Reading recommendations for an 11yo boy


I recently introduced a reading program for my 5 home schooled children ranging in age from 6-12. I have them read 1 chapter of reading material a day selected by me. I will pre-read the chapters and then quiz them on it after they have read the chapter to test them for comprehension and to verify that they have actually read the chapter.

I am having a problem with my 11 yo son. On someone else’s recommendation we are reading Horatio Hornblower’s Beat to Quarters. This person said her 9 yo son was reading it and I can see how this might work for some 9 yo, but not for mine who is basically not interested in reading. I feel that he is interested in the story as it has lots of geographical settings in it (and he is fascinated with geography), is about the military (another thing he is fascinated by), has occasional gory bits, but the complexity of the words, and smallness of print make it unsuitable. So I am reading the chapter aloud to him and checking every couple of paragraphs for comprehension to keep him engaged.

My goal is to get him interested in reading and I might end up working our way through the entire series, but am hoping to get some reading recommendations for him that are more age appropriate.

Does anyone have any suggestions?




The Narnia books

The Redwall series

The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings


Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series

Book of Three
Black Cauldron
Castle of Llyr
Taran Wanderer
The High King


I know this is certainly not classic literature, but I have to say that my 11 yo enjoys Diary of a Wimpy Kid !! It really got him interested in reading, which is the ultimate goal.


my grandson liked only history, biography and science books at that age, esp. biographies of sports heroes. Let him choose books which interest him. and yes the attractiveness and physical aspects of the book itself are important. In jr hi he got into the series about the English kid who, like Forrest Gump, manages to get into every key battle or war in English history, and even though he is a buffoon makes some contribution that saves the day. When i remember the character I will be back, I think the author is George MacDonald Fraser. Our kids always preferred library books and hardcover to paperbacks.


Hi - Here are some recommendations from my 11 year son:

D’Aulaires’ Greek Myths
Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series
Sterling biographies (esp liked Houdini, Ben Franklin)
Ralph Moody books (Little Britches/When Father and I were Ranchers, Geronimo)
Illustrated Classics (Ivanhoe, Robin Hood, King Arthur)
The Outsiders

Good luck!


Ohhhh, forgot about Hardy Boys.


I thought “Nick of Time” by Ted Bell was quite good.


OOoh man, I was a huge reader all through school, but I'm sucha girl...

Redwall was my first thought. Books based on mythology might interest him as well (What's that new movie out, about a Lightning Thief? I bet that's based on a book).

Um...Gosh, I'm looking at my shelves trying to decide, but I've mostly got Stephen King and Dean Koontz, girly books and a bunch of manga...

What about books about boys living during the Holocaust? Surprisingly, there are a lot of children's fiction written for this time. Stones in Water might be appropriate for a boy his age, as would The Island on Bird Street. I'm sure a little Googleing could come up with books about young men in the military during that time. This is at your discretion, though, if you want hi reading those sort of things, due to the content.

Another book that keeps coming up is called The Girl Who Owned a City (the female protagonist might not appeal to boys, but the story itself might). It's about children living alone in a world after a virus has wiped away all the adults, and they have to learn how to navigate their cities and towns, find food, defend themselves, build up militia's, fortresses, and survive against rival gangs. Action, got plenty of military-like bits

I also want to say Copound, but it miiiight be a tad old for him, by a year or two, but it's a good read. It's about a boy who's father has a massive bomb shelter built for a nuclear apocalypse, and hides his family away there as the world is attatcked, except the boy's twin brother is left outside. He grows up in this shelter with his parents and sisters, and after so many years, he starts to suspect his father's words of nuclear war may not be quite truth...

Maybe House of the Scorpion? This is a loooong book though, and again, may be a little old, but it's intriguing, and deals a lot with the ethics, or lack thereof, of cloning, as it centers around a boy who IS a clone, created to be nothing more than a living organ donor.

Man, it's the age thing that's getting me. I was studious about my reading, and at 11, my reading level was pretty high.


I thought of another one. The Tripods Trilogy by John Christopher

The White Mountains
The City of Gold and Lean
The Pool of Fire


Depending on how mature he is, Night by Weisel is a good book [about the Holocaust] but I'd preread it to make sure he'd be okay with it.

My 10-year-old brother loves Diary of the Wimpy Kid as well.

Andrew Clements books, such as Frindle [all of his are good] are some books Sam [my brother] enjoys.

Holes by Louis Sacher * or the Wayside School books.

Carolyn B. Cooney has some good books, some that go both for boys and girls, others mainly girls, that would be about a 5th/6th grade level.

I know last year he still really liked Magic School Bus books, so depending on his level and interests?

There is a series of sports related books, if that would spark his interest...I should know the author but I can't remember it now. If you think he'd be interested, I'll look into it. *.

I'd strongly recommend Frindle and Holes, though, at least for starters. We read Frindle in 4th grade [it was brand new then] and I can't remember a single person in my class that did not like it. It may be a bit of an easy read for him, but hopefuly enjoyable nonetheless.**


Maybe Narnia, especially since there are movies.

I don’t know Redwall.

But Tolkein for an 11-year-old boy who doesn’t like to read? I don’t agree with this at all. I was and still am an advanced reader. I read the Tolkien series in high school because everyone recommended it. I found it incredibly dull and difficult to follow.

And some of the other books that have been suggested–:eek:! Wiesel’s Night??!!! This is a heavy, heavy book even for an adult! C’mon, everyone! Ow, ow!

We’re talking about an eleven-year-old boy of average/above-average intelligence, right? A boy, who, if he was allowed to, would laugh so hard at armpit farting noises that the milk would shoot out his nose, and then he would laugh at that.

I would recommend books on a lower reading level (how about 5th grade level, his age?) about topics that he is interested in. Most of these are short books (around 70 pages or less) and have simplistic plots and stock characters, and utilize a limited vocabulary and grammar, but they have lots of action, and that’s what boys like. There are usually no modern “issues” and no romance at all, and that’s good for an 11-year old boy!

Is he interested in sports? There are lots of series for boys about various sports. Again, very simplistic plots and characters, but lots of sports talk and action, and lots of “life lessons” about discipline and hard work and sportsmanship.

There are adventure and mystery series for boys, if he’s interested in that kind of thing. I have an older set of mystery novels written by Troy Nesbit, all set in the American west, e.g., the Grand Canyon. These are probably too dated, but I know that there are more modern mystery and adventure books for young boys.

As a boy, my husband loved reading science books, both fiction and non-fiction. There books like these available at a young reading level (in other words, I’m not recommending the Dune books, or anything heavy like that!). Also, perhaps he would enjoy non-fiction science books. When he was in gradeschool, my husband loved reading anything about science and mechanics that he could get his hands on.

My brother liked monster stories when he was young! He loved children’s versions of Dracula, Frankenstein, the mummy, etc. !

You have to start somewhere, and starting with the high-brow stuff just doesn’t seem like a good idea when you have a boy who is already turned off to reading. I think that sometimes parents, especially home-schooling parents, have a little bit of educational “snobbery” and want to avoid “simple” books and head straight to the classics. If it works, fine. But it doesn’t sound like it is working for your son. So why not take a little step back and find light, fun, decent, and interesting books written specifically for young/preteen boys?

One suggestion is to take him to a “Used” bookstore and give him $25.00 (or whatever) to buy whatever books he likes. The used bookstores in our city are owned and run by interesting individuals who have a million stories to tell and love telling those stories to children. Their stores are usually filled with fascinating objects; e.g., monster models, collections of arrowheads, posters of old movies, mechanical toys, action figures, baseball cards, coins, miniatures, old games, military memoribila, sometimes real animals (often cats that wander through the store), etc. And often, there are incredibly-comfortable beat-up old armchairs that a person can sink into and read for hours. A trip to a store like this might encourage your son to read more (or it might scare him away from reading, depending on how weird the proprietor is!).


I highly recommend

The Ranger’s Apprentice: Ruins of Gorlan by John Flanagan :thumbsup::thumbsup:


Kon Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl

Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer

Long Way Round: Chasing Shadows Across the World by Ewan McGregor, Charley

If he likes adventure and geography you should take a look at this list of books.



My Side of the Mountain. HOW did I forget My Side of the Mountain? We read it in fifth grade, when I would have been 10, and it was understood and enjoyed by the whole class.


Scholastic ranks “The Hobbit” at 8th grade level, and since they tend to way dumb down those levels - it is not crazy to see a homeschooled 5th grader reading it.


[quote="kage_ar, post:16, topic:192236"]
Scholastic ranks "The Hobbit" at 8th grade level, and since they tend to way dumb down those levels - it is not crazy to see a homeschooled 5th grader reading it.


Reading it, yes. Enjoying it, maybe.

Either way, it's gotta be his call, and if he likes it, great. If he doesn't, great, too.


**I’d still strongly suggest Andrew Clements books. Both my mother and brother enjoyed them as did I when I was younger. **


Oh, and you can google books for an 11-year-old boy.

I found this list:

And some others.


I wouldn’t give too much credence to a publisher’s ideas of exactly which books are suitable for which age groups either. The Hobbit’s good in many ways. It has quite a gripping, adventurous theme, it moves along a relatively quick pace, it has just the right amount of well timed moments of comic relief, and has enough depth to keep an adult helping the child out with it entertained.

I borrowed the Hobbit out of the library when I was about 10 or 11, despite my mother’s insistence that all Tolkein was dry and boring. I ended up devouring it in about two or three sittings and before I knew it I’d moved on to the Lord of the Rings. Despite my understanding of the Lord of the Rings being rather limited, I still found it absolutely terrific, and going back to it at about 14 or 15 gave it a much greater depth.

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