HOW TO HELP KIDS DISCOVER QUALITY BOOKS
by Kathy Sattem Rygg
I’m wearing two hats as I write this post—one as an author who writes middle grade books and another as the parent of a middle grader. I’ve had many conversations with moms surrounding the question, “What are some good books for my first, second, third grader, etc.?” Most of the time, parents answer by suggesting well-known series featured at major retailers. But I’d like to help parents and grandparents realize there are so many additional resources for quality children’s books.
Most adults obtain their news from multiple sources—newspaper, TV, and online sites. Children should obtain reading materials in a similar manner. Purchasing books from a local retailer and visiting the public library are important places for your child to find reading material. However, the online world has opened up limitless additional places to help them discover quality books.
You may think the book market has been flooded with self-published books that are of low quality. While there are some books that fall into this category, there are still plenty of really great self-published children’s books. There are also a lot of independent publishers producing high-quality children’s books. My young middle grade novel ANIMAL ANDY was recently published by Muse It Up Publishing. The submissions and editing process was the same as for traditional publishers, but Muse It Up only produced ANIMAL ANDY as an ebook. I was able to have print copies made through Amazon’s CreateSpace, which is great so I can make it available in school libraries and at my local bookstore. However, the big question is, how does my ebook reach middle graders?
That’s where parents come in. Unlike young adult readers, middle graders don’t have the power to purchase ebooks online, nor as a parent do I want them to. I think it’s necessary for parents to monitor what their children are reading. But I also think parents need to do the leg work to help their younger kids discover more than just what’s available at the bookstore or on Amazon.
My nine-year-old is a voracious reader and it’s difficult keeping his bookshelf full, so I got him an inexpensive e-reader to supplement what he brings home from the library. Through a little bit of research and web surfing, I have found so many great ebooks for him to read, many of them free or at a very low cost! In addition to browsing Amazon and Barnes and Noble, I also search Smashwords.com, Museituppublishing.com, Featherweightpublishing.com and other independent publisher sites, children’s book review blog sites, and book giveaway blog hops.
On the flip side, my six-year-old is a reluctant reader, and the e-reader is great for him, too. First of all, he wants to be like big brother and read digital books. Second, with an ebook I am able to increase the font size and make the “page” he has to read less intimidating by having fewer words that are larger. By supplementing printed books with ebooks, I have even more tools to help foster a love of reading in him.
As parents and grandparents, actively help your children seek out quality books both in print and as ebooks. Buy your children an inexpensive e-reader and fill it with quality reading content. Parents want quality books for their kids. Authors are producing quality books for kids. Let’s get our kids and books together—it’ll be a match made in heaven!
Bio: Kathy Sattem Rygg is a children’s author and the Editor-in-Chief of the children’s online magazine knowonder!, which publishes free, short stories for kids ages 3-10. She earned a degree in magazine journalism from Iowa State University and has worked for several Fortune 500 companies, including the McGraw-Hill Companies’ Business Publications Division in New York City. She was also the Editor-in-Chief of Women’s Edition magazine in Denver, CO. She currently lives in Omaha, NE, with her husband and two children.
ANIMAL ANDY: Ten-year-old Andy Ohman is spending his summer working at the Aksarben City Zoo where his dad is curator. There are rumors that the city might close the zoo due to budget cuts. An anonymous donor has given the zoo an antique animal carousel, and Andy’s dad is hopeful it will help boost attendance. Andy’s doubtful that an old kiddie ride will make a difference. He doesn’t see what’s so special about it. But when he takes it for a spin, he unlocks the magic that will help save the zoo.
ANIMAL ANDY is published by Muse It Up Publishing. The ebook is available online at the Muse Bookstore. The print version is available on Amazon.
Kathy Rygg’s blog site is http://ksrwriter.blogspot.com
Follow her on Facebook under KSR Writer
Follow her on Twitter @kathyrygg