Tween to Teen Boys: Books for You and Them

It’s so good to know we aren’t alone. As mothers, we are not powerless in this battle for our son’s purity. First, we can acknowledge there is an enemy. Sticking our heads in the sand and pretending like lust, pornography, aggressive girls or premarital sex will never touch our good boys, is just plain ignorance. Second, we can pray and engage and we can also arm ourselves with resources.


In Your Boy: Raising a Godly Son in an Ungodly World, I was so encouraged by this fact: 88 percent of teens said it would be easier to postpone premarital sex activity and avoid teen pregnancy if they were able to have more open and honest conversations about the topic of sex with their parents. Amazing, huh? The problem is the same study showed that only 32 percent of adults believe parents have influence over kids regarding sex.

So, basically, kids want to talk to their parents but many adults are giving their influence to someone else. I want to do better than this.

I’m always hesitant and prayerful to offer parenting advice, since I’m in the trenches right along with you. But I’m not shy about reading really great books and recommending them. These 19 books (Amazon affiliate links) are a part of our parenting/kid library as we raise our son:

Besides the onslaught of inappropriate visual content hurled at our boys, there’s also a strong tendency in our culture to emasculate males. We laugh at bumbling fathers and feminine guys. But God created our sons to become men. Boys and men love adventure, they love to be the hero, a warrior. They have an innate sense to take risks. Insert over protective mom here. [If you watch any given home video from my kid’s early years, I say in a whiny voice about 1000 times “be careful.”] But this is who they are.

“Our boys need a little bit of physical adventure to discover their purpose and to have an outlet for the desire to take risks and be aggressive.” Dannah Gresh.  And so, we need to let them be physical. Wrestle, play sports, get muddy. They can also find this sense of adventure thru books. It’s hard to find clean, appropriate reading for boys, but when you do, turn off the screens and encourage them to escape to a whole new world. My list might not look like yours (I tend to let my kids read older fiction because they love reading. It also opens up great conversations with your kids).

Most of all, I recommend the Bible. It might sound trite, but it’s the most adventurous book of all–from lust and lying to heads rolling and seas-splitting -it’s the greatest life-changing story ever told.

*Please add your book suggestions in the comments


  1. 1


    Thanks for the fiction recommendations (also the other ones are great as well!) I am preparing a list for next year and these will be great.

    As the Mom of 2 boys (1 who is 16 and 1 who is 11…after rearing a daughter!) I am in the thick of the battle. With our daughter we vigilantly watched for “those boys” and now I have switched teams!!!! Our culture does not make it easy and the influence is so very subtle at times (and blaring at others!) But, our young men are worth the fight!!!

  2. 2

    Kit says

    Thank you for these resource recommendations. I have been looking for a list like this, our son is turning 10 in a month and I am feeling the pressure to be more “on the ball” but perhaps because he’s our eldest, we feel extra clueless! Looking for all the help and support we can get. So thanks! My husband hasn’t quite sensed the urgency yet but I think he’s starting to be more honest with himself about it now. He’s enjoying reading “The Demise of Guys” after seeing it mentioned in a guest post on your blog. Thanks again!

  3. 3

    Deven says

    Just wanted to add the Ranger’s Apprentice series to the list of adventurous fiction. My husband and I love to read them, but they’re really made for tweens. :)

  4. 5

    kelly says

    love these reading lists. My son has read most of the fiction ones (we are fans of the oldies too.) He hasn’t read A Wrinkle in Time yet or The Hobbit. But I have them waiting on a shelf. =0)

  5. 6

    Ansley says

    A friend of mine and her dad just published their first book, Tahosa Treasure, that was written especially for boys in this age group … taken from their website, they had this to say

    “We believe very strongly in the message of our book: trusting God when all seems lost. We believe our society – and especially young men – need more books like our book. They need good, clean reading that encourages them to be courageous and strong and full of integrity.”

    Search for Tahosa Treasure on Amazon!

  6. 7

    Sara K says

    My friend just introduced me to a series of books called “Light Keepers”. I just bought my son Ten Boys who Changed the World off of Amazon. I haven’t read it it, but the whole series seems quite interesting.

  7. 8

    Erika says

    Little Britches is the first in a series by Ralph Moody. My husband started reading aloud to our boys 3 years ago (now ages 6 & 9) and it has been a wonderful bonding experience for all of them. Nothing more soothing than lying in bed hearing your Dad read an exciting story!

  8. 9

    Cara says

    Here are some books/series that are great adventures for teens (boys or girls)

    The Light of Eidon series
    Gregor the Overlander series (I especially like how Gregor protects his little sister through these books)
    Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
    Ready Player One

  9. 10


    Great list! I’m an English teacher, and I think there is a WEALTH of good literature for young readers. You just have to dig a bit to find the treasures, but don’t write off more contemporary pieces. There are some good ones being written!

    Hatchet is by Gary Paulsen, by the way.

    I recommend (gauging the “feel” of your recommendations): The Sign of the Beaver (Elizabeth George Speare), Holes (Louis Sachar), the Seeds of America books by Laurie Halse Andersen, Jack London books (Call of the Wild, White Fang), Watership Down (Richard Adams).

  10. 11


    I really love lots of books from Sonlight’s (the homeschool curriculum) reading list. My daughter is doing Core 100, and I think Amos Fortune and Elijah of Buxton were both excellent books that I’d never read before. Both made me think how much I’ll enjoy doing this particular grade with my sons! Both were based around historical characters to some extent. I’ve noticed that Ender’s Game is later in the year, and that is one of my favorite books ever….

  11. 12

    Kim says

    My 12 year old has found some books he loves which are adventure, but with a Christian message or imagery (like The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe). He has really enjoyed the following –

    *The Red Rock Mystery Series (I think there are a total of 12 books)
    *The Door Within Trilogy by Wayne Thomas Batson. (He thoroughly enjoyed these, set in medieval times. So, I found more by the same author.)
    *Isle of Swords and *Isle of Fire, both by Wayne Thomas Batson

    thanks for your lists!

  12. 13

    Jerilyn says

    I highly recommend future men by Douglas Wilson. As for adventure fiction: Harry potter and anything by N.D. Wilson.

  13. 14


    When kids I know have moved from the 5th grade into 6th grade I have given them Zach Hunter’s book Be The Change. Zach was a young teen when he wrote it, and it speaks well to kids about being agents of positive change, and about justice.

  14. 16

    Leah Tucker says

    We are a tad late on the battle. Our son is a very old and developed 11 year old who is struggling with lust, attitude, etc. Which book would you reccommend reading first to get started?

  15. 18

    Alison says

    A great website that we LOVE is they have everything for boys of all ages, including tons of great books for them AND us parents! As a mom of 3 young boys, I am always on the lookout for great resources!

  16. 20


    I happened to run across you’re site and something impressed upon me to recommend a series to you. It’s called, The Fuller Creek Series. It’s meant for both guys and girls; although the adults who have read it, just love it. So far, there are three books out in print and one in EBook, with the other two eBook versions coming out soon. It has a total of seven books in the series. This series is filled with action, adventure, clue-finding investigations, school life drama, and teen romance. All with storylines which have biblically based messages. I know, because I’m the author!
    Just a note about its content… My book editor recommend my series to his Pastor’s wife who homeschools several families in their church. She was so impressed with its biblically based messages, that she is now using it for “reading hour” as part of the homeschool curriculum.
    If you wish a free copy of Book #1 of the series, simply send me an email at along with a mailing address, and I will be more than happy to send you a free copy. Or if you read EBooks, you can purchase for only $2.99 at Amazon, B&N or any on-line outlets.
    Thank you and I hope you will request a free copy.
    David C. Reyes

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