Girl's Book Club

September 29, 2009
For about three years I've coordinated an all girls book club, this is a book club where the majority of the girls are below their grade level in reading.  I've been searching for books that are mature enough to keep their interest; due to their environmental situations and also will help them improve their reading skills.  One series that I found that allowed them to identify with was Willimenia Rules by Valerie Wesley Wilson.  This series was about a girl who went through family, friends, and school situations; this was mainly a girl trying to find her way.  Although this seems to be fundamental experiences the girls read the series and again had no desire to read anymore.  Recently, I retrieved a book from one of my girls that was in the genre of Young Adult.  When I asked her to explain the content of the book she could explain this clearly, but really didn't understand it.  I found that many of these 9-12 years old was actually reading Young Adult Urban Fiction because they can relate to it.  So I pose the question to myself how can I write strong stories for urban children that they can appreciate. Although Willimenia was a character that many of the girls could visually relate to.  A lot of what Willimenia goes through isn't on a level for this group that is between a 9 year old girl and a girl that has to grow up much faster than their reading material allows her.  I've searched for books that they would be interested in that are not Urban Young Adult and not too "kiddie".  Although some are below their grade level in reading, they show in interest in Urban Young Adult literature. 

Although my girls enjoy books such as Captain Underpants, it rarely goes past reading that book and then it is back to not reading at all. Or it is reading what their older sister is reading; I truly believe that it is important for them to see themselves in these books, but it should be age appropriate.  It would make their journey into the world of reading an adventure they would be more than willing to take, and hold their essence of youth a little longer.

Although I've been writing for a while I never thought about this particular reader; would it keep their interest, could they identify with the story, what about their life experiences, what world would they find mesmerizing and be willing to enter?  Although Harry Potter was a phenomenal reading experience I did not find that my girls were interested in the book or movies.  Some would say that is because they read below grade level; perhaps.   As a children's writer I find that it is my responsibility to provide an amazing story that these children would want to read.  This has posed a difficult challenge for me because I have not found those stories that will inspire them to read.  As a writer I continue to search for that storyline and world that is just for them. 

An Author's Dreams...

September 27, 2009
I've always dreamed in color.  When I was a child I dreamed that one day I would be a fairy princess who would color the sky with rainbows.  When I was a teenager I dreamed that I would go to the prom with the coolest guy in a gold sequin dress.  When I was a young adult I would marry the love of my life, and wear a lavender gown on my wedding day.  My husband and I would live in a white house with a white picket fence, with a yard full of green grass.  A red robin would live a tree nearby an...
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