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Books That Get Kids Reading

How Do You Create Books That Keep Kids Reading?

Well, it ain’t easy. You start with great storytelling. Then you consider font style, white space, chapter length, cover design, word choice, font size…everything.

A Different Kind of Book

Kids put down books all the time. Why?

They look too hard. They’re not designed to be easy to read. They’re too intimidating.

Our books are written in a highly-engaging style, with stories told in short chapters that are easy to get through. Simple sentence structure and fast-paced action keep kids turning pages.

Plus, we poured through dozens of studies on reading comprehension to craft a book design that is as easy and readable as possible.

I already have recommended it to my friends and my friends and I NEVER talk about books.”

— Hailey, 6th Grade Student

Nevermore #1: We Bury the Living

Finn and Jamie are spending the summer with relatives they’ve never met. Uncle Silas and Aunt Ida live in the middle of nowhere. Next to a cemetery. They drive a hearse. And run a funeral home. And sleep in coffins.

But the real horrors are just beginning. Not everyone is resting peacefully in Eldorado Cemetery. Graves are being dug up. The sound of crying is coming from crypts closed for centuries. Someone is stalking the graveyard at night.

But don’t worry. The dead can’t really come back to life.

Can they?

Read the first five chapters now

Mom was super excited. Duke hardly ever reads and she couldn’t believe he had finally found a book he couldn’t/wouldn’t put down.”

— Mrs. Bankson, 7th Grade Teacher

What Real Kids Are Saying About the Nevermore Series

A Letter from a Librarian Mom

Reading Was a Battle in My House

I’ve been a librarian for almost twenty years. Nothing gives me greater pleasure than helping kids find books that light them up and get them reading. When my son, Aaron, was born, I just knew he would be a reader.

How could he not be? 

He came with me to the library almost every day. We had hundreds of books from home. My husband was always saying I’d die underneath a wave of books when my shelves finally collapsed. Not a bad way to go, I’d tell him.

I read to Aaron every night. Dr. Suess. Goodnight Moon. Eric Carle. All the old favorites. And in those early years, Aaron seemed to enjoy reading. 

But things changed. When he got to fourth grade, reading stopped being fun. I’ve asked myself why a million times. What could I have done differently? Was it my fault? Was it his teachers? Aaron could read. He just didn’t like to.

In fifth grade reading became mandatory. He brought home a tracking sheet from his teacher. Twenty minutes a night, and I had to sign off on it. 

That’s when the arguments began.

I tried everything I could think of. Books I’d handed parents thousands of times at the library, promising them this would turn their kid into a lifelong reader. Harry Potter. Goosebumps. Gary Paulsen. The Giver. The Hardy Boys. 

No joy. 

Aaron had a range of reasons. Books were too long. Or too complicated. Or too dull. A thousand excuses. 

Suddenly, reading was something we fought about, not something we enjoyed. 

And then I came across the Nevermore series by Tyler Miller. I heard about them through a teacher friend who had advanced copies. The publisher was looking to test them out on reluctant readers and wanted honest feedback.

I took them home and gave them to Aaron. I’ll be honest. I wasn’t expecting much. If JK Rowling couldn’t weave her magic on him, who could? I’d never heard of this Tyler Miller, and the books had no reviews. 

What did I have to lose?

Aaron took the first book, We Bury the Living, and slouched into his corner to read. I sat on the couch and waited for the protests to begin. 

But they didn’t. Not that night. And not the next. Or the next.

I’m not going to lie to you. We Bury the Living didn’t transform Aaron overnight. 

What it did do, though, was get us through twenty minutes one night. And twenty minutes the next. And twenty minutes the night after that. 

Aaron always closed the book when his time was up. He wasn’t going to read a book in a single sitting. Not him. But when he finished the book, he handed it back to me and said:

“That wasn’t bad. Is there another?”

There was.

Later, after Aaron finished the entire series and started with the first book again, I talked to my teacher friend. She explained how the books had been written and designed, how they took into account a wide range of reading science in the way they chose fonts, increased spacing, used short chapters, etc.

She asked if I’d write something about Aaron’s story. 

And so here I am. Writing to say: give these books a chance. In your classroom. In your library. With kids who hate to read and kids who love to. Because these books are something special. Put them in a kid’s hands and see for yourself. 

Will my son become a lifelong reader? I don’t know. I wish I could say yes. But what I do know is this: he doesn’t fight about it now. The arguments have stopped. 

The door is open. Even if just a tiny bit.

And that’s something. 

Mrs. Bradley, Librarian

“Every single story in this series has some sort of awesome twist that makes you want more of the book.”

— Maleigh, 7th Grade Student

Nevermore #2: Death Cab

The last car Danny Ferry’s dad worked on before he died was a sleek black taxi cab. It’s still sitting in his dad’s garage. The owner dropped it off and never came back.

One day Danny finds the keys and turns on the radio. But it isn’t music he picks up on the dial. It’s voices. Dead voices. Voices that call his name…and want a ride.

Now Danny’s got a new gig: taxi driver for the recently deceased. Except not everybody’s happy now that Danny’s behind the wheel.

And when the dead get angry, they really come to life.

Read the first five chapters now

FAQ

Wait, so are these books dumbed down so “slow” kids can read them?

Not at all. Reluctant readers aren’t slow or stupid. They’re perfectly normal kids. They’re just not so hot on reading books.

Our books are written to be highly engaging and entertaining. The pace is fast. The chapters are short. Cliffhanger endings at the end of each chapter hook kids into wanting to know what happens next.

You’ll find lots of short paragraphs and dialogue in our books, which means kids see plenty of white space on every page. Our books look readable (because they are). They look like books a skeptical reader can handle.

Gotcha. So your books are ONLY for kids who don’t like to read?

Our books are written with reluctant readers in mind first and foremost. But when we tested our books on real kids, we discovered that kids who love to read enjoy them too!

Across the board, whether kids hate read or love it, the Nevermore series was a hit.

What age group are your books written for?

Our books can be read and enjoyed by a wide age range. We recommend trying the Nevermore series on kids from age 10 to 15, regardless of their reading level.

Your books look pretty creepy. Are they age appropriate?

We brought in renowned artist Butcher Billy to create the marvelous covers you see here. They were designed specifically to appeal to kids. And they do look a bit creepy!

That aside, every book in the series is age appropriate for late elementary into high school. There is no sex, no gore, no cussing, and violence is downplayed in a way that serves the plot but is never gratuitous.

Sure, but will they give my kid nightmares?

Not likely. The Nevermore series was written specifically with the idea of a roller coaster in mind: they should feel exciting, a little wild, but ultimately safe.

However, every kid is unique, and some kids are more susceptible to bad dreams than others.

How can I hear about new books when they come out?

You can subscribe to our newsletter (scroll to the bottom of the page for signup). We update subscribers in advance of any book release, and subscribers are often given special discounts. You can cancel and unsubscribe anytime.

Nevermore #3: The Thirteenth Floor

Horacio and Karina just moved into the Gold Bug Apartments in Nevermore. Seems nice. People there are friendly. There’s even an old school elevator originally from a famous Chicago hotel with buttons for fifty different floors.

But not one for 13. Too unlucky. Not that it matters. The Gold Bug only has four floors anyway. Or so Horacio thinks. Until he follows Karina one night while she’s sleepwalking and discovers a button for 13 after all.

Karina already pushed it. And now the elevator’s going up. And up. And up. And where it stops, nobody knows.

Read the first five chapters now

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Reluctant Reader Books

contact@reluctantreaderbooks.com