Bruschetta made with fresh tomatoes and basil from the garden?

Number thirty-six on my favorite-of-all-things list.

Hearing people laugh at all the right parts when they read my writing?

Number seventeen.

Swimming under the stars on a warm summer night?


My favorite thing of all?

Searching the house for one of my boys, assuming they are off playing video games, only to find them curled up somewhere reading. Then, upon telling them that they have work to do, hear the reply, “But I’m at a good part.”


This is what everyone sees when they walk into a library, right?

Over the years, I’ve had many people ask me how I get my boys to read for fun. The honest answer is … I don’t know. Maybe it’s the fact that they always see me reading, or that I talk about books all the time.

Or maybe it’s the fact that the Internet doesn’t turn on until 4 pm ….

computer-problem-152211_1280Research shows that a child’s reading level and their auditory comprehension level don’t match until eight grade, so I still read books out-loud to my kids before bed. Even at fourteen, twelve, and almost-nine, they still run in the room to listen.

How do I find books? I research book lists and reviews on Goodreads to discover what other young readers like. I peruse the middle grade and young adult new arrivals at our local library. But most importantly, I take home stacks of different books from the library just for them to try out. The rule is that they have to read the first chapter. If they aren’t interested in the novel after that, they can pick a different one.

For those of you who want to benefit from my years of trial and error when it comes to getting boys to read, here is a list of my boys’ all-time favorites:

Kindergarten through Second Grade

author Mo Willems

author Julie Danneberg

The Buddy Files series by Dori Hillestad Butler

Bad Kitty series by Nick Bruel

Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole

Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne

A to Z Mysteries series by Ron Roy

Frankin series by Paulette Bourgeois

Berenstein Bears series by Stan Berenstain

Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park

Munford series by Jamie Aramini

Middle Grade

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan

I Survived series by Lauren Tarshis

Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

Big Nate series by Lincoln Pierce

39 Clues series

Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger

Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis

Genius Files by Dan Gutman

Timebenders by Jim Denney

Sherlock, Lupin and Me series by Irene Adler

Jedi Academy series by Jeffery Brown

Young Adult

Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz

Leviathan series by Scott Westerfeld

Chains and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson