Summer Reading Lists for Middle School and High School Boys

Summer Reading Lists for Middle School and High School Boys

With the long summer weeks upon us, it is important for teenagers, especially boys, not to take a break from reading.

There is a direct correlation between reading for pleasure and an increase in vocabulary. Additionally, reading will stimulate the mind, the imagination and keep both active through the long weeks of June and July.

Finding the right book is key according to Mike Harding, academic dean at Missouri Military Academy and English teacher.

“I'm fond of quoting a fellow Brit J.K. Rowling who said, ‘If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book,’” Harding says.

Parents and guardians play a crucial role in encouraging middle and high school boys to read, even if it's just for a minimum of 15 minutes a day. For middle school students, it is important to keep on encouraging the simple act of reading for pleasure, whether it is poetry, teenage fiction, or even a graphic novel.

For high school students, reading the news daily can help as they keep up with global affairs. Parents can also encourage their high schoolers to choose literature related to their anticipated college subjects and any other nonfiction that educates, intrigues, and builds an awareness of what's going on in our world.

Local libraries are a great place to explore summer reading programs.

“It’s important to gently coax your boys to read, think and inwardly digest the written word,” Harding says.

For suggestions of books that might engage middle or high school boys, please see the list below.

Recommended by Academic Dean Harding

For Middle School

  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Refugee by Alan Gratz

For High School

  • The Seven Habits of Highly Successful Teens by Sean Covey
  • Welcome to the Universe in 3D by Neil deGrasse Tyson et al.
  • 101 Skills You Need to Survive in the Woods: The Most Effective Wilderness Know-How on Fire-Making, Knife Work, Navigation, Shelter, Food and More by Kevin Estela

Recommended by the MMA Art Department

  • The Letters of Vincent van Gogh by Vincent van Gogh, Ronald de Leeuw
  • The Secret Lives of Color by Kassia St. Clair
  • Artists: Their Lives and Works by DK, Ross King
  • Van Gogh and the Artists He Loved by Steven Naifeh
  • Kandinsky by Hajo Düchting
  • Basquiat by Leonhard Emmerling
  • Where on Earth? Atlas: The World As You've Never Seen It Before by DK
  • Music Theory: From Beginner to Expert - The Ultimate Step-By-Step Guide to Understanding and Learning Music Theory Effortlessly (Essential Learning Tools for Musicians) by Nicholas Carter

Recommended by the MMA Business Department

  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
  • Smart Money Smart Kids: Raising the Next Generation to Win With Money by Dave Ramsey
  • The Art of War for Business by Beck Sheetz-Runkle
  • Extreme Ownership by John "Jocko" Willink

Recommended by MMA College and Career Guidance

  • Valedictorians at the Gate by Becky Munsterer Sackby

Recommended by the MMA Commandant’s Department

For Middle School

  • Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
  • The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Starship Troopers by Robert A. Heinlein
  • The Cay by Theodore Taylor

For High School

  • The Leader Who Had No Title by Robin Sharma
  • Make Your Bed: Little Things Than Can Change Your Life by Admiral William H. McRaven
  • The Gift of Struggle by Robin Sharma
  • The Seven Habits of Highly Successful People by Sean Covey
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
  • Becoming a Leader of Character:  6 Habits That Make or Break a Leader at Work by James L. Anderson
  • The Gift of Struggle: Life-Changing Lessons About Leading  by Bobby Herrera
  • Habitudes Book #1: The Art of Self-Leadership by Tim Elmore
  • The Team Captain's Leadership Manual by Jeff Janssen
  • Shackleton's Way Leadership Lessons from the Great Antarctic Explorer by Margot Morrell
  • Undaunted Courage; Meriweather Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose, Barrett Whitener, et al.
  • 1776 by David McCullough

Recommended by the MMA English Department

For Middle School

  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Call of the Wild by Jack London
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkien
  • Charlotte's Web by E.B. White

For High School             

  • Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
  • Unwind by Neil Shusterman
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Old Man and The Sea by Ernest Hemingway

Recommended by the MMA ESL Department

For Middle School

  • Holes by Louis Sachar

For High School

  • It Happened in America by Lila Perl
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Recommended by the MMA JROTC Department

  • Becoming Bulletproof: Protect Yourself, Read People, Influence Situations, and Live Fearlessly by Evy Poumpouras
  • The Servant: A simple story about the true essence of leadership by James C. Hunter

Recommended by the MMA Social Studies Department

For Middle School

  • The Boys who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose
  • I am Malala, by Malala Yousafzai

For High School

  • A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  • All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell  
  • 1984 by George Orwell

Recommended by the MMA Science Department

For Middle School

  • The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (Young Readers' Edition) by William Kamkwamba and Brian Mealer
  • Laika by Nick Abadzis

For High School

  • A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
  • Death by Black Hole by Neil de Grasse Tyson
  • Silent Spring by Rachel Carson
  • The Serengeti Rules by Sean Carroll

Cadet News

Preparing for the Future: Missouri Military Academy Cadets Learn Life Skills

At Missouri Military Academy (MMA), the approach to education extends far beyond traditional academics. Cadets are delving into a curriculum that covers a spectrum of practical life skills. From basic household tasks to financial literacy, the Life Skills class offers a comprehensive toolkit for navigating the complexities of adulthood. With the incorporation of guest speakers, the class adds depth and real-world insight to the cadets' learning experience.

Read More about Preparing for the Future: Missouri Military Academy Cadets Learn Life Skills