Want a Book That Boys Want to Read?
Attention Parents and Teachers!
Boys struggle to read fiction, believe it or not. Give them a book about animals, cars, boats, anything non-fiction and they devour it. But not fiction. So now schools focus on non-fiction. But fiction develops values and emotions. Boys need that as much as girls. So give you boys this book. It’s funny and deep.
The topic: anger
The reason: Jake’s mother died when he was eight.
The day-to-day problems: middle school. A couple of bullies wanted to take him out. He got interested in a girl.
The solution: Dreaming. The answers came in bits and pieces disguised as kangaroos and turtles cheating at games, jumping on clouds, getting acquainted with the person inside the GPS box. Adults it might take you a bit to get into the dreams, but they are as fun as the real people. PS. His dad and friends helped solve the anger problem, too.
What to Love About David Naiman’s Writing
Personify a characteristic
Catch the eye-roll when Jake hangs this title on his dad,
“That’s Dad, the King of Understatement.”
David J. Naiman. Jake, Lucid Dreamer (Kindle Locations 72-73). Kwill Books. Kindle Edition.
Write in First Person and Include the Protagonist’s Thoughts
Spoken like a true twelve-year-old. Don’t you love it when the author includes the character’s thoughts? Naiman wrote Jake, Lucid Dreamer in first person.
“We’d swap stories about how our white dads interact with their in-laws. That’s always good material for a laugh. Her mom’s black and mine’s Chinese. Was Chinese. I’m supposed to use the past tense since she’s dead and all. I don’t really get that. I mean, is she no longer Chinese because she’s dead? It doesn’t seem like dying should change your race.”
David J. Naiman. Jake, Lucid Dreamer (Kindle Locations 156-159). Kwill Books. Kindle Edition.
I haven’t used it, but I love this technique.
“Dad and I stare at each other and have a silent conversation.
Thank your sister.
She put a lot of thought and effort into the card.
She drew her stuffed monkey.
What does this have to do with me?
She loves Beenie, and she loves you. In her mind, this makes sense.
Doesn’t mean I have to thank her.
Yes, it does. Do it now. Forget it.
David J. Naiman. Jake, Lucid Dreamer (Kindle Locations 368-371). Kwill Books. Kindle Edition.
“After dinner, we move to the couch. Don’t ask me how I get there without a forklift. I try to sit still so my stomach doesn’t burst.”
David J. Naiman. Jake, Lucid Dreamer (Kindle Locations 838-839). Kwill Books. Kindle Edition.
Even If You Have To Google a Joke or Two
“You’re like a bad vegetable. You always turn up.” “Now hold on,” Conner says. “A turnip is not a bad vegetable. If you sauté it with olive oil, it’s quite tasty. You could say I’m like a root vegetable. I’d give you that.” “You can keep it. I’d never root for a vegetable.”
David J. Naiman. Jake, Lucid Dreamer (Kindle Locations 959-961). Kwill Books. Kindle Edition.
Jake had to call in the “Pun Police.”
Especially for Kids – Throw in Vocabulary
“He’s a bull with bulging biceps, colossal calves, devastating deltoids, erratic eyebrows, fierce forearms, gigantic guts, humongous hips, immense…OK, you get the idea. Let’s just say he’s really big.”
David J. Naiman. Jake, Lucid Dreamer (Kindle Locations 1189-1190). Kwill Books. Kindle Edition.
Teach Your Readers
“Nick’s right,” Brandon says. He yanks me so close, I can smell his cavities. “You’re trying to trick me. Well, you’re not getting out of it this time, you little weasel.” Brandon levels his fist with my face. “Hold up, did you just call me a weasel?” “Yeah.” “No, I don’t think so.”
“What? Yeah, you are. You’re a weasel.” A weasel. Can you believe this guy? “I am definitely not. Weasels are bold carnivores, extremely aggressive when their territory is invaded. They eat up to forty percent of their body weight every day, and they kill their prey by biting its neck or crushing its skull with sharp canines. I want you to think about this. Does that really sound like me?” “Not…really, no.” “So ‘weasel’ doesn’t work.” He lowers his fist. “I guess not.” Nick shrieks. I think his head might pop off. “Stop talking already and hit him!”
David J. Naiman. Jake, Lucid Dreamer (Kindle Locations 1295-1300). Kwill Books. Kindle Edition.
Include a Video?
No, he did not have the video, but he used one that was easy to locate. So I did. Jake watched this for his science group report.
My Rating As an Educator and Writer
“After graduating from Wesleyan University, David Naiman obtained his medical degree at New York University School of Medicine and trained in the primary care internal medicine program at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center. Writing nights and weekends, he published the award-winning #1 Amazon bestselling novel Didn’t Get Frazzled, a work of humorous medical fiction for adults, under the pen name David Z Hirsch. From there, David turned to children’s literature to pursue the themes of family, friendship and the magic of childhood that continue to inspire him. Jake, Lucid Dreamer is his first middle-grade novel. He lives in Maryland with his wife and two sons. Visit his website at http://www.davidjnaiman.com.”
David J. Naiman. Jake, Lucid Dreamer (Kindle Locations 1844-1850). Kwill Books. Kindle Edition.