One of the great things about being an indie author is that I have a network of incredibly talented author friends and "co-workers" at my fingertips. Added bonus: hot-off-the-press books to read!
When I came across Nate Rocks the World, a middle-grade novel written by Karen Pokras Toz, I wondered if it might be something my 10-yr-old son would like. After all, Nate is the same age and in the same grade as my Jake, and they each have annoying big sisters that they like to complain about liberally. And, come to find out, they both love to draw.
Jake has Aspergers and very little patience for chapter books. In fact, the only books he will read (willingly) by himself are graphic novels and comic-type books. He's developed his own character and hopes to write and illustrate comics one day, which will, of course, then naturally blossom into a line of highly successful video games that will make him millions of dollars. He's got big dreams, that kid!
One of the things Jake loves is to be read to, and it's something that either my husband or I do every night. When I began reading Nate Rocks the World to Jake, it was our special "alone time." But then a funny thing happened: Hannah and Bea, Jake's older and younger sisters, caught wind of the story and began listening, too. They wanted to know what adventure Nate would have next.
The author has truly captured the mind of a 10-yr-old boy and the dynamics of his relationship with his sister, parents, best friend, and that pesky know-it-all girl at school. There were many parts of the book which could have been taken from a page of our own lives, and it definitely had many laugh-out-loud moments. Once Jake caught on to how the story was written, he took great pleasure in identifying the point when Nate's world shifted from reality to daydream. PS - We were very pleasantly surprised by the ending.
Nate Rocks is an entertaining, fast-paced read that I recommend for all reluctant readers, as well as their parents and teachers (particularly 4th-grade teachers!). Thank goodness that's not the end of Nate's adventures, though. You can find out what happens in the next book in the series, Nate Rocks the Boat.