Thursday, April 12, 2012

Reaching Young Readers Through Characters Like Them

 Keith Pucchio is one of two teenage boys who found himself experiencing a coming-of-age experience during one summer at the golf course in my novel Finish Line. After getting into some mischief with his buddy involving vandalism and an unsympathetic elderly neighbor, he had to work to pay off a debt. This obligation led Keith to Prairie Winds Golf Course for the summer. What started as a dawn to dusk job ended up being a lesson in life as he got to hang around the guys in the clubhouse. What he learned that summer was more valuable than what any book in any school could teach and he returned to school that fall a different young man.

Also regarding the letter "K" is the emphasis that I try to place on making my books accessible and interesting to kids. The Young Adult literary market is exploding and it's exciting to be a part of an effort to get preteens and teenagers excited about reading. My novels have been analyzed by Lexile and Renaissance Learning for their Accelerated Reader program. Most of my subject matter is suitable for kids ages thirteen and up, with the reading level around a fifth-grade level to reach as large an audience as possible. Admittedly, there are some adult situations in my stories but I'm hoping this offers an opportunity for young people to grapple with mature topics while graphic detail to a minimum.

Whether it be the story of Keith Pucchio, a boy who struggles to find love and encouragement in a difficult home life and comes upon a mentor right when he needs one the most, or another of the story lines that I weave into my novels, I hope that younger readers find some characters or concepts that mean something to them.

James Ross
Author of Lifetime Loser, Finish Line, Tuey's Course, Opur's Blade, and Pabby's Score
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Gerry Wendel said...

Great post. I think it's great that you write so that more people can enjoy your stories!

Unknown said...

Always looking for good books for guys to read since I have three teen-aged boys at home!