The following post comes to us from Michael P. Spradlin, author of, most recently, The Youngest Templar: The Keeper of the Grail and also the Spy Goddess series. In honor of BBAW, this is also giveaway number 3 of the week. Tell us what your son's favorite book is, or about a Mother/Son, Father/Son book group you've been involved in and you'll be entered to win one of 10 copies of a signed first edition of the first book in the Spy Goddess series, Spy Goddess: Live and Let Shop, along with a Book Club Girl mousepad. And just who is this Spy Goddess? Well, 15-year-old rich and spoiled Beverly Hills heiress Rachel is given a choice -- spend 30 days in a juvenile detention center or one year in a mysterious boarding school in rural Pennsylvania. She chooses the latter, and finds, upon arriving, that the school harbors many secrets, the headmaster seems to know a little too much about her and she is required to take martial arts. Rachel becomes determined to solve the school's mysteries in this fab series. But enough about the girls -- let's talk about boys for a moment:
Growing up, my buddies and I had a Book Club. Of course, we didn't call it that. Hanging out in somebody's tree house, or attic hideaway or secret 'no girls allowed' hideout, the discussion often turned to the most recent books we had read.
The Hardy Boys were our obsession. When a new Hardy Boys adventure arrived at our library, we entered into our own version of 'Death Race 2000' in order to be the first one to check it out. Elbows were thrown, bike tires deflated, this was serious stuff.
After we had all read it, we talked about it. Many times we acted out the story (I was always Joe Hardy, the impetuous one, I don't know why). The Mystery of Cabin Island was a particular favorite. With each book, we discussed our likes and dislikes, how it compared to Franklin W. Dixon's previous works, and whether or not his skills as a writer were in decline. Obviously, we were ahead of our time.
Today I hear a lot about Mother/Daughter Book Clubs and I rejoice. Ninety percent of the readers who send me emails through my website are female. And I'm very glad girls are reading, either by themselves or with their Moms. Girls who read rule! But I worry about the boys.
I know boys read. I visit a lot of schools and boys are just as enthusiastic about books as their fellow female students. But I also know there aren't many of them. And that worries me.
I have a twenty-two-year-old son, who loves to read. Heck, he's better read than I am. My daughter loves books as well and there are few better feelings than seeing your child turn off the computer, hang up the phone, shut off the television and pick up a book.
If you're reading this blog you realize how important reading is. If you have a mother/daughter book club, congratulations! What about starting a Mother/Son Book Club? Or better yet, get your husband involved. A Father/Son Book Club works. Or how about inviting your young readers, be they boys or girls to your Book Club? Read a young adult novel that month and invite them to join the discussion. Let them see how it works. Co-ed Book Clubs are a great idea! Face it, in today's world, wouldn't you feel great about your teenagers sitting around talking about the most recent book they'd read? If you're a parent, you know already that kids pay much more attention to what you do, than what you say. So show them the way. Especially the boys.
This brings me to the blatant self-promotion part. Tomorrow, my new novel The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail goes on sale. It's the perfect book to start a Parent/Son or Co-ed Book Club with! Set during the third crusade, it tells the story of Tristan, a young orphan boy, saved from his life of drudgery at a monastery by Sir Thomas Leux, a Templar Knight.
He joins the Templars as a squire and journeys to the Holy Land. During a critical battle he is given the Holy Grail and ordered by his knight to return it safely to England. He undertakes this duty with a heavy heart, knowing he is leaving comrades behind. Along the way he is pursued by Saracens, evil knights and spies of King Richard the Lionheart.
Like the video games your children love so much, it's a story full of action, humor, suspense and lots of explosions. There are plenty of issues to discuss in your next Book Club meeting. What is the real meaning of family? What is the personal price of duty and honor? Who invented liquid soap and why? (Just kidding about that last one!) Sounds like the perfect book for your book club wouldn't you say?
Tell us about your son's favorite book, or your own experience with a Mother/Son or Father/Son Book Club and you'll be entered to win one of 10 signed copies of Spy Goddess: Live and Let Shop along with a Book Club Girl mousepad. Blog about this contest on another blog and you will have two entries into the random drawing.