Lisa Schroeder: Verse Novels for the Reluctant Reader

Today for our April Book of the Month post, we have an exclusive guest blog written by our featured author Lisa Schroeder. Special thanks to Lisa for taking time out of her busy schedule, to write a blog just for Novel Novice!

Verse novels for the reluctant reader
by Lisa Schroeder

When I wrote I HEART YOU, YOU HAUNT ME, I didn’t know a lot about verse novels. I knew I liked to read them. I also knew, from talking to other people, that not everyone does. Let’s face it, they’re different. But different doesn’t always mean bad.

For many readers, verse novels are a good kind of different.

First of all, they are fairly short. You can breeze through one of mine in a couple of hours. Second of all, there aren’t long chapters that can drag on and on for some kids. They can stop on any page and come back and pick it up later without any backtracking. And finally, there is something about all of the white space that I think is comforting to a reluctant reader. She opens the book and instead of feeling overwhelmed by large amounts of text, she scans the page and thinks, wow, I can do this.

I cannot tell you how many notes I’ve gotten through my web site that start out like this: “I usually hate to read, but I love your books…” They’ll go on to tell me what they liked and usually ask if I’m writing any others.

I’m honored that ALA recognized I HEART YOU as a good one for reluctant readers by putting it on the 2009 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers list. I think every teacher and every librarian should have lists of books ready to suggest when he/she is talking to a student who admits reading isn’t a favorite past-time.

Sometimes when I talk with others about these notes I get, people will say – but how sad that there are kid who hate to read. And I agree, it is sad. But guess what. One or two books can make all the difference. Once they have found a type of book they like to read, it’s our job to keep them reading.

My web site has other novels-in-verse for kids to check out if they’ve read all three of mine and want more. For the list, you can go to my web site, click on the Books for Teens and scroll down to the bottom of the page.

I’m so very glad my publisher took a risk on me and my books. They are different. But for some kids, just the right kind of different.

Let’s always remember – never be afraid of different!

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