Once upon a time I had dreams…
I dreamed that I would have children who loved to read as much as I did. That we would be a literary family comparing the books we adored and arguing over Tolkien versus Lewis.
Then I met my son –
Reading is not his idea of a good time.
And apparently my son is not the only boy who would rather eat fire than read books.
As a teacher and a writer I had a new dream. I was going to teach boys to like books.
Epic FAIL. Again.
No matter how much you bribe some boys, they will not enjoy Amber Brown, Junie B. Jones, or The Magic Treehouse. And I used some great bribes, like – if you read this book, I’ll help you build an exploding rocket. Or if you read this book – I’ll take you rock hunting. Instead they wanted to read about how to build the rocket or how to find fossils.
Oh wait – they wanted to READ about how to do things! They wanted to learn facts and decipher instructions. Finally!! I got it. And I started giving them what they wanted. NONFICTION!!!
Over the years I have learned that all I really have to do is learn what interests a reluctant reader. (And this applies to girls, too.) Do they like cars? Airplanes? Mummies? Sharks? Outer space? Disgusting body functions? There’s a book about that!
Nonfiction is the way to a boys (and girls) heart. And my latest book series is designed just for them. The Top Secret Files of History explores the truth behind dangerous spies like The White Mouse Mata Hari. Readers can discover real life pirates of the Caribbean and learn about the true Lone Ranger.
The stories are all short. Many of them no longer than 500 words. The books also have multiple entry points. They are not in sequential order so readers can pick up the books and read in the middle or at the end and still get great information.
The two newest books, Wild West and Gangsters and Bootleggers will be in bookstores December 1. I hope you will check them out for your own favorite reluctant reader!
Blog & website of children's book author Tara Lazar
Nonfiction for Young Adults
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