Karen's book is the first of a series of children's adventure books geared to children who are in the middle grades:
Karen Kostlivy was born and raised in Northern California. She graduated from the University of California Davis with a degree in Rhetoric and Communication. She enjoys spending time with her family and listening to her two sons Camron and Masson play guitar. After a successful career in the private and public sector, Karen decided to return to a former passion, writing and creating stories for readers of all ages. She is currently happily residing in Yuba City California with her husband Davis and son.
Mason Witt, a skateboarding American teenager, catapults himself into the greatest adventure of his life after reading the plight of a new Cyber Writer from Africa. Lutalo knew he would come so he sent Mason an urgent plea for help. His village has lost its precious Zebra of Life — and his father has gone missing in the pursuit of the evil men who stole it. Here begins this thrilling adventure of two boys, a smart-talking panther, and an amazing zebra that sustains life. Come and join Mason and Lutalo on this fantasy adventure.
Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life is geared to all middle grade readers and creates a bridge for the early young adult readers too. Also the novel is modeled on researched techniques to attract reluctant readers. In 2006 Scholastic Magazine did a study, The Kids and Family Reading Report, and found that the amount of reading kids did for fun decreased from the time they were 8 through the teen years. Kids said the number-one reason for not reading more was that they couldn't find books that interested them. The study also revealed that kids look to their parents for ideas on what to read.
Here are 5 ways to get kids reading four or more books:
Get comical: A new generation of graphic novels (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=3745810)are getting today's kids to read. Comic books are coming back in a big way. The state school superintendent for Maryland, Nancy S. Grasmick, is adding graphic novels and comics strips to the curriculum in addition to the regular reading program. Some of us met the classics through the comics and they motivated us to read the real books.
Find a series: Remember Nancy Drew, the Hardy Boys, the Babysitter's Club, Goosebumps, and so on? The great thing about getting kids hooked on series (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=7949) is that they really can't read just one and it makes choosing the next book to read easy. Mysteries, suspense, horror (a little goes a long way), fantasy, ( http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=7220) and romance (as age-appropriate) are genres that attract many kids. Also, many young readers prefer non-fiction, like biographies (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=7818. ) Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life is a novel that is the first of a series that has fantasy and adventure set in Africa. Other books in the series will be set in other exotic geographic areas of the world.
Learn how to: Kids really like to do things that end up in a finished product or with a new skill. Many kids play computer games, so offer special-interest game magazines to help them find strategies for improvement. Summer is also a great time for arts and crafts so find books for making model airplanes, cooking a meal, (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=7959) or any topic that holds their interest. The kids learn things in the Cyber Writer series. In Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life they learn the value of Courage, Family, Friendship, Trust, Loyalty and Faith. Eventually on http://www.cyberwriters.net there will be directions to make projects that are connected to the books in some way.
Yuck it up: Humor (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=7734) is good for reading and having a good laugh, too. Joke books and really silly stories are fun to read and having a sense of humor helps kids have a good time at whatever they are doing. Cyber Writers and the Zebra of Life has humor infused throughout. It also has other effects that draw reluctant readers including age appropriate popular interests such as computers and skate-boarding.
Think outside the book: Reading on kid-friendly social networking sites, (http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=11374 )playing word games, (http://teacher.scholastic.com/activities/flashlightreaders/main.asp?bookpass=7&s=1)and subscribing to magazines ( http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/article.jsp?id=7948)are fun ways to keep reading fresh. Just be sure kids are doing enough of it to equal a book. On http://www.cyberwriters.net the are some puzzles right now. Games, lesson plans and webquests for kids and teachers will soon will soon be included at no cost.
Here is a listmania list link to Amazon of popular books for boys:
Here's another reason to keep kids reading: the volume of reading accomplished has a direct and positive impact on reading fluency, vocabulary development and establishing the reading habit. As kids' competence and confidence grows, so will their interest in reading for pleasure, including "good books." For tons of reading suggestions and motivators, don't miss the Summer Reading BUZZ! Program. Happy reading!
I also wanted to share the review of this novel by my son Daniel, who absolutely loved this book.
Reviewed by Daniel DietzMason Witt is an average kid who loves skateboarding. He had been grounded for a week for riding his skateboard in the neighbors empty pool, and today was his first day of freedom. He was anxious to get off the bus to ride his board.
When he got home his mother made him his favorite snack of apples and peanut butter, so he ate quickly to be able to ride his board before they had to run errands. Before going to play, he ran to his room to put his backpack away and checked his email.
Being a pen pal on Cyber Writers, he found an email from Africa. Before he was able to read it, his mother yelled that they had to leave sooner than anticipated so they could get his brother Jamie at Karate, then go get hair cuts.
While getting their hair cuts Mason was so excited to get that email he asked the barber if he knew anything about Africa. When asked why, Mason told all about being a pen pal with Cyber Writers.
Finally home, Mason grabs a slice of pizza and runs upstairs to check his email. He starts reading and the introduction of Lutalo begins. Lutalo is in desperate need of help to return a Zebra and his missing father. "The Zebra is what brings prosperity to farmers crops and harmony to all villagers". The Zebra is known as the "Zebra of Life".
Getting ready for bed Mason crawls under the covers to finish reading his email. Suddenly he feels vines, jumping out of bed he realizes that his bedroom is changing into a jungle. Mason has been virtually transported to Africa.
Follow Mason and Lutalo during their adventures through Africa, as they begin the chase in hopes to safely return the Zebra of Life and Lutalo's father, Mwamba.
Kostlivy did a great job with her first book in the Cyber Writer Series. I found myself anxious to find out what happened next, and I can't wait to read the next book in the series. I was amazed with the plot and she kept my attention from beginning to end.
I give Cyber Writers and The Zebra of Life ***** (5) Stars, Daniel Dietz, children's book reviewer for BK Walker Books. http://bkwalkerbooks.weebly.com
Thanks again for stopping in Karen. It has been such a pleasure. Wishing you much success in the future! Be sure to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of this fantatic book, for +2 extra entries please become a follower of my blog, follow me on Twitter, Share this post using the share it link to the top right, "Like" my Facebook Fan Page also to the right. Don't forget to let me know what you did for extra entries and include your email addy so I have a way to contact you should you be the winner. Giveaway will be open until July 23. Thanks for stopping in everyone :).