At Intellectual Takeout, we strive to offer not only commentary on current events but also tangible advice for engaging with our increasingly chaotic world. That’s why we’re proud to present this ongoing series of literature recommendations.
Previously, we’ve featured books for young boys, and we’re excited to publish a part two with 10 more selections. Whether you’re reading the more challenging books to a 6-year-old or handing all these tomes off to a 12-year-old, these books are perfect for your son, grandson, young brother, cousin, or neighbor.
Read the previous list here.
1. G.A. Henty. In the Heart of the Rockies: A Story of Adventure in Colorado. 1895.
“Packed with adventure – from gold mining, to running the unexplored Colorado River rapids, to surviving a mountain winter with nothing but ingenuity, resourcefulness, and perseverance – this story follows Tom Wade as he goes West as a boy and returns as a man. Revealing the rugged character demanded of mountain men by their environment and times, this book describes the challenges of the American West – a part of our heritage that helped make our country great.”
2. Walter Rollin Brooks. Freddy Goes to Florida. 1927.
“First published between 1927 and 1958, the 26 classic books about Freddy the Pig have delighted five generations of children and are now going on to delight a sixth. Walter R. Brooks introduced Freddy the Pig in Freddy Goes to Florida. Freddy and his friends from Bean Farm migrate south for the winter, with every mile of the way a terrific adventure complete with bumbling robbers and a nasty bunch of alligators. This is vintage Freddy and the whole ensemble cast at their charming best.”
3. Robert McCloskey. Homer Price. 1942.
“Welcome to Centerburg! Where you can win a hundred dollars by eating all the doughnuts you want; where houses are built in a day; and where a boy named Homer Price can foil four slick bandits using nothing but his wits and pet skunk. The comic genius of Robert McCloskey and his wry look at small-town America has kept readers in stitches for generations!”
4. Augusta Stevenson. George Washington: Our First Leader. 1942.
“George Washington was the first President of the United States, the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. But what was he like as a kid? … Find out what George did for fun—and what prepared him to eventually lead a new nation.”
5. James Daugherty. The Landing of the Pilgrims. 1950.
“In England in the early 1600s, everyone was forced to join the Church of England. Young William Bradford and his friends believed they had every right to belong to whichever church they wanted. In the name of religious freedom, they fled to Holland, then sailed to America to start a new life. But the winter was harsh, and before a year passed, half the settlers had died. Yet, through hard work and strong faith, a tough group of Pilgrims did survive. Their belief in freedom of religion became an American ideal that still lives on today.”
6. George Selden. The Cricket in Times Square. 1960.
“Tucker is a streetwise city mouse. He thought he’d seen it all. But he’s never met a cricket before. … Chester Cricket never intended to leave his Connecticut meadow. … [A boy named Mario] rescues Chester from a dusty corner of the subway station and brings him to live in the safety of his parents’ newsstand. He hopes at first to keep Chester as a pet, but Mario soon understands that the cricket is more than that. Because Chester has a hidden talent and no one―not even Chester himself―realizes that the little country cricket may just be able to teach even the toughest New Yorkers a thing or two.”
7. Norton Juster. The Phantom Tollbooth. 1961.
“For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .”
8. Jean Merrill. The Pushcart War. 1964.
“Not long ago the streets of New York City were smelly, smoggy, sooty, and loud. … People blamed the truck owners and the truck owners blamed the little wooden pushcarts that traveled the city selling everything from flowers to hot dogs. Behind closed doors the truck owners declared war on the pushcart peddlers. … The peddlers didn’t have money or the mayor on their side, but that didn’t stop them from fighting back.”
9. Dan Gutman. Honus & Me. 1997.
“Joe Stoshack … knows everything there is to know about … [baseball]—except how to play well. … When he takes a low-paying job cleaning a bunch of junk out of his neighbor’s attic, … [he stumbles] upon a T-206 Honus Wagner—the most valuable baseball card in the world! … It turns out Stosh has the incredible ability to travel through time using baseball cards—and now he’s headed back to 1909, when Honus Wagner played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in a World Series for the record books. But will the legendary Honus Wagner be able to teach Joe how to be a better baseball player?”
10. Conn, Arthur, and Cameron Iggulden. The Double Dangerous Book for Boys. 2019.
“Whether it’s building a flying machine (keep your temper with this one) or learning how to pick a padlock (or your own front door, but not someone else’s), discovering our forgotten explorers and the world’s greatest speeches, or mastering the lauded task of solving a Rubik’s cube, The Double Dangerous Book for Boys is the ultimate companion to be cherished by readers and doers of all ages.”
Intellectual Takeout does not necessarily endorse any particular publisher. All credit for these descriptions goes to the original sources.