Top Ten Tuesday: Books We’d Recommend to Reluctant Readers


top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Top Ten Books We’d Recommend to ______ Readers

We decided to take our own spin on this topic and address different types of reluctant readers that are common in classrooms. We picked five categories and will give you our top picks in each category!

1. The Reluctant Reader Who Loves Sports

Ricki‘s Pick

Crackback by John Coy

My students LOVE this book. It is about a boy named Miles who finds out the other players on his football team are using steroids. He has to decide whether he has to join them if he wants to keep up with their strength. I have five copies of this book and they are always out.

Kellee‘s Pick

comeback kids

Comeback Kids (series) by Mike Lupica

My students really enjoy this series and they usually graduate from it to other Mike Lupica books. They love how he writes about sports, and I love that his books are well-written.

2. The Reluctant Reader Who Loves Action Movies

Ricki‘s Pick


Maze Runner by James Dashner

When Thomas wakes up, he can’t even remember his name. He is staring at a group of boys who are members of a world different than any he can remember. This book is full of action, and readers will find it difficult to put it down. I chose this title because students love the action scenes, but the book also has great depth.

Kellee‘s Pick


The Lightning Thief (series) by Rick Riordan

I’m still finding students who have not had the pleasure of reading Percy’s adventures, so it is always a go-to for me. If they struggle with the length, I can suck them in with the graphic novel adaptation.

3. The Reluctant Reader Who Loves Mysteries

Ricki‘s Pick


I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Jasper is the son of a famous serial killer, and when several bodies are discovered his town, he knows he is the only one who can think like a serial killer to solve the crimes. He decides to get involved to try to solve the mystery of the murders. My students love this book because it has equal parts violence and mystery. They are hooked from the very beginning!

Kellee‘s Pick


Amulet (series) by Kazu Kibuishi

This is by far the most loved series at my school with my students. They love to read them, reread them, discuss them, talk about them, anything! They adore these books. In Book One, join Emily and Navin to find out what/who has taken their mother.

4. The Reluctant Reader Who Wants to Try Urban Fiction

Ricki‘s Pick


Tyrell by Coe Booth

Tyrell lives with his mother and little brother in the projects of the South Bronx. This book forces readers to face the realities of urban life and is extremely popular in my classroom. Coe Booth’s writing is authentic, and the characters and setting feel very real to readers.

Kellee‘s Pick

ghetto cowboy

Ghetto Cowboy by G. Neri

I love this book and am so happy that so many of my reluctant readers have as well. Coltrane is sent to live with his absent father in Philadelphia and he is thrown into quite a different experience than he is used to.

5. The Struggling Reader Who Has Difficulty with Comprehension

Ricki’s Pick


Tears of a Tiger by Sharon Draper

After a car accident kills his best friend, Andy finds living to be very difficult. He is overwhelmed with his sense of guilt because he was behind the wheel. This book is short, but it has a great impact on my students. It is a powerful book with complex themes but accessible language.

Kellee‘s Pick

big nate 1

Big Nate (series) by Lincoln Peirce

This category is hard for me as it would depend on the reluctant reader; however, Big Nate and Diary of a Wimpy Kid are always great places to start with reluctant, struggling readers. These books are funny, have characters and themes students can relate to, and have illustrations that help with comprehension.


Which books do you recommend to reluctant readers?

RickiSig andSignature

8 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Books We’d Recommend to Reluctant Readers”

  1. Terrific list. I’ve hooked a few with Skellig by David Almond, & he has other interesting books out. And there is The Girl Who Owned The City, by O.T. Nelson, that I see now is out in a graphic novel, too. It’s dystopian but younger, not as harsh as some of the recent ones. Plus, main character is a girl, & when it came out, that was a big thing! Finally, Susan Beth Pfeffer’s series, 1st one is Life As We Knew It-also easy dystopian, but good!

  2. Can I put in a word for my own books, written especially for reluctant readers. “Steppin’ with Benji Marshall”, a biography of Benji’s life and career focusing on the challenges he’s been through and how he overcame them. “Off loading with Sonny Bill Williams” is available as an e book at Smashwords, hard copy in new year. Read more at


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