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Page turners for 11 year old boy

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My son has done some challenging reading lately, and now I'd like to make sure he has some books that are just pure enjoyment. The tricky thing is that he doesn't really like fantasy (Narnia, Harry Potter, and Percy Jackson do nothing for him). Examples of what he does like are books by Robert McCloskey (Homer Price), Sid Fleischann (By the Great Horn Spoon), and Arthur Ransome (Swallows and Amazons). The last book he couldn't put down was Operation Redwood by S. Terrell French.

Any other ideas?


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There was the Three Investigator series (Alfred Hitchcock Presents...) from years ago. That would probably be at your local library.There was more than one author for this particular series (but the same characters). Two of the authors were William Arden and Robert Arthur.

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Henry Reed, Inc.

Gone-Away Lake (and its sequel Return to Gone Away)

The Westing Game

Surviving the Applewhites

No More Nice and No More Nasty by Amy MacDonald

From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Frindle and others by Andrew Clements


Some of these may be a little young for an 11yo, but they are what popped into my mind. My son recently read Operation Redwood too and liked it a lot (as did I).

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Ooh, I really, really liked Operation Redwood! It was fun. I heard the author read from it and thought it was so funny and decided to get it.


Your title begs for Alex Rider, so I fourth (or fifth) looking at that and Mysterious Benedict Society.


I think he'd probably really like Chasing Vermeer and the other books in that series. I'm trying to think of other light contemporary things for boys... maybe The Thing About Georgie or Hoot or Holes... Oh, and what about The Strange Case of the Origami Yoda? That was very fun and interesting.


Oh, and I've thought of one more, though it's a bit more of a thinker book - The Blue Avenger by Norma Howe. A forgotten treasure!

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If he liked Homer Price, he might like The Great Brain series. They are my ds12s favorites, and the books that turned him into a fiction reader. :)



I second that! My ds 10 LOVES the Great Brain and has read all of them. I was also going to recommend the Mysterious Benedict Society but someone beat me to it.

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- Detectives in Togas; Mystery of the Roman Ransom (Winterfeld) -- Ancient Rome

- Roman mystery series (Lawrence) -- ancient Rome

- Samurai mystery series (Hoobler) -- 1700s Japanese boy helps a samurai-judge type of Sherlock Holmes

- Case of the Baker Street Irregular (and sequels) (Newman) -- 1890s boy helps Sherlock Holmes

- "mini mystery collections" by Sobol, Conrad, Sukach, Obrist, and others

- From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (Konigsburg)

- Chasing Vermeer (Balliett)

- The Westing Game (Raskin)

- Hardy Boys series (Dixon)

- The Three Investigators series

- Five on a Treasure Island (Blyton)




- Mysterious Benedict Society (and sequels) (Stewart)

- Amazing Mrs. Pollifax series

- Alex Rider series (Horowitz)




- Little Britches (Moody) -- boy misadventures in ranching

- The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Aiken)

- Naya Nuki: The Shoshone Girl Who Ran (Thomasa) -- Indian girl escaped imprisonment and covered 1000 miles of rugged land to return home

- Behind Rebel Lines (Reit) -- true story of teen girl disguised as a boy who worked as a spy

- The Cay (Taylor) -- shipwrecked boy and old man

- Island of the Blue Dolphins (O'Dell) -- Indian girl marooned on an island with wild dogs

- Born in the Year of Courage (Crofford) -- true story of Japanese teen shipwrecked in 1840s




- The Great Brain (Fitzgerald) -- and sequels

- Mad Scientist Club series (Brinley)

- The Marvelous Inventions of Alvin Fernald -- and sequels (Hicks)

- Owls in the Family (Mowat)

- Land I Lost; Water Buffalo Days (Nhuong) -- childhood hijinx and memories of pre-war rural Vietnam




- By the Great Horn Spoon (Fleischman)

- The Whipping Boy (Fleischman)

- McBroom's Wonderful One-Acre Farm (Fleischman)

- Just So Stories (Kipling)

- The Great Turkey Walk (Karr)

- Holes (Sachar)

- Sideways Stories from Wayside School series (Sachar)

- How to Eat Fried Worms (Rockwell)

- The Pushcar War (Merrill)

- The Toothpaste Millionaire (Merrill)

- The Twenty-One Balloons (DuBois)

- Ben and I; Mr. Revere and Me (Lawson)




- Shadow Warrior (Norton) -- ancient Egypt; teen Egyptian prince and his leopard fighting for his throne

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

- Story of Rolf and the Viking Bow (French)

- The Kite Fighters (Park) -- 1400s Korea; two brothers build/fly fighting kites

- The Master Puppeteer (Paterson) - 1700s Japan

- The Sign of the Beaver (Speare) -- Colonial US/Native American

- Johnny Tremain (Forbes) -- Revolutionary War

- Naya Nuki (Thomasma) -- 1800s; survival story of Indian girl escaping imprisonment, crossing 1000 miles of rugged land to return home

- Behind Rebel Lines (Reit) -- teen girl disguised as a boy / Union spy in Civil War

- The Great Wheel (Lawson) -- building of the first Ferris Wheel in 1893

- Snow Treasure (McSwigan)-- WWII Norweigan children hide their country's gold

- Winged Watchman (Van Stockum) -- boys misadventures and real-life adventures in occupied Denmark in WWII




- The Black Stallion, The Black Stallion Returns, Island Stallion (Farley)

- My Side of the Mountain (George) -- and sequels

- Where the Red Fern Grows (Rawls)

- Summer of the Monkeys (Rawls)

Edited by Lori D.
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I know you said he didn't like fantasy, but all my kids (especially my 12 yo son) are loving The Candy Shop War. My 12 year old was begging me to let him read ahead in it! It's not fantasy like Percy Jackson, but it does have elements of fantasy in that the candy sold in this particular store gives you magic powers (moon rocks that let you jump to incredible heights, etc.). There is a little bit of time travel and lots of adventure/suspense. I think your ds would love it!


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