Posts Tagged ‘books for boys’

Encouraging Us to Rethink Boys and Reading: Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys

Posted on June 10th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Dialogue is key... Storytime Standouts recommends Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys My thirteen year old son knows exactly how to extend his bedtime. It involves picking up a book, turning on his bedside lamp and gazing at us with puppy dog eyes. “Please let me finish this chapter. I know you want me to read.” He’s right. Reading has always been a priority in our household and enjoying a chapter or two at bedtime is pretty tough to argue with. Tomorrow, we are off to pick up Rick Riordan’s latest because, due to my error it is not yet in the house. I’m not complaining, I know that raising boys who love to read can be a challenge. We’ve had our moments but, thanks to Rick Riordan, Michelle Paver, Kenneth Oppel, J.K. Rowling and others, we are fortunate that both our sons love to read (especially at bedtime).

Storytime Standouts looks at Pam Allyn's Best Books for Boys This afternoon, before the boys arrived home from school, I had a chance to check out Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys – How to engage Boys in Reading in Ways that Will Change Their Lives

Pam Allyn is the Executive Director of LitWorld and the author of a number of books including What to Read When. These are both books that should be on every teachers’ bookshelf and tucked into every parent’s bag of tricks. In Best Book for Boys, Allyn answers frequently asked questions about boys and reading, she also describes the keys to raising children who love reading; ritual, environment, access and dialogue.

After making a strong case for rethinking widely accepted ideas about how children ought to read and what they ought to be reading, Allyn provides an extensive, annotated reading list that has been labelled for emerging, developing and maturing readers. Whether seeking a title for a boy who enjoys action and adventure, humor or mechanics and technology, there is something for even the most reluctant reader.

This is a great resource for families and teaching professionals, highly recommended.

Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys: How to Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives at Amazon.com

Pam Allyn’s Best Books for Boys: How to Engage Boys in Reading in Ways That Will Change Their Lives at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts suggests 35 ways to engage reluctant readersYou may be interested in our page about reluctant readers.


Surrounded by Testosterone: My Thoughts About The Loser List

Posted on April 25th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

Storytime Standouts writes about The Loser ListThe Loser List – written and illustrated by Holly N. Kowitt
Anti bullying (handwritten text, generously illustrated) chapter book published by Scholastic



Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

I spent the Easter weekend with three teenaged boys and so it was only fitting that I should reach for The Loser List when I had some time to read. It is a generously illustrated chapter book that is very reminiscent of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Danny Shine is twelve years old and in grade seven. He’s not good at sports but he loves to draw. When Danny runs afoul of Chantal Davis, she informs him that she’ll be adding his name to the loser list in the girl’s bathroom at school. Danny’s best friend, Jasper is not worried about being labelled as a geek and doesn’t care if his name is put on the loser list but Danny is bothered by the threat. A lunchtime tangle with the school’s biggest bully (Axl Ryan) followed by a failed attempt to remove his name from the loser list results in Danny joining Axl and other members of the Skull gang in an after school detention. “We stared at each other. Him: studded wristband, greasy blond hair stuffed into a do-rag, and army jacket. Me: Acme Exterminators tee, video watch and grandfather sweater.” Danny is terrified of Axl and is sure he will be beaten until Axl shows off his Sharpie tattoo and Danny knows that he can draw “Something really cool and unique, something that’s you know, worthy of the Skulls.”

It is not long until the threat of a beating subsides and Danny is creating cool tattoos for Axl and his sidekicks. Danny enjoys his new celebrity until Axl steals a comic book from a shop Danny frequents. Suddenly Danny finds himself accused of theft and regretting his association with the thugs.

A clever tactic by Danny and Jasper enables Danny to escape the clutches of the gang and restore his reputation.

Best for children aged eight through twelve, The Loser List has a positive message about self acceptance and friendship. It will have a special appeal for boys

The Loser List at Amazon.com

The Loser List at Amazon.ca

A Pleasant Diversion But Lacks a Realistic, Empowering Solution: How to Outplay a Bully

Posted on April 16th, 2011 by Carolyn Hart

How to Outplay a Bully – written by Nancy Wilcox Richards and illustrated by David Sourwine
Anti bullying chapter book published by Scholastic Canada


Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

“I sat down on the bench next to him. He didn’t even look at me. but I was so mad I had to say something. “Why didn’t you pass the puck?” I yelled. “I could have scored! I was right in front of the open net.”

When a new adult moves into his neighbourhood, Tony Dunphy has an opportunity to learn hockey skills from him. When the neighbour tells Tony’s mom about a used hockey equipment store, Tony is very excited to get hockey equipment and join the Bayfield Blazers Hockey Team partway through the season. Unfortunately, it is not long until Berk, the team bully, notices Tony’s well-worn gear and chooses Tony as his victim. Berk is relentless with his verbal and physical abuse of Tony. He calls him ‘Tony Baloney’ and makes life miserable on the ice and in the dressing room. Tony is the only player excluded from the team chant. When the two boys become linemates, Tony is frustrated when Berk won’t pass to him.

The Bayfield Blazers’ coach is aware that his team is not getting along well. He knows that some of his players need to learn about good sportsmanship so he arranges for a NHL player so visit the team. Tony is shocked when his neighbour is introduced. He has no idea that his neighbour is former NHL player, Bob MacMillan. With a message that, ‘Success is about more than winning. Good sports are winners,” Bobby encourages the entire team to make better choices.

How to Outplay a Bully is a fun read for young hockey players. Having said that, I am concerned that How to Outplay a Bully relies on a ‘magical solution’ to solve the problem of bullying. Rather than have Tony seek and obtain help from an adult (his mom or his coach) or his teammates (the ‘bystanders”), he is essentially forced to cope with the bullying throughout half a season of hockey. The problem is really only resolved when the Bully discovers that Tony has a friend who used to play in the NHL. In my opinion, this story will be a pleasant diversion for a young hockey player but it will not help a youngster dealing with a bully.

Note: not available at Amazon.com
How To Outplay A Bully at Amazon.ca

Looking for Great Chapter Book to Read Aloud? This One’s a Masterpiece

Posted on December 5th, 2008 by Carolyn Hart

Masterpiece by Elise Broach, illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Chapter book for children published by Christy Ottavians Books, Henry Holt and Company





People often ask me to recommend a chapter book to share with young children. Often they have made the transition from picture books to chapter books and find themselves overwhelmed by the selection of books on the shelf. This month I want to wholeheartedly recommend Masterpiece. It tells the story of a very unusual friendship that develops between James Pompaday and a beetle named Martin who lives under the kitchen sink in his apartment. When James’ father gives him a pen and ink set for his birthday, it is Martin who creates an astonishingly good miniature picture. James is credited with artistic talent and before long James and Martin are working together as they attempt to thwart an art thief.

Highly recommended as a chapter book read aloud and/or for children (grade four +) to read independently.

Masterpiece at Amazon.com

Masterpiece at Amazon.ca




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