Monday, February 1, 2010

No-Fail Boy Books


Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.

Maya Angelou

Chris Crutcher is an author truly beloved by most boys. I can't tell you how many non-readers I have watched become avid readers because of his books. He aims to hit boys where they live - to write about issues important to them in language they both use and understand.

Sadly, his books are often challenged for the very reasons boys love them - violence, language, real-life issues. As a teacher, I am bothered by that. As a writer, I am offended. We've talked a lot about where the line is drawn in terms of what is appropriate and inappropriate for YA literature. I can tell you, I have never considered Mr. Crutcher's books to be over the line. But I have watched in wonder as boys who won't even read Sports-Illustrated work their way through every single title and ask for more.

If you are looking for good books for high school aged boy readers (not for younger readers), I enthusiastically recommend any title by Chris Crutcher.

Click here to visit the Chris Crutcher author home page.

23 comments:

Bane of Anubis said...

Hadn't heard of him until today, but his homepage has a basketball on it, so he must rock :). Thanks for sharing.

Jackee said...

Better than Sports Illustrated for a boy? Dang. I'm sold, I'll have to check them out for the reluctant boy readers in my life.

Diana Paz said...

So great to find books for high school boys... the focus is so strong on girls right now. Thanks!

Jen said...

I'm glad they have something for High School boys to enjoy, since Diana is right, more often than not the reading is for girls.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I don't have boys, but my husband has always been a big reader. I can imagine he would have appreciated having more to read when he was younger. How refreshing to see books like this. So many--most, I think--YA books are geared towards girls. I think I'll have to investigate his books to appease my curiosity. Thanks for posting on this.

Kristen Torres-Toro said...

I've never heard of him, but this looks great!

Kimberly Franklin said...

Never heard of him, but then again I'm not a boy book kind of reader. Well, unless it includes kissing. ; )

Happy Monday!

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Bane - He DOES rock!

Jackee - I'm glad. He really is that good.

Diana - I know. Boys need more focus on them.

Jen - Boys love Chris Crutcher.

Carolina - Do try reading some of them. They are worth it.

Kristen - He's awesome.

Jonathon Arntson said...

Great thoughts. I have heard the name, but I am not sure if I know his books. I'll be on the hunt at the library.

Jennie Englund said...

Here's another noteworthy Chris: Chris Lynch, award-winning author of the boy book INEXCUSABLE.

I think you might find it quite recommendable!

Jemi Fraser said...

I don't know Crutcher's work - yet. After reading this, he's on my list for my next visit to the bookstore!

Lisa and Laura said...

I can't wait to read on of these books. There's not enough good boy YA out there. And censorship makes me angry. Even when we're talking kidlit. I mean, do parents know what their kids are really doing??? And even if their kids haven't had experience with the issues discussed, it's fun to read about.

Kelly said...

Thanks for the rec. I'll keep that author in mind when my son is of age!

Jonathon Arntson said...

I take it you like PJ & O? I loved him and those books.

Carolyn V. said...

I'm so glad you mentioned this book. I have to read 30 books for my next class. This ones on the list. Thanks =)

giddymomof6 said...

Ooh, I'll have to remember him for when my boys get old enough!

Thanks! He sounds awesome!

Jenni

Terresa said...

Crutcher visited our library district a few years back. I was lucky enough to sit among fellow librarians at a luncheon and ask him questions.

He was funny, candid and brilliant.

Stephanie Thornton said...

What age group would you recommend his books for? I have a friend with boys who is looking for some books.

And I see you're reading Battle of the Labyrinth. Let me know what you thought of it- I loved the whole series and have even gotten my husband to read them! (Speaking of boy books.)

Guinevere said...

That tends to be my feeling as well -- that reading is good in and of itself. It's why I always give the eye-roll to parents who instead of discussing the book with their kids if they find aspects of it questionable, just ban it instead.

VR Barkowski said...

Maya Angelou said it beautifully. The key is to make reading a "deep and continuing need." As much as we don't like to think about it, we won't always be there to protect our children. It's our job to nurture them, give them the tools to make their own decisions. Reading is a tool for life. Encourage it.

Susan R. Mills said...

Neither of my boys particularly enjoy reading, but one downright refuses to do it. I will keep Crutcher in mind when he reaches an appropriate age. Thanks for the recommendation.

Shannon O'Donnell said...

I'm sorry I got behind on the comments again. Thanks, everyone, for commenting. Chris Crutcher is awesome - I promise.

@ Jennie - thanks for the rec. I'll check it out.

@ Stephanie - I would recommend his books for high school students. Some of his issues are pretty mature and his language is very real - not overdone, just real. Also, I adore the Percy J. books!! :-)

Mary Aalgaard said...

Here I am, mother of four boys, a day (or two) late and a dollar short. Yes! Let the boys read. Is Crutcher the guy with the swimming book? Heard of his books, need to bring some home!

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