15 books all boys should read before age ten

Toxic masculinity - Best Books for Boys to read before age ten.

Guest post.

When I envision the future, my sons all grown up and my face more lined than I’d like, I hope they have become men who are kind, gentle, respectful of women, in touch with their emotions and good communicators.

I hope they are the opposite of everything toxic masculinity makes our boys think they should be.

And because they are (I hope!), they can feel brave enough to call it out when they see it in their mates, because they know toxic masculinity is just not on. In fact, it’s dangerous.

Toxic masculinity lives on

There is a lot of chatter in the media about this buzz word at the moment in relation to sexual assault, family violence and misogyny in general – but it’s nothing new.

It seems toxic masculinity is something that gets passed on to boys and they can’t help but be exposed to it – via social media, TV, day-to-day conversations and the way their male friends, fathers, role models and sporting heroes might ‘carry on’, as this sort of behaviour is often dismissed as – “boys will be boys!”

Even at the ages of seven and five I can see how these outside influences are nudging my boys to be a certain kind of kid – little guys who are NOT into ‘girly things’ because that’s considered ‘uncool’, for instance.

Sneaky influences

While toxic masculinity can be obvious, it can also be subtle and sneaky.

Yes it’s about chest beating, aggressive dominance and physical power in the most archaic and obvious way, but it’s also about not respecting women (or girls), defined gender roles, competitiveness, bullying, the belief that boys can’t be friends with girls and will appear ‘weak’ if they show their emotions – except anger. Anger is FINE. Sigh.

Toxic masculinity - Boy on farm.

More positive voices

What’s becoming apparent to me as a mother is that my and my kids’ dad’s (non-toxic) influence on them to not accept this sort of thinking and to resist the pressure to be more ‘bloke-y’ just isn’t enough.

My sons need to be exposed to other voices, voices which speak to them in a way that really connects and reaches them. Voices (and images!) which carry a good, healthy and empowering message that sinks in. And the best way to do this?

Well books, of course!

Best books for boys

Thankfully there are some FANATSTIC children’s books out there which may or may not address toxic masculinity directly, but all help to gently guide our boys* to grow from brilliant boys into the magnificent men we need in our world.

Now I am just a mum and not an expert in this field, so I’ve asked everyone’s favourite pink-haired librarian, Megan Daley what SHE thinks these titles are.

Below are her suggestions of the invaluable books she thinks all kids should have on their bookshelf before age ten.

Best books for boys - boy reading on couch.

I’ve just ordered a few and already I feel better about the future. Our boys are going to be just fine, but they need our love and help.

Toxic masculinity be gone!

Note: These books can and should be read by all kids, not just boys. In fact, everyone will benefit from them, including us adults who read them aloud.

15 books all boys should read before age ten

‘Be Your Own Man’

 For ages 8+

‘Goodnight, Little Tough Guy’

 For ages 3+

‘Want to Play Trucks?’

 For ages 3+

‘Tough Guys Have Feelings Too’

 For ages 3 – 5 years.

‘The Story of Ferdinand’

 For ages 7 – 8 years.

‘Julian is a Mermaid’

 For ages 4+

‘Pink is for Boys’

 For ages 4 – 8 years.

‘How to be a Lion’

 For ages 3 – 5 years.


For ages 3 – 7 years.

‘Real Cowboys’

 For ages 4+

‘Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different’


‘Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different 2’


‘Not all Heroes Wear Capes’

 For ages 7+

‘F is for Feminism’

 For ages 4+

‘My First Book of Feminism – For Boys’

 For ages 0 – 3 years.

Toxic masculinity - Best books for boys to read before age ten.

Lana Hallowes is an online writer and mum of two boys. She recently adopted a rescue puppy, so feels like there’s also a wayward toddler living in her house. When she isn’t mumming or working, she’s ignoring the housework and reading a good book.

Looking for more great book reviews and recommendations? I’m Megan Daley and you can find out more about me here.

My book recommendations (for babies to young adults) is here and you can peruse ALL of my reviews (searchable by age, genre and theme) here.

Check out my mini ebook, ‘What to Read Next‘ or sign up for my FREE webinar, ‘3 Tips to Start the Best Book Club Ever‘.


May 31, 2021 at 05:03AM Lana Hallowes