You know, in between all that gaming and playing in holo-suites and on their anti-grav skateboards.
So when I get to thinking about how to keep kids reading, my mind immediately goes to the books that were pivotal to my developing love of books. Not surprisingly, most of these are science fiction or fantasy books. It sticks, you see, when planted properly. In particular, I think of the first science fiction I believe I was ever exposed to. In grade school, my teacher read us a middle grade trilogy about Tripods, wicked aliens who had taken over Earth, and about the young boys attempting to evade them.
I remember how blown my mind was. Up to this point, I had stuck faithfully to dog and horse books. (I still like those too) Science Fiction was way, way out of my ballpark...and I loved it! Escaping rampaging aliens, it turned out, was just as much fun as taming a wild stallion and turning him into a racehorse. (Which, as an adult, I know is just as unlikely)
So without further ado, I give you the Tripods books. If you have marauding middle graders, why not expose them to something wonderful and literary? Who knows--it just might spark a lifelong love of reading and science, a semi-pathological Star Trek addiction and an inexplicable soft spot for Stormtroopers....but maybe that's just me.
TRIOPODS by John Christopher
The White Mountains
The City of Gold and Lead
The Pool of Fire