Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Orca Book: New 2013 Titles for Reluctant Readers, and the librarians that love them

Spring 2013 Hi/Lo Titles – New from Orca Book!
As part of our Reluctant Reader week, we are so excited to be pairing with Orca Book for a great giveaway.  You can enter to win a mini-collection of 2013 titles, chosen from these new titles below.  Please visit the Orca Book webpage for a ton of great information on their books, reading levels, etc.  Later this week I will share with you my first time reading an Orca Book, some tips for parents and librarians, and a few flashback posts about aliteracy and reluctant readers.

Orca Currents are short high-interest novels with contemporary themes, written expressly for middle-school students reading below grade level.

Caching In by Kristin Butcher

Eric and his best friend, Chris, find themselves on a high-stakes geocaching treasure hunt.

FaceSpace by Adrian Chamberlain
Fourteen-year-old Danny invents a fictitious friend in an effort to fit in at school.

Vanish by Karen Spotford-Fitz
Fourteen-year-old Simone becomes a key witness in a parental-abduction investigation.

Stolen by John Wilson
Fifteen-year-old Sam solves a mystery while treasure-hunting on the Australian coast.

Perfect for reluctant teen readers, the Orca Sports titles combine mystery and adventure with team sports such as hockey, baseball, football and soccer, and solo sports like scuba diving, running, sailing, horse racing and even race-car driving. Orca Sports books engage young readers with exciting plots and easy-to-read language. 

Break Point by Kate Jaimet
When Connor and Maddy discover that their tennis club is going bankrupt, they set out to try and save it.

Hurricane Heat by Steven Barwin  
Years after Travis’s parents die in a car crash and he and his younger sister, Amanda, are separated, Travis sets out to search for her at the risk of losing an opportunity for a future baseball career.

New Orca Soundings
With contemporary themes and exciting stories, the Orca Soundings for reluctant teen readers are books that teens want to read. The Orca Soundings Resource Guide, now available on CD, provides information on using the books in this popular series as part of a literacy program.

Deadly by Sarah N. Harvey Amy is abducted and locked away, forced to write essays about the error of her ways. (I read and will review this book later this week.)

Night Terrors bSean Rodman
Dylan struggles with the memories of the death of his younger brother while fighting for survival in a snow-bound resort.

Tagged by Eric Walters
Oswald uses graffiti to fight back against an over-bearing politician.

Damage by Robin Stevenson
Theo ends up in a strange situation with a girl who has kidnapped her own child.

New Rapid Reads
Rapid Reads are short novels and non-fiction books for adult readers. In our increasingly fast-paced world we believe there is a need for well-written, well-told books that can be read in one sitting. Rapid Reads are intended for a diverse audience, including ESL students, reluctant readers, adults who struggle with literacy and anyone who wants an high-interest quick read.

Dirty Work by Reed Farrel Coleman
PI Gulliver Dowd searched for the daughter he didn’t know he had, who has gone missing under mysterious circumstances.

The Thirteenth Rose by Gail Bowen
It’s Valentine’s night, and late-night radio talk-show host Charlie D’s planned discussion of love and satisfaction is derailed when a vigilante group promises to kill one prostitute each hour and post their murders live online.

Sunset Key by Blake Crouch
When Letty Dobesh sets out to steal an expensive painting from a wealthy convicted felon on his last night of freedom, she gets a good deal more than she bargained for.

Him Standing by Richard Wagamese
When a Native carver agrees to produce a spirit mask for a mysterious stranger, he falls under the spell of a dangerous sorcerer from the dream world.

What is a “Reluctant Reader”? An introduction to Orca Books

Reluctant readers are those who, for whatever reason, do not like to read.

 Reluctant readers are typically students who are disengaged, struggling readers, many of which are not realizing success in any aspect of their school career. Educators encounter struggling readers in the classroom every day. These students need to be engaged in reading and must be helped to develop the skills required to not only be successful in school, but to become lifelong readers and learners. 

Unfortunately, many of these students arrive at middle and secondary school believing that they can’t read and/or that they dislike reading. This negative attitude tends to be combined with a steadfast view that it is too late for them to become good readers. The pre-existing attitudes and beliefs of these students make it extremely challenging for teachers to actively engage them in reading. 

Orca publishes four series aimed at reluctant readers: Orca Currents, Orca Sports, Orca Soundings, and Rapid Reads. These short, high-interest novels are written at a lower reading level and feature compelling plots, linear storylines and contemporary topics that will appeal to middle and high school students.

Orca Currents are written expressly for middle-school students reading below grade level. Ideal for lit circles and independent reading. Ages 10-14. 

Orca Sports combine mystery and adventure with team sports, such as hockey, baseball, football and soccer, as well as solo sports such as scuba diving, running and even race-car driving. Ages 10+. 

Orca Soundings are short, high-interest novels for teens reading below grade level. With contemporary themes and exciting stories, Orca Soundings are books teens want to read. Ages 12+. 

Rapid Reads are a series of short, high-interest reads aimed at a diverse audience, including ESL students, reluctant readers and adults who struggle with literacy. 

In addition to publishing a variety of hi-lo titles, Orca Book Publishers has developed www.reachingreluctantreaders.com to provide educators with resources, materials and ideas for working with reluctant readers in their classrooms, as well as aid teachers in finding high quality fiction that will engage their students.

All this week we’re celebrating Reluctant Readers, please join us.

For More Information:
Strategies to Help Engage Reluctant Readers
Education Rethink: 11 Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday Reflectons: True Confessions of a NON Reluctant Reader (tips from a librarian parenting a reluctant reader)

Beginning tomorrow, April 15th, we are celebrating and discussing Reluctant Readers this week with Orca Books.  Tomorrow you can also begin entering a giveaway for a mini collection of books from Orca Books.

I grew up in a family of readers.  I have always read.  And for 20 years now I have been a teen (youth) services librarian.  I’m not going to lie, I didn’t always understand reluctant readers.  How can someone NOT like to read? It is a concept that I just couldn’t get my mind around.

And then I became a mom.  I did everything they say to do, everything I tell my parents in the library to do.  I read to my children every single day.  My house is full of books for all age levels, from board books to Shakespeare.  There is not a room that doesn’t have at least 50 books in it in this house.  My kids obviously see me read every single day.  I let my kids choose a book from every single Scholastic Book order that comes home.  Do you know how many of those books my Tween has actually read – from cover to cover? Very few.  My tween is a sometimes reluctant reader. 

I had always imagined myself the mother of a girl like me, someone who read every book and would have to be bribed to put the book down at the dinner table and actually make eye contact.  My biggest worry while pregnant with my first child was, “What if she doesn’t like science fiction?”  It never occurred to me to worry that she wouldn’t love to read, that seemed like a given.  To be fair, when she starts a book she loves she will sometimes finish it and tell me how much she loved it.  But I am pretty sure she has started more books than she has finished.

This has all been a great lesson for me as a librarian, and forced me to really evaluate the strategies that I have always shared with those concerned parents at the Reference Desk.  I have to grin and bear it as she reads a Wimpy Kid book for the 1,000th time when I know she has a super fabulous book that I just checked out and brought home from the library.  I have upped the emphasis on letting her pick out the books, no matter what I know (or think I know) about the other books on that book order form.  I’m not going to lie, I cringe when she reads a Puppy Place or Rainbow Fairy book.  I worry that they aren’t challenging her and that she is missing out on all this good stuff, but I don’t want to push her and make reading an issue.

We have been reading the various MG titles that I get to review together at night, and she does really enjoy that.  So chalk one up to reading aloud together, that does seem to be a good strategy.  We have also started listening to audio books in the car, which she also loves (though I have to be careful because right now I am listening to Scowler by Daniel Kraus and I have to make sure to turn that one off, definitely not tween friendly – though awesome).  Click here for a list of our top fave MG titles from last year.

So here’s what I’ve learned:

You can do everything right, everything they tell you to do, and your kid may still be a reluctant reader – but keep trying.

It is true what they say, the right book can make all the difference.  When she likes a book, she really seems to be more into reading.

Choice matters.  Her reaction to the books she chooses is completely different to the ones that she is required to read for AR points at school or the ones that I suggest.

Audio books can be a really fantastic tool.  Visit your library, check some out, and try them with your reluctant readers.

I remember reading that you should never send your child to bed as a punishment because that adds a negative connotation to bedtime.  I feel the same way about reading: It shouldn’t be a punishment, it shouldn’t be a source of discomfort, it shouldn’t be a source of tension between parent and child.  And yes, that is not always easy.  Find ways to build it into your daily routine without having to fight or get angry about it.  This is something that has come up in discussion with The Mr. and I as I remind him not to criticize the books she chooses to read – or to make a negative comment when she is reading Wimpy Kid again (it makes him cranky) – and to just let her read and enjoy the experience.

Take your child to the library and bookstore – often.  For one, this helps give them the choice in picking out their reading materials.  It also helps build reading into their life as it becomes a part of their established routine and identity.

If you can, get them a magazine subscription.  Everyone loves getting mail, and magazines can be short and sweet to read through.  Write your child letters and send them through the mail, have family and friends participate as well.

Get your child a journal and have them practice writing as well.  Writing and reading are tied together in many ways, and having your child practice writing will also help them think about reading and vice versa.

As a librarian, these are some of the things that I talk to parents about when they stand before me at the reference desk, stressed out because their children don’t like to read.  I recently spoke with a parent of a 7 year old girl who only wanted her child to read classics like Little Women, etc.  She said she wanted her child to be challenged and learn vocabulary words.  In the end, I was able to remind her that at the end of the day, all reading is good reading.  Learn big vocabulary words is not the only goal of reading, it also helps us to develop critical thinking skills as we evaluate the situations are characters are and think about what we would do.  Reading helps us develop empathy and compassion while encouraging critical thinking, problem solving, and predictive reading skills.  As we sit and read and ask ourselves what might happen next, we must remember that those skills are some of the skills necessary in innovation and creativity.

Take it from this librarian and mom, the right book really does make all the difference.  So keep searching and don’t give up.

The Iron King, Graphic Novels/Comic Books, Reluctant Readers, Crowdsourcing – OH MY!

The true confessions of reluctant reader Darren Davis and his attempt to use crowdsourcing to help turn The Iron King by Julie Kagawa into a grapich novel
Editor’s Note: Just last week, the largest (and fastest) crowdsourcing project ever occurred.  In just  a few hours millions of dollars were raised via Kickstarter to fund the Veronica Mars movie. There are a lot of articles out there about it and I recommend reading up on it.

We are currently working with Julie Kagawa on developing a manga/ comic book version of the best selling YA novel “The Iron King”.  As a huge fan of the YA world, this benefits both me as a publisher and Julie for her love of manga.  Her agent contacted us to see our interest level; We have done YA adaptations with fame SE Hinton so they knew we would take care of their project.   It has been fun working with Julie on this to get her characters right.  She has her hands totally in it.  I am not a fan at licensing something – I want to make sure we work one on one with the people.  And yes, working with SE Hinton was a dream come true for me (but more on that later).

We decided to do the crowdsourcing to have the fans be involved with the process  – seeing it from the character designs to the final product.  Fans of the Iron Fey series in general are very invested in this.  We want their feedback.  We have made some changes already because of their feedback.  Crowdsouring is a fun way to give back to her community – we have a lot of fun Iron King stuff – from sketches from Julie (she is an artist too), to t-shirts.  Julie is also helping us out a lot in this.  At the end of the day I want her to be proud of this as much as I am .  The people at Harlequin Teen have been wonderful too in their support of the brand.   

We are working with some great people, too, that are involved in the YA world.  Sara Gundell, from “Novel Novice” is adapting the book into a comic book.  Sara did a biography comic book on “Suzanne Collins” for us last year.  Also, we are working with famed manga artist Lidia Chan to draw the book.  

The hardest part of crowdsourcing is the constant ask.  I have resorted to telling stories on my personal Facebook page – like a telethon.  It is not an easy process to do these.  It reminds me of when I was a kid selling magazines door to door! We are posting brand new images everyday to get feedback from the fans.  I also want to do this project because it will get even more kids reading.  

I was one of those kids who was always afraid of reading.  I was your typical reluctant reader growing up.  Seeing a book that was more than 100 pages – I automatically shut down.  It impacted by school work and I was pretty much a C student (with a couple of D’s).  There were two tools that helped my reading skills growing up – one was SE Hinton books (it shocks me when teachers do not know who she is) and the other was comic books.  My parents did not care at the time what I read, as long as I was reading. 

The good news is that I did go to college and get a full education.  But I am still a reluctant reader as an adult.  I look at huge bound books and will not read them.  They freak me out…. 

I did find a tool recently that has helped 100%.  The Kindle.  I know some people hate these things, but I am a person that loved to hold a book in their hands.  The feel, the smell, the having it on my shelf as a trophy that I read it.  But since I got the Kindle, I have read more books in the last two years than I have in the last 10.  I read almost a book a week from “Gone with the Wind”, “Dorian Gray” to all of the Janet Evanovich books.  I just finished “Gone Girl” and started on the “Ender’s Game” series.  Things that I never thought I would read because they were too long don’t freak me out.  

The odd thing about my job is that I am a publisher of a popular comic book company called Bluewater Productions.  We do some of our own titles – like an updated “Dorian Gray” and the fiction works with William Shatner, John Saul and Logan’s Run.  My favorite book we have done is getting to work with my hero, SE Hinton, and bringing some of her titles to graphic novel form.  We have also gotten a lot of notoriety from doing biography comic books on politicians, YA authors, celebrities & sport stars.  We also do a female empowerment series about women who have made a difference in the world called “Female Force”, from Hillary Clinton, Ellen DeGeneres, Sonia Sotomayor and more.  We do these unbiased with an empowerment twist.   The coolest thing about the biographies is they are taught in schools for the reluctant readers!  I love that and I am very proud to be part of that.  

I am talking from a kid who spent a lot of time in the libraries.  It is were I did my research, it is also where I hung out with my friends.  You can see all the outreach we do to get kids reading.  It is my passion project!  

We do a Comic Book 101 at libraries for kids and teens.  But we do it different, as a kid I wanted to be a comic book artist and saw my peers who were better at this than I was.  So I felt discouraged and took another path (I worked in the entertainment world in marketing).  What we do is teach kids that not only is there different types of artists out there, but other types of jobs to be creative in comic books.  It is not all about the art.  We team kids up together and have them work together so each feels empowered.  They love it because some can write, some can draw, some can ink, some can just come up with a cool idea.  It shows them that it is not one person that does just do a comic book – it takes a village.  They leave with new friends and contacts!  

We developed a book called Violet Rose which I use in the Comic Book 101’s to show them that kids can create.  My niece was 11 when she created this character and I hired an artist to work with her.  She is the youngest published comic book author.  When her graphic novel came out (still available), it helped pay for her college.  She is now 22 and an amazing creative force.  But it shows that you are never too young to create.  We even had some television interest in her property!  

We are offering any library or school this Comic Book 101 as a thank you for helping us pass the word on the IRON KING manga series campaign – We will send this FREE do-it-your-self program to teach kids how to create a comic book without needing to know how to draw!  This graphic novel we are producing is not only to get kids reading – but comic books can be used as a tool for reluctant readers like me!   No gimmick – this is a passion project and we need help getting the word out.  

“The Iron King” is a huge YA novel written by Julie Kagawa.  It is on the best seller list of the New York Times and USA Today.  It is a great series (I have read this, Hunger Games & Twilight). Not only will “The Iron King” be a cool comic book/ manga series – but also a tool for the reluctant reader. 

So please help us spread the world about YA novel IRON KING by Julie Kagawa as a manga book http://bit.ly/ZLl0Zh get kids reading! Even $1.00 for each person will help this out.  If you are a fan of the series, YA novels, comic books, the arts, kids reading or anything we have to make the goal to make this happen.  

Darren G. Davis
President/Editor in Chief
Making his way in the world by marketing the entertainment industry at such companies as E! Entertainment Television and USA Networks, Darren left to pursue his creative dreams in publishing, taking on a position at Wildstorm Studios – which shortly after joined with comic book conglomerate, DC Comics. After his tenure in Corporate America, Darren joined on as President of Joe Madureira’s Beyond Entertainment, with such title as Battle Chasers. Following several years with Wildstorm, Darren took the next step towards creative freedom and formed his own publishing company known as Bluewater Productions, in which he created such popular titles as 10th Muse, the sixth highest selling comic in November 2001. Darren continues to represent the top comic book talent in the industry while writing comics and novels, as well as serving the role of Editor-in-Chief of Bluewater.

Want to know more about reaching “Reluctant Readers”? Join us the week of Aprl 15-20 as we host Reluctant Reader week with Orca Books, lots of information and an awesome giveaway.

True Confessions of a Reluctant Reader: a guest post by author Aimee Carter

As a part of Harlequinn Teen week earlier this year, author Aimee Carter wrote a guest post about being a reluctant reader.  Today we are re-running that post for Reluctant Reader week because it is full of insight.  This post originally appeared on February 11, 2013

 Aimee Carter is the author of the Goddess Test series.  You can visit her official website here.

 I have a confession to make. I’m a reluctant reader. 
When I was a kid, my dad paid me to read. We made a deal: for every book I read on my own, he gave me a quarter. To a six-year-old, that was a pretty big deal, and I saved them all up to buy toys (instead of books, like my dad had hoped). But no matter how many quarters I collected, I still didn’t catch the bug for reading. My dad, who’s an avid reader and writer, was convinced something wasn’t right. I was his kid, after all. There had to be a story out there that would unlock my genetic predisposition to read everything in sight. 

It wasn’t that I didn’t know how to read. I liked some books, especially ones about mythology and Disney characters. But on our weekly trips to the bookstore, I always sought out those same stories, and I never gave others more than a passing glance.

My dad tried everything to get me to read more. The quarter reward went up to a dollar. I was allowed to check out as many books as I wanted from the library. He sought out sequels to the stories I enjoyed, as well as other books by those authors. I reluctantly gave each one a few pages. Sometimes he managed to unearth a gem I wound up adding to my limited collection, but most of the books he found just didn’t match my style. Problem was, there didn’t seem to be many out there that did. 

I wish I could say I overcame my reluctance and dove into books like an all-you-can-read buffet. I did, in a way—I eventually reached the point where I was constantly reading, but it was always those same books. When I found a story I loved, I read it over and over until the pages fell out and I had to buy new copies. My reading tastes were much like my childish palate: I liked very specific things, and I was reluctant to try anything new. When I did, I usually made a face and quickly moved on to something familiar. 

In my teens, I discovered Harry Potter. For three years before Order of the Phoenix came out, I rotated through the first four books. As soon as I ended Goblet of Fire, I started back on Sorcerer’s Stone, and they were all I read. Not because of an obsessive personality, but because I had outgrown the books I read as a kid, and I couldn’t find anything else I enjoyed. I was too picky, but I also loved immersing myself in a world and following characters I loved. Finding that in another book was next to impossible, and while I loved to read, after a while I gave up trying to find something new. 

And then I discovered fan fiction – the art of writing stories in another author’s universe. The Harry Potter fan fiction community was thriving, and I devoured hundreds, if not thousands of stories set in Harry Potter’s world. When I couldn’t find the kind of fanfic I wanted to read, I began to write my own. A few hundred words at first, but eventually I was writing thousands of words a day. Somehow, through some strange alchemy, I turned into the reader and writer my dad had always wanted me to be. 

To this day, I still have a hard time finding something new to read. I browse bookstores often, always picking out a book that looks interesting in hopes that this will be the one that makes me want to read everything in sight. But no matter how many books I buy, I still have a hard time finding something I finish. Not because the books aren’t any good – I usually pick them up after my friends rave about them – but because of that same reluctance that stopped me when I was a kid. No matter how much time passes, I can’t shake it. 

Instead, I write the books I want to read. I never reread them once they’re published, but the act of writing them lets me experience a world I crave, and it satisfies my need to find something new that I love. It isn’t a perfect system, but it keeps me busy, and I hold out hope that maybe one of my stories will help a reluctant reader discover the kind of books he or she loves.Either way, my dad was right: there is a story out there for everyone. Sometimes we find it right away, along with hundreds or thousands more like it. But sometimes it takes a bit of searching, and that’s okay, too.

The Goddess Inheritance will be released by Harlequin Teen on February 26, 2013.  Aimee will have a new series, The Blackcoat Rebellion, coming from Harlequin Teen in November of 2013.

This is Aimee’s bio, stolen right off of her web page:  I attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and received a degree in Screen Arts and Cultures (a fancy way of saying I was forced to watch a lot of old movies) with a subconcentration in Screenwriting. I write. I watch a lot of new movies. Read a lot of books. Tweet too much. Love dogs and have two spoiled Papillons.