Three “Boy” Books – Guest Post by James Hampson

I must admit that this is an extremely exciting day! This is my first (and hopefully not last) opportunity to write a guest post for The Spread A Little Sunshine.

When Emily first asked me to write a piece for the blog, I was excited, but wasn’t quite sure what she would want me to discuss. However, after she told me that I’d be writing about “books that boys like,” I knew that I had this on lockdown. After all, my mother was a reading teacher for most of my adolescent life and my dad reads more than an over-caffeinated law student. I’ve quite literally been enveloped by a love of books since I can first remember.

Without further ado, here are a few of my suggestions for every guy in your life.


For Your Teenage Cousin: Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Hatchet is the story of Brian Robeson, a 13-year-old kid, who like many modern teenage boys, lives in a family split apart by divorce. As Brian is flying from the sleepy town of Hampton, New York to visit his father who is working the Canadian oil fields, the pilot of Brian’s Cessna 406 has a heart attack and dies in midair.

Brian manages to survive the crash landing, but now the real fun begins. He must learn to overcome the odds and survive the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him before takeoff.

Hatchet really is a perfect survival story for any adolescent guy.  Paulsen’s first book in Brian’s Saga is a real page-turner that transplants you into the mind of a young man caught in an impossible situation with no option but to survive. In fact, I remember staying up until almost midnight on a school night once because I just couldn’t put the book down. This book also offers young men a number of great lessons about overcoming adversity and using critical thinking to solve problems. This is one book that is too good to pass up giving any teenage guy in your life.


For the Dad Who Loves History: The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara

You know the guy I’m talking about. The one who will forgo the fun, exciting novel for a serious retelling of some civil war history. Good news, folks. We have a winner on both accounts here.

The Killer Angels is a deep dive into the four days that ultimately decided the Civil War. Shaara chronicles the battle of Gettysburg through the eyes of the soldiers who fought one the bloodiest, and most consequential, battles of our nation’s history.

From the outset, this historical novel grips you with its unique style and storytelling. Unlike most historical books, this story is told as a third-person novel. The dialogue and descriptive language help even the biggest history buff understand what it must have been like to stand on the battlefield, watching as young boys and grizzled veterans alike were asked to sacrifice everything to take a wheat field in southern Pennsylvania.

One scene that will always stick with me is when Shaara allows you to live through the mind of Colonel Joshua Lawrence Chamberlin. Chamberlin’s 20th Maine regiment of roughly 350 troops is ordered to hold the Union army’s flank at all costs. Chamberlin’s men, weary after hours of fighting, repel wave-after-wave of Confederate charges. Finally, Chamberlin realizes he must find a way to break the rebel lines once and for all. Shaara makes you feel like you are right there with Chamberlin as he decides to valiantly lead a counter-charge down Little Roundtop, effectively breaking the Confederate line and enabling the Union to win the battle that turned the war. In fact, this scene was so critically acclaimed that it was made a focal point of the epic film adaptation: Gettysburg.

This book truly has something for everyone. Whether you like great storytelling, good character development, or never-ending action, The Killer Angels will answer every call.


For the 20-Something Who Needs A Great Read: One Second After by William Forstchen

Do you ever wonder how you, and the rest of the world for that matter, would react after the apocalypse? One Second After is the heart-rending story of one man’s quest to save his family and hold his community together after America is plunged into darkness following a sinister attack on our homeland.

Fortschen’s masterpiece chronicles the story of John Matherson, a retired Army Colonel, turned history professor, who encounters the worst in humanity when the lights go dark following an unprecedented electromagnetic pulse (EMP) attack. It quickly becomes clear that the electricity won’t be coming on any time soon, and with it, the 21st Century world and all of it’s perks, comes to a grinding halt.

This post-apocalyptic novel powerfully captures both the beauty and hideousness of humanity. You are left turning the page hoping to find John’s next solution to get the people of Black Mountain out of this mess. However, you are often reminded of how heartbreaking life can be when humanity abandons its moral compass. This moving story of survival will leave your emotional tank empty and your curiosity wanting more.

These are just a few of my favorites. Please, come back to let me know how you like these stories! Hopefully, I’ll get another chance to share with you again in the future!


3 thoughts on “Three “Boy” Books – Guest Post by James Hampson”

  1. James—Great Job! I am going to look into these books for my boys! So excited that you will be making guest posts! Looking forward to more from you!


  2. Bravissimo, James! You are an excellent writer and perfect guest blogger. ( and I didn’t even have to proofread it, as I did in the old days. 😉)
    I thoroughly enjoyed what you wrote, and I am very proud of my best student.


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