Don’t Overlook the Power of Realistic Fiction Books for Boys

Realistic fiction that may be slower moving, especially for reluctant
readers or for boys and boy teens can be powerful only if some ground work is successful first.

isThere isn’t a phone or tablet app created that has the power of an amazing book!!!!!!!!!!! This is the message!

But publishers now believe more and more kids, especially boys, won’t read slower moving books for enjoyment, no matter the age. You know the whole mild-crack brain phenomenon.

I think crack-brain from smartphones isn’t really the problem, though.  My writing style is fast, humor and tension filled with somewhat straight- forward plots, however, some of my favorite books as a boy and teen unfolded slower, but I’m glad I stuck with them (A Wrinkle in Time, Treasure Island, The Outsiders). The first two aren’t realistic fiction, but they set me up for truly enjoying The Outsiders.
I had read some great faster moving, high – interest books that helped ready me for books like A Wrinkle in Time and Treasure Island as a 4th-5th grader, and eventually The Outsiders as a ninth grader.

I think once a child sees the value in reading he/she will see the payoff.

Stage One Books:

1. hook them by whatever means (action-driven, humor, adventure-driven, character-driven, illustration-heavy, nonfiction, sci-fi, horror)

SO, I WRITE STAGE 1 STUFF, mostly:)  See why I choose to write Stage One Stuff by clicking here!

Stage Two:
2. introduce them to other forms of literature (try realistic fiction that may be longer with more plot and character development, with quality literary devices once you have them by using stage one stuff:)
I know it’s harder than this sounds, but can be done.

Thanks for reading!!!

How To Books for Children in the Age of YouTube



My 13 –year- old son may qualify as a child who is a reluctant reader. Like many boys, though, he will read nonfiction if he knows he will gain something he’s after. Finding the source and the time and effort required after it’s found is the investment that keeps him from seeking sources like how to books for children when he’s interested in learning more about topics he likes, like golf or fishing. Why? Because something called, YouTube exists!


Living in this Age of Fast and Easy

We have phones, we have tablets, and we have Google and YouTube! YouTube, for example, is visual and engaging. It’s incredibly easy to access.  Why would anyone, including children, expend a great deal of effort searching for a how to book when you have this thing called, YouTube.  Think of the awful work. You’d have to order the thing. You may even need to leave the house to acquire the thing.


YouTube vs. How To Books for Children

YouTube is the symbol of our Path to Least Resistance Society. YouTube is fast, easy, visual, and engaging content curated for everyone, and best of all…no reading! Yayyy!


Sarcasm Detected in the Above Text!

Learning via YouTube feels easy to children, easier than reading. Easier is the way! Everything is so easy now!


I find it interesting that easy sounds a lot like lazy.

Books currently relegate to the not so easy category. Anything older or free from easy enhanced technology falls into this category.  This is why physical books may not exist in the near future, truly.


The Death of How To Books for Children-YouTube

I have a love/hate relationship with YouTube. I love that I can spend far less time learning something of interest as opposed to the time it takes to find a How To Book on Amazon or at the library, or at a bookstore.

However, nothing on YouTube compares to the learning depth offered by a good book. Opportunities for learning more in depth from reading engaging and challenging text are waning due to path of least resistance technology, like YouTube.

The lack of interest in how to books for adults caused by YouTube may not have far reaching negative effects, but what about our younger people who are learning to read? What effects will technology like YouTube have on children: now and in the future. I believe that using YouTube as a substitute for reading implicitly teaches that reading for information isn’t necessary, is too difficult, too inaccessible, too remote, just too boring.

Push How To Books for Children
Good how to books for children reinforce the kind of quality in-depth learning that online videos can’t. Good how to books for children provide opportunities for the type of learning necessary for genuine, practical improvement in doing anything. Reading will always be better than video. We need to teach this idea to our younger people.

Awards for Indie Authors-Don’t overlook Their Potential


I’ve read an article from the Society of Children’s Writer’s and Book Illustrators, of which I’m a member, that voiced opinion about some awards for indie authors, and steered indie authors away from indie awards.

The SCWBI is an organization that has many traditionally and indie published authors as members and as influencers. The SCWBI is a strong organization. I think it helps children’s writers like no other organization.

However, I did read some advice posted in their periodical that steered indie authors away from most awards for indie authors using criteria that seemed general at best. The article seemed to lump the majority of awards for indie authors into one pile that Predators and Editors would label as scammers for this reason or that. But, I did not find the National Indie Excellence Awards flagged by any site on the internet.

My experience with the National Indie Excellence Awards has nothing but improved my credibility as an author and helped my sales for Jack’s Tales, as it was a Finalist in the Children’s Chapter Book Category in 2015.

This is an article that ranks the National Indie Excellence Awards as a top ten Indie Author award: 

If you are an Indie Author, certainly enter award competitions only after some research and comparative analysis. As an Indie Author, don’t let anyone put you in a category without reading your book objectively first. I think this happens to authors and competitions alike.


Kid’s Reading at Home


This Picture Says it All-The Poster Child for Reluctant Readers

I’ve learned from reading plenty of articles about common strategies used by parents to help their little reluctant ones to read more. These strategies are common:


  • Discussing the importance of reading independently
  • Constantly discussing books, magazines, or articles
  • Asking them about what they are reading in school
  • Finding what they like and don’t like to read
  • Not pushing one type of media over another
  • Encouraging a variety of media

And when all of these strategies, help, but only for a short duration, your only option is to become firm. Be firm, concise, consistent, and invest your time. Combined with the above, you’ll find some success.

So, what does ”firm” mean?

Well, I’ll share my experience with my son. My wife and I implemented the steps above and had varying success levels. Given my teaching experience (Elementary Special Ed. Teacher) and my experience as a parent/father, I felt confident in what I was doing.
Until, I failed.

After inconsistent success with the above  strategies combined with a whole lot of ingenuous puffery, I finally resorted to good-old-fashioned firmness with my reluctant reader son.
So, now, every other day or so, we read together.  He is to sit and read-at a specific time and for a specific duration. I’ll read too, to show that I’m invested.
Seems like a ”well, duhh” strategy, doesn’t it?  

The missing ingredient was Me.  The above strategies were failing because, ”well, duhh,” I wasn’t investing myself-my time, my honesty.

I did invest in puffery, (a new and favorite word) though. I was full of air and lectured him with skill.  You know, how important reading is, and how reading on your own helps with school, that there is no such thing as a reluctant reader, just a reader that hasn’t found that great book yet.

Then, I would leave him to his own device, return, and then find that he didn’t read much or none at all. I would lecture him again, with a bit of scold folded in, but not holding him to the reading, and this whole process would start again the next day. And…he continued to be a reluctant reader.

Yup, I was failing…miserably.

Why? Hmmm, well, I was taking the one ingredient from the equation that requires the most work, therefore the greatest success level, away…Me.

I hope to eventually remove Me.  However, without Me for now, removing Me will undoubtedly bring failure again.



For a curated list of information, strategies, and tips for reluctant and struggling readers, click here.

Boys and Reading…Creative Idea for Parents


I wonder if publishing great books for boys alone is enough to improve boys reading habits?

Wonder…Wonder…Wonder… What else can be done to improve boys reading.

Here is an example of doing just a little more than introducing boys to solid high interest fiction: Wonder…Wonder…Wonder…


Notice the Snacks: Above Photo. Only criticism: try balancing the snacks with at least one unhealthy snack. It won’t kill anyone. Where’s the pizza?

Erase that. I see the pizza. Very good!

Yup us boys-guys-dudes, whatever, like building stuff! Make it fun. Encouraging boys reading is about doing something more than just getting together and reading

Snacks!!! Building Stuff!!! Probably Destroying what was built too!! All based on Reading “Other World.” Hmmm.
Could it be this simple? It’s worth a shot, right? Try this at home and do something like this to get boys reading in the classroom. It can be done!
You know, throw in some type of competitive game, maybe a game associated with reading somehow, and you could be on to something. Okay, maybe not quite a panacea, but at least it’s something more than throwing great books in a basket that don’t get read, and nagging your son to read them, getting frustrated when the boys in your class are distracted 30 seconds into silent reading or reading instruction.

Making adjustments, trying new things will help boys reading habits and willingness to read more. It starts with knowing something more needs to be done.

Why Children’s Books are Slowly Becoming Akin to Indigestion


I found a USA Today article on the best reading apps for boy reluctant readers. It advertises reading apps for boy reluctant readers like they’re a panacea.  The article briefly explains that if parents have boys that are gamers and don’t like to read, well here is the solution to this age-old problem.

Simple, right?


Why I Have Mixed Feelings


Just like any other educational media, reading apps for boy reluctant readers come in all kinds of shapes and sizes, often with too many bells and whistles dangling for the ride. I admit digital reading and interactive reading apps have a place in the arsenal if they are of high quality.

I don’t take any issue with high interest reading apps in general as long as they help to improve reading skills and not become just another video game.

However, I’m concerned that they have become just that, used as just another video game.


There is enough already that drags boys that don’t read enough away from quality reading. The only real answer to help reluctant readers to read more is to get them to read more books!  Great books and conversations about great books, the answer. This is the panacea. It always has been the answer.  Reading that looks and acts like video games on either phones or tablets, I believe should never take the place of great books.   Raise the bar, not compensate for it.

Great Children’s Books- The Real Panacea, Please Stand Up

Unfortunately, the panacea is the most difficult of solutions to achieve, as books are becoming closer to indigestion for a growing number of kids not sources of great entertainment, escape, and enrichment, as they should be.

Uggh, why can’t parenting be any easier? Why is any real solution to any real problem or any real achievement always so damned difficult! Trust me, I seriously ask this all of the time while having small tantrums, here and there.

I’m not, in any way, judging parents here. Parenting is tough, truly. I’m just doing my best to help anyone concerned with their child’s reading habits, as I’m there too.  I’m a children’s author for the sake of Pete (didn’t say that right). I’m not sure why this expression became popular by the way. Why should anyone worry about this Pete guy when we have so many hurdles ourselves, like my own 13-year-old reluctant reader, son of a children’s author who writes for reluctant readers, uggh…makes me feel like Charlie Brown on his back, that football missed again.


The hey, at least they aren’t playing Halo all of the time, and doing something that resembles reading, don’t knock it alright, mentality, kind of bugs me. That’s what I’m getting at here. Okay, it kind of really bugs me. Alright, it just straight up freakin bugs me, okay. Hmm. That felt good.

Suggestions for Phone Absorbed Reluctant Readers

Reduce their time on devices: yes, I know I’m being kind of well, no duh, here, but it’s true boys are reading less than ever, kids are reading less than ever due to electronics!

  • Get tougher if they avoid reading at home. If they don’t read a prescribed amount of time take away their device until they do. Sometimes this is the only thing that works with our 13- year-old. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t have to do this, but…you know.
  • Read around them and to them- Dads! This especially means you! I do my best with this. And you don’t have to walk around with a book in your hand, okay. Try once-in-a-while.
  • Have conversations with them, even if they seemed a bit forced at first, find the time to do so: opinions about tv shows, movies, school, their sports, their subjects, their teachers, even girls.
  • Talk to boys about why reading is so important, how it helps all aspects of life.
    Do your best! That’s all you can do.

The suggestions above are just a few things to consider first before loading up your reluctant reader boy with reading apps that seem more like games because you are concerned with their waning interest in reading, due to playing games too much.  It just feels off, doesn’t it?  Just do your best to keep books in his/her life. That’s the best you can do.

If you’d like to download resources for reluctant readers, click here. Chances are I have curated something that could be of assistance… oh, and good luck.

ADHD And Reading

Unmotivated Readers
Reluctant Readers exist for specific reasons! ADD and ADHD is one of them!

I worked with many ADD/ADHD boys and girls with reading issues These children often had difficulty with reading due to a lack of practice–it was that simple, however, not simple at all.

They could not hold their attention and sustain enough mental energy to engage long enough in comparison to children without ADD/ADHD.

These problems do not stem from language processing issues unless they also possess a language processing learning disability or dyslexia.

This is a good resource for helping children with ADD or ADHD improve their reading skills and habits.

Please let me know what you think of this post. I’d like to hear from parents with children with ADD or ADHD or teachers trying their best to ensure quality reading instruction, especially elementary teachers for students with attention issues. I have plenty of tips:)


This little guy says it all!


In addition, I have plenty of resources that relate to this issue on my website. You can peruse these resources by clicking here.