It’s frustrating when you have a reluctant reader at home. Reading is a gateway to learning, and it can help with both mental and emotional development. If you’re one of the many with a young man who’s reluctant to turn pages, you need to discover the best books for 10 year old boys.
The books listed below are time-tested to inspire young men to engage in reading. If your son (or any 10 year old in your life) has professed to “hate reading” and refuses to even start a book, put one of these options in his hand.
1. Billy Rainwater and the Golden Grapefruit — Best Overall
Books for 10 year old boys come in all shapes, sizes and genres. But your best option is likely an adventure — and you find a great one in “Billy Rainwater and the Golden Grapefruit (Seven Extraordinary Days That Saved One Dying Town.”
“Billy Rainwater and the Golden Grapefruit” is an extraordinary, page-turning adventure that unfolds in modern-day West Texas. In a dying town, a boy who happens to be the last of his people tries to escape to a better life — but instead finds himself drawn underground with three unlikely companions.
Billy and his new friends face fantastical beasts and challenges, and, ultimately, Billy gives up what he wants most of all so that his hometown can be saved.
This story is one of hope and desperation, and each chapter is replete with themes of redemption, diversity, privilege and social justice. Even the most reluctant of readers will find themselves captivated by the fast-paced narrative and short chapters that keep you muttering, “I’ll read just one more …”
2. Holes — Best Mystery
This is one of those books you wish you could read all over for the first time. “Holes” starts out as the tragic story of Stanley Yelnats, who is sent to a camp/prison for a crime he did not commit. There, he makes both friends and enemies.
And then the story takes an unexpected turn. In the end, Stanley exonerates himself and completely changes the cursed luck of his entire family. Like “Billy Rainwater and the Golden Grapefruit,” this book is a page-turner with short, fast chapters.
3. Hatchet — Best Outdoors Adventure
A modern-day classic, “Hatchet” is the story of a young man who must survive on his own after a plane crash leaves him stranded for weeks in the Canadian wilderness. His only real asset is a hatchet his mother had given him before his journey started.
For the 10 year old boy who loves the outdoors, this book will be the gift he’s always wanted. This is another book that begins a series of novels — though this first installment is head-and-shoulders better than the subsequent ones.
4. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe — Best Classic
“The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” is one of the greatest works of fiction in history, for children or otherwise. The four Pevensie children move to a large house in the country as the Germans blitz London during World War II. By happenstance, they enter a wardrobe in one of the home’s spare rooms, and that wardrobe serves as a portal to Narnia — a different world where the children are royalty.
It’s hard to put into words just how stirring this beloved story is. Put it into the hands of a 10 year old boy, and that child will discover just how much he loves reading.
5. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone — Best Fantasy
OK, so adding Harry Potter to the list is a little bit obvious. Of course any Harry Potter book would be a great fit for a 10 year old boy, but there’s a good reason for that. This series of books has delighted millions of all ages — 10 year old boys included. And, if you’re looking for a book that will engage a young man, this is a great place to start.
Also, “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” is just the first in a series of books. So, if the 10 year old in your life wants to read more, there’s a lot more to churn through.
6. Wonder — Best Empathy Builder
“Wonder” tells the story of Augie, a young man with a face that many think of as “deformed.” This book shares first-person perspectives on what it likes to be different and what it’s like to be a sibling or friend to someone who is considered different.
This book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and it should be required reading for kids as they go through elementary school. Unfortunately, kids have a unique ability to be cruel to one another, but this book can help develop the empathy needed to curb that cruelty.
7. The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes — Best Comic Book
And “The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes” is perhaps the best collection of comics you can find. If you have a truly reluctant 10 year old reader on your hands, this treasury will get him turning pages in no time. And, best of all, there are lots of other comic books to explore after this one — those featuring Calvin and Hobbes, as well as plenty of others.
Final Thoughts on the Best Books for 10 Year Old Boys
Here’s one more resource as you search for the best books for 10 year old boys: the list of Newbery Medal and Honor Books. Since 1922, the American Library Association has recognized the very best in fiction for children by awarding the Newbery Medal and giving Honor Book status to others each year.
Some of the titles listed above won the Newbery Medal or earned Honor Book status. The committee doesn’t always get it right, but they do a great job of picking out any given year’s best fiction.
What books does your 10 year old love? Let us know in the comments section below, or you can always send us a direct message.