I'm a wife to my "Mr. Right". A momma of five. A maker of slow food and simple living. A collector of memories, a keeper of books, and a champion for books that make memories. An addict who likes my half-and-half with a splash of coffee. A fractured pot transformed by the One Who makes broken things beautiful. I heart homeschooling, brake for libraries, and am glad you're here with me on the journey! Be sure to subscribe to my monthly newsletter. Or, follow along with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google +, Youtube, or Pinterest.

30 Character-Building Books for Young Boys

30 Character-Building Books for Young Boys {The Unlikely Homeschool}

I'm no builder.
I can count on one hand the times I've put a hammer to a nail.

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But, logic and common sense tell me that if I want to construct a quality house...one worth living in...I have to study a quality blueprint. I have to follow a plan that has been previously laid out. One that has been tested and tried and has proven to provide a superior end result. No shoddy blueprint will do. I want the best-of-the-best. A blueprint...an example...of high quality.

As a mother of four boys, I'm looking for blueprints. Blueprints of character. Blueprints of bravery. Blueprints of honor. Blueprints found in the lives of boys and men throughout history that have shown themselves to be worth following.

Over the past few years of raising learning-to-read boys, I've compiled a list of simple chapter books about boys and men worthy to be called blueprints. Some of the titles on my list are simplified biographies while others are based-on-a-true-story historical fiction. But, all have one common element...they are ALL about brave boys and men...blueprints!

(Please note that these books are NOT for emergent readers. They are intended for boys who have learned all the basic phonetical sounds and are practicing the previously-learned skills of reading. If you are looking for great picks for TRUE emergent readers, be sure to check out my list!)

And here they are...

My Top 30 Character-Building Books for young boys

Billy and the Rebel by Deborah Hopkinson
Hill of Fire by Thomas P. Lewis
Little Runner of the Longhouse by Betty Baker
Listen Up! Alenxander Graham Bell's Talking Machine by Monica Kulling
Johnny Appleseed: My Story by David L. Harrison
Wagon Wheels by Barbara Brenner
The Long Way Westward by Joan Sandin
George the Drummer Boy by Nathaniel Benchley
Sam the Minuteman by Nathaniel Banechley
Buffalo Bill and the Pony Express by Eleanor Coerr
First Flight by George Shea
George Washington and the General's Dog by Frank Murphy
Eat My Dust: Henry Ford's First Race by Monica Kulling
Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha Brenner
Ben Franklin and the Magic Squares by Frank Murphy
Lewis and Clark: A Prairie Dog for the President by Shirley Raye Redmond
Thomas Jefferson's Feast by Frank Murphy
Francis Scott Key's Star-Spangled Banner by Monica Kulling
From Slave to Soldier by Deborah Hopkinson
Willie McLean and the Civil War Surrender by Candace F. Ransom
Allen Jay and the Underground Railroad by Marlene Targ Brill
Saving the Liberty Bell by Marty Rhodes Figley
Buttons for General Washington by Peter Roop
Bronco Charlie and the Pony Express by Marlene Targ Brill
The Snow Walker by Margaret K. Wetterer
Clouds of Terror by Catherine A. Welch
Dust for Dinner by Ann Turner
Aaron and the Green Mountain Boys by Patricia Gauch
Finding Providence the Story of Roger Williams by Avi
Davy Crockett A Life on the Frontier by Stephen Krensky

For more great book suggestions, be sure to head to iHomeschool Network and check out the Massive Guide to Homeschool Reading Lists!


  1. Wonderful post. Definitely using this list for our seven year old this summer. Thanks!!

  2. My 8 year-old son and I have read only one of the books listed here, Wagon Wheels. Certainly, a story of courage in face of extraordinary circumstances for 3 boys and their father. It looks like most of the books are historical in nature, perfect timing for us since we've been studying American History.

    Great list, thanks for sharing it!

    1. Yes. I kept this list for historical books. I hope to post a list of "just for fun" books for young boys soon. Wagon Wheels was a good book. I remember that I had to edit out one word of the book and have a discussion about it. It certainly was keeping with the vernacular of the time period, but not appropriate for my young boys.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing this list! Perfect for some gently-guided summer reading!

  4. My husband and I have been on a similar mission with our two boys. At 5 and 4 they take cues from everything around them; have a great list of books to back-up mom and dad is so helpful!