I want to get my first blog in before the clock strikes midnight. This is by way of introduction to me. My name is Denise Fuller. I used to be a youth librarian in a public library, and I was also a school librarian for a year and a nanny for a year.
Let me start with the last first. (The first shall be last, and all that.) I was nanny to 3 children, ages 3, 10 and 12. The 3 year old had the capacity to sit and be read to for long periods of time, so I checked lots of books out of the library for her. One of her favorites was Moosetache by Margie Palatini. The 10 year old had some learning disabilities, so I checked books out to try to get him interested in reading, and we read a math series together – Mandrill Mountain Math Mysteries by Felicia Law. They were juvenile graphic novels that presented math concepts in disguise. He really enjoyed them. The 13 year old had ADHD but didn’t need a lot of coaxing to read as long as it was instructional, like cookbooks and craft books.
I was a school librarian for a year in a small Catholic school, and I did all the usual library things, like a weekly story time with the kindergarteners who loved Skippyjon Jones by Judith Byron Schachner. I entered a 3rd-5th grade team and a 6th-8th grade team in the regional Oregon Battle of the Books competition. One thing that came out of that was that I was able to invite author Susan Fletcher to come and speak to the middle school kids about her book, Alphabet of Dreams.
As a youth librarian I did reader’s advisory (giving suggestions of good books) to everyone from parents of babies to teenagers. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type is a popular picture book by Doreen Cronin. As young children begin getting into easy books, the little boys want superheroes, Star Wars and Trucktown by Jon Sciescka (surprise, surprise!). The little girls want Barbie and Disney Princesses (again, no surprise there). Popular early chapter books are series like the A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy, and Rainbow Magic by Daisy Meadows. Of course, the older grade school kids like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, and Harry Potter by JK Rowling hasn’t lost any of its magic. Middle school kids like to prove what big books they can read. They go for things like the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer and Eragon by Christopher Paolini. It’s true that older teens taper off on reading for pleasure. They generally ask for books that they have to read for school. They read the classics and non-fiction; somewhat grudgingly, I must say.
Now I am freelancing as a proofreader and copy editor, so I’ll be talking about a lot of good books on the theory that a good writer reads. You need to become familiar with what’s popular with your target audience in order to have some idea what to write. My target audience is writers of fiction for kids of all ages.
Oops! I lost my glass slipper. Good night!