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by Erik A.K.A. This Kid Reviews Books

Hi there! My name is Erik. I am nine years old (but this month I will be the big 10)! I have a blog ( where I review books, talk about reading and other book-related things. First of all, I’d like to thank Ms. Lazar for inviting me to be a guest blogger (she said she wanted a kid’s perspective, so HERE I AM) for PiBoIdMo 2011 and to write what I have learned this month by reading the posts each day. It has been a great month, hasn’t it? I have learned so much from not just the awesome guest bloggers but also by reading the comments of everyone that left one!

I don’t think I will ever see a picture book the same way! Picture books look like they are easy to write, but I now can see how much work and time it takes to put just ONE idea together into a book. One of the coolest things I learned was that adult writers really want to think like kids and want to know how kids see the world. I wonder how old we are when we stop thinking like kids? I actually think a lot of adults still think like kids but won’t admit it!

I like how the guest bloggers say how they get inspirations from the world around them. Things as simple as listening to kids talk (PiBoIdMo Day 23: Laura Murray Goes for the Giggle) or seeing things like kids see them (PiBoIdMo Day 15: Liz Garton Scanlon Sees Things Differently). I really liked the quote Wendy Martin used in the Day 19 post -“Everybody walks past a thousand story ideas every day. The good writers are the ones who see five or six of them. Most people don’t see any.” ~ Orson Scott Card

The quote really made me think. When my mom was driving me home from school today I looked out my window looking for what might be a good idea for a book and I think I noticed things that maybe I wouldn’t have before; like the kids riding skateboards on the sidewalk, a family going into a pizza place or a mom driving a mini-van full of kids. Have you noticed something in the world around you that you haven’t before this month?

I really liked the posts by illustrators that appeared this month too! It was really neat to see how illustrators get inspired by something like a doodle (PiBoIdMo Day 7: Doodle with Abandon Like Debbie Ridpath Ohi) or a kids drawing (PiBoIdMo Day 28: Aaron Zenz and “Friends”) for examples.

It’s really cool how all the authors participating in PiBoIdMo really work with each other, support each other and help each other discover new ideas or new ways of looking at things. My September 27th, 2011 post on my blog was titled “Children’s Book Authors are the Nicest People on Earth (and maybe other planets too)!” I really think that. I could tell that everyone here is super nice!

I really learned a lot about the “business” of writing books. Agents, marketing, editors, publishers, submissions, rejections…I’ve heard these words before but I never really knew how they fit into writing a book. It seems like a very complicated process!

I did come up with 30 ideas this month but I don’t think that all of them are really great—like my idea of “The Friendly Tornado” where a tornado helps people build houses rather than knock them down but my mom pointed out to me that small children won’t see tornados as so friendly and will probably be terrified of it. I see now that she has a point ☺.

I do think I came up with some good ideas too. Like “When the Lights Go Out.” It will be a story of how a family starts to talk, play games and read with each other when the lights go out in a storm and they can’t watch TV or go on the computer (this actually happened to us, HEY I WAS INSIPRED).

I really learned a lot this month and I thank all of you for letting me be part of this. Mostly I am really thankful that all you authors and illustrators that take your time and hard work and try to make books for kids like me. I love stories. I will always read the stories you tell and I hope to read your book when it is published!

“Oh, reading…what they did before fun was invented,” says Candace Flynn (on Disney’s Phineas & Ferb). Candace’s grandmother persuades her to read Sherlock Holmes but Candace scoffs. But the next morning, Grandma finds Candace bleary-eyed and hunched over the book. Candace hasn’t stayed up reading it–she’s stayed up reading the ENTIRE COLLECTION! “Before fun was invented, indeed,” snarks Grandma.

Plenty of kids know that reading is fun. And blogging, too! Like Erik the Great. (Great name, huh?) This nine-year-old bibliophile began a book blog to share his favorite titles with other kids. Erik the-story-loving-3rd-grader piqued my interest, so I invited him to talk about children’s lit and blogging.

Why did you want to start a blog?
I wanted to because I LOVE books. I read all the time (I even get into trouble in school sometimes for reading so much). My grandmother told me about a time when she was in a book store shopping for a book for me. She said she didn’t know what to buy for me and a kid in the store recommended that she get “The Strange Case of Origami Yoda” by Tom Angleberger for me. He told her he was sure I would like it (and I did). So I thought that if she would take book advice from a kid, maybe other people would too. At first I wanted to write reviews for newspapers but my Dad suggested a website. I thought a blog was a good idea because I could talk to people all over the world about books and then people could also tell me what they think about the books I write about and suggest books for me to read.

How did you get started?
When I had the idea to make a blog, my Mom and I went on the computer to find the best place to make a blog and we liked WordPress. I looked at other book review blogs and websites to kind of get an idea of what I’d like my blog to look like. Then I just started writing. I started writing about some of my favorite books and then readers started suggesting books and then I started watching for new releases. My school let me pass out flyers about my site and I left flyers at books stores and libraries and that helped me get more readers. Then I started to read other book blogs (like yours) and commenting on the posts they have and the other bloggers started to visit my site. I really like to see what other people are reading and what they think about it.

What did you hope to accomplish with the blog?
I wanted to not just review books, but I also wanted to talk with other kids and adults about books. I just wanted to find people who love reading as much as I do. Then I started asking authors and illustrators if I could interview them about writing books and making pictures for books. It’s really interesting to talk to the people actually creating books.

Do you know what you want to do when you grow up? Do you want to be involved with books, or something totally different?
I really want to be an inventor when I grow up. I already have some ideas for inventions like a refrigerator that you don’t ever need to open the door so that you save energy (and it’s voice commanded, too). I think being an inventor, I will have to read (and write) a lot. My Mom is a scientist and she writes a lot of books and articles and is reading all the time. Right now I am actually writing my first book called “The Adventures of Tomato and Pea”. It’s about aliens getting stranded on Earth and trying to get back to their home planet (planet -Oarg).

Sounds like a fun story, Erik! Thanks for talking to me about blogging. And thanks for blogging about books!

You can find Erik at, most recently reviewing MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool, to which he gives 4 out of 5 bookworms.

And check out the monster Erik wishes he could buy at The Monstore!

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