Wednesday, April 30, 2014

World Book Night 2014

handing out my last 3 copies
thanks to Zahra, Yonkers Riverfront
Library for the photo

Readers like to share books and I have a cache of titles I give to friends and family.  World Book Night allowed me to reach strangers, and in my case, kids, to entice them to want to read when video, computers, TV and other activities compete for their attention. I was ready for the challenge.  The book I was assigned was the Ranger’s Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan, the first in a twelve book series. As a big kid, (meaning now), I had already read all twelve books.

An argument can be made that it might be harder to convince someone to read a series when that person doesn’t read much, is a reluctant reader, or only reads when the teacher gives a book as an assignment, as Nathan, a 10 year old said to me. Then again, it was a mystery series that got me to become a regular reader when I was a child.  Would I have wanted to be a knight like Will in The Ranger's Apprentice? Sure, in my dreams where I can be brave and daring taking on the enemy. But in reality, I’m a confirmed chicken. Perhaps Alyss’s training in the diplomatic branch suits me better. I’d still get to travel.  John Flanagan has characters kids can identify with. In fact he wrote the stories for his son who was small and slender, not the body type of a typical knight. Most of the boys I encountered on World Book Night were small too.  Would they want to be a knight and go to battle school? Most said yes. I told them they’d probably be sent to train with the Rangers instead like Will, the character who also wasn’t big and strong. That wasn’t what Will dreamed of. But Will learns that he’s perfectly suited to be a Ranger after all. He finds out he has other important skills critical to the kingdom and that enticed Gabriel also 10 to want to know what those were. Girls will find characters they can relate to as well.  And it was easy for both boys and girls to understand that a girl might want adventure especially if you were a princess like Cassandra. Another theme or message is that friends help and support each other.

Michael, 12 didn’t know why he didn’t like to read. I suggested maybe he hadn’t found the right book yet. Everyone loves a story, right? But the book that will speak to you, where you block out everything else and are in the moment of the story, well, it’s amazing and worth trying. He promised to try to read the book and I hope it opens a whole world of experience for him. John, 15 only likes graphic novels, but he too said he would give it a try. And Duane didn’t much care for reading, but his younger brother loved to read. I told him I thought this book was a bit too difficult for him to read on his own, but if Duane would read to him, they could both enjoy the book. They thought that was a good idea and said they would read together.

Chantalle was my first "victim" who I approached to give away the book. She actually liked to read already and was excited to go on an adventure with the characters because “it’s cool”.  World Book Night is cool too. I’m able to share the excitement of visiting real and imagined lands, introduce the kids to good and bad people and creatures the author has created for them. I hope the book I’m giving out is the one that will hook the kids on reading or help to continue their interest in it.  

So do you think you’d like to meet a Wargal? What or who is a Wargal, you ask? You’ll have to read The Ruins of Gorlan to find out.