Books on Educating Boys

Below please find some books that provide valuable insight into boys' schools and boys' education. If you have another title you'd like to share with our community of boys' educators, please email the title to janicki@theibsc.org to include on this list.


A Secret Music, Susan Doherty Hannaford, 2015. Winner of the 2016 Grace Irwin award, the 2016 young adult fiction award in the crossover category given by the Word Guild, silver for general young adult fiction awarded by Literary Classics, this fiction book spotlights the impact of mental health. The author has direct ties to boys' education as her husband is Headmaster Hal Hannaford, Selwyn House School (Canada). Set in 1936 Montreal, A Secret Music is the story of Lawrence Nolan, a sensitive 15-year-old piano prodigy who grows up in the shadow of his mother's mental illness. Forced to keep this shameful secret, he attempts to raise himself and his 10-year-old brother. He counteracts the deep ache and creeping mistrust caused by his mother's emotional absence by escaping into the intense realm of Chopin and Schubert, the only language he understands.

I Can Learn from You, Boys as Relational Learners, Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley, 2014. In this book, a result from years of research with the IBSC on the relational aspects of teaching, Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley probe deeply into the relational dynamics that help boys succeed as learners. The related IBSC Research Projects, For Whom the Boy Toils:The Primacy of Relationship in Teaching Boys and Teaching Boys, A Global Study of Effective Practice are central to this seminal work.

Achievement in Boys' Schools, New Zealand Council for Educational Research, 2012. The New Zealand Council for Educational Research has published promising research showing that graduates from boys' schools have higher qualification achievements than those from co-educational schools. Analysis of New Zealand male school leaver qualifications from 2010 to 2012 show that boys'schools have higher qualification achievements than co-educational schools. Further analysis of school leaver achievement also showed higher qualifications for boys' schools.

Boys and Singing. Another kind of team experience (2010), an article by Kerry Brennan, Headmaster of The Roxbury Latin School. The article first appeared in The Roxbury Latin Newsletter, Volume 83, Number 2, January, 2010.

Meeting Boys’ Deepest Needs: Ten Changes We Need to Make as We Try to Help Boys Grow Spiritually (2009), an address by F. Washington Jarvis, past headmaster at The Roxbury Latin School, at the 16th Annual IBSC Conference, Lindisfarne College, New Zealand, July, 2009.

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys, Stephen James and David Thomas,

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (1 February 2009)

Great Schools for Boys (2008), an article by Brad Adams, Executive Director, which appeared in125 Years for the Boys: Best Practices from The Haverford School (2008).

Why Single-Sex? (2004), a talk given by Dennis Campbell, Headmaster of Woodberry Forest School

Hearts and Minds: Ten Reasons for a Boys' School (2003), an abridged version of the speech presented by Dr. Stephen Johnson, Head of the Preparatory School at Upper Canada College, at the Founder’s Dinner at Upper Canada College, January 30, 2003.

A Look at Boys’ Schools (2002), an article by Diane Hulse, which first appeared in Parents’ League Review (NYC)

Boys Schools Know Boys (2000), by Damon Bradley, Headmaster of Landon School

Active Lessons for Active Brains, co-authored by Abigail James with Sandra Allison and Caitlin McKenzie, this workbook was created to help teachers effectively teach the experiential learners in their classrooms.

The Parents’ Guide to Boys. In her book, Dr. Abigail Norfleet James breaks down the ages and stages of development for boys, from early infancy through high school. With decades of experience in the classroom, at home as the mother of a son, and as a lifelong learner and teacher seeking the best approach to helping kids learn, Dr. James has a unique position to drive home these lessons.

Teaching the Male Brain: How Boys Think, Feel & Learn in School, by Dr. Abigail Norfleet James, a practical guide to teaching boys, combining classic and cutting-edge research to show you why boys learn differently than girls, and how teachers can help the boys in their classroom succeed.

Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood , a book by William Pollack

The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life , a book by Kathy Stevens and Michael Gurian

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys , a book by Michael G. Thompson

The Trouble With Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School and What Parents and Educators Must Do , a book by Peg Tyre

Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That’s Leaving Them Behind , a book by Richard Whitmire

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