Reading, in my household, is a way of life. Books are everywhere. Stacked on shelves, stuffed in random boxes, perched precariously on the tops of lamps. Walking into my house is like walking into hermit’s habitat, with slightly more light. Though it irritates my husband from time to time (I’ve deduced this from his annual threats of “Don’t make me sell your books!”) I have found that my children don’t seem to mind. So I asked my son once, “Why doesn’t mommy’s books bug you? They are all over the place.” His answer: “It’s like a library in here. It’s kinda cool.” Apparently, after a little conversation, and a lot of prodding, I discovered that BOTH of my kids view the books as an extension of ME. They see me read them. Laugh with them. Cry with them. Even (from time to time) chunk one with great force across the living room in a fit of anger. Mommy loves the books, so THEY love the books.
But it got me thinking. As much as I adore their thought process, I don’t want my children to love books because I do. (Abstractly or otherwise.) I want my children to love books because THEY connect with them. I want them to get lost inside new worlds. Battle dragons, and save planets. I want my children to READ the books I have stacked around the house, not just stare at them in wonder.
So I devised a plan. I registered for library cards. And I went to work. The mission: find that 1 book that lights a fire in my child’s mind. The 1 book that turns reverie into reality. Months later, I’m still trying to find my daughters. She’s only four so I’ll cut her some slack. But my son? Jackpot! The book? “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” by Brian Selznick. A 533 page jaunt through clocks and evil station guards that my 8 year old boy threw back in just 4 days. Poof! A reader was born.
Since then, he has read 5 books. The latest and greatest being an ARC that was sent to ME not him. “The Planeet Thieves” by Dan Krokos. And while it would give me great joy to hand over the reigns for an hour and let you hear HIS thoughts on the book, I think 4 paragraph of: “Omg, Mom! It was awesome!” might be a little much. So I think I’ll take it from here.
Much like my kiddo, I loved this book.
As should be (with middle grade literature) “The Planet Thieves” was action packed from beginning (were Mason pranks his older sister by removing the screws from her chair) to the end (where…wait, I can’t tell you that.) And much like adult literature (specifically Science Fiction) this book was absolutely FILLED with crazy/entertaining/unexpected twists, which made it “read” much more mature than it actually was. (That’s not a dig, thats a compliment. A weird one, but hey.)
The truth is, I love authors (like Krokos – who I had the pleasure of chatting with at ATBF12 last year, just FYI) who don’t feel the need to “dumb down” their writing. You can’t educate or elevate a child by writing on THEIR level, you have to take it up a notch and challenge them. Teach them.
This was the very first thing I noticed about this novel. I didn’t feel like I was reading something penned for a toddler. I (as an adult) was as equally engaged in the story as my son. Which is a credit to Krokos’ writing ability.
Here…let me give you a few examples:
Supersede? Heart hammered? Felt hollow? All of these require vivid thought (for a young mind.) What does supersede mean? How does one FEEL hollow?
But solid writing isn’t the MOST important thing is it? Even horrible (ok, maybe that should say sub-par) writing can be over shadowed by an uniquely imaginative story. And the story that lived inside the pages of “The Planet Thieves” was a character driven, roller-coaster ride of WOW. Aliens were invading. Teenagers were in charge, and jet packs were hanging about like sparkly little droplets of awesome.
Personally? I wish the plot had slowed in a few places so I could relish what was happening. But that in no way effects the quality of the book. Let’s just call those “desires of an old coot.”
Overall…a truly enjoyable (for both me and my son) ride through hostile space.
I highly recommend this for young readers trying desperately to forge a path to literary love. It has everything a child (and a mother) could ask for.
Happy Reading my fellow Kindle-ites and remember: Reading is contagious…pass it on.
The lovely people at Starscape have offered up 1 copy of “The Planet Thieves to giveaway to a lucky winner, so hop on down to the Rafflecopter form and give it a go! Good Luck!