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Guys Write for Guys Read Review

guys_write_for_guys_readGuys Write for Guys Read edited by Jon Scieszka

Viking Books for Young Readers, 2005. 9780670060078.

Synopsis: There’s something for everyone in this collection of stories about men and boys being, well, men and boys. Chosen by readers of the Guys Read website, the writers retell stories about their childhoods, how they got into reading, and how they discovered their passions and themselves.

Why I picked it up: My reasoning was twofold: firstly, I love the Guys Read movement and its approach to encouraging literacy; secondly, I wanted to add some more guy-friendly books to my repertoire.

Why I finished it: While this collection is aimed at readers of the male persuasion, as a female reader I was still thoroughly engrossed in the stories and drawings of the contributors. I feel as though the adventures and misadventures recounted are relatable to both genders. True, most of the girls I know never tried to climb up a fire escape with an extension cord, pee on an electric fence (not that we could if we wanted to), or shoot themselves across the neighborhood on a homemade slingshot. But I am willing to bet there were a number of us that bulked ourselves up to get noticed (like David Yoo), crawled over fences we weren’t supposed to, read the sports section of the newspaper, or got their start drawing doodles in the margins of their homework assignments. But I digress: this collection is boys and men doing what they do, and by all accounts, doing it well and having a good time doing it. For older readers, it makes us remember our younger days when we were much more fearless and the consequences seemed less severe. For younger readers, it gives them inspiration to find their passions…and even perhaps in new avenues of mischief. It’s a fun, funny, laugh-out-loud book that has an appeal for guys of all ages that reminds us we are never too old to be young.

Other related materials: Guys Read: Funny Business edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: The Sports Page edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: True Stories edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: Other Worlds by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: Terrifying Tales edited by Jon Scieszka; Knucklehead: Tall tales and Almost True Stories of Growing Up Scieszka by Jon Scieszka; 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen edited by James Howe; No Easy Answers: Short Stories About Teenagers Making Tough Choices edited by Donald R. Gallo; On the Fringe edited by Donald R. Gallo; Baseball in April and Other Stories by Gary Soto; Guy Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know by Ralph Fletcher

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Guys Read: True Stories Review

guys_read_5Guys Read: True Stories edited by Jon Scieszka, illustrations by Brian Floca

Waldon Pond Press, 2014. 978-0061963810

Synopsis: Dread going to the dentist? Pondered what you would do if you were shipwrecked on the edge of a desert? Dreamed about going down some of North America’s greatest ‘undiscovered’ rivers? Ever wondered what it would be like to spent the night in the jungle…with tarantulas? Read these ten 100% true, 100% amazing, 100% unbelievable stories and find out!

Why I picked it up: I totally love this series of books and I love the idea behind Guys Read.

Why I finished it: I’m not usually a huge fan of non-fiction, but this collection of stories totally grabbed me right from the beginning. Some of this stuff is pretty out there, and even as I sat reading, I was thinking things like ‘this can’t be real’ and ‘this is so fantastic’ and ‘what am I doing to get out there and explore the world?’ Non-fiction isn’t boring by any stretch of the imagination and this book proves that history and even the everyday adventures we have are totally amazing. My favorite stories were Nathan Hale’s ‘Hugh Glass: Dead Man Crawing’ (an explorer is attacked by a bear and somehow lives to tell about it) and Thanhha Lai’s ‘A Pack of Brothers’ (some stories about growing up with five older brothers in Vietnam). Hale’s comic really grabbed me because it somehow makes the tale taller; I mean, it’s already pretty unbelievable that a man could survive a bear attack in the age of Western Expansion, then crawl to get help even after he’s left for dead. There’s even little commentary from some more modern characters that gives the story a sort of humor that is likely not present in any of the source material. Lai’s stories about her siblings remind me a lot of my own childhood and the different predicaments my brother and I would get ourselves into. The reader can relate to their misadventures with pairs of scissors and the desire to go out with friends over spending time with family. It’s a worthy addition to the Guys Read library, and if you like the books, go check out the site: there’s even more fun that awaits you.

Other related materials: Guys Read: Funny Business edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: The Sports Pages edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: Other Worlds edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: Terrifying Tales edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Write for Guys Read edited by Jon Scieszka; Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales books by Nathan Hale; Which Way to the Wild West?: Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn’t Tell You About Westward Expansion by Steve Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson; King George: What Was His Problem?: The Whole Hilarious Story of the American Revolution by Steve Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson; Two Miserable Presidents: The Amazing, Terrible, and Totally True Story of the Civil War by Steve Sheinkin, illustrated by Tim Robinson; 13: Thirteen Stories That Capture the Agony and Ecstasy of Being Thirteen edited by James Howe; Read All About It!: Great Read-Aloud Stories, Poems, and Newspaper Pieces for Preteens and Teens edited by Jim Trelease; Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know by Ralph Fletcher; 642 Things to Write About: Young Writers Edition by 826 Valencia

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Guys Read: Other Worlds Review

guys_read_4Guys Read: Other Worlds edited by John Scieszka, with illustrations by Greg Ruth

Walden Pond Press, 2013.  978-0061963797.

Synopsis: Prepare to explore new worlds and dive into the worlds of science fiction and fantasy with stories that will spin a yarn that seems all but unbelievable. Featuring stories by Tom Angleberger, Shannon Hale, D.J. MacHale, Eric Nylund, Kenneth Oppel, Rick Riordan, Neal Shusterman, Rebecca Stead, Shaun Tan, and the late Ray Bradbury, Other Worlds will transport you to places unknown and some places that seem all too familiar.

Why I picked it up: I loved Funny Business and I felt lucky to find this at a going out of business sale at my local bookstore.

Why I finished it: Guys Read is consistently awesome and I can’t say enough about the book series and the website that Jon Scieszka and other dedicated persons have put together. Other Worlds takes us into the unknown and back again, giving us a collection of stories about protagonists that are brave and heroic in their own unique way. My favorites were Shannon Hale’s Bouncing at the Grinning Goat, Rebecca Stead’s Plan B, Shaun Tan’s A Day in the Life, and Eric Nylund’s The Warlords of Recess. While all of the stories in this book deal with the unexpected, these stories add a bit of reality to them and create for us scenarios in which it is possible that a young girl can become a fierce warrior, that aliens can land on earth and assimilate the human race, that iguanas run in herds across the Australian landscape, and that the kids you always pick last for the team can actually subdue alien troops by merely reminding them of the rules. I was also appreciative of the final story in the volume: Frost and Fire by the great and prolific Ray Bradbury, who once upon a time opened the doors for authors to explore other worlds, other places, and other times along with many others in his generation. Filled with humor and drama, Other Worlds takes the reader to unexpected places that we never could have imagined on our own.

Other related materials: Guys Read website; Guys Read: Funny Business edited by John Scieszka; Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: The Sports Page edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Write about Guys Read: Boys’ Favorite Authors Write About Being Boys edited by Jon Sciezka; Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know by Ralph Fletcher; Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka; Spaceheadz books by Jon Scieszka; ; The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tome Angleberger; Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger; The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger; Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan; The Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan; Breakfast on Mars and 37 Other Delectable Essays edited by Rebecca Stern and Brad Wolfe; Twelve Impossible Things Before Breakfast: Stories by Jane Yolen; The 39 Clues series; The SYLO Chronicles by D.J. MacHale

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Guys Read: Funny Business Review

guys_read_1Guys Read: Funny Business edited by Jon Scieszka

Walden Pond Press, 2010. 978-0061963735

Synopsis: Ten funny stories  to amuse the reader and may or may not result in excessive smiling, laughing, and possible spitting of milk in your friend’s face. Includes stories by Eoin Colfer, Christopher Paul Curtis, Paul Feig, Jeff Kinney, and David Yoo.

Why I picked it up: Well, I have this thing about buying books in the airport when I travel so I have something to read on the plane, and this one caught my eye not only because I love Jon Scieszka, but because I ought read more “boy books”, if you will.

Why I finished it: I like books that make me laugh and I was in stitches for most of this book. I think my favorites were “Your Question for Author Here” and “My Parents Give My Bedroom to a Biker” because they have a sort of unreal element to them while still maintaining the middle schooler voice. I was also strongly reminded of how my brother and I interacted with each other when we were younger – name calling, fighting, running, jumping, climbing trees, causing general mischief that wore on our parents’ last nerve…those were the days. The stories are designed to appeal to guys and to reluctant readers as a whole: the stories each have a male main character and the plots run the gammit from realism to off-the-wall that kept me reading and wanting more. The nice thing about short stories is that they can create a sort of snapshot as opposed to a longer novel-length book and permits the reader to put it down and move on to something else (if they choose) before picking it up again without having to remember what was going on with the story. I was impressed with the offerings in the first volume of Guys Read and I’ll definitely be looking for other volumes in the future.

Other related materials: Guys Read website; Guys Read: Thriller edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Read: The Sports Page edited by Jon Scieszka; Guys Write about Guys Read: Boys’ Favorite Authors Write About Being Boys edited by Jon Sciezka; Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka; Knots in my Yo-Yo String by Jerry Spinelli; Half Magic by Edward Eager; Guy-Write: What Every Guy Writer Needs to Know by Ralph Fletcher; Spaceheadz books by Jon Scieszka; The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tome Angleberger; Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger; The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger

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