Friday, August 29, 2008

Boy Books

I have heard a lot of discussion lately on Boy Books (books read primarily by boys). The topic came up during a YA workshop I attended at the Romance Writers of America conference, in an article I read recently, and in a discussion I had with a bookseller this week.

The bottom line is that publishers, booksellers, teachers, and librarians are looking for boy books. What makes a boy book? This means the main character is usually male and the topic is favored by male readers such as horror, humor, adventure, sports, etc.

A website by Jon Scieszka, author and the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, called Guys Read offers suggestions.

Two of my All Time Favorite boy books on my keeper shelf:
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
Holes by Louis Sachar

Boy books on the keeper shelves of my children that they have read numerous times:
Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer
Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney
Eragon & Eldest by Christopher Paolini
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
A Series of Unfortunate Events books by Lemony Snicket
Goosebumps (very large collection) by R. L. Stine

Next week’s blog: Girl Books


Writer and Cat said...

Do you think you'll ever try to write boy books yourself?

Jody W.

Shauna Roberts said...

Was there any discussion of why girls are willing to read boy books, but boys are not willing to read girl books and how to fix the problem?

Tom said...

Hey Rae Ann,
Sounds like you had a very interesting trip, lots of exposure to different stuff. In response to Shauna, that is a very interesting question that might seem simply answered on the surface, and actually might be. Generally, speaking from a guy standpoint, we're not wired for the kinds of emotions that are elicited from a 'girl' book. If the 'girl' book basically has a female James Bond heroine who kicks butt and does 'guy' stuff, then boys might read it. She would also have to be 'hot'. That may be simplistic, and you may or may not agree with that assessment. Not sure why girls read 'guy' books unless they are just more multi-faceted than males. Probably so. We are pretty simple critters after all, and our interests are prone to be narrow. In my manuscript I feel I have written passages that girls would like, but they were very difficult to write, and they make up an overall small part of the book. You would have to ask Rae if they make reading the entire ms tolerable enough for a 'girl' to enjoy.

Rae Ann Parker said...

JODY, I do hope my middle grade mysteries appeal to boys & girls, but not sure if they'll make it as boy books. Even when there is a male protagonist in my stories, a sister always shows up! Guess this is because I'm a sister and I like to see the siblings working together one minute and arguing the next, just like in real life.

TOM, you are right about boys not liking the yucky emotional stuff!

SHAUNA, The main factor in a 'girl book' that may even have one main character that is a boy is the emotional tone of the book, the theme of relationships.

Thanks! Great discussion.