Everyone knows about the Harry Potter book series, which appealed to boys, girls, and adults, too. But did you know there are several other excellentbook series for tween boys out there? Here’s a list of some great books for middle school boys. If you like the first book in the series, you will probably like the rest. Click on the name of the series to read a review.
Just like Harry Potter, each of these book series has a movie either out or in the works. Also, all of them have boxed sets available for great deals on Amazon.
The Emperor of Nihon-Jin This book is not available on Amazon yet.
Note that the books come out in Australia first. The last one to come out in the U.S. is book 7, Erak’s Ransom, which came out in January, 2010. The later books have not been released in the U.S., although you may be able to get them from sellers who import them and re-sell them. Check the links above to order through Amazon.
I asked my almost-10-year-old son a tough question: if you were stranded on a desert island, and could only take one book series, which would you take: Ranger’s Apprentice Series or Percy Jackson series He had a tough time. Finally he noted that one series had more books. So maybe he would pick that one. Otherwise it’s a dead heat.
Finding good books for boys his age is so hard I am thrilled he is so excited about both these series. He is also reading the Artemis Fowl Seriesnow, but Percy Jackson and Ranger’s Apprentice have him begging me to take him to the library, and when the books are not there, to the book store.
Both Ranger’s Apprentice and Percy Jackson series published new books in January, 2010. Book number 7 of the Ranger’s Apprentice series came out in January, and a special “movie”edition” of book 1 of Percy Jackson and the Olympians came out as well. I’ve found that most of the books in both series have waiting lists at our library, (LA County Library system).
Number of Books in the Series
Both writers Rick Riordan and John Flanagan are prolific, coming up with new adventures for their young heros (who age as the books continue). In the U.S. the score is Percy Jackson: 5 books, and Ranger’s Apprentice: 7. Flanagan has written 10 Ranger books, but the last three have not yet been released in America.
Both books have AR tests. Ranger’s Apprentice has a slightly interest level (between 6 and 7) than Percy Jackson (between 4 and 5). This means they probably appeal to readers in 6 and 7th grade vs those in 4th and 5th grade. Although I think both books appeal to a much wider range.
Ranger’s Apprentice books also have higher AR points possible (between 12 and 14). AR points for Percy Jackson range from 3 to 13 with many between 9 and 10.
Both series are packed with suspenseful action and plot development. Both feature both battle strategy and detailed descriptions of battles. Both have fierce enemies. Both have cool weapons. Percy Jackson has more mythological characters.
Although both series are fictional adventure stories, they both teach you something about history and culture. In Percy Jackson books you learn about Greek mythology, and in Ranger’s Apprentice books you learn about Medieval times.
Both have likable, young, male protagonists with various sidekicks and friends. Ranger’s may have more in-depth character development of some of the characters.
We’ve already seen the trailers for the first Percy Jackson movie, based on The Lightning Thief. The movie is due out next month (Feb). Ranger’s Apprentice has a script and a director, but no word on when it might be out.
Nintendo has a game in the works based on the first book and movie of Percy Jackson.The video game is a tactical role-playing game for Nintendo DS that puts players in command of Percy Jackson and his fellow demigods as they battle for survival in a world ruled by vengeful Greek gods. Nintendo says the game will be in stores when the movie comes out. No word on a video game for Ranger’s Apprentice as of yet.
It’s interesting to see what publishers come up with for cover art for tween and teen readers. My kids are voracious readers, and as a graphic artist I appreciate the thought and creativity put into book covers. The U.S. editions of both Percy Jackson and Ranger’s Apprentice series are stunning. As a personal preference, I like Ranger’s a bit more. Pubishers sometimes change the cover art when they release books in different countries or when they do a second printing. If you do a Google image search you will see differences in covers in both of these series.
Both books have garnered praise from critics and been on the New York Times best-sellers list. Both have been published in several different countries.
Both books have official websites, and to be honest, I find both annoying, just because they take too long to load and I do not always like background music or spooky rainfall and wind howling. Kids probably love it though. On the Ranger site you can log in to become a “Ranger” and get access to more info on the site. Even without doing that you can download beautiful graphics for your desktop. There’s some interesting info about the author. On the Percy site there is a page describing all the Olympian Gods and Monsters. It also has downloadable games and wallpaper. You can also access the trailer for the new movie.
Rick Riordan has an author’s website that has some additional features without all the fancy sounds and effects.
The Percy Jackson & the Olympians series by bestselling-author Rick Riordan is about a 12-year-old kid who figures out is a demigod . . . his mom is human, but his dad, (who left his mom before he was born) was a god. Percy has to solve the mystery of his identity and discover what powers he possesses. Percy and his demigod friends train in the ways of the Greek gods at Camp Half-Blood. They end up helping to save the world by fighting a seriously powerful bad guy, the titan lord Kronos and his mythological monsters. In the first book of the series, The Lightning Thief, Percy and his pals journey across the US to catch a thief who stole Zeus’ master lightening bolt. Other books in the series present Percy with other tough challenges. They all come complete with characters straight out of Greek mythology. What’s fun is to see how Riordan devises ways for the mythological creatures to act in our time and to see how a typical 12-year-old would act with mythological powers. Along the way, of course, Percy learns things about himself.
The book is written from Percy’s point of view, complete with phrases and attitudes typical of a 12-year-old. Percy is just a guy with all the insecurities and issues any boy might have, but he is also a powerful superhero. My son and all his friends in 4th, 5th and 6th grade love these clever, fast-paced books. The Percy Jackson series has garnered tons of awards and been on best-seller lists. A top choice for boys who love adventure, although girls might like it, too. The books are on the Accelerated Reader lists, so if your school uses AR tests, you can get AR points for reading them. The first book in the series, The Lightning Thief, has an AR interest level for middle grade students, a book level of 4.7and possible AR points of 13.
An added learning bonus: kids learn all about Greek mythology.
The movie—The first book is being made into a movie, now in post-production, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, by 20th Century Fox, scheduled for release February 12, 2010. The title role is played by Logan Lerman, 18, of Beverly Hills. Filming took place in Vancouver, Canada, but portions of filming also took place in Nashville, Tennessee, at a full-scale replica of the Parthenon in Athens. A second film on the next book in the series is also planned. Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Sea of Monsters is scheduled to be released sometime in 2012.
A Percy Jackson Video Game for Nintendo based on the first book and movie is also out.The video game is a tactical role-playing game for Nintendo DS that puts players in command of Percy Jackson and his fellow demigods as they battle for survival in a world ruled by vengeful Greek gods. Several Percy Jackson toys based on the books and movie are also out.
The Percy Jackson Books
The Lightning Thief
The Sea of Monsters
The Titan’s Curse
The Battle of the Labyrinth
The Last Olympian
By the way, Amazon has a great deal on a box set of the first three books.