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