Why Hockey Is One Of The Best Sports For Kids (Hockey Dads Part 2)

Why Hockey Is One Of The Best Sports For Kids (Hockey Dads Part 2)

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Welcome to Part 2 of my interview with hockey dads Zach Lamppa and former NHLer Tom Chorske, who will explain why hockey is one of the best sports for kids of all ages. They’ll also give tips for hockey families new to the game as well as seasoned parents whose children are exploring college scholarships. Be sure to check out Part 1 of the interview, where the guys share how they broke the Guinness World Record last fall for longest hockey pass.

Here’s why Zach and Tom are great resources. Zach, who has four children ranging from ages 3-to-14, played at Hibbing Community College in Minnesota. He has had a lifelong love of hockey and now bonds with his kids over the game. Zach researched how to go about breaking a Guinness record and coordinated all the steps along the way. On his first official attempt, Zach shattered the old record of 894 feet with a pass that traveled 904 feet and three inches. 

Picked by the Canadiens in the first round of the 1985 draft, Tom began his pro career in Montreal and played nearly 600 games for seven teams over the course of 11 seasons. As a high school senior in 1985, he became Minnesota’s first Mr. Hockey Award winner.  He went on to win the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils a decade later. Today he is a sales and business executive and a hockey broadcast analyst covering the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Gophers for Fox Sports North. Tom has three children, and his two oldest children played on high school state championships teams. His daughter has a commitment to Harvard and his older son plans to play junior and pursue a scholarship. 

youth hockey Zach, who skates with the Minnesota Warriors, won the shooting skills competition in 2018.

Why Ice Hockey Is One Of The Best Sports For Kids

 

1. Hockey And Skating Encourage Family Togetherness.

Despite their age difference, the Lamppa kids enjoy skating together. Zach loves playing hockey games with them on and off the ice. “It’s great to see them play together and have something they can all do together,” says Zach. “We play a lot of shinny hockey—knee hockey with mini sticks, a net, and a soft ball. We play that for hours. We play on both inside and outside rinks. It’s fun to watch my eight-year-old and five-year-old, who are relatively new to the game, help my three-year-old who is still pushing the walker around and doubling up on diapers and wearing snow pants for padding in case she falls.”

 2. Hockey Teaches Patience, Discipline, And Respect For Others.

Tom has observed a difference in attention span between girls and boys at the younger levels. He notes that hockey is a good way for boys to develop their focus and listening skills. “At the youth levels, girls want to listen to the coach and learn how to come together and win games,” he says. “The boys just want to jump past all that to play the game and compete against each other.”

Zach adds, “You have to respect the game and your teammates. I definitely see my kids being able to get along with others and learning discipline. Every Monday and Wednesday at 5:30, we have to get ready to go to the rink. They know to make sure you get to sleep Friday night so you can get up Saturday. I’m starting to see my kids shaking the referee’s hand after the game and saying thank you, even at the mite level. I want to see them treat people with respect and thanks. It’s a fun game and you get as much out of it as you put into it.”

3. Playing On A Hockey Team Promotes Lifelong Friendships.

Tom started at age six on the very lake where they set the world record. Today he plays in NHL alumni events and joins groups of friends that have standing ice time. “I was really a product of my environment,” he says. “My parents barely ever went on the ice with me. They’d bring me down to go skating. I didn’t have any brothers, so I found a lot of my friends down at the rink.”

Zach has been playing hockey since he was was seven. Now he plays in a Sunday night pick-up game and skates as often as he can. “A high percentage of the people I continue to talk to or have relationships with are through the game whether it’s a professional, someone I played on a team with, or someone I’ve played pickup with,”  Zach explains.  “I look forward to skating with my buddies. When you’re on the rink, it’s like a brotherhood, a chance to cut loose and forget about life for an hour.”

Zach notes that he and Tom met in 2002 through a mutual friend. Their ten-year-age difference and the fact that only one of them played in the NHL didn’t matter. “I played Division 3 at a small school and Tom won a Stanley Cup,” Zach says. “It’s a testament to the game. You don’t have to both be Mr. Hockey to have a relationship.”

 

 Zach’s Tips for Hockey Families

 

1. Don’t Get Caught Up In The Hype Or Drama.

“There’s a lot of people who get caught up in whether their kid is on the A team, B team, or C team. Embrace it and let the cards fall where they may. Typically hockey people are good people. If you can embrace that and weather the storms and whatever comes, you can be a proud parent.”

2. Buy Used Equipment From Your Social Networks Or Online.

“Used equipment is a huge market right now. Talk to the other hockey parents, ask does anyone have a size three or five? Maybe you can trade. I recommend a wood stick when starting out. It’s less expensive and it’s heavier. It’s better for development to have a heavier stick in your hand. Wooden sticks are cheaper and hard to find these days. The days of the wood stick are gone, but it’s a good nugget to think about for young kids for the first few years. Make them earn getting a carbon stick. Those sticks are just off the charts, $250-$300.”

 sports for kids

3. Eat A Healthy Diet.

“You can’t outwork a bad diet even if you’re five-or-six-years old. Give them the right balance of protein, carbs, and fat. My wife is a nutritionist and we give our kids protein shakes and ISAGENIX bars on the fly instead of stopping at McDonalds, or if we’re doubling up on practices, in between we’ll have veggies and bread with peanut butter. Those habits carry you through your career. A lot of the top players started practicing healthy nutrition at a young age. Ask questions if you’re not sure about nutrition or anything else. There’s never a stupid question. Talk to the coaches and ask what the best meal is before a game.”

4. Stress The Importance Of Respect.

“Make sure your kids respect their coaches, refs, and teammates. When one kids makes the A team, you never want to rub it in to your buddy who is on B or C.  Failures are okay. You’re going to have setbacks. A lot of employers are looking for people who have failed or been cut as they know what it’s like to work harder than the rest. A rink is only 200 by 85 feet, but you can take those life lessons and bring them outside the rink.”

 

youth hockey

 

Stanley Cup Champion Tom Chorske’s Tips For Hockey Families

 

1. Keep The Game Fun.

“You want to make sure it’s fun. Is the player excited to go to the rink when they’re 6-10? That will keep their interest level high.  As it gets more competitive, your kids may not stay at the top level, but as a parent you want kids to play sports as long as they can. Making the lower team is rarely a tragedy. It usually works out just fine. It’s good for kids to learn adversity and even to understand the politic of an athletic scenario. At some point, you have to realize how fast they’re growing up and decide you want to enjoy watching them play.”

2. Don’t Invest A Lot Of Money In The Early Years.

“Early on, I wouldn’t invest a lot of money. Keep them playing other sports, and then as they become teenagers, if they’re still really passionate about hockey and showing some promise and could play on a top team, then maybe you want to invest in some special skills coaches. If they’re showing tons of interest, passion, and promise and you have the money, then it’s the time to make the investment and see what comes of it. I’d say that for any sport.”

3. For Older Serious Players, Balance Extra Training With Downtime.

“If you’ve got a 16-or-17-year-old who is serious about playing in college, then it’s a bit more of a requirement to keep up with that group of prospects by doing training off the ice and working on skating skills, puck handling skills, shooting, and decision-making. Then it becomes kind of a full-time, all-in investment. There’s a point of diminishing returns though. I don’t recommend doing something every day as your body needs rest and your brain needs to take a break. It is stressful to keep up with everyone.”

4. Men’s College Hockey Players Typically Play Junior First.

“Most boys who want to get a college commitment will need to play in one of the main junior leagues like the USHL or North American Hockey League and use it as a gap year. Then they will play 60-70 games at a higher level. That’s what nearly all the college players who came before them did. It’s a different game now than when I was playing, more skilled and faster. Back when I played, if you had a commitment, you went straight into college as a true freshman. It was a big jump for me. That was a rough first year.”

Do You Have Tips To Share?

What fantastic tips! I agree, hockey is a great sport for kids. Zach and Tom listed some insightful benefits and helpful tips to keep in mind. Do you have any advice for hockey families? What benefits has hockey given you? Share your comments below.

Be sure to check out Part 1 of the interview with Zach and Tom and learn more about how they broke a world record and what inspired them to pursue it. You can also watch their video below.

Minnesota Hockey Dads Break Guinness World Record For Longest Pass (Part 1)

Minnesota Hockey Dads Break Guinness World Record For Longest Pass (Part 1)

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When I heard this cool story about two hockey dads, I just had to interview them for my blog. Last November, Zach Lamppa and former NHLer Tom Chorske broke the Guinness World Record for longest hockey pass. The record pass took place on Nov. 20, 2018 on the pristine early ice of Lake of the Isle in Minneapolis. A YouTube video of the record breaking pass from these two hockey dads has garnered attention from across the hockey world, including an interview on the NHL Network. You can read more about the record below, and be sure to check out Part 2 of this interview as it contains great tips for hockey families.

 

hockey record

 

Sharing A Love of Ice Hockey

Zach, who grew up in Virginia, MN, and now resides in Detroit Lakes, MN said that the record was broken to prove that anyone is capable of doing great things. 

“I’ve always wondered how far I could actually pass the puck in perfect conditions,” he said. “We did this to inspire people. You never know what’s possible until you try.”

On his first official attempt, Zach shattered the old record of 894 feet with a pass that traveled 904 feet and three inches. On the receiving end of the record pass was Minnesota hockey legend Tom Chorske, a former Golden Gopher star and Stanley Cup Champion.

“The people at Guinness make the terms,” said Zach. “We had to have regulation equipment, a survey crew, and officials. It’s not just something you can just go out and do, you have to plan. There’s a criteria you must meet.”

These good friends have played at different levels, but share a common love of hockey. They met through a mutual friend in 2002.

Zach, who has four children ranging from ages 3-to-14, played at Hibbing Community College in Minnesota. Picked by the Canadiens in the first round of the 1985 draft, Tom began his pro career in Montreal and played nearly 600 games for seven teams over the course of 11 seasons. He has two sons ages 17 and 12, and a 16-year-old daughter. His older children played on high school state championships teams; his daughter has a commitment to Harvard and his older son plans to play junior and pursue a scholarship. Tom grew up near the Lake of the Isle, skating there as a child, and was intrigued by Zach’s idea of setting a record there.

“A world record seemed kind of cool to us,” notes Tom. “The conditions were right, and Zach put together the crew of people that needed to be there to pull this thing off. The lake froze prior to any snowfall just enough for us to get on it. There wasn’t any snow on top of it or imperfections, so it was kind of smooth as glass.”

hockey players

Family Event In The Works

They hope that this record can inspire others. The two hockey dads are in the early stages of organizing an annual family event in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area which would unite various ages and talent levels. It would feature ice hockey events and possibly others winter sports such as curling and figure skating. Attendees would have the chance to try their hand at setting a Guinness World Record. 

“As a person and a father of four hockey players, hockey has given me so much,”  Zach said. “I am not the greatest player in the world, but this challenge helped me to prove that if I can do it, anyone can do it. We’re hopefully inspiring some kids to go out and break our record, and there are so many other records that can be broken. With the event we’re planning, we hope to inspire kids who didn’t make the A-team, but have a certain skill set that they can come out and showcase, and inspire kids who think they can’t do it or have been told they can’t do it. We’ll see how it grows. Hopefully this will resonate in the hockey community. I’d love to see other communities do something similar.”

Editor’s Note: I’ll keep my blog readers posted when the details become available!

Long before he was breaking Guinness world records, in 1985, as a high school senior Tom became Minnesota’s first Mr. Hockey Award winner.  He went on to win the Stanley Cup with the New Jersey Devils in 1995. Today he is a sales and business executive and a hockey broadcast analyst covering the Minnesota Wild and Minnesota Gophers for Fox Sports North.

“Once we broke the record, we reflected back on what was really driving us,” Tom said. “It really was our friendship. We were having fun scheming it up, and with it being a hockey-related record on a Minnesota lake, there was some coolness to it.”

Now they’re having fun organizing their family event and recruiting sponsors. While they don’t know how long the record will stand, both hockey dads hope it will inspire others.

“We are just two friends who got together to try and do something great,” said Zach. “We hope this accomplishment will show others that good things can happen to anyone.”

YouTube Video And Part 2

Check out the pass in this YouTube video. And don’t miss Part 2 of this interview, which features invaluable advice for hockey families. Coming April 13! How about posting a congratulations to Tom and Zach in the comments below for their inspiring accomplishment?

AdventHealth / Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Bear Cheers Up Kids In Hospitals

AdventHealth / Tampa Bay Lightning Hockey Bear Cheers Up Kids In Hospitals

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I admit, I’m a Boston Bruins fans, but now I have a special place in my heart for the Tampa Bay Lightning hockey team. And it’s all because of a bear. But before we get into that, let me backtrack to a night several years ago at a New England hospital.

On that fateful night, my six-year-old kindergartener was in the intensive care unit, newly diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. What a scary, heart-wrenching time for all of us. One thing that helped was the kindness of strangers.

During her three-night stay, as my little girl was getting jabbed with needles and her life was changing forever, the hospital staff gave her toys to take home. Maybe because it was around Christmas, people had donated books, board games, and puzzles both for the play room and for kids to keep. But the first gift was one I will always remember.

We were in the ICU shortly after diagnosis and my daughter was doing okay, but frightened. It was 11 o’clock at night, and she should have been home snuggled in bed with her stuffed animals. Instead, she was getting insulin through an IV and hooked up to a heart rate monitor.

Then the nurse brought in a stuffed brown bear wearing a pink hat and wrapped in a soft pink blanket. My daughter clutched that bear the first night and kept it beside her during her whole hospital stay.

“I can keep it?” she asked hopefully. The one time she felt hopeful in those early dark hours. My own emotions kept darting between fear, fury that this was happening, and grief for the end of my daughter’s carefree childhood.

But as she hugged that bear, I remember thinking, “Thank you. Thank you to whoever donated him. There are nice people in the world.”

tampa bay lightning team

Lightning Hockey Magic

That’s why when a press release about the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Buddy Bear programwhich brings bears to children in similar situations—crossed my desk, I had to feature it on my blog.

AdventHealth and the Tampa Bay Lightning team recently teamed up to host the third annual Pediatric Health Night as the Lightning took on the Ottawa Senators. The first 3,000 Bolts fans to visit the designated area inside the AMALIE arena received a free, commemorative co-branded AdventHealth/Lightning Buddy Bear, celebrating the new black Lightning jersey. Before the puck dropped, fans could head to Thunder Alley for family-fun activities and kid-friendly games along with prizes at the AdventHealth tents.

tampa bay lightning fans

For every Buddy Bear handed out at the game, a bear was delivered to a child in AdventHealth’s care along with a personalized note of encouragement from a fan. I love that idea!

And the great thing is, this is an ongoing program. Anyone can purchase a commemorative buddy bear for $25 at http://www.adventhealthbuddybear.com, fill out an online note of inspiration, and AdventHealth will deliver a new bear with the note to a pediatric patient. The Buddy Bear Program benefits the AdventHealth West Florida Foundation and contributions will be used to purchase pediatric life-saving equipment, new technology and create new pediatric facilities and services in the community.

tampa bay lightning souvenirs

“We are more than a trusted healthcare system, we are a dedicated community partner that is committed to helping people live their healthiest life possible,” said Lauren Key, Senior Executive Officer of Consumer Strategy, AdventHealth West Florida Division. “We look forward to encouraging every Bolts fan to write an uplifting message that is delivered with a bear to help our youngest patients smile and feel whole.”

The West Florida Division of AdventHealth has a network of care that includes AdventHealth Carrollwood, AdventHealth Connerton, AdventHealth Dade City, AdventHealth Lake Placid, AdventHealth North Pinellas, AdventHealth Ocala, AdventHealth Sebring, AdventHealth Tampa, AdventHealth Wauchula, AdventHealth Wesley Chapel and AdventHealth Zephyrhills, as well as three freestanding offsite Emergency Rooms including AdventHealth Central Pasco ER, AdventHealth Palm Harbor ER and AdventHealth TimberRidge ER.

“The Lightning are very happy to be once again teaming up with our great partners at AdventHealth to bring attention to pediatric health concerns,” Lightning CEO Steve Griggs said. “We look forward to helping make healthier young Bolts fans in Tampa Bay and would like to thank AdventHealth for always bringing health and wellness to the forefront.”

Tampa Bay Lightning family

About the AdventHealth West Florida Foundation (Formerly Florida Hospital Foundation West Florida Division)

The AdventHealth West Florida Foundation is a not-for-profit 501c3 organization that supports programs and services throughout the AdventHealth West Florida Division network of care. Through generous donations and acts of gratitude, the foundation funds new facilities, and life-saving equipment and technology to advance medicine, enhance patient experiences and provide world-class healthcare, close to home. With a sacred mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ, they strive to help more people feel whole and live their healthiest life possible. 

How To Buy And Donate A Lightning Hockey Bear

Tampa Bay Lightning shopHere are the details on how to participate in the program. Buy a customized AdventHealth / Tampa Bay Lightning team teddy bear for $25.

For every $25 you spend, you’ll receive one bear and a pediatric patient at one of the AdventHealth West Florida hospitals will receive one Buddy Bear.

$25 = One bear for you and one bear for a buddy

$50 = Two bears for you and two bears for two different buddies

$75 = Three bears for you and three bears for three different buddies

$100 = Four bears for you and four bears for four different buddies

If you would like to purchase more than one bear for a buddy, but wouldn’t like more than one bear for yourself, you can let them know in the custom message section of the donation page and they will send your extra bears to additional buddies.

Your generous participation in the Buddy Bear program brings love and joy to the pediatric patients at AdventHealth West Florida hospitals. What a great program for Bolts fans, and for anyone who wants to reach out to a child in the hospital.

Believe me, it will give them a lightning bolt of hope during a tough time.

What do you think of this program? Has your family ever been touched by kindness during a hospital stay? 

 

 

50 Exciting Books For Boys Guaranteed To Get Them Reading

50 Exciting Books For Boys Guaranteed To Get Them Reading

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When I was growing up, it seemed as if there weren’t many books for boys. There were some notable exceptions, of course, such as the Hardy Boys series, but many of the novels lining the bookstore shelves were geared toward girls. Nowadays, middle school and high school aged boys have a much wider selection, however, sometimes parents have difficulty persuading them to read a book. Many say they desperately need books for boys who don’t like to read. Kids today have more distractions, and unfortunately they are often drawn more to Fortnite or Roblox than to a book.

On the bright side though, parents and grandparents tell me that the “right” book keeps their boy riveted and wanting more novels in a similar vein. Below, I’ve highlighted 50 books for reluctant boy readers. I made these choices based upon books I’ve read and recommendations from parents, teachers, and boys ages 10-17.

Girls will also enjoy these books, but I’m calling the post “50 Exciting Books For Boys Guaranteed To Get Them Reading” as most of the choices have male protagonists. I’ve divided them into five categories. Some of these “books for boys” could cross over into other categories also, but I categorized them as best as I could. So, let’s begin! Here are 50 books for teen boys and pre-teen boys who may or may not like to read.

Sports Books For Boys

Face-Off by Stacy Juba – T.J. has gotten himself out of the fancy prep school his father picked for him and into the public high school his twin brother Brad attends. Now T.J. is a shining new star on the hockey team where Brad once held the spotlight. And he’s testing his popularity with Brad’s friends, eyeing Brad’s girl and competing to be captain of the team. The whole school is rooting for a big double-strength win…not knowing that their twin ice hockey stars are heating up the ice for a winner takes all face-off.

Offsides by Stacy Juba – Twin hockey stars T.J. and Brad have finally resolved their differences and forged a friendship on and off the ice. Now high school seniors, they focus on landing a commitment to a D1 school. What should have been the best year ever takes a nasty hit when the boys’ parents announce their divorce, and Brad makes a mistake that could impact his game eligibility.

Heat by Mike Lupica Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat along with aspirations of leading his team all the way to the Little League World Series. But his firepower is nothing compared to the heat Michael faces in his day-to-day life. 

Check out these books for tween and teen boys! #YALit #MgLit #AmReading Click To TweetHeart of a Champion by Carl DeukerJimmy Winter is a born star on the baseball field, and Seth Barnam can only dream of being as talented. Still, the two baseball fanatics have the kind of friendship that should last forever. But when Seth experiences an unthinkable loss, he’s forced to find his own personal strength–on and off the field. 

Ironman by Chris Crutcher – Bo has been at war with his father for as long as he can remember. The rage he feels gives him the energy as a triathlete to press his body to the limit, but it also translates into angry outbursts. Now dangerously close to expulsion from school, Bo has been assigned to Anger Management sessions with the school “truants” and finally has to deal with his long-brewing hatred for his father — before it eats away at him completely.

The Final Four by Paul Volponi March Madness is in full swing, and there are only four teams let in the NCAA basketball championship. The heavily favored Michigan Spartans and the underdog Troy Trojans meet in the first game in the seminfinals, and it’s there that the fates of Malcolm, Roko, Crispin, and M.J. intertwine. As the last moments tick down on the game clock, you’ll learn how each player went from being a kid who loves to shoot hoops to a powerful force in one of the most important games of the year. 

Football Genius by Tim Green Twelve-year-old Troy White has a phenomenal gift: He can predict football plays before they even happen. When Troy’s single mom gets a job working for the Atlanta Falcons, Troy sees this as an opportunity to show what he can do. But first he has to get to the Falcons—and with tight security and a notoriously mean coach, even his mom’s field passes aren’t much help.

Slam! by Walter Dean Myers – Seventeen-year-old Greg “Slam” Harris can do it all on the basketball court, but Slam’s grades aren’t that hot. And when his teachers jam his troubles in his face, he blows up. Slam never doubted himself on the court until he found himself going one-on-one with his own future, and he didn’t have the ball.

Fantasy And Science Fiction Books For Boys

The Maze Runner by James Dashner – A great introduction to the blockbuster series. When Thomas wakes up in the lift, the only thing he can remember is his name. He’s surrounded by strangers—boys whose memories are also gone. Outside the towering stone walls that surround them is a limitless, ever-changing maze. It’s the only way out—and no one’s ever made it through alive. Then a girl arrives. The first girl ever. And the message she delivers is terrifying. 

Warriors #1 Into the Wild by Erin HunterRead the book that began a phenomenon. For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their ancestors. But the warrior code has been threatened, and the ThunderClan cats are in danger. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary housecat named Rusty… who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all. 

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling – Book 1 in the bestselling series. Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny. 

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan – Book 1 in Percy Jackson and the Olympians – Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse as Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. 

A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket The Baudelaire children, Violet, Klaus and baby Sunny, are exceedingly unlucky. Their parents have been killed, and they are forced to go and stay with their Uncle Olaf. It soon turns out that Olaf has evil plans for the children. 

House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo When fifteen-year-old Xander and his family move into an old, abandoned house in the middle of a dense forest outside of a small California town, they discover that not only are some of the rooms portals into other places, but that malevolent forces are at work.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman Nobody Owens, known as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn’t live in a graveyard, being raised by ghosts, with a guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor the dead. There are adventures in the graveyard for a boy—an ancient Indigo Man, a gateway to the abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, he will be in danger from the man Jack—who has already killed Bod’s family. 

Peter and the StarCatchers: Book One by Dave Barry & Ridley PearsonTreacherous battles with pirates, foreboding thunderstorms at sea, and evocative writing immerses the reader in a story that slowly and finally reveals the secrets and mysteries of the beloved Peter Pan.

The Ruins of Gorlan: Book 1 (Ranger’s Apprentice) by John Flanagan Fifteen-year-old Will, always small for his age, has been chosen as a Ranger’s apprentice. What he doesn’t yet realize is that the Rangers are the protectors of the kingdom. Highly trained in the skills of battle and surveillance, they fight the battles before the battles reach the people. And as Will is about to learn, there is a large battle brewing. 

Eragon: Inheritance, Book I (The Inheritance Cycle 1) by Christopher Paolini  Fifteen-year-old Eragon believes that he is merely a poor farm boy—until his destiny as a Dragon Rider is revealed. Gifted with only an ancient sword, a loyal dragon, and sage advice from an old storyteller, Eragon is soon swept into a dangerous tapestry of magic, glory, and power. Now his choices could save—or destroy—the Empire. 

Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25 (Book 1) by Richard Paul Evans – Michael thinks his electric powers are unique until he discovers that a cheerleader named Taylor has the same mysterious powers. With the help of Michael’s friend, the three of them set out to discover how Michael and Taylor ended up with their abilities, and their investigation soon brings them to the attention of a powerful group who wants to control the teens—and through them, the world.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien –  Prelude to The Lord of the Rings. Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure.

Action And Adventure Books For Boys

Swindle by Gordon KormanOcean’s 11 . . . with 11-year-olds. After a mean collector named Swindle cons him out of his most valuable baseball card, Griffin Bing must put together a band of misfits to break into Swindle’s compound and recapture the card. 

Crossing the Wire by WIll HobbsIn this riveting, action-packed novel from award-winning author Will Hobbs, a teenage boy hoping to help his loved ones must fight for his life as he makes the dangerous journey across the Mexican border into the United States. 

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (Brian’s Saga Book 1) – Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is traveling by single-engine plane to visit his father for the first time since his parents’ divorce. When the plane crashes, killing the pilot, the sole survivor is Brian. He is alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but his clothing, a tattered windbreaker, and the hatchet his mother had given him as a present.

Holes by Louis Sachar (Holes Series) Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that has followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys’ detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. Soon, Stanley realizes the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake?  

My Side Of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George – Sam Gribley is terribly unhappy living in New York City with his family, so he runs away to the Catskill Mountains to live in the woods—all by himself. With only a penknife, a ball of cord, forty dollars, and some flint and steel, he intends to survive on his own. Sam learns about courage, danger, and independence during his year in the wilderness, a year that changes his life forever.

Unbroken (The Young Adult Adaptation): An Olympian’s Journey from Airman to Castaway to Captive by Laura Hillenbrand  – In this captivating and lavishly illustrated young adult edition of her award-winning #1 New York Times bestseller, Laura Hillenbrand tells the story of a former Olympian’s courage, cunning, and fortitude following his plane crash in enemy territory. This adaptation of Unbroken introduces a new generation to one of history’s most thrilling survival epics.

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli Jeffrey Lionel “Maniac” Magee might have lived a normal life if a freak accident hadn’t made him an orphan. After living with his unhappy and uptight aunt and uncle for eight years, he decides to run—and not just run away, but run. This is where the myth of Maniac Magee begins, as he changes the lives of a racially divided small town with his amazing and legendary feats. 

Greyson Gray: Camp Legend (The Greyson Gray Series Book 1) by B.C. Tweedt – Sports camp has everything twelve-year-old Greyson Gray needs to distract him from his father’s mysterious disappearance. But when Greyson stumbles upon a terrorist’s sinister plot brewing in the observatory, he suddenly toils with two dueling worlds – one of lurking danger and mystery, the other of competition and awkward romance.

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer by John Grisham The thrilling young mystery series from internationally bestselling author John Grisham! In the small city of Strattenburg, there are many lawyers, and though he’s only thirteen years old, Theo Boone thinks he’s one of them. Theo knows every judge, policeman, court clerk—and a lot about the law. But Theo finds himself in court much sooner than expected. Because he knows so much—maybe too much—he is suddenly dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial.  The stakes are high, but Theo won’t stop until justice is served. 

The Apothecary (The Apothecary Series) by Maile MeloyIt’s 1952 and the Scott family has just moved from Los Angeles to London. Here, fourteen-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin Burrows – a fascinating boy who’s not afraid to stand up to authority and dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin’s father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary’s sacred book, the Pharmacopoeia, in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies—Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons.

Guts & Glory: The American Civil War by Ben Thompson History buff, Civil War reenactor, and popular blogger Ben Thompson uses his extensive knowledge and vivid storytelling style to bring the Civil War to life in this first book in a thrilling new series featuring incredible people, events, and civilizations.  

Lost in the Barrens by Farley Mowat Awasin and Jamie, brothers in courage, meet a challenge many mountain men could not endure. When their canoe is destroyed by the fury of the rapids, they must face the wilderness with no food and no hope of rescue.  To survive, they build an igloo, battle a towering grizzly bear, track several wolves, slaughter caribou for food and clothing.Two lost huskies they tame bring companionship—and maybe a way home from their dangerous adventure.

Books For Boys About Growing Up

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton No one ever said life was easy. But Ponyboy is pretty sure that he’s got things figured out. He knows that he can count on his brothers and friends. But not on much else besides trouble with the Socs, a vicious gang of rich kids whose idea of a good time is beating up on “greasers” like Ponyboy. At least he knows what to expect—until the night someone takes things too far. 

Tex by S.E. Hinton Easygoing and reckless, Tex likes everyone and everything, especially his horse and his best friend’s sister. Life with his older brother, Mason, would be just about perfect if only he would stop complaining about Pop, who hasn’t been home in five months.  While Mason worries about paying the bills and getting a basketball scholarship, Tex just seems to attract trouble. When everything seems to be falling apart, how can Tex find a way to keep things together? 

Restart by Gordan Korman – Chase doesn’t remember falling off the roof and doesn’t, in fact, remember anything. He wakes up in a hospital room and suddenly has to learn his whole life all over again. When he gets back to school, some kids treat him like a hero and others are clearly afraid of him. Pretty soon, it’s not only a question of who Chase is—it’s a question of who he was . . . and who he’s going to be.  

The Wednesday Wars by Gary D. Schmidt Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher while the rest of the class has religious instruction. But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself. 

Wonder by R. J. PalacioAugust Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face. 

Paper Towns by John Green Quentin Jacobsen has spent a lifetime loving the magnificent Margo Roth Spiegelman from afar. So when she cracks open a window and climbs back into his life—summoning him for an ingenious campaign of revenge—he follows. When their all-nighter ends and a new day breaks, Margo has disappeared. But Q soon learns that there are clues—and they’re for him. Embarking on an exhilarating adventure to find her, the closer Q gets, the less he sees the girl he thought he knew. 

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews – It is a universally acknowledged truth that high school sucks. But on the first day of his senior year, Greg Gaines thinks he’s figured it out. The answer to the basic existential question: How is it possible to exist in a place that sucks so bad? His strategy: remain at the periphery at all times. Keep an insanely low profile. Make mediocre films with the one person who is even sort of his friend, Earl. This plan works for exactly eight hours. Then Greg’s mom forces him to become friends with a girl who has cancer. This brings about the destruction of Greg’s entire life.

Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt As Doug struggles to be more than the “skinny thug” that his teachers and the police think him to be, he finds an unlikely ally in fiery young lady Lil Spicer. In Lil, Doug finds the strength to endure an abusive father, the suspicions of a whole town, and the return of his oldest brother, forever scarred, from Vietnam. Together, they find a safe haven in the local library, inspiration in learning about the plates of John James Audubon’s birds, and a hilarious adventure on a Broadway stage. 

Humorous Books For Boys

Crash by Jerry SpinelliCocky seventh-grade super-jock Crash Coogan got his nickname the day he used his first football helmet to knock his cousin Bridget flat on her backside. And he has been running over people ever since, especially Penn Webb, the dweeby, vegetarian Quaker kid who lives down the block. Through the eyes of Crash, readers get a rare glimpse into the life of a bully. 

Big Nate #1: In a Class by Himself by Lincoln Peirce – Nate knows he’s meant for big things. REALLY big things. But things don’t always go your way just because you’re awesome. Nate barely survives his dad’s toxic oatmeal before rushing off to school—minus his lunch. He body slams the no-nonsense principal. He accidentally insults his least favorite teacher. Trouble always seems to find him, but Nate keeps his cool. He knows he’s destined for greatness. A fortune cookie told him so.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Wimpy Kid series Book 1) by Jeff Kinney Being a kid can really stink. And no one knows this better than Greg Heffley, who finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. Author and illustrator Jeff Kinney introduces us to an unlikely hero.

Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life (Middle School series Book 1) by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts Rafe Khatchadorian has enough problems at home without throwing his first year of middle school into the mix. Luckily, he’s got an ace plan for the best year ever: to break every rule in his school’s oppressive Code of Conduct.  But when Rafe’s game starts to catch up with him, he’ll have to decide if winning is all that matters, or if he’s finally ready to face the rules, bullies, and truths he’s been avoiding. 

Au Revoir, Crazy European Chick by Joe Schreiber – Ferris Bueller meets La Femme Nikita in this funny, action-packed young adult novel. It’s prom night—and Perry just wants to stick to his own plan and finally play a much anticipated gig with his band in the Big Apple. But when his mother makes him take their quiet, geeky Lithuanian exchange student to the prom, he never expects that his ordinary high school guy life will soon turn on its head. 

The Kid Who Ran For President by Dan Gutman – A  fast-paced, funny, and surprising account of a boy’s run for the Oval Office in the year 2000. Under the tutelage of Lane, his brainy friend and self-appointed campaign manager, the affable sixth-grader from Madison, Wisconsin, takes on the Democrats and Republicans as a Third Party candidate who can make waves. 

Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer A committed slacker enlists the help of his best friend (who may or may not be the devil) to get his act together in this “timelessly true to life” (Booklist) novel filled with humor, awkwardness, and honesty, ideal for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.

The Genius Files #1: Mission Unstoppable by Dan GutmanTwelve-year-old twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald embark on a family vacation you’ll have to read to believe. With the real-kid humor that has earned Dan Gutman millions of fans around the world, and featuring weird-but-true American tourist destinations, The Genius Files is a one-of-a-kind mix of geography and fun. As Coke and Pepsi dodge nefarious villains from the Pez museum in California all the way to the Infinity Room in Wisconsin, black-and-white photographs and maps put young readers right into the action

The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy by Kate HattemerWitty, sarcastic Ethan and his three best friends are students at Selwyn Arts Academy, which has been hijacked by For Art’s Sake, a sleazy reality-television show. In the tradition of Ezra Pound, the foursome secretly writes and distributes a long poem to protest the show. But the forces behind the show are craftier than they seem. The web of betrayal stretches farther than Ethan could have ever imagined, and it’s up to him, his friends, and a heroic gerbil named Baconnaise to save Selwyn.

I Have a Bad Feeling About This by Jeff Strand – Henry Lambert would rather play video games than spend time in the great outdoors—but that doesn’t make him a wuss. Skinny nerd? Fine. But wuss is a little harsh. Sadly, his dad doesn’t agree. Which is why Henry is being shipped off to Strongwoods Survival Camp. Strongwoods isn’t exactly as advertised. It looks like the victim of a zombie apocalypse, the “camp director” is a psycho drill sergeant, and Henry’s sure he saw a sign written in blood…

Conclusion

As you can see, there are many exciting books for boys that don’t like to read. I could’ve included a lot more than fifty books for reluctant boy readers, but had to draw the line somewhere.

Do you have any book recommendations for teen and preteen boys? Please share them in the comments.

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