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Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sooner (or Later) Kids Love Books!

Kids are wild about reading down in the Sooner State. I recently returned from a trip to Tulsa, Oklahoma where I spoke at the Young Author’s Conference, the Tulsa Reading Council, and made a few school visits. On Saturday, the young authors surprised me. Whether in first grade or fifth grade, they all liked scary stories! And they all loved graphic novels. I showed the artwork and read from my Library of Doom series. They wanted more! After the workshops, the conference sold books written by the participating authors. Kids snapped up 5 or 6 books apiece of the Doom books. “Which one’s the scariest?” they would ask.

On Monday night, before the Reading Council dinner, I spoke with a number of educators and librarians whose students had been at the conference Saturday. One woman told me that one of her boys, Justin, who was not a reader at all, had his nose buried in a book at the back of her class. It was one of the Library of Doom books, The Book That Dripped Blood. He was supposed to be writing in his journal. So when the teacher walked over to his desk to remind him, Justin looked up, pleading, and said, “But I just have to finish this first!” And she let him.

As an author, that’s about the best praise I can get—the knowledge that my books have done just what I (and the rest of the staff at Stone Arch) intended them to. They’re not just creating spooky atmospheres—they’re creating environments of reading success.

--Michael Dahl
Editorial Director, Stone Arch Books

1 comment:

Diane Chen said...

Hi Michael,
Since I posted the Library of doom poster in my hallway outside the school library, I haven't seen the books on the shelf. Students study the poster, come in knowing where all your titles are, and recommend books to their friends. It took my sending out pleading overdue notes for them to return all of the books at the end of the year. When they did come in, the students stood and gazed at all the titles on the shelf. One of them went off to the calendar to see how long until they could checkout in the fall.
All ages have been reading these, particularly my Language! classes. They are successful with them because they can actually read the stories and develop a sense of eerieness. This is a major handicap for lower readers so this may be the first time they are expeiencing the thrill of sinking into a book. Thanks.