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3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)

Our No.3 son is at that in-between age where he’s just growing out of picture books and in to chapter books. So when he came downstairs with a stack of books and asked us to read with him, we knew there will only be a few more chances for this.

He sat between me and Ryan and wanted to read us his three favorite picture books:

3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)

TELEPHONE by Mac Barnett with illustrations by Jen Corace

3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)

The combination of silly/witty writing and the most fabulous illustrations make this one a big favorite.

Description from Amazon: It’s time to fly home for dinner! In this witty picture book from award-winning and bestselling author Mac Barnett, a mother bird gives the bird next to her a message for little Peter. But passing messages on a telephone line isn’t as simple as it sounds. Each subsequent bird understands Mama’s message according to its own very particular hobbies. Will Peter ever get home for dinner? This uproarious interpretation of a favorite children’s game will get everyone giggling and is sure to lead to countless rereads.

3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)

SAM + DAVE DIG A HOLE by Mac Barnett with Illustrations by Jon Klassen

3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)

I didn’t realize until just now that these are by the same author! Apparently we like ourselves a Mac Barnett story.

This one is another subtly clever story with irony that is lost on the littler readers but totally humorous to our 8 year old. And, again, the pictures are so good.

Description from Amazon: Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find . . . nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary — and finding it in a manner you’d never expect.

3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)

THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES by B.J. Novak

3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)

The kids’ aunt + uncle gave this one to the boys and the humor is right up their school-aged alley. There are no pictures, but it is a super creative book.

Description from Amazon: You might think a book with no pictures seems boring and serious. Except . . . here’s how books work. Everything written on the page has to be said by the person reading it aloud. Even if the words say . . .
BLORK. Or BLUURF.
Even if the words are a preposterous song about eating ants for breakfast, or just a list of astonishingly goofy sounds like BLAGGITY BLAGGITY and GLIBBITY GLOBBITY.
Cleverly irreverent and irresistibly silly, The Book with No Pictures is one that kids will beg to hear again and again. (And parents will be happy to oblige.)

3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)

This is obviously the best page of the book :)

So there you go, three must-have picture books for school-aged boys according to my 8 year old. All three books that are fun to look at and fun to read. And I hope he never grows out of sitting together on the couch reading.

Does your family have any favorites for boys?

24 thoughts on “3 must-have picture books for school-aged boys (according to my 8 year old)”

  1. I borrowed Sam & Dave Dig A Hole from the library and read it to my daughter (8 y/o) last night. It’s the perfect length, not too long, not too short, cute cute story, I enjoyed her reactions. We both enjoyed it, I am now buying it for my nephew :) Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ahh! We love Mac Barnett! My boys discovered him from the book Extra Yarn… which I love! They also love his chapter book written with Jory John, The Terrible Two. We did that one as a read aloud. He also has a great Ted Talk called Why a Good Book is a Secret Door. Such a fun guy!

    1. Cheryl Holsonbake (@cherylreads)

      My grandson loves Mac Barnett too! And he can recognize Jon Klassen’s artwork a mile away. I overheard him once tell another boy in the library that his favorite books were on the B and K shelves. He knew exactly where Mac and Jon were shelved!

      The Book with No Pictures was great too. He “tricked” everyone into reading that book lots of times.

    2. Cheryl Holsonbake (@cherylreads)

      Oh, I forgot to say, you should search YouTube for the Sam and Dave book trailer. It’s a minute long but my grandson must have played it 20 times in a row. Catchy song from MY childhood!

    3. Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne is still a favorite here with all its witty humor and also Mike Mulligan’s Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton. Dr. Suess’s Day of Day’s is a great one too.

    4. My boys never seem to outgrow Mr. Tiger Goes Wild (I’m sorry I’ve forgotten the author and it’s too late to sneak in their room and find it), Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed by the fabulous Mo Willams, and The Cow Loves Cookies by Karma Wilson. However, there is a new, gorgeously illustrated Harry Potter and the Sorcerors Stone that even my 4 year old sits trough. Early chapter books like the Henry and Mudge or Mercy Watson series’ have proven a huge joy! I do love reading with my monsters! I hope they never outgrow it! Loved this blog topic!!!

    5. We love 2 out of 3 mentioned! So I’ll have to pick up the 3rd.

      Some of our other favorites:
      Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin
      Donut Chef by Bob Staake
      The Red Lemon by Bob Staake (He also illustrates them. I think he is so underrated!!)
      Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

    6. It is true – continue to read to your kids! My husband and daughter (almost 12!)are making their way through the Harry Potter series. They are on #3 right now. I am tickled to see that our son (19 & living at home while going to college!) finds his way into the room many nights to listen too. They love the voices Dad uses when he reads.

      I loved reading to my students when I taught 3rd grade. I always use voices and tone when reading-it mesmerizes the audience. And, oh, the power of a cliffhanger! There is nothing like a room full of children begging for a few more pages!

      My book recommendations for boys (& girls): picture – Jimmy Zangwow’s Out of This World Moon Pie Adventure by Tony DiTerlizzi, Journey by Aaron Becker, What Do You Do With an Idea? By Kobi Yamada, Puddleman by Ted Staunton, Tough Boris by Mem Fox, Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki. Just to name a few.
      Chapter – The Guardians series by William Joyce, and when they are a bit older The Redwall series by Brian Jacques, the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan.

      A word of warning – don’t be upset if your child misplaces his/her love of reading in high school. It will be found again at some point in the future! (even if it is sneaking in to hear that long ago favorite that Dad is reading aloud!)
      Enjoy!

    7. A couple of our recent favorites are I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen and Wink: the Ninja who wanted to be noticed by JC Phillips. Thanks for sharing these, were always on the hunt for new books.

    8. I just was sorting through my seven year old son’s books last night and thinking back fondly to the books he loved. One that makes us all laugh out loud is The Fire Station by Robert Munsch — two kids decide to check out a fire station and end up sneaking along to a fire. Yes, Let’s by Galen Goodwin Longstreth is a fun book about a family day trip with great illustrations. And while it may be a little late for this one, And Then Comes Halloween by Tom Brenner is an absolute favorite.

    9. My older 2 boys (9 &8) are into chapter books so they are in love with Captain Underpants. Their story book favorite would be Leonardo the terrible monster by Mo Williams! Also the stinky cheese man. However my personal favorites are stories by James Herriot. He is an English country vet that writes about his adventures. My favorite was the Christmas Day kitten. Max Lucados I am Special is another favorite. These stories don’t have potty humor so my boys aren’t a fan but who am I kidding, I read them without the boys!

    10. I have been reading your blog for about a year now, and I always love ALL of your suggestions…..books, rugs, decorating, food, graphic design……I could go on :)
      I have 3 boys ages 12, 9, & 4 and a sister who is a teacher and encouraged us to read to our children as early as 3 months old! I have not read the selections you suggested…..yet, but will. We also love Little Blue Truck. It’s a great one about helping!
      Thanks Emily!

    11. Such an inspiring blog. Ginny is right. You can read to kids of all ages. It is fun to read and be read to at any age. I don’t know any of these books but especially like the sound of the one with no pictures. Keep having fun. ☺

    12. What a lovely inspiring blog. Ginny is right. You can read to kids of all ages. Don’t know any of these books but they all sound thrilling to read and be read to. Especially the one without pictures. Keep having fun! ☺

    13. I have 3 boys and we find Skippyjohn Jones books to be hilarious! I highly recommend reading them in your most dramatic Hispanic accent.
      Emily, I checked out The Boys In the Boat on CD from my library just as soon as I read your recommendation. My 3 younger kids did not hang in there for the duration of the book, but my husband and I loved it! Thanks for recommending it. The librarian at our school just lent me the young adult version, and I enjoyed seeing pictures to put faces with all of the names.

    14. Great post! Our middle son (7 year old) loves “Monkey with a Tool Belt” by Chris Monroe. It’s a picture book about a monkey named Chico Bon Bon who has an amazing tool belt and fixes and makes very creative inventions. The illustrations are genius and inspire many additional comments as the story is being read.

    15. It does not have to end —always read to your kids no matter what age. It demonstrates your love of reading. I always read aloud to my classes of fifth and sixth graders and they loved it. There is something so relaxing and connecting when great books are read aloud. Now on FaceBook —they are adults reading to their kids.They tell me how much they enjoyed being read to —back in the day when I was their teacher. It is a life-long skill and art of the love of reading you pass on. They will become readers and certainly enjoy their own books too. Do not forget the classics like The Boxcar Children, Secret Garden, Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, and the modern, Bad Kitty, Captain Underpants. (I know, some of the modern ones are silly, but kids like them. There are always the fairy tales. Some beautiful picture books are designed for older kids — Heckety Peg, and the Chris VanAllsburg books. For those who love math, Anno. The list goes on and on ask your librarian for some reading lists of favorites.

    16. These three books are some of my new favorites. I can’t keep them on my elementary library shelves. Mac Barnett is totally one of my favorite authors for kids right now! Terrific suggestions!

    17. Your timing is quite ironic – The Book with No Pictures is on my Christmas list for my boys this year. And The Boys in the Boat is on my list. Based on your recommendation I’m going to love it! I adore books and hope that my children always do too. Reading to them is absolutely some of my very favorite time with them.

    18. So timely! I’m taking my grandkids to the library tomorrow and always enjoy a good recommendation for BOY books for the grandson { we had 3 daughters : ) }

      Thanks!

    19. I just placed all three of these on hold from our library. We also just finished listening to The Boys in the Boat, another one you mentioned. We were all so sad to see it end. We picked about 12 bushels of apples from our tree this fall so while we were cutting up apples for pie filling, apple butter or sauce, we listened to the story. It was so good! Our oldest two (ages 10 and 8) enjoyed it as much as my husband and I did. Thank you for the recommendations! Keep them coming. ;)

    20. We love Sam and Dave Dig a Hole! My boys love Fly Guy books and No David books. Anything by Mo Willems is a favorite as well (and his non-pigeon books always have a hidden pigeon in them). Our new favorite chapter book series is Notebook of Doom – my 7 year old read the first 8 books in just a couple of months! They are very popular among boys between 7 and 10 years old

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