Raising A Reader?

Raising A Reader?

My daughter doesn’t sit still.  Ever.  She’s never been one to sit quietly and flip through a picture book or color a bunch of pictures, until very very recently (like the last 3 weeks).  And even then her attention span is that of a gnat.  At bedtime, she would make it through the reading aloud of one relatively short picture book and wouldn’t tolerate books with minimal pictures or more than about 25 words on a page.

As a life-long obsessive reader who would rarely like be doing anything else, this distresses me.  I know everyone is different and if she turns out to only be a casual reader, she’ll be passionate about something else and that’s totally fine.  However, I can’t help but hold out hope that she’ll grow up to be like her mama and carry a book with her wherever she goes “just in case.”

Recently the lovely folks at Macmillan sent us a game-changer.



Find It On Goodreads


It’s listed as for ages 5-8, and as my wee one is 4 and change, but I took a chance.  I introduced it at bedtime last weekend as a “big girl chapter book” and she took the bait.  As a family we read a chapter a night this week.  The story is very engaging, pictures are sparse (but also adorable), and every chapter ends on a cliff hanger.  My kid, my always active hooligan, loved it.  She begged me to keep going every night.  Part of it was the wonderful story full of winged animals and adventure, and part of it was the thrill of being grown up, of doing something she might get to do next year in kindergarten.

Would I recommend this book to others?  Heck yeah.  It’s girly enough for the princesses, but also suspenseful and full of surprises for those who shun the pink.  And, bonus, there are more books in the series, which we will be buying immediately.  A big thanks to Lily Small and the lovelies at Macmillan for keeping my dream of raising a reader alive.

I would also welcome suggestions of more books guaranteed to hook reluctant young readers – please share if you know of some!

What I’ve Been Reading

What I’ve Been Reading

The most common piece of advice I read from writers to aspiring writers is “READ!”  I read a lot.  A LOT.  Here’s what’s been keeping me occupied lately:



2 books I think ought to be taught in classrooms –

Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley:    A really beautifully told story about the integration of an all-white school in a fictional town in 1959 Virginia.  Talley address not only racial tensions, but LGBT concerns as well.  The story is told through dual-POV and I found the evolving perspectives from Linda and Sarah to be moving and challenging.  This is an important book and I’ve already recommended it to an English teacher friend for school approval.


Published September 30th 2014 by Harlequin Teen





Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin – this was my first Martin book since I devoured her Babysitters Club series as a child.  While there are several books out there now with narrators with Asperger’s Syndrome, this one stands out with it’s honest voice, unique details, and a story that is universal for any age group.  I think middle grade readers and their parents will find Rose’s relationship with her dog extremely touching.  This would be a wonderful story to be read together, as it invites discussions about other-ness, as well as complicated family relationships.  I plan on passing it on to a friend with a daughter about to enter middle school.


Published October 7th 2014 by Feiwel & Friends




I’m also slowly but surely making my way through Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, which I’m trying very hard to savor.

Expected publication: October 21st 2014 by Scholastic Press





In writing/reading, I’ve been tackling my critique partner Katherine Locke’s sequel to the forthcoming Serenade (title most likely to be changed), which is just lovely.  Can’t wait for the world to get their hands on Zed and Aly’s story.


Expected publication: 2015 by Carina Press