Tween The Weekends

Unfortunately Emblazoners has discontinued their "Tween The Weekends" feature but even so their blog is still awesome! 

Check it out:

TTWE Post: 9/25/13 & 10/23/13

In the past few months I have had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of (and having my book reviewed by) two bright and talented young men who, in addition to being voracious "tween" readers, write their own creative blogs. Both have graciously agreed to be interviewed especially for my "Tween The Weekend's" posts. I am listing these interviews in the order in which I met my new friends; Olly's will appear in September and Erik's in October. Again,  many thanks to both of them for providing valuable insights for all writers in this genre. Happy reading boys! :)

My Interview with Tween Blogger Erik from the “This Kid Reviews Books” Blog:

How old are you?

I am 11 and ¾ years old.

What inspired you to start your blog?

I got the idea writing reviews when my grandmom told me she was shopping for a book for me and

didn’t know what to buy and a kid in the store told her to get me “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda”.

He said it was a good book and that I would like it, so she bought it. Well, it is a good book and I did like

it. I thought that if my grandmom would take the advice of a kid maybe I could help other kids

and grown-ups looking for books for kids, find books they like. At first, I wanted to write for a

newspaper, but my Dad said that I should do a blog because a blog can be seen by anyone around the

world and that maybe a newspaper wouldn’t hire a kid. So, I started a blog. The funny thing is, is that I

do write for a newspaper now too. I have a monthly book column in the Upper Bucks Free Press! I met

the content editor at a book event I was at and she liked how I interviewed the author and asked me to

write for the paper.

What do you look for in the books you choose to read?

I look for an interesting plot. It really doesn’t matter what the subject matter is. I like to read all kinds of

stories, but something has to hook me. I really like to read about characters that aren’t perfect but get

better or overcome something as the book goes on. I like it when the characters are believable. I like to

read books that are good for my age (not too much violence or bad language).

What is your favorite book and/or author?

My favorite book is Redwall by Brian Jacques. It is written so well. I love the characters in it. The setting

is great too. Redwall is my favorite series. I have a ton of authors that I can’t wait to read books from

them when they come out. Rick Riordan, Jude Watson, Roland Smith, Brandon Mull, Matt Myklusch,

Tom Angleberger, Michael Buckley, Nick Bruel, Gordan Korman, Patrick Carman, Cornelia Funke (I could

go on and on). There are also some indie authors that I wait for books to come out, Michelle Isenhoff

(awesome historical fiction and adventure stories), Elise Stokes (Cassidy Jones’ adventures ROCK),

Timothy Davis (great adventure books), DM Andrews (I could go keep on going here too).

Do you prefer to read digital or paper books?

I prefer real books much more than digital, but I do read about 25% of the books I read on my Kindle. I

like my Kindle for when we go on vacation or long car rides. It’s cool I can take 300 books with me in one

little package. I like holding a real book more though. If I had to choose, I would pick a real book.

How many books have you read so far?

I have no idea. I know this past summer I read 106 books in 3 months. During the school year I average

about 25-30 middle grade books a month (that doesn’t count comic books or picture books that I read).

I have started to keep a list of all the books I read. I have it as a page on my blog. I read a lot more books

than I review. I am told I read pretty fast. Last year I demolished my school’s Accelerated Reader (AR)

record. AR is a program where you read a book, take a test on it and get points for it. The goal for a fifth

grader is 50 points for the year. The old school record was 945 points. I got 1503.9 points last year. I plan

to beat that this year.

Do you plan on making a career of your writing one day?

I would like to keep writing. Someday I hope to write books that a lot of people want to read or maybe

write reports for a newspaper. I really want to be an inventor too. I like thinking up new things and

trying to solve problems.

Do you have any words of wisdom for authors who write for Tween's/Middle Grader's?

Kids like to read! We like to read a lot of different things too. What I would like to see is some middle

grade books written for more advanced readers, but appropriate for my age range. Most of all, keep

writing! I’ll keep reading!

My Interview with Tween Blogger Olly from "The Olly Book Blog":

How old are you?

 I turned 13 earlier this month on the 17th so I'm now technically a teenager but I still feel like a pre-teen!

What inspired you to start your blog?

 My Mum (who has a book addiction) inspired me to write my blog, I love reading and computers so blogging about books is a perfect combination between the two!

What do you look for in the books you choose to read?

 I look for books that are alike ones I have already read and enjoyed, but a different type of book is never a bad thing. I just scan all of the shelves in a bookshop that interest me and pick up anything that looks interesting. I then read the blurb and sometimes the first chapter to decide if that book is one I'd like to read. If I get sent a book from an author or publisher then I will read it whatever it is because the person sending the book thinks I can review the book for my blog, and I will make it mine duty to do thy deed!

What is your favorite book and/or author?

 What’s my favorite book? Wow that is a hard question! I've read the Harry Potter Series 14 times, So I've certainly read that series the most. however I also really enjoy books like the Hunger games and The Cherub series. I don't have a favorite book as such, but I do have a favorite group.


Do you prefer to read digital or paper books?

 You can't beat a paper book but on holiday my kindle was invaluable as I quickly consumed 6 books in one week! I'd say that when available, get a real book, but if its cheap enough, and you are desperate to read it, Get the e-book version. 

How many books have you read so far?

 I never started counting, but Last year I read about 100. So maybe if I read 100 a year fro the age of 7 I'd have read around 700. But It's probably more...

Do you plan on making a career of your writing one day?

 I really don't know what I'd like to do for a career yet, but yes writing is definitely a possibility. 

Do you have any words of wisdom for authors who write for Tween's/Middle Grader's?

 Always make the story interesting, all the way through. a funny story is always good but don't make it to comical. Create heroes that no-one has seen before. The unheroic 'nerdy' shy and bullied young boy or girl character is now in more books than an average hero with a cape. So make a new kind of hero, that's actually a new kind of hero.

Be sure to visit Olly's blog at

TTWE Post: 8/28/13

Just wanted to send a shout out to the "Keystone to Discovery After School Program" and it's young volunteers in Hamilton, Montana

Who’da thunk it?

 Dogs love books!

Brayden Rogers, right, and Grace Kravik read to dogs at the Bitter Root Humane Association shelter in Hamilton, Montana. 

Gavin Vineyard gave up a good game of dodge ball for a chance to read. The young ports enthusiast didn't even bat an eye when he made his choice on a recent Wednesday afternoon. He did it for the dogs.

Vineyard was one of a group of Keystone to Discovery After School Program young people who traveled to the Bitter Root Humane Association in Hamilton to spend time reading a story to the dogs waiting inside. "I really like to read to them," Vineyard said. "It feels like a nice thing to do. They always seem to calm down after you start reading." Sitting atop an upturned plastic bucket, the third-grader's eyes never strayed from the paperback copy of Sharon Creech's "Heartbeat."

"Run run run. That's what 12-year-old Annie loves to do. When she's barefoot and running, she can hear her heart beating ."

Inside the kennel, a Shar Pei-cross named Kira kept a close eye on the young boy while curled up on its bed in the corner.

"I do think she likes this story," Vineyard said, with a smile.

This is the third year that youngsters from the program have spent an afternoon a week reading to the shelter's dogs and cats that are waiting for their own forever homes. Keystone program director Ria Overholt said the animals aren't the only ones who benefit. "We've seen that the sound of their voices is soothing for the dogs and cats," Overholt said. "It is relaxing to the dogs to hear those calm and steady voices." Overholt has heard from the young readers' parents, too. Some have told her that reading has taken on a new meaning for their children after the program began.

"Dogs are a totally non-judgmental audience to read to," Overholt said. "We've found that it does help them build their reading skills and they have fun doing it." Down at the end of the runway, seventh-grader Grace Kravik read her story to a kennel filled with a mother and whole passel of puppies. Kravik stopped for a minute to watch the puppies play, and then she smiled. "I love being around these dogs," Kravik said. "I always get a good feeling from it because I know this will help them. It's also really helped me with my reading. That's a good thing too."

Overholt offers youngsters enrolled in the afterschool program a choice on Wednesdays of which activities they'd like to try. This week there was a dodge ball tournament or reading. "Many of them come back here week after week," she said. "It's their choice. This is how they want to spend their time." The shelter's manager, Eve Burnsides, said the program is good for everyone. The visit to the shelter can be an eye-opener for some youngsters, Burnsides said. "It helps the kids realize that animals react and have feelings too. They see that firsthand. This is good for everyone all the way around."

Sixth-grader Brayden Rogers picked out a dog he'd never seen to read to Wednesday. The little Miniature Pinscher-cross named Shadow trembled at first as the room filled with booming barks. Once quiet settled back on the shelter, it inched closer to Rogers as he read on in a steady tone. As it came closer, the young boy pushed his finger through the wire to pet his new best friend. "I just like him because he's so cute," Rogers said. "We have three little dogs at home that I just love. It was just the way he looked at me when I first came in. It was like he was saying, 'Read to me. Please read to me. I want a friend,'" he said, with a smile. "Every week I come home from here and ask my mom if I can take one home. Every week she tells me no, we have too many already."

That's the challenge that everyone involved with this program faces, Overholt said. "We all want to take one home with us every time we come here."

TTWE Post: 7/24/13

First "Tween The Weekends" Post- I'm Off To A Pitiful Start

First I would like to say "Sorry everyone!". In true Bratt form I had the wrong day marked to post for the first "Tween The Weekends" event; so I am quite late in putting this up.  Next Wednesday I would have said, at least in part:

I happen to be a big fan of literature written for the young. A large part of my personal library consists of books that would fall into that catagory. I like to say that I haven't entered my second childhood, I'm simply perfecting my first. Okay, now that that's out in the open I'll tell you that, although I love flipping through a colorful children's picture book or reading the occasional teen or "adult" novel now and again, books in the "tween" genre are what I enjoy reading the most- especially if they are fraught with wit ("with wit"- I dare you to say that 5 times fast!). Kids that age often have a wonderful sense of humor (when they feel like it!) while still retaining a measure of their childhood innocence. They also possess a frankness that I truly admire. If they don't like something, they'll tell you so. And if they do like something they'll usually tell you that too, even if it's just by way of a smile. Or better yet a laugh. As a writer I feel that to earn the laughter of a "tweener" is a real compliment. Music to my ears...