An End-of-Summer Interview

Returning readers of my blog know that I occasionally interview authors. I like to switch things up and try something different from time to time, in an effort to instill a bit more interest, and to find topics that hopefully will attract and meet the needs of more readers.

Today I have decided to conduct a reader interview, rather than an author interview. It’s good to know what inspires someone to write a particular story, but it’s also helpful to understand why readers choose a particular book or series.

My first guest for this new experiment is a young man named Jim. I’m going to let him tell you a little bit about himself to start things off. Realize, of course, that I’m interviewing minors so I need to protect their privacy as much as possible.

Hi. I’m eleven years old, and I live in a small town. I’m going into the fifth grade in a few weeks. I have two older sisters and one younger sister, so except for my Dad, I’m the only guy around the house.

It’s very nice to meet you, Jim. What have you been doing over the summer?

Well, I played baseball for the first part of the summer. I play basketball with other guys in the neighborhood, and I love to fish. We also are pretty active in our church.

Sounds like you know how to have fun. Do you manage to find time to do much reading during the summer months?

Just a little bit. My mom usually signs me up for the summer reading program at the library, but I don’t read all that many books. But there’s lots of fun activities that they do besides just reading.

Would you categorize yourself as a reluctant reader, then?

Probably. I like books, but I don’t really like the long ones. Like a whole novel. You know? I still like the easier books the best. They’re just more fun.

Are you talking about Chapter Books, possibly? Can you tell us what some of your favorites are?

Sure. I like the Captain Underpants books. And I like the Stink books – he’s Judy Moody’s little brother. I also really like the Bailey School Kids books. They’re my favorites.

I haven’t read any of the Bailey School Kids books, but I know there is quite a selection of them. Do you have any favorites among those?

I really liked Ghosts Don’t Eat Potato Chips, and Angels Don’t Do Karate. They’re really good mysteries with great details. I always have to read clear to the end to figure out the mystery, and I think that’s good in a book – not to have it all figured out before you’re finished.

That makes a lot of sense to me. If one of your friends asked you to recommend a great book to them, what would it be?

Any of the Bailey School Kids for sure. And The Lightning Thief was a very good book that I would recommend to someone who really likes to read. I really liked it.

Okay, Jim. I appreciate your thoughtful answers. It sounds like you know what you like when it comes to reading material. One last question. If you could meet any author, who would it be and why?

I think it would be Jeff Smith. He wrote the Bone books, a good graphic novel selection. He’s a really good author and I love his illustrations.

Thanks so much, Jim, for taking the time to talk with us today and for your thoughtful recommendations for reading material. I’ll be sure to check out the Bailey School Kids and the Bone books. I hope the last of your summer is lots of fun, and I wish you great success in 5th grade.


Cordelia Dinsmore


22 thoughts on “An End-of-Summer Interview

  1. Hey, Cordelia, it’s nice to hear a young reader’s point-of-view! Good interview! I loved comics growing up, and graphic novels seem to have a firm grip on getting reluctant readers to read! Cheers!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Rita. I think there is a wide variety in what kids that age read. Some handle heavier things quite well, but I’m happy there are options for every reader’s needs.

  2. What a fantastic idea! Thanks to your friend, Jim, for sharing his perspective. It is hugely helpful and gives us much-needed insights.

    1. Ha! I remember reading the Captain Underpants to my son when he was younger. Then he wanted to read them to me when he got a little older because he thought I would appreciate the humor. Lots of laughing and groaning.

  3. What a great concept. So very interesting and informative. Thanks so much for the valuable info and I hope you enjoy the rest of your summer Jim!

    Paul R. Hewlett

  4. Thank you so much, Dean, for stopping by and taking an interest in Jim. He’ll be thrilled, I’m sure. The more we know about what they like, the easier it makes the task of writing something that will interest them, so it’s a win-win situation.

  5. Great idea for an interview – and fascinating to hear it “from the horse’s mouth”. I especially appreciated reading what Jim had to say about reading mysteries as I’ll soon be launching the first in a canine mystery series myself. 🙂

    I’m impressed that Jim has much time to read over the summer given his busy schedule! 🙂


    1. Thanks for the comment, Hsin-Yi. I thought about using that term in the interview, so I’m glad you did! Based on my own kids and their schedules, I’m surprised ANY kid takes the time to read over the summer. It’s great that they do, though, and a canine mystery sounds like the kind of fun reading Jim would enjoy. Keep us posted on the release!

  6. I finally made it over here to read your post, and this is quite a treat. Awesome that you interviewed Jim and shared his input with us.

    Jim sounds a lot like my kids when they were young. Three of my four kids always went for the shortest book on the shelves! Short and funny is what they liked. Captain Underpants wasn’t around when they were kids, but the Wayside School books were and those were some of their faves. Hubby and I got a big kick out of them, too!

    Hope you have a great time in 5th grade, Jim. That was my favorite year in elementary school.

  7. Hey, Lynn, great to see you!

    Fifth grade was NOT my favorite year. I loved my fourth grade teacher and she helped me become an avid reader. I’ll never forget the day she placed a copy of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe on my desk and suggested I read it. She knew exactly what she was doing.

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