Becky here. I’m so happy to introduce you to Fleur Bradley, who writes really fun mysteries for kids. Fleur and I have known each other for 20 years, give or take, meeting way back when I wrote for kids. Fleur found her niche in the kidlit world, having garnered a ton of awards and accolades along the way. She’s a fantastic resource for teachers and librarians, as well as being one heck of a writer! If you have kids in your life you’d like to be avid readers, Fleur’s books should be at the top of your gift-giving list.
It’s the holiday season! I know, with it being December and all, you probably didn’t need me to remind you. And if you’re anything like me, the consummate organizer with checklists and a neat calendar, worried about supply chain issues, you may already have your gifts sorted. Maybe you even have them wrapped and ready to go (you uber organizer, you).
But in case you still have room for a gift or two, especially if it’s for a kid in your life… May I suggest giving a book?
If you hang out here at Chicks on the Case, you’re likely a reader of mysteries, like me. But sometimes, you may also share that feeling that giving a kid a book for Christmas is pushing your love for reading (mysteries, of course) on this child you love. Maybe the parents/guardians of said child even warned you: (s)he doesn’t like reading very much…
So, I’m here to make the case for the book giving aunt/grandma/uncle/neighbor/whatever-your-title-is. Wear your book giving proud, I say!
Here’s my reasoning*:
1. Reading = Brainpower
As a writer of mysteries for reluctant readers, I often encounter kids who say they don’t like to read. I even do a talk for librarians and teachers on why kids don’t like to read, and how to reach them. I won’t step on my soapbox here, other than to mention that reading affects everything. If you get kids reading, they’ll do better in math, science, you name it. There are statistics (if you want to talk nerdy with me)** to back this up, but in short: give a kid a book and you jumpstart their brain on all levels.
2. Reading Fosters Connection
When was the last time you read a mystery for kids? And don’t stop at the Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys mysteries of your day—as much as those books are fun, there are so many great new mysteries for kids out there today. Consider reading the same book together and talking about what you liked, didn’t like. If you’re a grandparent, aunt, or uncle, this is such a great way to have something to talk about, and not fall into asking the dreaded, “So, how’s school?” For less than twenty bucks, you can buy two copies of a paperback mystery, and the connection is priceless.
3. Books Can Make Lifetime Memories (remember that book you got?)
I still remember being gifted a (cheap) paperback mystery when I was about ten, one of Enid Blyton’s Secret Seven. I tore through that book—it was nothing like the hardbacks (regarded as ‘better’ reading) I knew from school. This little paperback was pure fun mystery, and I’ll never forget receiving it as a gift (my great-uncle Herman, on a sunny summer afternoon in our garden). When a book hits you just right, it’s a memory you have forever. And mysteries don’t always make it to the classroom reading list, so be the Book Giver who ignites a kid’s love for mysteries.
4. Books Get Kids Off Their Phone/ Electronics
Do I need to explain this one? Probably not. And kids want to get off their electronics sometimes, just like we adults do. You’d be surprised.
Books are a great present. And you can buy a paperback for eight, nine bucks, sometimes even less. So go ahead, buy that mystery for kids. Be a proud Book Giver. You may just make a difference in that kid’s life.
Oh, and while we’re on the subject: here is a list of independent mystery booksellers who can tell you just what mystery to buy (courtesy of Sisters in Crime): Mystery Bookstores – Sisters in Crime …
*Truth in advertising: I’m slightly biased, as I write mysteries for kids.
**If you’re into statistics, here’s my source: 6 more minutes: Struggling readers, daily reading practice, and growth (renaissance.com)
Readers … what book were you gifted as a kid that you remember (and probably still have)? Were you an avid or reluctant reader?
Fleur Bradley has loved puzzles and mysteries ever since she first discovered Agatha Christie novels. She’s the author of many short mysteries and mysteries for kids, including Midnight at the Barclay Hotel (Viking Children’s) and the Double Vision trilogy (as F.T. Bradley, Harper Children’s). Midnight at the Barclay Hotel was shortlisted for the Reading the West, Agatha and Anthony Awards, and recently won the SCBWI Crystal Kite Award and the Colorado Book Award. Her next MG mystery, Daybreak on Raven Island is due out from Viking in August 2022. Fleur’s story The Perfect Alibi appears in Mystery Writers of America’s middle-grade anthology Super Puzzletastic Mysteries, edited by Chris Grabenstein. She regularly does author school and virtual visits, as well as librarian and educator conference talks on reaching reluctant readers. Originally from the Netherlands, she now lives in Colorado with her family, and entirely too many rescue animals. Find out more about Fleur at http://www.ftbradley.com