Just because a kid can read, doesn't necessarily mean that he does read. So what?
This matters because research shows that the more kids read, the better readers they become. Although that may be blatantly obvious to adults, many kids are not impressed.
A friend's son is a very bright ninth-grader who reads well, but has to be cajoled into reading anything that isn't absolutely required. Usually, these are kids who have to see the book we want them to read. They don't have any interest in picking out a title from a list. I gave my friend a stack of possibilities. Her son chose "Trackers" by Patrick Carman.
He consumed it, just gulped it down. Although he rejected a pile of books I thought would interest him, I completely understand why "Trackers" caught and held his interest.
"Trackers" has everything: break-neck action; really likable characters that are male, female, black and white; sinister bad guys; very scary scenarios that are believable; and a plot based in the complex world of computers.
Just in case all that wasn't quite compelling enough, readers are invited to "Read the Book. Follow the Trackers as they hunt a dangerous criminal. Watch the Videos. Click on the links within the book to witness the action. Break the Codes. Unlock the evidence online to solve the mystery."
When is a book more than a book? When it's "Trackers." As you probably surmised, this is just Book One.
"Lockdown" is a new book by best-selling author Walter Dean Myers. I've worked with plenty of teenagers who read Myers or nothing.
His book "Monster" chilled me to my marrow, but teen readers avidly absorb his frank descriptions of life on the streets. Even though his books are about gangs, drugs, drive-by shootings and wasted potential, he maintains a sense of hope.
In "Lockdown" the protagonist is incarcerated in a juvenile detention facility. As much as he wants to keep his record clean and get released early, circumstances mess him up. He's given a second chance and placed in the work program at a senior citizens facility. This assignment presents challenges of its own.
"The Indigo Notebook" by Laura Resau, for readers ages 12 and up, would interest teens who enjoy real-life stories set in exotic places with some romance, adventure and mysticism in the mix. I especially liked this book because it presents the land and people of Ecuador with respect, fondness and enthusiasm.
"The Owl Keeper" by Christine Brodien-Jones, for readers 11 and up, is a novel about a dystopia. For kids who liked "The Maze Runner" and "The Hunger Games," this book may appeal. Max's Gran used to tell him stories about the world before the "Destruction."
The High Echelon has destroyed all books, imprisoned the sages and tried to eliminate the silver owls. It's time for the new Owl Keeper to make himself known.
The right book for the right child at the right time. Labor intensive, but worth the effort.
Contact Fran Hawk at firstname.lastname@example.org.