Q: What has three Y chromosomes, a few good friends, and a lot of adventures?
A: Three great "boy" books for summer!
When I was growing up, all the good adventure books were about boys.
In those days, book boys ran away from home, they befriended wild wolves, they captured (or were captured by) pirates. Girls in adventures books back then mostly made sandwiches and waited to be rescued by boys.
I'm happy to report that literary girls are having a lot more fun these days, but the literary boys aren't sitting around drinking tea--they are still having adventures!
Here are my current favorite books about boys:
In Soar by Joan Bauer, 12-year-old Jeremiah is the world's biggest baseball fan, even though he can no longer play. When he was 10, he got sick and eventually had a heart transplant. Now he has to be really careful...and he can't run. His love for the game hasn't changed, though. When he and his dad move to a new community, Jeremiah is convinced that baseball will solve the town's problems. But not everyone agrees.
This book has excellent parent and teacher characters as well a strongly-voiced narrator, and is recommended for readers ages 9 to adult.
Some Kind of Courage is historical fiction, set in the early days of Washington Statehood.
In this story, 12-year-old Joseph has lost almost all of his family. His mother and little sister died of typhoid. His father was mortally injured by a wagon that flipped over on him when they were going down a hill. All Joseph has left are memories and a horse. Then, Mr. Grissom sells the horse.
Joseph loves that horse so much that he takes off after her, following a no-good horse trader through the wilderness of the Wenatchee Valley, where he encounters a hostile grizzly bear and not-completely-hostile group of Native Americans. He befriends a Chinese boy who speaks "not a lick of English" through the entire story. He helps a family of settlers and runs afoul of a horse theif and highwayman. His happy ending seems sure...and then tragedy strikes.
This book is highly recommended for ages 10 to adult. Or better yet, listen to the audiobook, nimbly read by Andrew Eiden, who sinks listeners deeply into the dialect of the characters and almost gets the pronunciation of "Yakima" exactly right.
Orbiting Jupiter isn't quite so upbeat.
12-year-old Jack narrates the story of the year when his foster brother Joseph Brook came to live with the family. Joseph is 14 years old, recently released from a juvenile detention facility, and has a daughter named Jupidter whom he loves deeply although he has never seen her.
Jack narrates the story, revealing tiny details with clear eyes and a farm boy's practicality: that you can tell all you need to know about somebody from the way cows act around them. That leaving a guy to get beat up while you go find a teacher is not okay. And that being family means you've got somebody's back.
What this book is: sweet. compelling. impossibly to ignore. and highly recommended for readers ages 14 to adult.
What this book is not: easy.
No matter what kind of literary adventure you like, we can find something for you at the library.
Want a good "girl" adventure book?
Stay tuned, I'll be posting my recommendations soon!