Let’s take a look at some of the best books to read aloud to your son.

If you’re going to read a story to your son, you might as well make it one that is interesting, entertaining, and just plain fun. In short, an awesome book.

Boys especially seem to need something with that “wow” factor to get them engaged in reading.

So here are 23 great books to read aloud to your son. Or sons. Or sons and daughters! Anyone, really, will fall in love with these books as you share an enthralling story together.

23 Books to Read Aloud to Your Son

Remember, reading aloud to your kids at night doesn’t have to be a chore (for either of you). While you might have different interests, there are plenty of books out there that both of you will eat up.

Alrighty then! Grab your cozy socks, some snacks and cocoa, and snuggle up with one of these sure-to-please picks!

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1. The Phantom Tollbooth

By Norton Juster

Ages 7 and up.

This clever classic, written in the ’60s, is the perfect choice if your boy is in the “pun stage.” Don’t worry, you’ll know it when he gets there (and get there every boy does).

The Phantom Tollbooth isn’t overly long, but it’s filled with funny instances, witty characters, and did I mention the puns? Milo is our hero, an everyday school kid, who finds life incredibly boring and pointless, until that is, one day when he comes home from a particularly boring day to find a tollbooth in his house.

Off he goes on an exciting adventure to a mysterious land (there’s a map, which all boys find fun to look at it), with a dog named Tock, and the Humbug. Can they rescue the lost princesses, Rhyme and Reason, before it’s too late?

You’ll find the humor in this one charming and clever, promise.

2. Howl’s Moving Castle

By Diana Wynne Jones

Ages 10 and up.

Howl’s Moving Castle is a book that has more weight, clocking in at around 330 pages, and there are two sequels, so this is a great pick for long weekends, or Winter/Spring breaks.

The story revolves around Sophie, the eldest of three daughters, which is, as everyone knows, the worst. She’s shy, wears gray dresses, and basically tries to spend her life blending in, since she’s doomed to a dull life of drudgery anyway.

She works a basically dead-end job in the village at a hat shop, where one day she royally ticks off a witch. Suddenly, Sophie is under a curse: she’s been turned into an old crone. Mildly annoyed at this, but also feeling strangely free (except for the new back pain), she sets off to find Howl, the local wizard, a suspicious ne’er do well with a bad reputation with the ladies.

Howl and Sophie are funny characters, completely unusual and like no others. You’ll find them both refreshing and amusing. There’s a lot of witty banter between Sophie and the rakish Howl, plus a great side character named Calcifer, a fire demon with a quick sense of humor. The setting is magical and strange, and the story never drags.

3. The Neverending Story

By Michael Ende

Ages 10 and up.

Whether or not they’ve seen the epic film of the ’80s based on this tale, your son will love this classic fantasy novel. They’ll most likely relate to Bastian, our shy and awkward, kind-of-geeky young hero, who is just a lonely modern boy.

Before he knows what’s happening, a strange book has thrust him into a magic kingdom called Fantastica, ruled by a lovely girl they call The Childlike Empress. The Neverending Story has all the danger and excitement a boy could ask for, and when you finally close the book, you can jump right into the movie together. Does that make it a book within a book within a movie?

4. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

By Alvin Schwartz

Ages (mature) 10 and up. Okay, maybe 11 …

Now this one is only for the bravest parent and son to crack open on a cold winter’s night, so consider yourself forewarned. After all, it’s literally called Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.

But if you both enjoy getting the bejeebers scared out of you and you want to be the coolest mom/dad in the world, and if you have plenty of money set aside for therapy, this is the book to get.

Make sure to buy the creepiest and oldest version, with the original drawings, before some boring adult went and updated it with bland illustrations that wouldn’t scare a baby.

5. The Hobbit

By JRR Tolkien

Ages 10 and up.

You can’t go wrong with this epic classic fantasy. Every young man needs to hear about good triumphing over evil, and the journey and sacrifices it takes to get to a happy ending.

Filled with dragons and dwarves, wizards and Middle Earth, a dangerous ring and a reluctant hero, The Hobbit will sweep up you and your son in one of the best children’s novels (heck, one of the best novels, period) of all time.

6. Hatchet

By Gary Paulson

Ages 9 and up.

Most boys love the idea of survivalist living. If you’ve got a miniature Bear Grylls living in your house, Gary Paulson’s classic Hatchet is the book to read aloud!

Brian is a young boy with typical young boy problems: his parents are divorcing and life is stressful. It only gets worse when the airplane he’s on crash lands in a lake in remote Canada, leaving him to survive on his own, with only a small hatchet.

You’ll be inspired and caught up in Brian’s adventures as he learns how to take care of himself and get back to his parents in one piece. If he loves it as much I think he will, there are four more books about Brian.

7. Farmer Boy

By Laura Ingalls Wilder

Ages 7 and up.

While all the Little House books can easily find a place on any boy’s shelf, the third installment, Farmer Boy, is all about Laura’s future husband, Almanzo.

His childhood is filled farm chores, animals, and family. And the food! Do not read this book on an empty stomach. My son’s teacher read this aloud in the fourth grade and had to stop because everyone got so hungry that two youngsters started crying!

So, make a big plate of pioneer snacks (trail mix? Cookies? Beef jerky? Pancakes? Are pancakes even a snack?) and dive in.

You might as well just splurge and get the whole boxed set of Little House on the Prairie books.

8. The Call of the Wild

By Jack London

Ages 10 and up.

I remember being surprised at how bloody this classic kid’s book is, but that’s probably because I was never a little boy. Bring on the fights and blood descriptions, right?

Follow Jack London’s story about a sled dog named Buck, based on the author’s own experience as an Canadian prospector. The Call of the Wild is a memorable and exciting tale of survival, friendship, loyalty, and adventure in the Alaskan Klondike.

9. Hank the Cowdog

By John R Erickson

Ages 5 and up.

If your little guy has graduated from picture books and needs a bit more substance, this is a great choice. Hank the Cowdog, along with his trusty sidekick, Drover, are hilarious heroes as they keep their ranch safe.

It’s not an easy job, but someone has to do it, and Hank does it with style. He may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, but he’ll keep you giggling long past your bedtime.

And there’s good news for when you close the book after the last chapter: There are sixty-three books in the series! Plenty of reading fodder for a long time to come.

10. Ender’s Game

By Orson Scott Card

Ages 12 and up.

Ender is six years old when he begins playing the game… and he’ll need to grow up fast if he wants to save the planet. If your boy can’t get enough video games and battles, he’s going to love Ender’s Game. It’s a fast-paced futuristic space story that many consider the best sci-fi novel of all time.

Your son won’t be able to help himself as his imagination runs wild, picturing himself in Ender’s place: a boy in training to rescue all of mankind.

11. Artemis Fowl

By Eoin Colfer

Ages 9 and up.

Part fantasy, part spy novel, Artemis Fowl will grab your son, hook, line, and sinker.

Artemis, age 12, is a wealthy genius, and in his spare time, a criminal mastermind. Is he the hero or the villain? You’ll have to find out for yourself, but in the meantime, you’ll be entertained by him kidnapping the wrong fairy: Captain Holly Short. These fairies aren’t the kind little dress up as they’re, well, evil, and your son will freak.

Once you’re done with book one, he can finish up the series by himself, or if you’re just as invested, keep reading aloud.

12. Watership Down

By Richard Adams

Ages 10 and up.

The British classic that inspired so many other novels involving talking rabbits. Do I know that for a fact? No, but it seems legit.

The author, Richard Adams, was a soldier in WWII and you can feel the intense authenticity in his warrior animal characters. You’ll be surprised at how invested you’ll get in the lives of these animals, as they search for a better place in the midst of battle, love, hate, good, and evil.

There are many lessons to learn in this tale, but you won’t feel as though you’re being hit over the head with them: instead, you learn alongside your new best friends … the bunnies.

Yes, I said it.

Don’t be fooled by thinking they’re fuzzy and cute. The bunnies in Watership Down will break your heart, make you fall in love, and wonder if you just read the best book ever.

13. Soup

By Robert Newton Peck

Ages 7 and up.

The Soup book series tell of Peck’s own childhood in rural Vermont in the 1920s. I remember laughing my head off as a kid when reading the antics of Robert and Soup (real name Luther, but don’t call him that unless you want a fat lip).

You’ll probably have to stop and explain how different the world was (and how different kids and parents were) back then to your wide-eyed son, as he hears about all the naughty adventures these two boys went on.

He might even be inspired enough to turn off his video game console and go wreak havoc on your own town sometime. I mean, that sounds really fun, doesn’t it?

14. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

By Barbara Robinson

Ages 6 and up.

Holiday season or not, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever will always be a great book to read aloud to your son! It’s small and simple, but manages to have some life lessons and morals at the end, done in such a way that you and he won’t feel clobbered with them.

The Herdman children – all villainous six of them – are the worst kids in town, and maybe the whole world. They only show up to the Christmas pageant auditions and practice for the free snacks.

All the “good” children are appalled at their lack of manners and social skills, but in the end, the Herdmans (while never completely repenting or turning into angels) are the ones who teach some important lessons to the town.

It’s a hilarious read that will have your boy in stitches, especially if he knows the Christmas story or has ever been in a small town nativity scene.

My kids and I still randomly shout, “SHAZAM!” across the house when we see a ham, or “HEY! Unto you a child is born!” whenever we see a nativity.

Related: 10 Classic Christmas Books to Read Aloud as a Family

15. Kidnapped

By Robert Lewis Stevenson

Ages 9 and up.

It’s a classic, so don’t expect a Captain Underpants level of writing. Kidnapped, by Robert Lewis Stevenson, is going to have long words and long sentences and you’re both going to learn all sorts of interesting facts about Jacobite Scotland.

But put that aside (since it probably sounds boring), and get ready for adventure and thrill-seeking on the high seas! If your son dreams of running off to join some pirates (and who hasn’t), loves history, and if you’re looking for a read that you both won’t forget well, probably ever, then this is an excellent pick.

16. A Study in Scarlet (Sherlock Holmes #1)

By Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Ages 10 and up.

You can of course, pick any Sherlock story to start with, but since A Study in Scarlet is the one where Sherlock and Watson actually meet, it’s the perfect one to start with!

Or you could skip to The Valley of Fear or The Adventure of the Final Problem, because Moriarty. If you have a boy who loves mysteries, problem solving, riddles, and figuring out the answer before it’s revealed, he’s gonna love Sherlock Holmes.

17. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

By Ian Fleming

Ages 7 and up.

The classic tale of a automobile with a mind of its own, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang inspired a Dick Van Dyke musical flick (one of the best EVAH), and comes with a delicious fudge recipe (called Foodge) in the back. We make it every Christmas.

Also, it’s written by the author of all the James Bond books, so you know it’s gonna be good. It’s written rather simply so even though it’s so VERY English, it’s a good read aloud for the younger crowd.

f they – or you – are diehard fans of the movie, you’ll be surprised at how different the book is. Or maybe you won’t be. Why do directors/produce change so much? Anyway, bunny trail.

They’re both (the movie and the book) adorable in their own rights, and if you have a budding mechanic who can’t get enough of cars, this is the perfect pick.

18. The One Hundred and One Dalmatians

By Dodi Smith

Ages 7 and up.

If you have a doggy lover on your hands, he’ll love the original story he probably thinks he knows already. With a deliciously awful villain named Cruella de Vil, Pongo and Missis set off on an adventure to find their pupnapped fur babies.

Books with animals as narrators are always fun and The One Hundred and One Dalmations is one of the best examples.

19. Where the Red Fern Grows

By Wilson Rawls

Ages 9 and up.

One of the best loved children’s novels of all time, if you read Where the Red Fern Grows aloud to your son, well, get ready to have that quivery voice you get when you’re trying not to cry.

Follow the journey of Billy, Little Ann, and Old Dan as they try to become the best hunting around. If you don’t appreciate sad stories, then you might hate what this book does to you, but sadness is a part of life and it’s important to introduce our boys to it in the best ways possible.

20. The Indian in the Cupboard

By Lynne Reid Banks

Ages 8 and up.

Widely known as a “boy’s” book, I was never a little boy and I loved this book and read it several times.

Omri is a fun hero, and he gets better as the story progresses, though my favorite was always Little Bear, the Iroquois Indian brave who comes to life when Omri turns the magical key to the cupboard he’s kept in. Little Bear, not Omri!

The Indian in the Cupboard is a slim book, but so unusual and fun, you won’t want it to end. (Don’t worry, it kinda doesn’t. There’s are four sequels.)

21. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

By JK Rowling

Ages 9 and up.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone may be the be-all-end-all of boy’s books, and it probably caused more reluctant readers to fully embrace books more than perhaps any other. And with good reason! It’s funny, scary, relatable, suspenseful, teachable, magical, and will hook even the most apathetic listener.

And if you, parent, haven’t read it, you’ll be looking forward to bedtime just as much as your little man so you can read just one more chapter. Get the whole series of seven magical stories. This is one of the all-time best books to read aloud to your son.

22. Bunnicula

By James Howe and Deborah Howe

Ages 6 and up.

Another tale (or tail, haha) narrated by a dog, this one named Harold, along with Chester, the cat. Completely suspicious of the new house pet, a rabbit, of all things, they begin to hear bumps in the night and start to suspect little bunny foofoo is really a *gulp* vampire.

Bunnicula is a little book with tiny chapters, so this is one that is best for your youngest mancub. And yes, it’s book one in a series.

23. Just So Stories

By Rudyard Kipling

Ages 6 and up.

More famous for The Jungle Book, which is also an excellent pick to read aloud to your boys, the lesser-known Just So Stories was my kid’s favorite. Each chapter is more like its own storybook, and they’re all clever and witty. Discover all about How the Elephant Got Its Trunk, How the Camel Got Its Hump, and the Butterfly That Stamped.

Some modern readers despise Kipling for his casual white-man-is-better racism, but I say, use any questionable parts as a discussion instead of censoring the whole book(s).


So many books, so little time! Whether you are looking for a bundle to give as gifts, or something to add to your own son’s nightstand, this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to great books to read aloud to your son. Or daughter! Anyone will love these for family story time, I can assure you. Read on!

Related: 23 Delightful Books to Read Aloud to Your Daughter

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23 Awesome Books to Read Aloud for Boys
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