An article in the Wall Street Journal recently claimed that to get boys to read, you’ve gotta give them blood and guts. Here at Stone Arch Books, we understand the balance between what boys want and what kids want. Our (proven, kid-tested) method of getting boys to read simply consists of publishing books that contain elements boy readers are looking for—action, sports, humor, adventure, and just a pinch of irreverence. At the same time, we’re publishing books that librarians and teachers and parents can be comfortable with.
In the WSJ article, Jan Harp Domene, the president of the PTA, asks why boys won’t read the classics, like Tom Sawyer and books written by Jules Verne and stories from Greek mythology. Our answer: they will, if the package is cool, the format is right, and the book is presented to them as something fun—not something they’re being forced to read. Our Graphic Revolve books (which include The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, two Jules Verne sci-fi classics, and next season, will include stories from Greek mythology) combine a format boys love (graphic novels) with content teachers, parents, and librarians can feel confident about.
Do we have to publish “gross” books to appeal to kids? Of course not—but sometimes it’s fun, like our Jimmy Sniffles books about a boy with a super-powered schnozz, our retelling of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and the sure-to-be-classic Boy Who Burped Too Much. But even these books are safe—not gory. Boys, however, won’t even notice the lack of blood . . . they’ll be too busy reading. And that’s the point.