Children’s authors and illustrators — mostly male — told 300 teachers and librarians — mostly female — how to hook boys on books, reports Mary Ann Zehr in Education Week.
Boys like to read books about trucks, boys who get into trouble, sports, animals, and war. More than girls, they lean toward nonfiction. And don’t forget the humor or action in stories.
Boys like a mixture of action and emotion, said Jack Gantos, who specializes in “books about bad boys,” such as the Rotten Ralph and Joey Pigza series.
A theme in his books is that the characters are loved unconditionally, even if they mess up a lot, which he said is something that children can identify with.
A British teacher may have gone a bit too far, when she tried to encourage teen-age boys to read by writing a sexy novel featuring herself and her male students. It was all for a good cause, writes Richard Whitmire of Why Boys Fail.
Leonora Rustamova was suspended for her racy novel, Stop! Don’t Read This!, which “includes underage drinking, hints of drug use and “pupil fantasies” about sex with the teacher.
Five 15- and 16-year-old boys had asked for a story about themselves, she told the BBC.
“In their being a difficult audience, the material had to be quite risque to give them an excuse to listen to it — to 16-year-old boys that are disaffected, story time is for small children.”
One of the boys, 17-year-old Travis, told BBC Radio 5 Live the novel was the first book he had ever read on his own and that he had now read other books.
The principal supported the idea — until the book was published on the Internet. Rustamova’s husband had wanted to print copies of the book for the five boys; by mistake, it was published online for everyone to read. This led to charges of unprofessional conduct.