How do I grab my reader’s attention? Writing a YA novel in a world in which our younger readers are far more pre-occupied with the information on their cell phones than any hands-on, tangible book seems almost insurmountable. And yet……
When my children were younger, in grade school, we lived in a part of town without a bus stop that would take them directly to their school. The nearest stop was about a five minute drive. Each morning we would gather all the necessities for the day, pile into the car, and head to the location where the bus driver would see my vehicle and stop for the children. Rather that treat this as an inconvenience, I suggested to my kids we go early and give ourselves time to read a book together! Thus began a year of such wonderful words from a wide range of authors. We read Roald Dahl, and Shel Silverstein on the lighter side and William Golding as our biggest tackle.
It was during Golding’s audio book, Lord of the Flies, that I fully realized the impact of a parent on a child’s exposure to the “written” word. Some of my fellow parents were startled that I had chosen “Lord of the Flies” to read with my 9 year olds. As we listened we would pause the author’s voice and discuss the book. The words took us to that island and we poked sticks in the sand together, uncovering layer upon layer of meaning. There were scary moments and learning moments, and I was there, the whole time, helping them to navigate their new-found knowledge.
After all, isn’t that what we do as parents?