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Xpost - Book ideas for 12yo boy to inspire greatness?

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Ds has always enjoyed fantasy, but I am hoping to broaden his interests a bit, especially titles that encourage heroism, integrity, courage, sacrifice, etc. I would love ideas in any areas - biographies, fiction, historical novels, etc.


I have not tried the Henty books yet. I seem to have read a lot of negative opinions of them, so I am kinda scared off.


Thanks for any ideas!

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I have heard a lot of praise for Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris. I'm not sure if it's geared toward someone as young as 12, though.


My ds has really enjoyed the couple of Henty books I've read aloud - St. George for England and one other. They are a pickle to read aloud (and I refuse to read them aloud ever again :tongue_smilie:), but he might enjoy reading them on his own, or listening on tape.


There is also a series called "Leaders in Action" with some engaging biographies of people like Theodore Roosevelt, J.S. Bach, William Wilberforce, George Whitfield, John Knox, Winston Churchill, etc.


And if he hasn't read them already, you can hardly go wrong with The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Soooooo much good stuff in there.

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"Enchantress From The Stars"

"Hitler" by Marrin (very well-written, clearly an anti-hero)

"Number the Stars" (Easy but profound)

"God's Smuggler" if you are Christian

"Chronicles of Narnia"


"An Old-Fashioned Girl" if he can stomach the first part, which is very 'little girl' ish. Still, of all the Alcott books, this one is the most morally inspiring.

"Exodus" by Leon Uris

"Battle Cry" by Leon Uris (These are not sexually moral but contain moral heros regardless. You might want to preread. I read them at this age, and found them very inspiring.)

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Start by the whole family reading aloud together and being encouraged by the non-fiction book: Do Hard Things (Harris).


And my favorite inspiring fiction titles:

- The Great and Terrible Quest (Lovett)

- The Hobbit; and The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Tolkien)


Then below are some great hero stories. Enjoy! Warmest regards, Lori D.



Actual People Who Persevered

- Bruchko -- 1970s-80s young man as a solo missionary to S. American tribes

- God's Smuggler (Andrew) -- 1970s priest who smuggled Bibles into communist countries

- The Hiding Place (tenBoom) -- Dutch family who hid Jews and were imprisoned in a concentration camp

- Robert Fulton, Boy Craftsman (Henry) -- 1790s inventor as a boy

- Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (Latham) -- 1790s Colonial man who innovated naval navigation

- Island of the Blue Dolphins (O'Dell) -- 1800s Native American girl living alone for 18 years

- Born in the Year of Courage (Crofford) -- 1850s shipwrecked Japanese fisher teen

- Escape From Warsaw (Serraillier) -- 3 Polish siblings survive WW2 by sticking together, and search for their parents

- The Endless Steppe (Hautzig) -- Polish Jewish family sent to Siberia in WW2 works hard to survive

- The Road From Home (Kherdian) -- Armenian Christian girl loses everyone in WW1, but perseveres

- True Stories of Heroes (Dowswell) -- collection of short, real life hero anecdotes



Look for Biographies of People Who Overcame Adversity:

- George Washington

- Florence Nightengale

- Sojourner Truth

- Harriet Tubman

- Clara Barton

- Abraham Lincoln

- Thomas Edison

- Helen Keller

- Marie Curie

- George Washington Carver

- Teddy Roosevelt

- Edmund Shackleton

- Winston Churchill

- Mother Teresa

- Rosa Parks

- Martin Luther King Jr.

- Soul Surfer (Hamilton) -- teen surfer girl who lost an arm to a shark and went back to surfing



Animal Heroes - Real Life

- The Incredible Journey

- Real Animal Heroes: True Stories of Courage, Devotion, and Sacrifice (Stevens)

- Ten True Animal Rescues (Betancourt)



Animal Heroes - Talking

- Trumpet of the Swan (White)

- Rikki Tikki Tavi (Kipling)

- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (O'Brien)

- Watership Down (Adams)



Realistic Characters Persevering

- The Toothpaste Millionaire (Merrill)

- Little Britches series (Moody)

- Call it Courage (Sperry)

- My Side of the Mountain (George)

- Where the Red Fern Grows (Rawls)



Fantasy Heroes with Integrity who Persevere

- The Never Ending Story (Ende)

- The Hobbit (Tolkien)

- The Lord of the Rings trilogy (Tolkien)



Historical Setting Heroes

- Hittite Warrior (Williamson) -- ancient Israel/Egypt/Hittites

- Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (French) -- Vikings

- Adam of the Road (Gray) -- medieval

- Otto of the Silver Hand (Pyle) -- medieval

- The Great and Terrible Quest (Lovett) -- medieval

- The Great Turkey Walk (Karr) -- post Civil War

- Sounder (Armstrong) post Civil War

- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Aiken) -- Victorian

- Where the Red Fern Grows (Rawls) turn of the century

- The Great Wheel (Lawson) -- turn of the century

- Twenty and Ten (Bishop) -- WW2

- Snow Treasure (McSwigan) -- WW2

- Winged Watchman (Van Stockum) -- WW2

- My Side of the Mountain (George) -- modern times

Edited by Lori D.
fixed typos
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