about living off the land. Nonetheless, it requires much suspension of disbelief concerning Sam's impressive, albeit somewhat implausible, ability to survive alone in the wilderness and his parents' willingness to let him do so. Still, this award-winning book has much to appeal to young readers searching for literary adventures. 1991 (orig. 1959), Puffin Books/Penguin Books, Ages 10 to 14, $15.99 and $5.99. Reviewer: Bruce Adelson
ISBN: 0-525-44392-4
ISBN: 0-14-034810-7

On the Far Side of the Mountain
Jean Craighead George
Illustrations by Jean Craighead George
Sam Gribley has spent two years away from his parents' home in New York City, living the wilderness life in the Catskills Mountains. In this sequel to My Side of the Mountain, Sam is joined by his younger sister Alice as full-time backwoods residents. Sam's homestead is now quite developed, with a tree house for Alice, a mill and an irrigation system. Their idyllic life changes when Sam's pet falcon, an endangered species, is confiscated by the local conservation officer. Devastated by this loss, Sam is further discomfited when Alice goes off on her own adventure accompanied by a pig whom she has adopted. Worried about her welfare, Sam sets off to find Alice with his friend Bando, a college professor who met and befriended Sam in his first year on the mountain. They depart Sam's homestead and track Alice across unknown wilderness. This well-textured story with finely detailed characters takes the reader on new adventures. Upon finding Alice, Sam gains a new affection for her after learning the reason for her cross-mountain trek. He also learns about the preciousness of wildlife and endangered species, discovering that they are best appreciated and protected as wild animals not pets. 1991 (orig. 1990), Puffin Books/Penguin Books, Ages 8 to 12, $15.00 and $5.99. Reviewer: Bruce Adelson
ISBN: 0-525-44563-3
ISBN: 0-14-034248-6

Frightful's Mountain
Jean Craighead George
When Sam Gribley learns that it is illegal for him to keep a Peregrine falcon, he releases Frightful to the wild. Since she was raised in captivity, she is even more vulnerable to the dangers of the environment. She faces threats from poachers and live wires. Just as her natural instincts for raising a family are beginning to appear, their lives are threatened by humans rebuilding a bridge. Sam is not alone is trying to save the falcons, and Jean Craighead George uses the names of real people who are working to make a safer environment for hawks. The reader will soar with Frightful as she flies around her Catskill Mountain region. George maintains her high standard of nature writing as she deftly weaves the natural and man-made dangers into the storyline. Her characterization of Frightful is so vivid, the reader truly cares for her. This, the third book in the trilogy that began with My Side of the Mountain, can be read independent of the other two. 1999, Dutton, Ages 9 to 12, $15.99. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
ISBN: 0-525-46166-3

Anne said...

oops, you listed My Side of the Mountain in your original post.

Honey for a Child's Heart

Concerned about building whole children - children who are alive emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually? Then this book can help. Now in its 4th edition, you'll find an indexed and updated 85 page list of the best children's classics ever for ages 0-12. 210pg

Anne said...

oops, you listed My Side of the Mountain in your original post.

Honey for a Child's Heart

Concerned about building whole children - children who are alive emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually? Then this book can help. Now in its 4th edition, you'll find an indexed and updated 85 page list of the best children's classics ever for ages 0-12. 210pg

Anne said...

Did anyone mention yet?
Redwall Abbey
The stories are known as the "Redwall" series, because they centre around Redwall Abbey. The heroes are peace-loving mice, moles, shrews, squirrels, and their friends who exhibit human characteristics in a medieval setting. They face the dark side of the animal world, represented by rats, weasels, stoats, foxes, and their villain allies, in the day-to-day struggle of good versus evil, life versus death. Brian Jacques official site.

DollyMama said...

He may be a bit young for these, but here are the books Micah loves to read again and again:

anything in the Redwall series by Brian Jaques

the Artemis Fowl series

LOTR series

anything Harry Potter

had a mild passing interest in the Lemony Snicket books

I agree, the Sonlight catalog reading list is very good and I have had Sullen read just about everything in it. I look up the books on the library web site, put them on hold, and pick them up in one fell swoop without any hassle.

Sullen is an avid reader but it often does seem that he has exhausted the supply of worthwhile books for boys his age. He has read most of everything I just listed probably at least 5-12 times EACH, and I am not joking you.

We tried a Henty book once and he hated that thoroughly, including on Henty audio, so I do not agree that those are so great for boys, or maybe he is not old enough to appreciate them yet.

Oh, Hank the Cowdog are very funny, light reads.

The Kildee House is a SL book we loved also.

Xenia Kathryn said...

Walt Morey and Gary Paulsen are great authors who write books that boys (and girls) enjoy. "Gentle Ben" and "Canyon Winter" are two of Walt Morey's that I enjoyed.

Tuck Everlasting

Holes (Louis Sachs)

Shiloh (Phyllis Reynalds Naylor)

Maniac McGee (Jerry Spinelli)

Runaway Ralph (Beverly Cleary)

The Giver (Lois Lowry)

Just some ideas! I loved these books!!!