Our Favorite Read Aloud Books for Boys

12 of our favorite books to read aloud to my boys

I grew up with a mom who read to us every day. Some of my favorite memories are from those nights when my sisters and I would all pile into my parents room and paint our nails while she read Harry Potter to us, or laying on the couch with just my mom and me reading The Picture of Dorian Gray or Tarzan.

It’s one of the things I most looked forward to when I became a parent, and it’s been every bit as magical as I hoped.

I wanted to share our favorite books, and a few tips for reading aloud to your kids.

My favorite read aloud novels for little boys

Our Favorite Read Aloud Books for Boys

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nihm.

My mom read this to us when we were little, but I couldn’t remember the premise at all, so I was in for a fun surprise when I re-read it to my kids. Mrs. Frisby is a little mouse with a few small mice children and she needs to relocate her home in the farmer’s field before the plowing season begins. She enlists the help of the Rats of Nihm, who are a strangely highly intelligent and secretive group. My boys loved this story, and to be honest I loved it probably more than they did.

Wonder.

You’re probably familiar with this story because it just came out as a movie a few months ago. It’s about a little boy who was born with facial deformities, and his journey as he attends public school for the first time in his life and finds friends, enemies, and strength he didn’t know he had. I think every child who goes to school needs to hear this story and be reminded to be kind to everyone, even those who look different.

Half Magic.

This is a fun story about four children who find a magic coin, but discover that it only grants half of their wish. They have to learn how to use it, and of course they’re always getting themselves into a tangle mess. I love reading stories to my boys about children who have good manners, are kind and thoughtful, and are just good kids. This is definitely one of those books. We’re currently reading Magic By The Lake by the same author and we’re loving it too!

The Phantom Tollbooth.

This is one of my dad’s very favorite books, and although he read it to me when I was little, I couldn’t remember really any of the story. It’s a very clever book, and my older son who’s seven understood much more of the puns and play on words than my five-year-old. But my 5-year-old still loved listening to the story!

Books by Roald Dahl.

I love Roald Dahl, but I don’t love all of his books and stories. Here are a few that we’ve read and loved.

  • James and the Giant Peach
  • George’s Marvelous Medicine
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • The BFG
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox

Henry Huggins.

This is a really sweet series about a boy and his adventures with the stray dog he finds and takes in and their adventures in their little town. He has a paper route, enters his dog in the town dog show, buys a pair of guppies that lay eggs and suddenly he has thousands of guppies, collects worms to earn money, and other simple and lighthearted stories that my boys love.

The Indian in the Cupboard.

A magic cupboard that turns anything plastic into real life? My boys were instantly hooked. This is such a fun story!

Owls in the Family.

This story feels similar to Henry Huggins — just a regular little boy, doing regular things, and it makes for a really sweet story. It took us a few pages to get into it, but it ended up being so funny as the little boy fills his house with pets he’s found, including two large owls, Wol and Weeps.

The Boxcar Children.

This was the first series I read aloud to B when he was four or five years old. The first 19 books in the series are written by the original author and are chronological, and then after she died they went on to write many more.

It’s about four children who lose both of their parents and then run away because they’re afraid their mean grandfather will find them and take them away. They find an old boxcar train in the woods and make it their home until their Grandfather (who turns out to be extremely kind) locates them and invites them to live with him. They solve exciting mysteries, and I love that the children are so kind and obedient and respectful, not to mention hard working, innovative, and smart! All things I want to instill in my children.

The Mouse and the Motorcycle.

This is about a mouse who lives in the walls of an old hotel, and when a little boy checks into the hotel with his parents and has a little toy motorcycle, Ralph the mouse ventures out into the hotel room to go for a joy ride.

The Children of Noisy Village.

Written by the same author as Pippi Longstocking (which I haven’t read for years, but remember loving), this book is about six children who live in group of farmhouses in the countryside. It’s another book just about their everyday lives, going to school, losing their baby teeth, getting new siblings, and visiting grandfather to hear his wonderful stories. Some of the stories are absolutely hilarious and we were all rolling!

Farmer Boy.

Another amazing book about a good, hard working boy. This is the very first book I read aloud to B, when he was only three years old! It’s part of the Little House on the Prairie series, but instead of being about Laura Ingalls Wilder, it’s about her husband, Almanzo. It’s his story of growing up on a farm and deciding what he wants to be when he grows up. You learn about his relationship with his father, how hard Almanzo had to work on the farm, the lessons he learned, and his decision to move to the city or take over the farm for his father.

 

Tips for Reading Aloud to Your Kids

  1. Choose a book that YOU will love too. I refuse to read aloud a book that I don’t like — like anything LEGO Ninjago. It’s torture for me. I want to love this time with my kids, so I find books I know will interest me.
  2. It’s ok to quit a book. We’ve started plenty of books that we could not get into, and I could tell my kids were totally uninterested. You want them to love reading, so skip it and move to a better book that will keep everyone interested.
  3. Be an interesting reader. Both my parents are really good at this, using voice inflections, different pitches for different characters, and emphasizing where things should be emphasized. It’s more fun to read that way, and way more fun to listen. It’s the reason we laugh our way through books, or cry when parts are sad, because we really feel the story.
  4. Read at night before bed. This works the best for us because everyone is ready for bed, and the house is quiet and we’re ready to wind down. Philip puts the baby to sleep and I read a chapter to the boys. If you try during the afternoon or the morning, friends will come over, your phone will ring, or your kids will want to do other things.

If you have favorite books you can recommend, leave a comment below!

 

I also shared our favorite audiobooks in this post!

Boy’s Room Details in this post

 

The best read aloud novels for little boys

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13 Comments

  1. brianna says:

    The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black. A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket.

  2. Nora says:

    I have four boys (and one girl) now ages 12-4 and over the years Weve read and loved several Of the books on your list- excited tO read Some of the ones you listed that we havent gotten to yet 🙂 a few others weve enjoyed- the penderwiCk series, harry potter book 1&2, laura ingalls series, some of the ‘dear america’ books, my side of the mountain, all of a kind family books(about a family of girls but they still enjoyed) and we love encyclopedia brown series and The Great Brain books!

  3. Esther says:

    I love this post! The picture of dorian gray is one of my favorite books because of the amazing character development in the book. i just spoke at a school assembly and had fun asking all of the elementary school children their favorite books. i noticed they were particularly excited about wonder. there were some books listed that i didn’t know. i love roald dahl and the indian in the cupboard. i’m so excited to check out some of these other books i’m less familiar with! Great post! as a child, a few of my favorites that i recommend to you if its not already in your library: the hungry caterpillar by eric carle – and anything else of his, shel silverstein’s books and poems, and tikki tikki tembo. @iliketocreatestuff

  4. Morgan says:

    This brought back so many great memories! My mom used to read the Boxcar Children to my brothers and I! As your boys get older you should check out The Hardy Boys, older book series but great mystery and adventures!

  5. Sarah r says:

    Have you read any of the Kate DiCamillo books? We read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane as an all-school read this winter. My 3rd grade boy and kindergarten girl both loved it, and so did I! My mom is a retired teacher, and she loved reading Because of WinnDixie to her class.

  6. Mish says:

    Two books I will recommend but maybe tricky to find are: Louise Builds a House and Louise Builds a Boat. Lovely story and beautiful illustrations, simple and easy to read and probably will be enjoyed by the youngest of your children too 🙂

  7. Hena Tayeb says:

    Some great books.. my son loved the Tree house books when we were doing read aloud books..

    http://www.henatayeb.blogspot.com

  8. Sophia Smith says:

    My kid loved to reaD “THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURE” – THAT ONE IS HILARIOUS BECAUSE IT MAKES THE READER MAKE SILLY THINGS AND LISTENER CAN LAUGH. IT IS FUN WHEN KIDS ASK EACH OTHERS TO READ AND KEEP GIGgLING.

  9. Jennifer Harrison says:

    I Have TWO BOYS and we have thoroughly enjoyed reading several of the books you mentioned but additionally haven’t been able to put down without finishing the Chronicles of Narnia. They especially loved A Boy and his horse. Thanks for the tips! I’ve saved a bunch at my library and can’t wait to dive in!

  10. Noelle says:

    I’m so glad that you mentioned “half magic” because I freakin’ loved that book as a kid and had totally forgotten about it! You’ll definitely have to read the other edgar eager books to your boys (there’s one about knights that I read like 3 times). SOOo good. Have you guys read “Rascal” by sterling North? I liked that book a lot as a kid too. Another book that I LOVED was “Johnny tremain”. It might be a bit OLD for your boys but it sounds like they’ll be ready for it in a year or two. Anyway, I’m definitely saving this list for when I have kids – I read almost all of these books when I was little and adored them too! Thanks for sharing!

  11. Sandra says:

    “The Tale of despereaux”

    Wonderful story and then you can watch the movie after you read it!

  12. Marya says:

    my son is 6 and we’ve been reading the Boxcar series this summer. we are both loving it. it is so fun to recall reading with my parents and now to read some of my favorite chapter books with my oldest.one of those being the series by frank peretti, the cooper kids adventure series!

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