Marysville Library Blog

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Brilliant Boy Books

News flash! Boys are different than girls! Okay, now that you’ve recovered from laughing so hard, it won’t surprise you that boys approach reading in different ways than girls, too. Just like anything else, both boys and girls get better at reading by practicing. With all the entertainment alternatives out there (can anyone say video games?), guess what - guys won’t read if they don’t find books entertaining and fun. Boys have slightly different reading tastes than girls do. Unlike girls, they think books about relationships or character growth are boring. Instead, they go for books with lots of action. They go for books with humor. They tend to read edgier books. And they read lots of non-fiction. Non-fiction is good reading for boys because they can tie it to real world experiences, and in general it provides more pictures, giving them the extra brain stimulation that they need.

Here are some good middle grade boy books that I’ve read recently that you can check out from your local Sno-Isle library:

Kid vs. squid by Greg Van Eekhout: Giant attack squid! Kelp and lobster men! Seagull spies! Mummies and shrunken heads! Curses and an evil witch's head and a creepy Neptune house! Non-stop action and snarky humor give this lots of boy appeal.

Thomas and the dragon queen by Shutta Crum: A great adventure as young Thomas is pressed into a quest to rescue a princess, riding a donkey instead of a horse and wearing a cork-lined vest instead of armor. Boys will like the desperate fight against the bog monster, while grownups will like the ending, where Thomas shows his bravery by talking and understanding to provide the solution rather than blood and gore.

Poop happened! A history of the world from the bottom up by Sarah Albee: Did lead pipes cause the fall of the Roman Empire? How did a knight wearing fifty pounds of armor go to the bathroom? Was poor hygiene the last straw before the French Revolution? Did Thomas Crapper really invent the modern toilet? How do astronauts go in space? Throughout time, the most successful civilizations were the ones who realized that everyone poops, and they had better figure out how to get rid of it! Boys will enjoy grossing out their parents, and it’s all true. Need I say more?

The strange case of origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger: Dwight, a loser, talks to his classmates via an origami finger puppet of Yoda. The puppet is uncannily wise and prescient. Origami Yoda predicts the date of a pop quiz and saves a classmate from popularity-crushing embarrassment with some well-timed advice. Dwight’s classmate Tommy wonders how Yoda can be so smart when Dwight himself is so clueless. With contributions from his puzzled classmates, he assembles the case file that forms this novel. This is hilarious! It is similar in humor to “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”, but for the next grade up.

Here are two additional good resources for finding more books that boys will enjoy reading: (by Michael Sullivan) (by the author Jon Scieszka)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

How is our Lego Club Being Sneaky?

This coming Friday is our ever popular monthly After School Lego Club, 3:30-5:30. What, you may ask, does playing with Legos have to do with libraries and literacy?

    1)  It appeals to middle-grade boys. Studies show that many in this particular group lose interest in reading, books, and the library. Playing with Legos draws them in to the library. It doesn’t hurt that this is a family activity that Dad’s like to participate in as well.
    2)  I provide a boy-friendly themes and lots of books relating to that theme that they can check out. As a general rule, boys like non-fiction (true books), so I put out lots of non-fiction.  This Friday's theme is "Survival", but I've also done "Castles and Forts", "UFOs and Aliens", "Things that Fly", and others.

    3)  Boys like and need to relate their reading to real life. So this combination of building Lego creations with books about the same thing helps boys make those connections.

What can you do at home to help your boys with reading?
  • Provide the boys in your life with books about subjects they are already interested in. Are they interested in bike riding for instance? We’ve got books, both fiction and non-fiction about biking.
  • Are they reading something for school? Do a real-life activity together that relates to it. Are they reading Gary Paulsen’s wilderness survival story, “Hatchet” for example? Walk through the woods and talk about what they could use to survive if they were lost.
  • Finally, even if your boys are old enough to read by themselves, don’t give up on reading to them at bedtime. You are modeling the importance of reading, plus showing them another way to enjoy books.

See you at Lego Club!