Books for Boys' Educators

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 to include on this list.


Monday Rent Boy 
Susan Doherty Hannaford
(Random House of Canada, March 20, 2024)

Monday Rent Boy begins in Somerset, England, in the mid-1980s, with the winning and heartwarming story of two 13-year-old friends and fellow altar boys, Arthur Barnes and Ernie Castlefrank. Endearing outcasts, they try not to speak of the secret tie that binds them: both boys are routinely preyed on by The Zipper, their nickname for Father Ziperto, the local Catholic priest. Still, they find adventure and release in the mischief they get up to together, as each also tries to survive in other ways.

Monday Rent Boy is a literary mystery about boyhood friendship, family secrecy, shame, divided loyalties, and being a bystander. Above all, it is about resilience, a trait that is learned rather than inherited. No one is born resilient—the capacity to overcome strife and live with purpose—instead, it comes from the presence of at least one stable and committed relationship that provides a scaffolding to buffer a child from developmental destruction.

At the end of the day all trauma, in the right hands, can, perhaps, hopefully, ultimately be a gift.

Game On! One Boy's Odyssey 
Arnie Holtberg
(August 6, 2023)

Enjoy this debut novel by former IBSC trustee and St. Mark's School of Texas (United States) retired Headmaster Arnie Holtberg. Then watch for the next novels in the trilogy coming soon.

"Game On! One Boy’s Odyssey follows Karl Bergen through middle school along the path to manhood. As the Bergen family embarks on its journey in search of the American Dream, Karl finds that growing up in post-World War II America is both exciting and challenging. No two days are the same, and in spite of the strengths he exhibits, he “strikes out” from time to time. Helpful, caring adults provide the guidance and support Karl needs. His odyssey unfolds in what seems like a never-ending journey filled with colorful characters, great adventures, and daunting obstacles. He is fortunate to find lifelong values and teammates along the way."

The Emotional Lives of Teenagers: Raising Connected, Capable, and Compassionate Adolescents 
Lisa Damour
(Ballantine Books, February 21, 2023)

Lisa Damour's latest New York Times best seller is an urgently needed guide to help parents understand their teenagers’ intense and often fraught emotional lives—and how to support them through this critical developmental stage.

Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do About It 
Richard V. Reeves
(Brookings Institution Press, September 2022)

What is happening with so many of our boys and men? Parents see their sons struggling and worry what it means for their future. In Of Boys and Men, Richard Reeves provides a groundbreaking diagnosis of the contemporary male malaise. Many of the rapid economic, social, and cultural changes over recent decades pose new challenges to boys and men. But as Reeves writes: “We can hold two thoughts in our head at once. We can be passionate about women’s rights and compassionate toward vulnerable boys and men.”

Drawing on years of deep research as well as his personal experience as a father of three sons, Reeves offers a compelling diagnosis of the problems of boys and men—and a bold set of solutions.

Oh Boy! Understanding the Neuroscience Behind Educating and Raising Boys 
Michael C. Nagel 
(Amba Press, May 2022) 
Moving past the "boys will be boys" dictum, neuroscientist Michael C. Nagel gives us a guided tour of a boys’ brain and explains how differences in structure and neurochemistry impact their behavior, learning, emotions, and bodies. Exploring aggression, learning difficulties, behavior, emotional problems, toxic masculinity, and the challenges of technology, Nagel offers solutions and ideas for parents and teachers.

Remembering Tony Jarvis: Portrait of a Headmaster 
Richard Hawley 
(Short Story America, November 15, 2021) 
Tony Jarvis may have been the most distinctive private school headmaster of the past half century, if not in the history of American schooling. For 30 years, he was headmaster of Boston's Roxbury Latin School, the oldest school in continuous operation in the United States, founded in 1645 by the Puritan divine John Eliot, Apostle to the Indians. Today Roxbury Latin School serves 300 boys in grades seven through 12 and annually gets ranked among the best scholastically performing school in the United States. But its scholastic performance, though impressive, is probably the least interesting thing about the school, which states its mission to be a place "where every boy is known and loved."

Better Boys, Better Men: The New Masculinity That Creates Greater Courage and Emotional Resiliency 
Andrew Reiner 
(Harper Collins Publishers, December 1, 2020) 
Cultural critic and New York Times contributor Andrew Reiner argues that men today are working on an outdated model of masculinity, which prevents them in moments of distress and vulnerability from marshalling the courage, strength, and resiliency—the very characteristics we regularly champion in men—they need to thrive in a world vastly different from the ones their fathers and grandfathers grew up in. According to Reiner, this outdated model of manhood can have devastating effects on the entire culture and, especially boys and men, from falling behind in the classroom and rising male unemployment rates to increased levels of depression and disturbing upticks in violence on a mass scale. 

Reiner interviews boys and men of all ages, educators, counselors, therapists, and physicians throughout the United States to better understand what factors are preventing the country’s boys and men from developing the emotional resiliency they need. He also introduces readers to the boys and men at the vanguard of a new masculinity that empowers them to find and express the full range of their humanity. 

Wilderness Therapy
Paul Cumbo
(One Lane Bridge Publications, May 1, 2020) 
Pushed to the edge by grief, a teen heads to the Montana wilderness to confront his inner demons. But then he meets a real one. A veteran educator with nearly two decades of experience teaching English at Jesuit high schools for boys, Paul Cumbo writes this book that reviewers describe as affirming and inspiring with a " portrayal of the teenage psyche."

The Ghost Garden: Inside the Lives of Schizophrenia's Feared and Forgotten
Susan Doherty 
(Random House Canada, May 14, 2019)
A rare work of narrative nonfiction that illuminates a world most of us try not to see: the daily lives of the severely mentally ill, who are medicated, marginalized, locked away and shunned. Susan Doherty's groundbreaking book brings us a population of lost souls, ill-served by society, feared, shunted from locked wards to rooming houses to the streets to jail and back again. For the past 10 years, some of the people who cycle in and out of the severely ill wards of the Douglas Institute in Montreal, have found a friend in Susan, who volunteers on the ward, and then follows her friends out into the world as they struggle to get through their days. With their full cooperation, she brings us their stories, which challenge the ways we think about people with mental illness on every page.

How to Raise a Boy: The Power of Connection to Build Good Men
Michael C. Reichert
(TarcherPerigee, April 9, 2019)
Psychologist Michael Reichert draws on his decades of research to challenge age-old conventions about how boys become men. He explains how the paradigms about boys needing to be stoic and "manlike" can actually cause them to shut down, leading to anger, isolation, and disrespectful or even destructive behaviors. The key to changing the culture lies in how parents, educators, and mentors help boys develop socially and emotionally. Featuring the latest insights from psychology and neuroscience, How to Raise a Boy will help those who care for young boys and teenagers build a boyhood that will enable them to grow into confident, accomplished and kind men.

The Heart of a Boy: Celebrating the Strength and Spirit of Boyhood
Kate T. Parker
(Workman Publishing Company, April 2, 2019) 
Against the backdrop of a growing national conversation about how to raise sons to become good people, Kate T. Parker is leading the way by turning her lens on boys. Boys can be wild. But they can also be gentle. Bursting with confidence, but not afraid to be vulnerable. Ready to run fearlessly downfield—or reach out to a friend in need. In this empowering, deeply felt celebration of boys being—and believing in—themselves, see the unguarded joy of a little brother hugging his big brother. The inquisitive look of a young scientist examining a bug. The fearless self-expression in a ballet dancer’s poise. There are guitarists, fencers, wrestlers, stargazers, a pilot. Boys who aspire to be president, and boys whose lives are full of overwhelming challenges, yet who bravely face each day as it comes. With inspiring and joyful quotes from the boys themselves, this book spreads a heartfelt, uplifting message of openness, self-confidence, and warmth.

Inventing Ourselves: The Secret Life of the Teenage Brain
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
(PublicAffairs, May 15, 2018)
A tour through the groundbreaking science behind the enigmatic, but crucial, brain developments of adolescence and how those translate into teenage behavior. Professor Sarah-Jayne Blakemore, one of the world's leading researchers into adolescent neurology, explains precisely what is going on in the complex and fascinating brains of teenagers — namely that the brain goes on developing and changing right through adolescence — with profound implications for the adults these young people will become.

Cracking the Boy Code: How to Understand and Talk with Boys
Adam J. Cox
(New Society Publishers, May 8, 2018) 
Drawing on decades of experience garnered through thousands of hours of therapy with boys, Cracking the Boy Code explains how the key to communicating with boys is understanding their universal psychological needs and using specific, straightforward communication techniques.

Raising Boys in the 21st Century
Steve Biddulph
(Harper Thorsons, April 19, 2018)
With some startling new research on what helps — and what harms — boys, Biddulph shares and gives practical and honest advice to recognize the different stages of boyhood and learn how to raise happy, confident, and kind young men.

Born to Be Wild: Why Teens Take Risks and How We Can Help Keep Them Safe
Jess Shatkin
(TarcherPerigree, October 3, 2017)
A groundbreaking, research-based guide that sheds new light on why young people make dangerous choices — and offers solutions that work. Acclaimed adolescent psychiatrist and educator Jess Shatkin brings more than two decades' worth of research and clinical experience to the subject, along with cutting-edge findings from brain science, evolutionary psychology, game theory, and other disciplines.

Lifelong Kindergarten: Cultivating Creativity through Projects, Passion, Peers, and Play
Mitchel Resnick, with a foreward by Ken Robinson
(MIT Press, August 25, 2017)
To thrive in today's fast-changing world, people of all ages must learn to think and act creatively ― and the best way to do that is by focusing more on imagining, creating, playing, sharing, and reflecting, just as children do in traditional kindergartens. Drawing on experiences from more than 30 years at MIT's Media Lab, Resnick discusses new technologies and strategies for engaging young people in creative learning experiences.

Quiet: The Secret Strengths of Introverted Kids
Susan Cain, Gregory Mone, Erica Moroz, and Grant Snider
(Puffin Books, May 2, 2017)
Susan Cain sparked a worldwide conversation when she published Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. With her inspiring book, she permanently changed the way we see introverts and the way introverts see themselves. This book is all about kids' world — school, extracurriculars, family life, and friendship. You’ll read about actual kids who have tackled the challenges of not being extroverted and who have made a mark in their own quiet way.

Saving Our Sons: A Path for Raising Healthy and Resilient Boys
Michael Gurian
(Gurian Institute, February 1, 2017)
Gurian features the latest research in male emotional intelligence, male motivation development, neurotoxicity and the male brain, and electronics and videogame use. Linking practical solutions with strategic new policies based on 20 years of field work through the Gurian Institute, he provides a seven-stage model for the journey to manhood in the new millennium.

Boys Adrift: The Five Factors Driving the Growing Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men
Leonard Sax 
(Basic Books, June 28, 2016)
Sax delves into the scientific literature and draws on more than 20 years of clinical experience to explain why boys and young men are failing in school and disengaged at home. He shows how social, cultural, and biological factors have created an environment toxic to boys. He also presents practical solutions, sharing strategies educators have found effective in re-engaging boys at school.

Helping Children Succeed: What Works and Why
Paul Tough
(Random House Books, May 26, 2016)
Tough outlines the practical steps that adults — from parents and teachers to policymakers and philanthropists — can take to improve the chances of every child, however adverse their circumstances. And he mines the latest research in psychology and neuroscience to show how creating the right environments, both at home and at school, can instill personal qualities vital for future success.

Breaking the Male Code: Unlocking the Power of Friendship
Robert Garfield
(Avery, April 26, 2016)
Garfield examines the unique challenges men face and urges them to abandon Male Code in favor of a masculinity that integrates traditional male traits with emotional intimacy skills. Drawing on 40 years of real-life stories, original research, and his firsthand clinical experience, he shows how close friendships can serve as the foundation on which men can build and sustain deep relationships with all of their loved ones and in turn lead happier, healthier lives.

Creative Schools: The Grassroots Revolution That's Transforming Education
Ken Robinson and Lou Aronica
(Penguin Books, April 19, 2016)
Ken Robinson is one of the world’s most influential voices in education, and his 2006 TED Talk on the subject is the most viewed in the organization’s history. Now, the internationally recognized leader on creativity and human potential proposes a highly personalized, organic approach that draws on today’s unprecedented technological and professional resources to engage all students, develop their love of learning, and enable them to face the real challenges of the 21st century.

The Self-Motivated Kid: How to Raise Happy, Healthy Children Who Know What They Want and Go After It (Without Being Told)
Shimi Kang
(TarcherPerigree, August 18, 2015) 
In this inspiring book, Dr. Shimi Kang, a Harvard-trained child and adult psychiatrist and an expert in human motivation, provides a guide to the art and science of encouraging children to develop their own internal drive and a lifelong love of learning.

Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids
Denise Pope, Maureen Brown, and Sarah Miles
(Jossey-Bass, July 27, 2015)
This book gives teachers, administrators, and parents the information, tools, and strategies needed to begin making immediate changes at school, in the community, and at home to benefit all students. Based on the Challenge Success program — a research-based project founded at Stanford University's Graduate School of Education — this vital resource shows how to create a more balanced and academically fulfilling life for kids.

A Secret Music
Susan Doherty Hannaford
(Cormorant Books, May 1, 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 Dolphin Way: A Parent's Guide to Raising Healthy, Happy, and Motivated Kids-Without Turning into a Tiger
Shimi Kang
(TarcherPerigee, May 1, 2014) 
In this inspiring book, Harvard-trained child and adult psychiatrist and expert in human motivation Dr. Shimi Kang provides a guide to the art and science of inspiring children to develop their own internal drive and a lifelong love of learning.

I Can Learn from You, Boys as Relational Learners
Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley
(Harvard Education Press, March 1, 2014)
In I Can Learn from You, Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley — the authors of Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys — set out to probe deeply into the relational dynamics that help boys succeed as learners.

How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character
Paul Tough
(Mariner Books, July 2, 2013)
How Children Succeed introduces us to a new generation of researchers and educators, who, for the first time, are using the tools of science to peel back the mysteries of character. This provocative and profoundly hopeful book will not only inspire and engage readers, it will also change our understanding of childhood itself.

The Parents' Guide to Boys: Help Your Son Get the Most Out of School and Life
Abigail Norfleet James
(Live Oak Book Company, November 28, 2012)
Abigail James shares tips for giving your boys a great start in school, keeping them engaged in the classroom, and creating a happy, self-sufficient young man.

Why Boys Fail: Saving Our Sons from an Educational System That's Leaving Them Behind
Richard Whitmire
(AMACOM, Septebmer 30, 2011)
Selected as one of the Top 5 Educational Books by Literacy News. The signs and statistics are undeniable: boys are falling behind in school. Contrary to conventional wisdom, the biggest culprits are not video games, pop culture, or female-dominated schools biased toward girls. The real problem is that boys have been thrust into a bewildering new school environment that demands high-level reading and writing skills long before they are capable of handling them. Educators and parents alike will take heart in these promising developments, and heed the book's call to action-not only to demand solutions but also to help create them for their own students and children.

InSideOut Coaching: How Sports Can Transform Lives
Joe Ehrmann, Gregory Jordan, and Paula Ehrmann
(Simon & Schuster, August 2, 2011)
Transformational coaches change lives, and they also change society by helping to develop healthy men and women.

Active Lessons for Active Brains: Teaching Boys and Other Experiential Learners, Grades 3–10
Abigail Norfleet James, Sandra Boyd Allison, and Caitlin Zimmerman McKenzie
(Corwin, March 14, 2011)
The authors follow the best-selling Teaching the Male Brain andTeaching the Female Brain with this collection of mathematics, language arts, science, and classroom management strategies. Applicable to male and female active learners, the research-based text provides a wealth of examples, visuals, and material that can be easily reproduced to address experiential learners’ common challenges.

Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys: Strategies that Work — and Why
Michael Reichert and Richard Hawley
(Jossey-Bass, July 20, 2010)
Based on an extensive worldwide study, this book reveals what gets boys excited about learning Reaching Boys, Teaching Boys challenges the widely-held cultural impression that boys are stubbornly resistant to schooling while providing concrete examples of pedagogy and instructional style that have been proven effective in a variety of school settings.

The Trouble with Boys: A Surprising Report Card on Our Sons, Their Problems at School, and What Parents and Educators Must Do
Peg Tyre
(Harmony, August 11, 2009)
This passionate, clearheaded book isn’t an exercise in finger-pointing. Tyre, the mother of two sons, offers notes from the front lines — the testimony of teachers and other school officials who are trying new techniques to motivate boys to learn again, one classroom at a time. The Trouble with Boys gives parents, educators, and anyone concerned about the state of education a manifesto for change — one we must undertake right away.

Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys
Stephen James and David Thomas
(Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., February 1, 2009)
Playing off the themes in the Caldecott Medal-winning children's book Where the Wild Things Are, this informative, practical, and encouraging guide will help parents guide boys down the path to healthy and authentic manhood. Wild Things addresses the physical, emotional, and spiritual parts of a boy, written by two therapists who are currently engaged in clinical work with boys and their parents and who are also fathers raising five sons.

Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder
Richard Louv
(Algonquin Books, April 22, 2008)
This book brings together cutting-edge research showing that direct exposure to nature is essential for healthy childhood development: physical, emotional, and spiritual. What's more, nature is a potent therapy for depression, obesity, and ADD. Environment-based education develops skills in problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making. Even creativity is stimulated by childhood experiences in nature.

The Minds of Boys: Saving Our Sons From Falling Behind in School and Life
Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens
(Jossey-Bass, April 6, 2007)
This enormously fascinating and practical book which shows parents and teachers how to help boys overcome their current classroom obstacles by helping to create the proper learning environment, understand how to help boys work with their unique natural gifts, nurture and expand every bit of their potential, and enabling them to succeed in life the way they ought to.

Teaching the Male Brain: How Boys Think, Feel, and Learn in School
Abigail Norfleet James
(Corwin, March 22, 2007)
The author provides qualitative and quantitative research to show why boys learn differently and demonstrates how you can differentiate teaching strategies to help boys succeed.

The Wonder of Boys: What Parents, Mentors, and Educators Can Do to Shape Boys into Exceptional Men
Michael Gurian
(TarcherPerigree, September 7, 2006)
In this insightful and practical book, Michael Gurian describes what boys need to become strong, responsible, sensitive men. Instead of encouraging us to stifle boys' natural propensities for competition and aggression, he offers effective and practical guidelines for channeling them. Most important, Gurian explains what a boy really needs — a primary and an extended family, relationships with mentors, and intense support form his school and community — and details how we can provide these things for the boys we love.

Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys
Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson
(Ballantine Books, April 4, 2000)
They reveal a nation of boys who are hurting — sad, afraid, angry, and silent. Kindlon and Thompson set out to answer this basic, crucial question: What do boys need that they're not getting? They illuminate the forces that threaten our boys, teaching them to believe that "cool" equals macho strength and stoicism. Cutting through outdated theories of "mother blame," "boy biology," and "testosterone," the authors shed light on the destructive emotional training our boys receive — the emotional miseducation of boys.

Real Boys: Rescuing Our Sons from the Myths of Boyhood
William Pollack, with a forward by Mary Pipher
(Owl Books May 10, 1999)
Based on William Pollack's groundbreaking research at Harvard Medical School over two decades, Real Boys explores this generation's "silent crisis": why many boys are sad, lonely, and confused although they may appear tough, cheerful, and confident. Pollack challenges conventional expectations about manhood and masculinity that encourage parents to treat boys as little men, raising them through a toughening process that drives their true emotions underground. Only when we understand what boys are really like, says Pollack, can we help them develop more self-confidence and the emotional savvy they need to deal with issues such as depression, love and sexuality, drugs and alcohol, divorce, and violence.