Welcome to Guys Read

Welcome to Guys Read, a web-based literacy program for boys founded by author and First National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature Jon Scieszka..  Our mission is to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.

Research shows that boys are having trouble reading, and that boys are getting worse at reading. No one is quite sure why. Some of the reasons are biological.  Some of the reasons are sociological.

But the good news is that research also shows that boys will read — if they are given reading that interests them.

So the biggest part of this site is the collection of book titles below. These are books that guys have told us they like.

Our idea is to help guys become readers by helping them find texts they want to read.

Get in there and start looking around. There is a little something for everyone.

And please help guys out by recommending more of your guy-favorites.

The GUYS READ LIBRARY OF GREAT READING is a multi-volume set of original short stories and illustrations that will inspire boys to want to keep reading.

Each volume will feature ten of the very best writers in different genres. Each volume will serve as an introduction to writers and illustrators guys will want to know better.

The entire collection will be the answer to the question, “What will help get my guy reading?”

Check out the books in the Library.

Listening to books is reading too.

Audiobooks let readers explore stories they might not otherwise try to read.

Audiobooks help readers pronounce words and feel the pace of storytelling.

Audiobooks offer a way to enjoy a story in a different way.

Go to Guys Listen to find (and recommend) audiobooks guys like.

June 2014

The Life and Times of Benny Alvarez

Peter Johnson

“Claudine and I wouldn’t battle so much if I zoned her out the way most guys do, but one of my traits is that I don’t like being bullied or seeing others bullied. Another one of my traits is that I can argue you to death. You want to argue that the cafeteria pizza is great, I can counter with a hundred reasons why it isn’t, even if it’s my favorite meal. This so-called negative characteristic drives my mother nuts, but it’s like I can’t stop myself. I always see the other side of an argument.”

That’s Benny. Seventh-grader. Favorite book is the thesaurus. With his friends, Jocko and Beanie, they’ve even formed a club where they use a weird new word everyday, and the others have to guess it’s meaning. Claudine, his archenemy, hates Benny for some reason he can’t figure out, and has a way of making you feel inferior, even if she’s complimenting you. Benny’s dad is about fifteen years older than Benny’s friends’ dads, and always making morbid jokes about how he’ll be dead before Benny gets to college.


Benny’s grandpa, who’s recovering from a stroke, one day asks Benny:

“You think the world’s a lousy place, Benny?”
“Don’t you ever watch TV, Grandpa, or pay attention to how people treat one another?”
“Hmmmm,” he says.
“The way I see it, it’s best to think of the worst that can happen. Then you’re never disappointed. Whatever goes down is better than what you expected.”
He squints at me. “Never get hurt that way, do you?”
“You bet,” I say, proud that Grandpa sees the genius of my approach.
“Don’t really live, though, either.”

So Benny’s walking the line between being “negative” and “contrary” (he prefers the latter), which his friend Jocko is starting to find “beleaguering” (“after spending ten minutes with your negative attitude, I feel like someone kicked me in the privates”). His dad says he’s fine with Benny being ‘confrontational,’ “as long as you aren’t disrespectful.” And Benny’s gotten in the middle of a class-wide conflict between the boys and girls over poetry:


“Most of the guys couldn’t care less about poetry. But they do care about all the classes over the years where the girls have taken over, treating us like a bunch of morons.”


He’s elected to write a prose poem, to go up against a rhyming poem by Claudine, who it’s getting more complicated with because, as Benny says:


“as much as I’d like to yell at her, I can’t. It’s weird but when she’s angry, she seems more interesting to me.”


Humorous and fast-paced, complex and layered while grounded in the conflicts of everyday, this is a great read—any way you say it.


Go to the Book of the Month

Star Wars: Jedi Academy (Jeffrey Brown’s Star Wars)

Jeffrey Brown

This cartooney graphic novel is for any kid who ever wanted to be a Jedi, and shows how being a kid is tough in a lot of the same ways wether you’re going through it now, or in a galaxy a long time ago and far, far away. Jeff Brown’s illustrations are hilarious, it’s an obvious recommendation for anyone who loves the Origami Yoda or Wimpy Kid books.

Children’s Book Week New Content

Hello everybody! Just in time for Children’s Book Week (which you can find more info about here, for events in your area) we’re updating the site with new content, and you can expect a steady stream of it from now on. We’ve been working to come up with a new strategy, and this is the start of it. Today we’ve got a new Book of the Month and Book on the Pile, as well as the first of many exciting new personalized favorite reading lists from some of your favorite authors, starting out with Eliot Schrefer, acclaimed author of Endangered and Threatened!

And we’re expanding our social media—we’d love it if you’d join us on facebook and twitter to keep up with our regular content updates, help spread the word about great books for guys, and maybe even share your favorites!

Posted by Jon on Tuesday, May 13, 2014