Saturday, November 19, 2016

Building Self-esteem Through Reading

Building Self-esteem in Boys Through Reading

Below is an excellent article written by C.J. Quinn.

Reading is a critical component of creating self-esteem. According to the Child Development Institute, LLC, “Self-esteem is a major key to success in life. The development of a positive self-concept or healthy self-esteem is extremely important to the happiness and success of boys.”  Reading builds boys’ self-esteem because it fosters a more proficient reader, thus cultivating a more confident person. You can’t give a child self-confidence; they have to earn it. A good way to gain self-esteem is through reading. As your boy reads, he becomes more proficient and learns valuable lessons from the stories. Pulitzer prize-winning author of Angela’s Ashes, Frank McCourt said, “Stock your mind. It is your house of treasure.”

Nurturing your boys to enjoy the art of reading is an undertaking. One suggestion to help boys read is to incorporate it into their everyday routine. After they get settled down for bed have your boy(s) read for a minimum of 30 minutes before lights out. This could be any kind of reading; silent reading, parents or siblings reading aloud to one another, and/or listening to books on audio. eBooks can be especially instrumental because they can look up vocabulary words they may be unfamiliar with. Furthermore, reading is a valuable time for your son to wind down from the day and use his mind more introspectively. You can even turn it into a time where the family reads together; all reading silently or aloud. This time together is more important today due to our fast paced, frenetic society.

Let your boy(s) choose the books they read. Give them many different selections. Take them to the library, a bookstore or let them peruse the eBook libraries. The goal here is to get your boys to want to read. Schools often choose books that are uninspiring. When a boy has the ability to pick and choose what he wants to read, this spurs an interest in reading and gives the boy motivation to read. Boys enjoy reading about adventure, action, fantastical stories and humor more than any other genres. Boys will read if the story engages them.  

Turn the concept around from reading as a chore, into reading for pleasure. According to the National Literacy Trust research, only 1 in 4 boys read outside of class every day.”  Promote reading by giving your boy ownership in his choices. Reading a series is vital because your son already understands the plot, they know the characters and are curious to see what the next book brings. This builds on their reading skills because they are already invested in the story, which is a great hook.

If you have a boy who is struggling with reading at school, make sure that you give him stories he can be successful in reading. In 1946, researcher Emmett Betts suggested that we should be giving students texts in which they could read at least 90 percent of the words and comprehend at least 75 percent of the information. This enhanced both learning and attitude. If your reader struggles with reading, it can be mentally and emotionally exhausting. It can affect them in school, in their relationships and with their peers. This in turn can affect their feelings of self-worth.

When boys read fantasy it gives them a place to explore their fears. Books that have characters in them that they can relate to are essential to the success of boys reading. Through reading about other fictional characters whom they can connect with to sort out who they are. That personal exploration allows boys to put things in into perspective in their own lives. Boys need outlets to read to build their self- esteem as people. Nurture your boys to become successful readers if you want to help them build self-esteem.

C.J. Quinn is the author of Talia and the Capture of Wrath, a middle grade fantasy novel that promotes environmental awareness. After traveling the world, she settled down to start a family, which has proven to be the biggest adventure yet. She currently resides in Seattle with her family. Click here to learn more about her very cool book.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts

In the seaside town of Melcombe Regis, England, 1724, Oliver Cromwell Pitts wakes to find his father missing and his house flooded by a recent storm. He’s alone in his ruined home with no money and no food. Oliver’s father has left behind a barely legible waterlogged note: he’s gone to London, where Oliver’s sister, Charity, is in trouble. Exploring damage to the town in the storm’s aftermath, Oliver discovers a shipwreck on the beach. Removing anything from a wrecked ship is a hanging offense, but Oliver finds money that could save him, and he can’t resist the temptation to take it. When his crime is discovered, Oliver flees, following the trail of his father and sister. The journey is full of thieves, adventurers, and treachery--and London might be the most dangerous place of all.

In the tradition of his Newbery Honor book The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Avi mixes high adventure and short, page-turning chapters with a vivid historical setting featuring a cast of highwaymen, pickpockets, and villainous criminal masterminds. The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts is impossible to put down.

Avi has penned yet another masterpiece.  To learn more, click here.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Kingdom of Oceana

The Kingdom of Oceana is the first book in a new Middle Grade fantasy adventure series by Mitchell Charles.  Mitchell’s inspiration for The Kingdom of Oceana was born of exploring the spectacular coastline, lush valleys, and vibrant coral reefs of the Hawaiian Islands.

At its core, The Kingdom of Oceana is a story about a sibling rivalry.

Five centuries ago, on the island now called Hawaii, there was a kingdom filled with adventure, beauty, and magic.  When 16-year-old Prince Ailani and his brother Nahoa trespass on a forbidden burial ground and uncover an ancient tiki mask, they unleash a thousand-year-old curse that threatens to destroy their tropical paradise.

Warring factions spar for control of Oceana, sparking an age-old conflict between rival sorcerers. With the help of ancestral spirit animals, a shape-shifting sidekick, and a beautiful princess, Prince Ailani must fight for his rightful place as the future king of Oceana.

The Kingdom of Oceana takes readers on a fun and exciting adventure filled with big wave surfing, fire walking, and shark taming, while also dealing with real-world environmental issues like ocean conservation. To learn more, click here.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Vampire Boy

When Alex Vambarey attends his first year at the Carpathian Academy, he has no idea that there are other creatures besides vampires. He's never met a gargoyle, or a pixie for that matter. Of course he's read about them -- in the Vampedia -- but in real life? No way. But now everyone's trying to figure out the Magus riddle and win the school prize. Even the Brownies are all befuddled! (new paragraph) Well, maybe it's natural. It's his first term, and there are all sorts of things that don't make any sense. Like all the janitors collecting dirt. That's just plain weird. No, there was definitely something bigger going on. Way bigger. And if he was right, the secret was somewhere in the Night Gallery. The secret about Carpathia, and the secret about himself!

To purchase this cool book click here.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


The Sailweaver’s Son combines traditional fantasy with a dash of steampunk and takes readers to a unique world—Etherium. A world where mountains rise like islands above a sea of clouds and adventurers travel the sky in sail-driven airships.

When  fifteen year-old Tak rescues the survivor of an airship destroyed by one of the giant flammable gas bubbles mysteriously appearing in the sky of Etherium, the authorities react like a flock of startled grekks.

Admiral Scud accuses Tak of sabotage. Tak’s father grounds him for reckless airmanship. The King’s advisors declare the bubbles are weapons devised by the Gublins, a race of devious—and dangerous—underground creatures. To clear his name, solve the mystery, and prevent a misguided war, Tak must visit the Gublins and find out what they know. When the odd and beautiful wizard’s daughter asks Tak to venture to the underworld with her, he reluctantly agrees.

The adventure will take Tak from the deepest underground caves to a desperate battle on Etherium’s highest mountaintop. It will force him to face his worst fears, and to grow up faster than he expected.

This very cool novel is by Jeff Minerd.  To learn more about Jeff and his Adventure Book, click here.

Friday, September 16, 2016

True Vert

In this coming-of-age story, fifteen-year-old Josh Lowman earns a spot as a pro skateboarder on the Alpha Dog Skate Kru team. With the help of washed-up skate legend Dave McSteel, Josh pushes the limits of what’s humanly possible on a skateboard.

He’s living the dream, he’s cool, an Alpha Dog skater; but he starts to lose focus on the things that truly matter. His goal is to impress Erin, but he’s so caught up in the pro skater thing that Erin and the rest of his old friends don’t want to be around him. And he’s not sure if his new friends are even friends at all.

Dirk Davies, the ambitious owner of Alpha Dog Skate Company, isn’t satisfied. Hungry for even more corporate sponsors, Dirk persuades Josh to skate the most treacherous ramp of all, and now Josh has to decide what he’s willing to risk to maintain his spot on the Alpha Dog team.
True Vert offers a glimpse into the dog-eat-dog world of professional skateboarding and takes the reader along for a wild ride as Josh discovers that it takes as much courage to drop into the Mega Ramp as it does to stay true to oneself.

This very cool skateboard book is by Janet Eoff Berend.  Janet loves all things that end with the word “board,” especially skateboard, surfboard and snowboard, which she considers the trifecta of boarding sports.  To learn more about Janet and her books, click here.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

FREE Seattle Boys Read Workshop September 14th

FREE workshop.   Boys Read is offering a FREE workshop in Seattle on September 14th.  The workshop is called “Transforming Boys Into Lifelong Readers.”  This unique professional development opportunity is a great way to kickoff your 2016/2017 school year.

Course Description: Prepare educators, parents and guardians to be more effective in transforming boys into lifelong readers. Focus on reluctant-readers, address the 4th grade reading-slump, and narrow the gender reading gap between boys and girls.

You will learn:
• How to better connect with your boy
• The most up-to-date research on gender and learning
• How educators should consider gender as they design and
implement lesson plans
New programs should include:
• Energy-focused activities
• Seating and room arrangement
• Graphics Novels and Non-fiction
• Implementation of high-interest fiction into curriculum
• Gender-friendly resources and materials
• Parent and volunteer involvement

You will learn: (continued)
• Strategies to deliver boy-friendly teaching tips and
techniques so that each teacher and parent is better
prepared to engage boys in reading activities
• Strategies to improve the primarily female teaching
staff members’ skills when interacting with boys
• Strategies for fully maximizing schools current
resources (books currently in library)

Course Details:
Dates: September 14th
Times: 1:00 PM - 5:00 PM
Cost: FREE
Location: Fremont Public Library, Seattle

To register, reply to

Tuesday, August 9, 2016


Newly arrived in New Fiddleham, New England, 1892, and in need of a job, Abigail Rook meets R. F. Jackaby, an investigator of the unexplained with a keen eye for the extraordinary–including the ability to see supernatural beings. Abigail has a gift for noticing ordinary but important details, which makes her perfect for the position of Jackaby’s assistant. On her first day, Abigail finds herself in the midst of a thrilling case: A serial killer is on the loose. The police are convinced it’s an ordinary villain, but Jackaby is certain it’s a nonhuman creature, whose existence the police–with the exception of a handsome young detective named Charlie Cane–deny.

This Sherlock Holmes style novel is by William Ritter.  Mr. Ritter teaches high school language arts in Oregon.  Jackaby is his first novel. To learn more about all of Mr. Ritter's unique books, click here.

Saturday, August 6, 2016

Treasury of Inuit Legends

Treasury of Inuit Legends by James Houston is by far the best adventure book I've read all summer.  I'm really glad that I discovered this book in a used bookstore in Seattle.  Jame Houston made his first journey to the Canadian Arctic in 1948 in search of a new land to paint. There he found a warm, friendly people living in a vast, cold, hauntingly beautiful world. He lived with the Inuit and Indian people in the Arctic and grew to understand them and their way of life. He also helped introduce Inuit culture to the world with his remarkable art and stories.  Here are four of his exciting Inuit folktales--Akavak, Tiktaliktak, The White Archer, and Wolf Run--collected for the first time in one beautiful volume. Houston's striking illustrations for each story bring the Arctic and its people to life. This inspired collection is sure to fascinate readers of all ages.

I look forward to reading more of James Houston's Arctic adventure books.

Click here to learn more about this extraordinary author and artist.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Thunder Boy Jr

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his dad, but he wants a name that's all his own. Just because people call his dad Big Thunder doesn't mean he wants to be Little Thunder. He wants a name that celebrates something cool he's done, like Touch the Clouds, Not Afraid of Ten Thousand Teeth, or Full of Wonder.

But just when Thunder Boy Jr. thinks all hope is lost, he and his dad pick the perfect name...a name that is sure to light up the sky.

National Book Award-winner Sherman Alexie's lyrical text and Caldecott Honor-winner Yuyi Morales's striking and beautiful illustrations celebrate the special relationship between father and son.

Click here to learn more.

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Stephen Manes

Stephen Manes is the author of more than thirty books for children and young adults. His Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days! won kid-voted awards in five states and is a curriculum staple in American and French schools. The sequel, Make Four Million Dollars by Next Thursday!, quickly became a Publishers Weekly  bestseller. His Some of the Adventures of Rhode Island Red was illustrated by William Joyce, creator of Rolie Polie Olie. With Ron Barrett of Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs fame, Manes wrote Encyclopedia Placematica, a collection of paper placemats that may remain the only book scalloped on all four sides. His books have been adapted for stage, television, and opera productions, including a Montreal children’s theater version of Perfect Person directed by Robert Lepage. The books have won commendations from the National Science Foundation and the Child Study Children’s Book Committee, as well as International Reading Association Children’s Choice awards. 

He is currently serving his fifth term as an elected member of the National Council of the Authors Guild, the country’s oldest and largest organization of book authors. He lives in Seattle with his wife, Susan Kocik.  He is a terrible dancer. (Stephen says this.  I haven't actually seen him dance)

Click here to see all of Stephen's awesome books.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Arken Freeth

Part Neanderthal, but raised as a human, Arken Freeth finds that he doesn’t fit in either world as he struggles to survive. Yet the very Neanderthal heritage that makes Arken an outsider gives him extraordinary strength and fighting skills. In order to survive and become the warrior he knows he can be, Arken must brave the dangers that lurk beneath the depths of the Circle Sea, the old Atlantic, as well as the Tookan pirates who roam its surface.

Many boys rarely get an opportunity to experience hunting and fishing firsthand, so these books give them a sense of what it is like to hunt big game and use that skill to keep yourself alive.

In addition, the protaganist is a 14-year-old boy who is a "double" fish out of water, not only is he the only commoner in a military academy for the sons and daughters of noble families, he is also part Neanderthal in a lost civilization existing 13,000 years ago. And if anyone finds out that he has Neanderthal blood, the laws of their society forbid racial mixing with Neanderthal slaves and he and his family will be put to death.

Top that off with the fact that Arken begins the series by being very short and being bullied and manages to overcome these obstacles through wit and tenacity and I feel it is an inspiring message to young boys and the problems they face in society today.

This unique book is by Alex Paul and is the first of a series of seven books.  Alex lives in Portland, OR.  Many of his childhood experiences helped craft his books. He grew up in small Oregon logging towns, mainly Mill City on the N. Santiam River.  His parents were British colonialists who escaped Hong Kong on the last ocean liner that left before the Japanese invasion the same day Pearl Harbor was hit.  They emigrated to Canada and both served in the war, his father in Canadian infantry and his mother in the WAC. After the war his father got a degree in English and they moved to the US where he had a career as a teacher in small Oregon towns.

Click here to visit Alex Paul's awesome website.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Into The Killing Seas

In 1945, in the waning days of World War II, two boys stow away aboard the U.S.S. Indianapolis as it sails from Guam to the Philippines. Separated from their parents at the start of the war, the boys hope to reunite with their family. But their hopes are dashed when a Japanese submarine sinks the ship in the middle of ocean.

Patrick and Teddy, with the help of their friend—an injured Marine named Benny—are not too worried at first. They expect to be rescued soon. They can handle the thirst and the dehydration. Even the occasional madness that seems to possess some of the ship’s surviving crew.

But as they float along in the water, they discover that the real danger lies beneath. And it has teeth.  Based on true events, this is a harrowing tale of survival and suspense.

This book is by Michael P. Spradlin.  Surrounded by books in his formative years, he grew up loving to read, imagining himself the hero of numerous epic battles and indulging in his favorite pastime, which was smuggling fireworks across the Ohio border so that he could blow up his collection of Plastic Green Army Men and Matchbox Cars.

To learn more about Michael, click here.

Click here to see a cool trailer of Into The Killing Seas.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Avenging The Owl

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Han Solo avenged the destruction of an innocent planet by helping Luke Skywalker blow up the Death Star. Han walked away with a gold medal and the love of his life. But when Solo Hahn—named in honor of the beloved action hero—tries to avenge the death of his gray-and-white kitten, he gets eight months of community service. Eight months of working at the local raptor center helping owls—his now sworn enemies.

For the first time in his life, Solo is labeled a troubled kid, an at-risk youth. He’d always gotten good grades, had good friends, and gotten along with his parents. He used to volunteer to read Reader’s Digest to old people at the retirement home next door, and his favorite thing in the whole wide world was to surf. He wrote screenplays for fun. But when his parents uproot him and move the family from California to backwoods Oregon, Solo starts to lose track of the person he was. Everything is upside down, and he finds himself dealing with things way beyond his understanding. He’s the new kid in town, and he’s got a bad reputation. The question is: What will he do next?

This is a story about staying true to yourself when things get tough. Solo has every reason to lash out, but he ultimately needs to find a way to cope. Avenging the Owl deals with the difficult issues of suicide and depression, but more than anything it captures the powerlessness of being a kid. It won’t be easy, but the wild beauty of Oregon, its cold, empty beaches and captivating wildlife, may be just what Solo and his family need to help them start over.

This very cool book is by Melissa Hart.   She worked as an environmental educator and owl trainer at the Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene for eight years.  She teaches Literature for Laurel Springs, a distance-learning high school based in Ojai, California. To learn more about Melissa Hart and her other great books, click here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Thirteen Brother Pirates

Thirteen Brother Pirates: The Journey Begins in 1775 when thirteen brothers are forced to join the British Navy and hunt pirates. Their mission changes when they get attacked and their Captain abandons them in the middle of the North Atlantic.  Stranded on a disabled ship, they must save themselves or dare the impossible -- save their brothers, find justice and win independence.

This unique Pirate Adventure story is by John Mattox.  John is a writer who began typing stories into his father's TRS 80 Color Computer as a child and hasn't stopped writing since.   His favorite authors include Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Gladwell, Creighton, Cialdini, Gould, Tolkien, Conroy and anyone who can tell a good story to keep the pages turning.  John hopes his books will encourage more reading and inspire the next generation of writers.  He believes this story spans the age gap between Jake and the Neverland Pirates and Pirates of the Caribbean.

Click here to learn more about John's books.