Wednesday, July 1, 2015

What Your Kids (and You) Should Read This Summer, by Your Favorite Authors



Hello Everyone,

I hope that your summer is off to a great start.  I was interviewed by ParentMap in Seattle and want to share the article with you titled,  What Your Kids (and You) Should Read This Summer, by Your Favorite Authors.  Click here for the list.  15 Puget Sound literary luminaries developed a great summer book list.

Have a safe summer,

John

Sunday, April 26, 2015

High Wind to Idaho


High Wind to Idaho is a middle-grade historical airship adventure set during the America's first UFO scare of 1896, and foretells the later Japanese balloon bombs of W.W.II. Yoshi, a young Japanese boy steals a ride on a secret balloon and ends up in the USA, as the nation worries about reported Martian landings and mysterious airship sightings.

He lands on an Idaho farm where another boy, Billy, and his mother, hide Yoshi from a zealous
sheriff and vengeful neighbors. Yoshi must get back to Japan before the secret of this new balloon gets out and his uncle's reputation is destroyed. Yoshi and Billy learn to adapt to each others culture as Yoshi is driven to return and apologize to his uncle, or face the humiliation of betraying his ancient samurai family honor.

They hatch a plan to hoodwink the sheriff and leave town on a rail journey that exposes Yoshi to oriental hate and bigotry as Billy helps protect him. Once in San Francisco they are accosted by a Japanese Army Officer bent on returning Yoshi to Japan and chased by a female Pinkerton detective determined to capture Yoshi and hand him over to the new US Army Intelligence Service.
The novel was inspired by the Great Texas Airship Mystery of 1897 that occurred in nearby Aurora, Texas.

This cool adventure story is by Rod Barclay.  Rod is a retired Engineer and Industrial Designer who has studied aeronautical design and balloon developments of the 19th Century. To learn more about Rod and his books, click here.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Bandits Peak


I'm thrilled that one of my favorite authors, Chris Eboch has recently released a  new suspense novel.  Bandits Peak will definitely appeal to boys who like stories set in the wilderness.  It reminds me a lot of Hatchet.  Chris does a nice job of putting the main character, Jesse in a position where he has to make tough choices.  After discovering dried blood on a rock, Jesse meets strangers hiding in the mountains, he gets drawn into their mystery, and a fast-paced adventure story unfolds.

This unique plot will most certainly appeal to reluctant readers.  What I like most about the book is its length.   It's long enough to hold your attention, but not at all intimidating.  I call these kind of books, Skateboard Books.  These kind of books are great confidence builders. 

To learn more about Chris' books click here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Brookings Report



A recent Brookings Report has concluded that trying to get boys to enjoy reading doesn't improve reading scores.  Boys Read doesn't have a large scale scientific study to refute this report.  However, we have consistent, common sense anecdotal evidence from across the country from many caretakers and educators that demonstrate that if boys are served up enough interesting choices, they do learn to love reading.  Here's a quote we received via email just this week from a mom and Literacy Specialist: "I love your website. My 11 year old is a great reader, but hates to read because he never can find a good book.  Your recommendations have helped him get back into reading again."

Boys Read consistently receives best-practice quotes like the one above.  Our conclusion of the Brookings Report is best summarized as:  "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."

To read the report, click here.



Monday, March 9, 2015

Surviving Bear Island



After a sea kayaking trip with his father takes a dangerous turn, Tom Parker is stranded on the remote, outer coast of unpopulated Bear Island in the waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska with only a survival kit in his pocket. Desperate to find his father, Tom doesn’t know how long he can survive and must put his survival skills to the test as he fights to reach safety.

This cool adventure story is by Paul Creci.  Paul's been living in Alaska for 25 years, and has seen bears fishing for salmon, a pair of bald eagles building a nest, polar bears gnawing on a whale carcass, 10,000 walrus hauled out together on the Bering Sea coast, and120,000 caribou gathered on the Arctic Coastal Plain. And when he’s not teaching school or exploring the Alaskan wilderness, Paul Greci is thinking up ways to keep hungry moose out of his garden. Surviving Bear Island is Paul's debut novel.

Click here to learn more about Paul and be sure to see his cool pictures of Alaska's amazing wilderness.  What a life!  We look forward to reading more of his adventure stories.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Young Knights of the Round Table: The King’s Ransom

Meet 11-year-old Prince Gavin, 13-year-old orphan Philip, and 15-year-old blacksmith apprentice Bryan. Each wants a future different from the others, but they all want to belong. They owe their friendship with each other to one man they call The Wild Man. When an advisor to Gavin’s dad King Wallace is murdered and the valuable jewell known as The King’s Ransom is stolen, The Wild Man is captured and proclaimed to be the culprit. Gavin, Philip, and Bryan bravely vow to clear their friend by taking the Knight’s Oath and embarking on individual quests to save The Wild Man. In the end, each one faces their fears and even death in their determination not to fail.

This adventure story is by Cheryl Carpinello.  She loves the Ancient and Medieval Worlds! She's a retired English teacher, and her stories inspire young readers to read more.  Click here to learn more about Cheryl's books. Click here to read an excellent article about Cheryl's writing.

Sunday, October 26, 2014



My Name Is Not Easy is a powerful story that many boys will find compelling.  It's told in a voice they can relate to.  Inupiaq, the protagonist knows the teachers and other students will call him Luke when he gets to his new boarding school because his native name will be forbidden to be spoken.  Luke and a cast of other colorful characters come together and survive the wraith of an overbearing School Master. This very cool book was a National Book Award finalist and is by Debby Dahl Edwardson. She's an award winning children's writer. Her picture book, Whale Snow was named to the International Reading Association's Notable Books for a Global Society list and was also an Independent Publishers winner. Her novel Blessing's Bead was named to the ALA/Yalsa Best Fiction for Young Adults in 2010. She lives, teaches and writes in a Inupiat community in northernmost Alaska.

To learn more about Debby and her books, click here.