Books for Boys

Percy Jackson's Greek Gods, reluctant readers, books for boys, middle school, sixth grade, 6th grade, chapter books

My son is eleven and three-fourths and in the sixth grade. He enjoys reading, but has never been one to read huge tomes from cover to cover. It’s been a challenge for me (yes, even me, a library assistant in the Children’s Department) to find books at his grade level that interest him enough that he’ll want to finish them, and still just short enough that he’s able to finish them.

He’s not a Harry Potter fan, and although he loves Rick Riordan’s series, he only wants to listen to them on CD at bedtime. Those fat books are just too much for him. (He could possibly have an issue with his eyes/brain, but we’ve never had him officially diagnosed beyond a screening, and so far he’s been capable of reading well enough to do whatever he needs to do. And he has excellent reading vocabulary, so I’m not worried. He just can’t read thick books with itty-bitty print at this point.)

I thought I’d take a moment to share a few books that have really been favorites for him in the hopes that these titles may inspire a deeper love for reading in other boys.

The first thing to know is that my son adores the Minecraft software and will happily open any book I hand him that has “Minecraft” in the title. Unfortunately, not all Minecraft books are worth the paper they’re printed on. Many are self-published by people taking advantage of the current obsession and the desire for chapter books that relate. However, we’ve found many to be lame attempts. They don’t stand up to literary standards in any way, shape, or form.

But, we have found several Minecraft chapter books that are high-quality and deserve a chance to intrigue and entertain your boys the way they have mine. By clicking on the pictures in this post, you will be redirected to the Amazon page for that book where you can read the reviews of others.*

Journey to a Different Dimension was so good, I actually wrote to the author requesting that he write more. Thankfully, he did just that, and we have book #2 …

I just ordered this today and can’t wait to surprise him with it!

A couple other Minecraft books my son has read and approved of include these:


As I said, Rick Riordan’s books, as books, are a bit too much for this boy, but the stories themselves are what he enjoys. He listens to them on audio at bedtime every night. But then I came across this gem, a #1 bestseller! Although it’s physically big (over 12 x 9 inches), the print is also big, and it’s got glossy pages with gorgeous illustrations. And it’s got individual stories, so he only has to get through one story at a time. This book is “written by” one of Riordan’s most famous characters, Percy Jackson … a kid about the same age as mine. I bought it yesterday and am eager to read it myself!

When my guy is waiting for me to find another treasure for him, he still enjoys reading these shorter chapter books from publisher Focus on the Family. One of the benefits of these adventure books is that each tells a history story (fictionalized) with recurring characters, cousins Patrick and Beth, in each book. Geared to the 6 – 9 age range, they’re good, wholesome stories with some history facts thrown in for good measure. They’re an adventurous diversion that he always enjoys.

This list is a great place to start if you’re looking for chapter books that are interesting, yet not too burdensome for either young readers or those with a reading challenge. If you’d like more ideas, give me a few details in the comments section and I’d be happy to be your own personal on-call librarian!

Happy reading and teaching, Friends!

*These are affiliate links, which means I get a teeny-tiny portion of the sale if you buy through the link. So far, I haven’t earned a dime, so don’t worry that I’m getting rich over here by doing this. This is a look into the real Jane … I love to share what we love, and give you an easy way to read reviews of what I’m recommending. If you happen to buy something, I’ll get to do a happy dance someday!

Before We Homeschooled

I’ve been and done many things in my past … 

Now, I, too, have a house cluttered up with the past and it’s not leaving much room for the here and now. It’s time for that to change.

This blog post by Lisa Walters over at the Hip Homeschool Moms website has inspired and challenged me and now I can’t wait to get started! 

Have you embraced who you are now, or are you still clinging to the past? Can we be both?

A Gift for You

Friends, I’m going to take a risk here … I’m going to risk losing readers. Once I share this with all of you, I’m afraid you might never come back to my page … because what I’m going to share with you is so awesome, you might feel like there is no NEED to read my page anymore or you might not have TIME to read mine.

But this is a risk I’m willing to take … because I’m a giver! :)

I want to share with you one of my all-time favorite websites, and one of their best pages ever!

I hope you’ll come back to my page and leave a comment letting me know what you think of this little gift …

Here it is … My all-time favorite homeschooling website is the Hip Homeschool Moms, and this page on their site is the best around, in my opinion! If you scroll down on that page, it will give you links to hundreds of different homeschooling blogs, sorted by homeschooling style! If you don’t find some ideas and answers for your homeschooling journey here, I don’t know where you’ll ever find them!

So, what do you think? A good gift?

Why We Homeschool Reason #77

“A picture’s worth a thousand words.” But I didn’t get a picture of it. So my words will have to suffice.

At the end of my day, I sit reflecting on the beauty that was my daughter today … in the middle of our school district’s school day, my 7th grade homeschooled daughter was spinning on the swing that hangs from the tree in our backyard, her hair flying around her, her flouncy skirt flouncing (with shorts underneath), while her 5th grade brother leaned against the tree, yakkety-yakking at her, waiting his turn. They were just out enjoying the weather and each other’s company.

I stood at the kitchen window and gawked at this incredible blessing.

This 13-year-old wasn’t standing by a brick wall trying to look cool, checking her phone – her hair, her makeup – talking about (well, I don’t even know what they talk about nowadays) and worrying about whether the boys like her. Instead, she was enjoying another day of childhood. This is a gift that homeschooling has brought to our lives.

Don’t get me wrong – she’s got a crush on a boy. She has an iPod that I have to confiscate sometimes. She makes music videos with her friends. And she’s pretty much traded in her Littlest Pet Shop toys for nail polish.

But she doesn’t have to pretend to care about all of this all the time. Most of the time, she’s still busy enjoying the last remnants of her childhood in a world that sucks that out of our children earlier and earlier, it seems. 

One of her public school friends is here for a sleepover in the tent in the backyard tonight. Tomorrow they’ll switch houses. This is not a backwards, sheltered, unsocialized homeschooler.

This is just a beautifully well-rounded, intentionally socialized child. She can grow up another day. Tonight I’ll hold onto this gift.

A Funny Girl and Her Brother

What 7th grade and 5th grade look like at our house …

We All Have Bad Days

Homeschool Bad Day Reminder Particularly Rough Days 100% – Courageous Jane Homeschools

Don’t think you’re alone. We all have them. Days when every spoon is dirty, the only pair of jeans that fit are at the bottom of the hamper, something in the fridge stinks, you still haven’t clipped the dog’s toenails, and your best friend gets sick and asks you to take her kids for the day. (Honestly, it can’t just be me!)

Or maybe you’ve received an unexpected medical diagnosis, or discovered your identity has been stolen, or lost a loved one, or are dealing with an aging parent, or your sibling (or child) was in a bad accident, or you (not your child) has explosive diarrhea. (Oh no, she didn’t. — Oh yes, she did! Because that’s enough to throw a busy mom way off track!)

Notice … not even a mention of schoolwork.

There are days when you just have to say, “Enough’s enough. No school today.”

Given the option, I will always fall on the side of cancelling school when everything in my life feels like it’s spinning out of control. That out-of-control feeling is the one that always trips me up, making me snap at my kids and whine to my husband and pick on the dog. None of those is a pretty reaction. And that’s just what it is … a reaction.

When I find myself reacting to my circumstances (especially when I’m reacting poorly), I know it’s time to scrap that which can wait until tomorrow, find something, anything, I can get control over, and start there. I can throw on too-tight pants, go pick up the friends’ kids, and wash the spoons by hand while the washer spins. We’ll eat sandwiches for lunch, after which I’ll give the fridge a wipe down, then I’ll take 30 minutes for myself to just sit while the kids play.

Generally, by the time I wake up the next day, I’m surprised to find I survived and accomplished enough to feel more peaceful again … ready to fill the buckets that are my children’s hearts and minds again. (I’ll admit, I’ve been in some of those more critical circumstances at times, where school was put off for much more than one day, and I’m here to report that we survived and thrived and my kids are still on track.)

You, too, will survive … many days will spin out of control with unexpected events, tragedies, new babies, sick friends, or just grumpy attitudes. Don’t be afraid to take some time off as needed.

Homeschool teachers have a special circumstance that other teachers don’t have: we don’t have substitutes who can come in when we need to take a personal day. But you’ll have to trust me when I say that your kids won’t suffer or “fall behind” … in fact, they just might learn something along the way, and rebound beautifully when you all get back to it. Keep in mind that kids need personal days, too. Think how refreshed you’ll all be if you take them at the same time!

What do you think? Am I off-base on this one? (I have to be honest … I’m writing this as fast as I can while I have the house to myself for a few minutes. Dad has the kids at the YMCA right now, and I have a list a mile long of things to do, but all I really wanted to do was write to you! Forgive me as this goes out unedited!)

Blessings to each of you!

~ Courageous Jane

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