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Leading boys to books

Here is a twist to an old adage, ‘You can lead a boy to a book, but you can’t make him read it.’ That is not true in every case because some boys love to read. But for the ones who avoid it there is probably a pretty good reason why and it is not just because they are being stubborn. It has more to do with the subject matter and how it is presented. Guys are not interested in warm and fuzzy books.

So what kinds of books do they like? Nonfiction books about sports, animals, vehicles, and to many parents dismay—gross stuff. Action and adventure novels with fast moving plots and great illustrations entice these reluctant readers. They like Fantasy and Science Fiction too.

VickieHardinKids’ magazines like “Sports Illustrated,” “Ranger Rick,” “Maps,” “Boys’ Life”, and “Kids National Geographic” have all of the elements that interest boys. Graphic novels are very popular, but do not be put off because they resemble comic books. They have stories with plots and action and believe it or not, substance.

Start them out with a series that will hold their interest and have them looking forward to the next book. Elementary students like Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver’s “Hank Zipzer” and Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Middle school boys like “Joey Pigza” by Jack Gantos and Todd Strasser’s “Help! I’m Trapped.” The series “Born to Rock” by Gordon Korman and “Parent Swap” by Terrance Blacker are good picks for high school level.

Eventually the classics will have to be reckoned with. Thankfully there is solution for that dilemma. Classic retellings ‘are modern takes on the original story,’ like “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Jane Austen and Seth Gramhame-Smith. There are plenty more suggestions in “Serving Boys Through Readers’ Advisory” by Michael Sullivan.

If you still need help Jessica McCart, Bossier Central Children’s Librarian, suggests bargaining with your reluctant reader. In other words, for every chapter book he has to read let him read a book of his choice.

So guys, ‘Book it to the Bossier Parish Libraries’ for your kind of books.

Make a note:

n The Bossier Parish Libraries will be closed on Monday, September 2, for Labor Day.

n The Bossier Parish Library Historical Center will host a new program in the Readings in Literature and Culture (RELIC) series entitled “Making Sense of the American Civil War” on Thursdays from 6-7:45 p. m., beginning September 12 ending October 17. The six sessions will be led by Dr. Stephen Webre, Chair of the Department of History at Louisiana Tech University. It is free to the public. Please register in advance at the Historical Center or by calling (318) 746-7717. Spaces are limited.


New Books



“River of Stars” by Guy Bavriel Kay

“Close My Eyes” by Sophie McKenzie

“Red Sparrow” by Jason Matthews

“The Resurrectionist” by Mathew Gunn

“Fangs Out” by David Freed

“Under a Texas Sky” by Dorothy Garlock

“Eleven Days” by Lea Carpenter

“Five Start Billionaire” by Tash Aw

“The Garden of Stones” by Mark T. Barnes

“Not the Killing Type” by Lorna Barrett



“The Dawn of Pro Stock” by

“Animal” by George “The Animal” Steele

“The Feud: The Hatfields and McCoys” by Dean King

“For What It’s Worth” by Les Gold

“The Astronaut Wives Club” by Lily Koppel

“Running a Marathon for Dummies” by Jason R. Karp, Ph.D.

“Rumsfeld’s Rules” by Donald Rumsfeld

“Start” by Jon Acuff

“Turn the Ship Around” by L. David Marquet

“Patent Searching Made Easy” by David Hitchcock



Vickie Hardin is Outreach Specialist for the Bossier Parish Library. She can be reached at vhardin@state.lib.la.us

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