Hi All! Today I want to share with you the news that I will be attending two events in North Carolina next month in September. I haven’t done an event for some time now, and I am very much looking forward to sharing the news of Night Buddies Go Sky High’s release, and meeting as many readers as possible!
The first event I will be attending is the Bookmarks Books and Authors Festival in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, from September 10-12. This is a very exciting event for children’s authors especially, and there will be a lot of fun activities for kids to enjoy! The program for this year’s festival describes the event as follows:
“Bookmarks is the Triad’s literary resource for connecting readers with authors. The Winston-Salem based nonprofit produces the Carolinas’ largest annual Festival of Books and Authors, an Authors in Schools program, and a series of Author Talks presenting bestselling and award-winning writers. In 2015, Bookmarks created a Summer Reading Program to encourage K-12 students across North Carolina to respond to books through written, visual, or video responses.”
This festival heavily promotes the idea of getting more kids to fall in love with reading, which is exactly the vision I had when I came up with the “Boys Who Read,” campaign. Encouraging a young generation of boys (and girls) to fall in love with books instead of only focusing on their iPads and video games is something I, and Bookmarks, believe will empower and strengthen them. The festival is completely free to attend (though some discussion panels require tickets, visit their website for more details) and will be an excellent opportunity for authors and readers to connect!
And if you weren’t already convinced to attend, David Baldacci is giving the opening keynote. Needless to say, this festival is going to be huge.
I am also going to be attending #SIBA15 in Raleigh, North Carolina from September 18-20! This is a tradeshow for southern independent booksellers to meet authors, and hopefully discover new, fresh books! The schedule of events for the weekend can be found here.
I can’t wait to get out there and meet other authors, booksellers, and readers this coming month. Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter/Facebook if you are planning on making it out!
You want to know what I think? I think that right now, we are living in a time where most boys are encouraged to play sports or video games by their friends and by society to be considered “normal” or “cool.” We aren’t living in a world where the next generation of boys will be a generation who loves to read. But that’s not right. Reading opens up kids’ minds to think of things they might never have had the creativity to imagine before, it improves their performance in school, and it’s a way for them to entertain themselves away from the Internet or the television, which they’re probably getting more than their fair share of.
So how do we do it? How do we make the next generation a generation of boys who read? Here’s my top four ideas about where we begin.
1. Put interesting books on acceptable school reading lists. Books don’t have to be extraordinarily literary or realistic to be beneficial to education. Especially among younger kids, why not let current bestsellers count toward silent reading credit? Why not let kids do book reports on something they find interesting? If they can read what is popular amongst their generation, kids might start bonding over the books they read just like they do over the video games they play.
2. Never put down books that they find interesting. To go along with my first tip, as parents we shouldn’t judge books that seem too silly, or too “boy-ish.” The book is based off a video game? It’s still a book. The book is about some guy who wears underwear outside his pants? It’s still something for them to get acquainted to the literary world with. If we want boys to read, we have to let them read what they want; the more they do read, the broader their literary interests will become.
3. Seek out reading role models. A lot of celebrities participate in reading campaigns for children. Seek them out. Or maybe there’s a teacher, an older sibling, or a basketball coach they look up to greatly; ask that person to talk to your kid about reading. If the person they think is the coolest in the world tells them they think reading is cool, chances are your child will want to give it a shot.
4.Take your child to book fairs/festivals. Book fairs usually have lots of games set up for kids, and book festivals have everything from games to live readings and full-on shows to peak the younger generation’s interest in reading. They happen all over the country, are usually free entry, and will end up being a fun day for the family—your child finding a book they’re dying to read would just be the cherry on top.
How do you interest your child in reading? Do you think it’s still important for kids to read? Let me know in the comments below!