Eileen’s Mission: Moving Boys to Read Books

Spending summer days in libraries, Eileen Robinson fell in love with reading. Teenage Eileen soaked up Judy Blume, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Stephen King, and Charles Dickens. In college, she devoured Shakespeare, Joan Didion, Classical Greek drama, and the Harlem Renaissance masterworks.

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Eileen’s Mission: Moving Boys to Read Books

Eileen Robinson’s Move Books finds absorbing stories for
twenty-first century boys.


Spending summer days in libraries, Eileen Robinson fell in love with reading. Teenage Eileen soaked up Judy Blume, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, Stephen King, and Charles Dickens. In college, she devoured Shakespeare, Joan Didion, Classical Greek drama, and the Harlem Renaissance masterworks. The library was her home base and her portal to life. Now she is the founder and publisher of Move Books, which focuses on middle-grade novels for boys.

At age seven, Eileen’s son, Michael Thomas, was a reluctant reader. To him, reading felt like a chore. In a house full of books, he preferred the sensory bonanza of his screens. So Eileen started looking for ways to pass along her love of book reading. “You have kids starting their lives and they have to communicate. Where is that bridge to the world? That bridge is reading. No matter how we do it. Reading is essential.”

Robinson told School Library Journal how she spread out books on the floor and observed which book covers her son liked. As Michael Thomas got older, she bought books in pairs so they could read simultaneously and discuss. Today, Michael Thomas is preparing for college. Mother and son still connect through books and stories. Michael Thomas developed a love of language and now posts his own poetry on social media.

Robinson’s passion for children and books animates her work at Move Books. “Technology is the future. Books are competing with video games and YouTube,” Robinson said, “Eyes react differently to a screen. We are starting to find out that early screen usage can develop into problems. And what happens to time reading to our kids? Parents and children form emotional bonds through books.”

Move Books’ latest offering is Alaska-based Paul Greci’s Follow the River (a sequel to Surviving Bear Island). In this adventure, the protagonist must travel in a rickety canoe through Alaska wilderness to find help for his injured father. According to Robinson, Greci is a teacher who finds inspiration while taking students camping to experience life in the wild. Also coming out this summer is HUM by William Thomas, a story about a boy who moves away from home and discovers a special connection with llamas.

MIT-trained engineer Christine Taylor-Butler is another Move Books author who knows how to connect with young readers. She just returned from a Dublin book tour and will be the toastmaster at the 2021 World Fantasy Convention in Montreal. This summer, Taylor-Butler will release the third book in her science fiction adventure series, The Lost Tribes.

On school visits, Taylor-Butler demonstrates the science experiments featured in her books. She teaches how books connect to real places and reveal surprising new knowledge. The Lost Tribes is for the middle grader who is ready to be challenged. Robinson says. “We don’t always have to baby these kids. They will rise to a challenge if they are excited by the stories we tell. Teachers have told us that, in some cases, they saw reading scores improve.”

In children's publishing, Robinson’s career includes acquisitions and development, pub planning, leveled reading, audio books, supplemental materials, young adult fiction and nonfiction, plus work with book clubs, book fairs, and magazines. She teaches workshops and webinars with Harold Underdown, and gives presentations at various SCBWI conferences and other writing organizations through Kid's Book Revisions. Through Move Books, Robinson works with diverse authors from around the world who care about young readers as much as she does.

A keen observer, Robinson noticed that her nephew started out as an avid reader. Then, when he turned eight, the screens took over. Robinson turned to focus groups and spoke to librarians and teachers. “They confirmed what I already knew,” she said, “Parents and teachers are seeing the changes in reading habits. With all the media coming at our kids, parents want to be more involved.”

Looking ahead, Robinson plans to publish 6-8 titles annually and do more outreach to teachers and parents. She knows that her love of reading rubbed off on her son, Michael Thomas. “We still talk about books. It shows me that he has been listening. It’s what we all want as parents, as educators, as publishers.”

Robinson’s passion is clear: She wants boys to discover pleasure and satisfaction in reading books. She wants to help parents guide their children towards lives of fulfillment and success. “We want to be able to communicate. Stories bring us together as families and as people. They help us explore deeper questions. Our lives are stories. It’s all connected. We are all connected.”

 

New title HUM by William Thomas

One of our new authors debuting this summer

 

 

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