By Kitty Felde

What do kids want in a story? What will make them pick up a book and actually make it to the last page? And then maybe even ask for more?

I asked the experts: kids themselves. 

At the end of every Book Club for Kids podcast episode, we ask our guests to tell us the name of their favorite book and why they love it. Their answers to the “why” part of the question fall into two general categories: stories with characters they can relate to and stories full of adventure.

Patrick Eibel says those two qualities are especially important when looking for books for reluctant readers. Eibel has worked as the library and media specialist at public schools around the District of Columbia. He says the perfect book is one that is “interesting, not intimidating, and has action.” 

It’s one reason that the ever-popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is now up to 16 titles and counting. Eibel recommends something similar, but very different: The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier. He describes it as “a post-apocalyptic story, with lots of picture support, and an easy read.” And needless to say, it’s exciting.

Another of Eibel’s “go to” books ticks off both of the boxes for kids, appealing to readers who want a character they can relate to and a story packed with adventure. The book is Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur by Brandon Montclare and Amy Reeder. The main character is a “super smart” 12-year-old African-American girl who bonds with a time traveling giant red dinosaur. “How’s that not going to be cool?” 

If you’re looking for the perfect book that will inspire a lifetime love of reading, don’t forget the “Books We Love” page of the bookclubforkids.org website. There are hundreds of titles suggested by kids and adults alike, all of them the favorite book of one of our guests. The list is extremely eclectic. Check it out!

Kitty Felde is the host and executive producer of the award-winning Book Club for Kids podcast. Her newest book is State of the Union.

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