The first one is a graphic novel called Dogs of War. It has three chapters, each focusing on a different dog in a different war. The first one is in World War 1, the second in World War 2, and the third actually deals with a Viet Nam war veteran in flashbacks to the war (also touching on post traumatic stress syndrome). The art work, by Nathan Fox, is amazing and really evocative. The stories are emotional and I think this would be a great book to spark the interest of some of the boys to get them interested in reading more about history. Here's a book trailer about it.
I read two other books this week and could barely put them down. They are the second and third installment of a series that started with a book called The False Prince by Jennifer Neilsen. It's impossible to tell about the second two without some spoilage of the plot (and frankly, the plot twists are completely amazing). The False Prince is about a boy named Sage who is an orphan and a thief. He's funny, irreverent and has no respect for any authority. He gets caught stealing a piece of meat one day and is rescued by a noble man who is recruiting boys to impersonate the prince. The prince disappeared four years ago (as a 10 year old) and presumed dead. The rest of the royal family has been murdered and the noble man has this brainwave that if he could produce the prince, then he could run the show from behind the scenes. There are three other boys who are recruited (and it's clear right from the beginning that they really don't have a choice in the matter) and are trained to be the prince. So book two is called The Runaway King and book three is called The Shadow Throne. If you like plot twists and adventure (think princes, princess, pirates, thieves, good guys, bad guys, brave horses... ) this is the series for you. Here's a book trailer about the Runaway King, the second one in the series.
The last one I read is also amazing. It's called "I Kill the Mockingbird" by Paul Acampora. It's about three kids who are finishing middle school and getting ready to move into high school. There is the normal angst about fitting in (because although they have been friends forever, they are quite different people) and it's complicated by the fact that the one girl's mom is recovering from cancer and that their English teacher died during their 8th grade year. They decide that in honor of their English teacher, they will try to encourage everyone to read his favorite book "To Kill A Mockingbird". They choose a campaign of stealth and social media which is both hilarious and topical. I think kids are going to love this book. I wish I taught a grade level that I could read this with kids because I would SO be up for doing a challenge like this.