Friday, June 12, 2009



The Reluctant Reader Lair
is all about authors writing "Books That Will HOOK Kids
on READING," and parents who are happy
to find and buy them.


Do You Worry Because Your Child
Doesn't Like Reading?

I have discovered that more reluctant readers are boys.
As a writer of children's books, I find this
shocking and unacceptable.

However, I'm betting it's because girl genes swoon over
frills, pink, cute puppies, playing house,
and dress-up.

On the other hand, boy genes go for fast action, frogs,
yucky stuff, dirt, shooting guns and practicing
gross underarm noises.

Who writes kid's books anyway?

More women than men write books for children, so it stands to reason that they tend to lean toward things that appeal to kids of the female persuasion: not always mind you, but quite often. Lady writers know what little girls (and not so little girls) like - right! So, with the profusion of story choices offered to them, about topics they think are cool, it's no wonder girls read more than boys.

Now that I've dragged this dirty little secret out in the open, what can writers do about fixing this, so our boys will also have a ready supply of books they love to read?

First off, female writers have to go discover the other side of the gene pool - the Testerone Mystery! What makes it tick? What interests those it inhabits? How can we entice a "testerone flavor of the month" into the books we write for boys?

It's beginning to sound like a banned book!
NOT SO, mates.

My son David was a reluctant reader. Short of my gluing a book to his hands, and threatening dire consequences, he would not read. Not sure about you, but I was certain this was not the way to get him HOOKED on BOOKS!

"It's boring, Mom."
"Can I stop now?" - after 5 minutes.
"I'll read it later - promise!"
"Laura liked it ( his sister), so it's gotta suck."
"But a lady wrote it!!"
"Aw Mom, the team will flub without me."

Just A few of my son's wiggle-outa-reading excuses. Books should be a can't-put-it-down-till-I -finish, kinda fun - not a gun-at-the-head torture. How could I hook this kid of mine on the pleasure of reading, the thrill of that magic carpet ride to fascinating and far away places, of intriguing characters, and boy targeted adventures.

Then I found him the Hardy Boy's Series. Not great literature for sure, but who cares: These books GOT DAVID READING. No nagging, no excuses. After reading the complete series of umpteen books, he asked for more of the same. Now that I knew his reading needs, it was no problem to provide my son with the sort of macho page turners he loved.

That's when the answer hit me right in the face. . .

Forget the frills and the fashions. Dump the giggles and the whispered secrets. Think mini-male.
Give boys a scaled down version of what their Dads, Uncles and Grandfathers enjoyed reading.

*An humorous action mystery
*A fast paced wild country adventure
*A school bully fed his own medicine
*How to survive ( macho man style) in an all female household.
*A bordering on gross holiday adventure - fast and funny!
*Fantasy and Sci-Fi dudes on the rampage.
*Tales about winning team sports.
*Bring on the dinosaurs!

Keep girls to a minimum and the DIALOGUE ALL BOY!
Let the yuck factor rule - especially with humor.

Get the picture. . . sorry, I mean BOOK?

Begin by researching what the boys you know and love like to do. When they gather to watch TV, sports, or play computer games, SPY ON THEM! Listen to the way they talk, their current interests, the food they crave. Note what they think is cool, and what they hate. Get a feel for what tickles the junior male funny bone!

Now, go to the library and read everything they have that was written with boys in mind.
Depending upon the age you want to write for, look for books written by:

Max Elliot Anderson
Gary Paulson
Steve Young
Louis Sachar
Lemony Snicket
Bruce Colville
Jeanne duPrau

Or, go to Michael Sullivan's Website

There you will find a plethora of books written with macho in mind - from picture books to young adult, from fiction to non-fiction, and everything in-between. More than 99% of them written by men. Come on ladies, we can't let men keep this side of writing all to themselves!!

If we want young boys to start reading, we as authors have to write books that have boy appeal.
And parents need to understand that little Andy and sister Jillian might look a lot alike, but this does not mean they want to read the same sort of books. Andy will want macho man stories, while Jillian will probably go for girlie stuff.


Authors need to WRITE BOOKS BOYS want to READ
And then. . .
Parents can buy books that HOOK their boy's interest.

Slam-dunk, Mates!



My Website - Manuscript Critiques

BUY any Autographed Book from my website,
and receive a
FREE LINK to me reading that book -
all reluctant reader friendly!



  1. Great site, Margot. Keep up the good work until we've reached every reluctant or struggling reader.

    Books For Boys Blog

  2. Great site, Margot. Keep up the good work until we've reached every reluctant or struggling reader.

    Books For Boys Blog

  3. Thanks Max. Later I want to list a few of your great books for boys and interview you about writing them. Hope you agree?

    Kid's Books - Manuscript Critiques

  4. Nice job Margot. I just signed up to be your first follower.

    My reluctant reader was a girl, but after she was diagnosed with a mild reading disability and received some extra help in school and she began reading and reviewing books with me, I'm thrilled to say she's made great strides.

    Her teacher this year had the students set up weekly goals, and almost every week her goal was to learn to read better. She's certainly achieved that goal!

    Best of luck with the blog.


  5. Hi Margot: Darn-it Cheryl beat me to the punch. I'm now your second follower. Great post and humorous to boot. Thanks for your tips.

    Children’s Author
    Write What Inspires You Blog
    Donna M. McDine’s Website

  6. Cheryl and Donna, thanks ladies. You helped to christen this new Blog of mine - dedicated to helping writers write books for reluctant readers, and parents find books for their boys.

    Kid's Books - Manuscript Critiques

  7. Margot - very impressive! You definitely have a knack for sparking interest :)

  8. Sure,

    I'd be very interested.


  9. Thanks for your time and your kind words Jennifer.

    Gotta get these boys reading somehow!!

    Books - Manuscript Critiques

  10. Max, I will get back to you in a week or two about a book blurb from you for Hook Kids on Writing.



  11. Mentioned your blog on my Books for Boys blog today at