If I had a quarter for every time I've been asked this question over my 30 years of teaching I could have retired with only 20 years of teaching! My most common response has been, "If I knew that, I'd be on the speaking tour right now making more money than I do teaching!"
There have been countless professional books and blogs written to this topic and we still don't have the answer. In fact, my own son has never been a reader despite all of the efforts I've made over the years. One of the most common things I hear from people smarter than me, is that boys don't relate to the characters in books. Most books seem to be written for girls. I don't disagree with this sentiment, but there are a number of authors who have a boy bent and seem to be trying to write for that audience.
Recently, one of my parent volunteers told me that she is having a hard time finding books for her son. Most of the books she has found or that have been recommended to her have boys that either are athletes or who always get into trouble. Her son doesn't fit either of these profiles so I pulled some books for her 3rd grade son that have main characters that aren't particularly athletic and don't get into big trouble. She was looking for boys who like to play outside and build things and take pleasure from just being a boy.
I thought I'd share the titles here and maybe the Literate Lives readers will have some other suggestions.
Justin Fisher Declares War by James Preller
Along Came Spider by James Preller
The Alvin Ho series by Lenore Look
Justin Case series by Rachel Vail
The Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O' Connor
The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O'Connor
These were the ones I pulled from our shelves quickly, but I know I can come up with more if I really think about it. If you have some to add, let me know, I know a parent who will be very happy!