Books about masculinity

Boy Oh Boy

Explore our pick of the best books to help children develop confidence, compassion, and an understanding of healthy ideas about masculinity.

  • Boys Will be Human

    Author: Justin Baldoni
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 10+

    An excellent all-encompassing guide to being a boy, covering essential topics in a conversational tone. Sensible, sensitive and searingly honest.

  • Boy Oh Boy

    Author: Cliff Leek Illustrator: Bene Rohlmann
    Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Boy Oh Boy is an entertaining way to meet 30 positive male role models from throughout history. It will inspire all children to use their talents, express their passions and stand up for what they think is right. 

  • The Story of Ferdinand

    Author: Munro Leaf Illustrator: Robert Lawson
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 4-5

    Ferdinand the bull doesn't want to butt heads or fight the Matador - he just wants to sit quietly and smell the flowers. Munro Leaf's gentle picture book about simply being yourself is just as poignant and powerful today as it has ever been.

  • What is Gender?

    Author: Juno Dawson
    Publisher: Hachette
    Interest age: 10-16
    Reading age: 10+

    An informative, no-nonsense guide looking at the concept of gender and the different issues surrounding it, featuring personal stories to bring it all to life.

  • What is Masculinity? Why Does it Matter? And Other Big Questions

    Author: Jeffrey Boakye and Darren Chetty with artwork by Oli Frape (Design by Rocket Design)
    Publisher: Wayland
    Interest age: 10-14
    Reading age: 9+

    This timely and excellent book explores what it means to be a man in today’s society. It poses thought-provoking questions to develop readers' critical thinking skills, and will give them the confidence to question conventions and stereotypes. 

  • Max Kowalski Didn’t Mean It

    Author: Susie Day
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    When Max meets Tal and his two dads, he learns that there are lots of different ways to be a man, and that his own dad’s expectations of him at such a young age aren't fair. An utterly remarkable book about families, being a boy and coping with loss. 

  • High Five to the Hero

    Author: Vita Murrow Illustrator: Julia Bereciartu
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    What if heroes weren't always the strong and silent type? Vita Murrow brings the stars from some of our favourite stories into the modern day with this thought-provoking collection.

  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh

    Author: Helen Rutter
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-13
    Reading age: 9+

    Billy's starting secondary school, but he's worried that his stammer will make it hard to fit in. He has to get rid of it before he can pursue his dream of being a stand-up comedian - so he comes up with an unusual list of ways to deal with it...

  • The Boy Who Loved Everyone

    Author: Jane Porter Illustrator: Maisie Paradise Shearring
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 3-5

    Dimitri is new at nursery, and no matter how many people (and trees) he says 'I love you' to, no one says it back. Dimitri starts to get really sad. Even the guinea pig seems to want to get away!

    When Mum walks him to nursery the next day, she explains that people show their feelings in different ways: the mean old man on the park bench is telling the stray …

  • Want to Play Trucks?

    Author: Ann StottIllustrator: Bob Graham
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 6+

    Beautifully observed illustrations complement a thoughtful tale about two boys trying to reconcile their different interests and find enough common ground to play happily together. 

  • Julian is a Mermaid

    Author: Jessica Love
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 6+

    When Julian spots three women in lavish mermaid costumes, it fires his imagination and all he can think about is becoming a mermaid himself – with a little help from his nana’s soft furnishings.

  • Timelines from Black History: Leaders, Legends, Legacies

    Author: Introduction by Mireille Harper Illustrator: Lauren Quinn
    Publisher: DK
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    An essential and fascinating book which follows black history across many centuries to today’s contemporary world.

  • Clive and His Hats

    Author: Jessica Spanyol
    Publisher: Child's Play International
    Interest age: 0-3

    Clive loves his hats, and he has a hat to suit every situation imaginable. This funny book with its colourful illustrations and jaunty story helps little ones look at which clothes (and hats) to wear when - from rainy days to cosy bedtimes.

  • How To Be A Lion

    Author: Ed Vere
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 3-7
    Reading age: 5+

    Leonard is a gentle lion: just because you’re a lion doesn’t mean that you have to roar. A book about ignoring the aggressive voices in our society and lending an ear to our quieter thoughts, this is a warm and reassuring story.