So I was teaching my library class this morning to a group of second and third graders, and I asked them to tell me how they select books. Some of the obvious answers: “my friends are reading them”; “I look at the front and back covers” (exceedingly important for kids’ books!); and “I read the first page.” Some actually would hang in there for a bit longer than a page to see if the book is going to be interesting.
Nothing unusual there. We’re all told how important that first page is, that the jacket should be eye-catching, and that the copy should have a hook.
But then they started talking about “taking a book walk.” This means that they thumb through the pages and read a sentence or paragraph here and there. If they like what they read, they’ll want to read more. So, I should strive to make every single page, every single sentence, and every single word nothing short of stellar, because I never know where a random walk will take a reader. And with tens of thousands of books published each year along with magazines, the Internet, newspapers, etc., I have a microscopic minute to grab readers and get their buy in. No pressure.
I think I’ll go have a drink.