It’s one of those not-so-secret secrets in education and the publishing world that when it comes to making books for kids, it is much much easier to do so for girls. Why? Compared to their feminine counterparts, boys just don’t read, and when they do, their reading comprehension lags. According to the Brookings Institute:
Reading scores for girls exceed those for boys on eight recent assessments of U.S. reading achievement. The gender gap is larger for middle and high school students than for students in elementary school.
What to do? Since it’s education, there is advice aplenty. But perhaps the best idea proposed so far has come from Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About a Boy):
I have boys, and boys are particularly resistant to reading books. I had some success recently with Sherman Alexie’s great young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary Of A Part-Time Indian – I told my son it was highly inappropriate for him, and one of the most banned books in America. That got his attention, and he raced through it.
Now, take that advice out of its parental and educational context and think about how you would apply it to your writing. Channel your rebellious inner middle-school kid who doesn’t want to be told what book they can read.