Friday, June 16, 2006

Something for the non-reader in your life

“Young boys are … sent home with these new-wave young adult problem novels, which all seem to be about introspectively morose young women whose parents are either suicidal drug addicts or fatally ill manic depressives. … According to a National Endowment for the Arts study, the percentage of young men who read has plummeted over the past 14 years. Reading rates are falling three times as fast among young men as among young women.”
—David Brooks, “The Gender Gap At School”
in The New York Times, June 11, 2006


I would like to draw your attention today to the promotional blurb in the sidebar column (if you are reading this on an RSS feed, do yourself a favor and click over to the Blogger interface instead).

The Beast Bowl, a book I copyedited and designed for In Touch Books, is a dramatic adventure story built around a football game. But it’s more than that, too. Without being preachy and didactic, it weaves in the story of habitat destruction and species extinction at the hand of humankind, through two central characters.

Sammy, a chimpanzee, and Carl, an African bull elephant, best friends and teammates, set out on a perilous journey into the heart of the civilized world to find a human to coach their football team in the annual Beast Bowl game. The game itself, like the wild animals that play in it, is in danger of disappearing because of humanity’s unrelenting lust for control of the planet. Sammy, obsessed with keeping the game he loves alive, and Carl, motivated by loyalty to his friend, risk their lives and, more important to them both, their freedom, on their quest. Throughout the story, right up to the dramatic last play of the climactic game, values of teamwork, diligence, loyalty, respect and justice stand in contrast to selfishness, dishonesty, bigotry and hatred.

I would like to see every parent, aunt, uncle, teacher, coach, and librarian in the country know about The Beast Bowl so they can get the book into the hands of the kids for whom it will make a real difference.

The author, Tom Chaikin, is a freelance writer in the Washington DC area. He has a longstanding interest in wildlife preservation issues, and enough football experience to make the story realistic and compelling, too.

The Beast Bowl, fresh from the printer today, is scheduled for publication June 30. Take advantage of the prepublication discount to save a few bucks. Check out the cool poster, too. Shop now for birthdays and the holidays, or get the book into that boy’s hands before football practice starts again.

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