Sunday, October 30, 2016

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

This book is arguably the most famous picture book of all time, so there was no way that I’d consider leaving it off my list!  When a naughty, misbehaving boy named Max gets sent to bed with no dinner, he wishes himself off to a magical land where the creatures are just and nasty and wild as he is.  The beasts stomp and roar happily in a wild circus…at least until Max starts to feel the slightest bit homesick!

This book is over fifty years old now, and it remains one of the best-selling picture books of all time.  It might sound silly, but “Where the Wild Things Are” was actually banned from several school libraries because parents feared it might encourage their kids to misbehave!  Thankfully cooler heads have prevailed, and now it’d be nearly impossible to miss a copy of this book.  Check one out if you haven’t already…it’s the perfect book for the wild things in your life!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Bully of Barkham Street, by Mary Stolz

Nearly everyone’s had a run-in with a bully at some point in their lives, but how many of us have ever stopped to think about why these kids behave this way?  Mary Stolz’ classic book forces the reader to do just that by telling the story of a frustrated boy named Martin Hastings.  Beneath the gruff, thoughtless exterior is a chubby boy who’s actually a little bit lonely himself.  Acting out is a way for him to get attention, and inevitably Martin comes into conflict with his next-door neighbor, Edward Frost.  This book is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, albeit someone that you might not necessarily like…at least not at first!

One great thing about “The Bully of Barkham Street” is that it’s actually a companion novel to another book called “A Dog on Barkham Street”.  This book was published a few years earlier, and it tells the same events through Edward Frost’s point of view.   I’d recommend reading both books, but no matter which you read first you’ll be able to see the conflict from both boys’ points of view.  Apparently, boys will be boys no matter the decade.  If you’re looking for some great insight into the way boys think, look no further than the Barkham Street books!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Holes, by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats is a teenage boy from a poor but hard-working family of farmers.  The family blames their continual bad luck on a curse of bad luck set in motion by his pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather, and the latest example of this comes when Stanley is wrongfully accused of stealing a priceless pair of shoes.  Stanley is sentenced to a period of hard labor, digging precisely-measured holes in the ground at a prison camp.  Over time, Stanley discovers that he and the rest of the inmates aren’t just digging as punishment, but rather searching for something…

Besides the fact that this book is such a great story, one other reason for its phenomenal success is that it’s just plain fun!  Yes, Stanley’s last name is his first spelled backwards, and that’s just one of the small details buried within this book for careful readers to find.  The supporting cast is just plain hilarious, and it’s no wonder that Disney decided to make “Holes” into a film.

If you’re looking for a modern classic that will have boys howling with laughter as they fly through the pages, look no further than “Holes”.