Sunday, November 30, 2014

Check the intended age for children's books before purchasing

Why won't people read the description of books before buying them for what turns out to be the wrong expectation or for the wrong people? My ebook, Mr. King's Daughter, very clearly talks about getting the protagonist a husband. It is clearly identified as a  YA (Young Adult) story. One reviewer had already described it as a good coming of age story. Bedtime story??? Clearly NOT
Yet here is a reviewer's comment. He bought it as a bedtime story for his daughter!!! Cheez!

"I had bought this book to read it to my daughter for her bedtime story. Thankfully I browsed through the book before telling her about this book. I couldn’t even go through the entire book. Never reading any such book to my kid or letting her read it, ever! "

So he gives it a one star rating. I hope he gets back his 99 cents!

But this brings up the continued confusion in some people's minds about the different classifications for children's books.

I write for different ages from picture story books to Young Adult in what is broadly the children section of literature. There is a vast difference in the books for the age groups and some overlapping in all the groups. As we know, children mature at different rates and books should be chosen to match the level they are at.

In Jamaica, as soon as one mentions children's books, most persons immediately think of picture books. My fellow writers have had similar experiences of promoting a new Middle Grade book and being invited by a book store to read. The announcement that there will be a reading invariably brings out mainly the very little ones. Since the Middle Grade book is not suitable for this age group, we have to do a shift and choose a book suitable for the age group from the shelves. End of promotion. No use telling the store that the book is meant for an older age group.They will say it's not them it's the parents, who think that since the reading is of a children's book, it must be for the younger ones. Very frustrating. 

When YA(young adult) books are projected to cover the age range 12 to 18 years, it is easy to see an immediate problem. There is a difference in orientation/life experiences between a twelve year old and an 18 year old. It is all very confusing. Should a story for an 18 year old be judged in the same category as that for a twelve year old?

Here's a quotation from an earlier post on this blog about this and other challenges relating to classifying children's books

0- 3 years –picture books
3-6 years – picture books
6-8 years – picture story books/ early chapter books
8 to 12 years – chapter books/novels
12 to 14 – chapter books/ novels

These age divisions may vary for different publishers. For example, some publishers now use 9 to 13 as a ‘tween age – not quite young adult not completely past chapter books.

These divisions are necessary as guides to writers, illustrators, and readers/purchasers of books. Children's reading readiness, their interests and needs vary from one group to the next, and books should reflect this.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

MEET ASH THE FLASH Review by Veronica Blake Carnegie

Review by Veronica Blake Carnegie


Ash the FLASH
Hazel D. Campbell & Nattalie Gordon
Sand Pebbles Pleasure Series
Carlong Publishers. 2014

Hazel Campbell, veteran writer of children’s stories and one of her past students, Nattalie Gordon, have come out flashing with a Jamaican superboy whose superman hero is none other than Usain Bolt, the fastest man in the real world.

The writers inspiration is not a comic book hero dressed in red and blue cloak, floating over sky-scrapers and bridges but a hero; decked in T-shirt and shorts and track shoes on seemingly flying feet that race on the ground and who wins gold medals for himself and his country.

This action packed fantasy features boys, Ashton and Kenroi, their all-male team and coaches, fathers, uncles, male teachers, watchmen, and  grounds-men.

The protagonist is a primary school boy, Ashton Longmore, who, with his best friend Kenroi Donaldson, get into big trouble when they disobey orders. Left for a brief while in Uncle Norman’s old lab, despite a warning not to touch anything, they begin to investigate its contents. Ashton opens a suspicious looking bottle with a fragrant, green potion and, as if in a trance, drinks its mysterious contents. In shock, Kenroi is witness to the instant transformation of Ashton who shoots out of the lab like a bolt of lightning.

Eventually, Kenroi and Uncle Norman, catch up with him. Uncle Norman, who is a very absent-minded scientist, explains that the potion was the result of experiments he had carried out on the Trelawny yams that people were saying caused Usain Bolt to run so fast. He had forgotten about the bottle and it seems that the potion had strengthened with age and that was why Ashton could run so fast. But he begs the boys not to tell anybody as it would mean trouble for him. He now plans to try to find the antidote.

But the boys are elated. Ashton's speed now means they can challenge the rival school in athletics and win. A side effect of the potion is Ashton's ability to belch for a long time. Ashton and Kenroi get up to all sorts of antics as they try to capitalize on his spectacular speed. But the long belches are herald to a complication they didn't expect. If the effects of the potion wear off, can Ashton still win the crucial final race at the county games?
His school is depending on him to lift the trophy. As the story progresses, they find out that the rival school's star runner had been unbeatable because his father had been giving him drugs. In the end, an exciting 100 metre race is the spectacular climax of the rivalry.

Ashton's speed, publicized by the news media earns him the nickname Ash the Flash.

Few girls appear in this story. Two of them, as passersby, watch Ashton run and are intrigued by his spectacular speed. Kenroi chases them away. The girls classify both boys as ‘weirdos’ and giggling, point out how Ashton’s ‘foot-dem favour mosquito foot’.

Raquel and Nichole are in the boys' sixth grade class. Raquel is Ashton’s special ‘girl-friend’ and Nichole is the prim and proper tell-tale-tit who runs and reports the boys to the Principal and cause the break-up of a well-planned Belching Contest.
This is a really fast moving, action-filled, often humorous boys’ story. Something exciting happens on each of the101 pages of this book. Can we hope to see this compelling story on the big screen in the future?

Christmas is coming. Get a copy for your son, nephew, etc. Girls will like this story ,too

AND ebook