Saturday, June 1, 2013

Reading With Kids by Mikey Brooks

I'm so happy to have Mikey as a guest on my blog today! Mikey's new middle grade book THE DREAM KEEPER was just released and I'm so excited to have him here to speak about reading with kids.

Reading With Kids
by Mikey Brooks

I have three great passions in life: my wife, my daughters, and books. Naturally as a book lover I want my children to have a passion for the written word. So much can be learned from stories. I recall several times a story from a book helped me as a child. They taught me the true meaning of friendship, the longing for adventure, and the thrill of suspense. As an author/illustrator I am interested in telling a good story not only with words but with art. I find that art and words work great in painting a larger picture in the child’s mind. Picture books are important in developing a child’s love of books. As the levels of illiteracy grows it our duty as parents to help encourage our kids to read. They are our future and our future needs books. We need to make reading sound fun and entertaining. I wanted to share some tips that I have on reading with your kids.

My Tips:

Dedicate a comfy place. Whether they are on your lap, sitting in bed, or relaxed in a chair, make sure your area is free of distractions and comfortable.

Do it daily! The best habits come from repetition. If you make it a part of your routine it will become a habit the whole family will love and enjoy.

Start right now! It is never too early to read to your kids. Tiny babies love the sound of your voice. What they’re teenagers? Do it anyway. Books can build connections.

Be animated. Not everyone is gifted with doing voices but you can always try. Kids love the effort and it makes the story fun to them. Try different dialects, pitches, and sounds—it will be fun for both of you.

Talk about it. Once you are done reading your chapter, book, or section take a minute to ask your child what they enjoyed about it. Discuss the art, characters, plot, or theme. Try to find connections to them making the book more meaningful.

Let them do it! While it is fantastic for kids to listen to their parents read it is more important for them to do it on their own. Help them find courage to read aloud to you. Encourage them with the difficult words. For older kids try taking turns.

Make it fun. There are many, many books make sure you select one that is interesting to your child. If they like airplanes make an effort to find books on airplanes. If they like ghost stories research great ghost stories. Help make reading interesting to them.

Read a Great Book! Nothing can compare with reading a fantastic book. When a kid falls in love with a story they fall in love with reading and that is your goal. There are so many terrific books. Utilized your local children’s librarian, they can be a great tool in discovering good books.

Need a book to reads to your kids? Well I got some for you. For the younger ones I recommend my picture books. ABC ADVENTURES: MAGICAL CREATURES is a fun concept book that has fun with fantastical beasts and the alphabet. If your kids are older I have a book for them too. THE DREAM KEEPER is an action-packed adventure with a toe in both the real world and the fantastic. “When an evil shifter takes over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, it falls to 14-year-olds Parker and Kaelyn to stop him. Their only hope lies with Gladamyr, the Dream Keeper, but can they trust a Nightmare to save their world?” You can check out my books and more about me at:

Have fun reading with your kids!!

THE DREAM KEEPER back cover blurb
Loser—the most frightening word to ever be uttered in middle school. Even the coolest kids are afraid of being associated with it. 14-year-old Parker Bennett is no exception. He can’t even be himself around his friends for fear they might not accept who he really is. When circumstances force him to team up with Kaelyn Clarke, the biggest loser in the ninth grade, Parker has to decide what is more important; protecting his social status or saving the world. Nightmare named Fyren has taken over the gateway to the realm of Dreams, with the intention of controlling mortals, and it falls on Parker, Kaelyn, and Gladamyr – the Dream Keeper – to stop him. They learn being called a loser is no longer a fear, when compared to the terror of real nightmares.

Parker was about to assassinate the general of the goblin army. It wasn’t murder, it was an assignment. He tried to justify what he was about to do as he jumped from the rooftop and landed just above the battlement wall. It was the perfect spot to scout the camp. The goblins filling the keep were everywhere, sharpening blades and axes or gathering weapons for the impending battle. Parker noticed a large troll in the right hand corner of the space below, hammering solidly on a sword large enough to split three men into six. He spotted his target.

The general of the goblin army was a large brute with golden braids hanging down his chest. He was the one who had ordered the burning of Parker’s home village. The one who had ordered the death of Parker’s family and friends. This monster, this villain, was the reason Parker had set out on his journey to seek vengeance upon the unjust. This was the creature responsible for Parker swearing allegiance to the Mightercore army, who quickly gave him the role of assassin-scout.

Parker maneuvered his way down the wall, careful not to move too fast or his invisibility cloak would lose its power. He placed his foot in one crevice, then his hand in another. After a few moments of skilled climbing, Parker found himself precariously positioned just behind the golden haired brute, leaving only a small distance between him and his foe. In a quick session tactic, Parker could ignite his blade with the magic of the Mightercore and his target
would be no more. He positioned himself to strike, raising his sword and whispering the incantation that would release the blade’s power—.


He ignored whoever was calling his name; they did not matter. All he saw was the villain before him. The completed spell ignited Parker’s sword with a blazing haze of blue fire, and he had to act fast.


The loud call startled him and he swung too late. The goblin general had already turned and he struck, forcing Parker back against the rocky battlements. Parker parried the attack and thrust forward with a low slash. The general sidestepped and lunged forward again. Parker parried and rolled away from the wall. A lightning spell was the only magic he had left. If he could find enough time to call out the incantation, he could have the general radiating electrons from every appendage.

He rolled until he was a good ten feet from his opponent, then quickly stood. Lifting his hand into the air, he called down the lightning. The sky filled with a brilliant white light, and the crack of thunder reverberated off the walls. Parker briefly closed his eyes then opened them, praying he had hit his target. As the white dust began to clear, he made out an image before him. He peered at it, his heart thumping.

The screen went black.

“Parker, I’ve called you three times. Now get off that machine and go do your homework.”

Mikey Brooks is a small child masquerading as adult. On occasion you’ll find him dancing the funky chicken, singing like a banshee, and pretending to have never grown up. He is the author/illustrator of several books including BEAN’S DRAGONS, the ABC ADVENTURES series, and author of the middle-grade fantasy-adventure novel, THE DREAM KEEPER. He spends most of his time playing with his daughters and working as a freelance illustrator. Mikey has a BS degree in Creative Writing from Utah State University. He is also one of the hosts of the Authors’ Think Tank Podcast.

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