THE KARE KIDS ADVENTURES Series of Books Encourages Youthful Independence and Heroism
Guest Piece By Charles A. Salter
Preteens love reading about heroes and imagining themselves in heroic situations. Some of my preteen grandchildren, for instance, love reading anything about comic book superheroes, and they enjoy playing games where they can pretend to be Superman, Batman, or Green Lantern. The rest of my grandchildren love the many books such as the Harry Potter series in which young people use magic to achieve heroic ends.
When you rule out superheroes and magic, however, there aren’t that many interesting books that encourage children to explore the heroic dimensions of life, at least not among the books my grandchildren own or bring home from the library. I’ve read books to my grandchildren since they were infants and, frankly, found most other books in the heroic adventure category to be rather boring and unimaginative. Being a writer myself, I decided to fill that gap by launching a series of middle grade novels meant to be exciting action adventures in the real world, books in which children could learn to look within and discover their own heroic qualities.
I call the series THE KARE KIDS ADVENTURES, and I hope it will encourage children to see how they can solve real world problems even without superhuman powers. In each book the courageous boys and girls learn how to translate their care for family, friends, animals, and the environment into concrete action to improve their own little corner of the world, using their wits and normal skills picked up in their daily lives.
Book #1, for instance, is called THE SECRET OF BALD ROCK ISLAND. With the help of a devoted family friend, Mr. Bartleby, ten-year-old Kelcie determines to solve the twin mysteries of her island home off the coast of Maine. She resolves to discover what happened to her fisherman father who disappeared years earlier in a blinding storm at sea and also exactly what the mysterious creature that Mr. Bartleby always warns about really is. Kelcie shows bravery and independence in looking for, and finding the answers, and the book ends with a dramatic showdown. When the island’s monster finally appears, Kelcie has an innovative idea for handling the situation that none of the adults have thought of!
Book #2 is CHARLOTTE AND THE MYSTERIOUS VANISHING PLACE. Nine-year-old Charlotte discovers a serious environmental danger in the woods behind her house and does everything she can to alert authorities and rescue two puppies trapped in a vast sinkhole. She can’t rely on wands or spells, but she can draw upon certain skills developed through playing in her yard and the woods to save herself and a kennel of pure-bred puppies.
THE KARE KIDS ADVENTURES has some volumes with girls, some with boys, and some with both. Book #3 is HOW THREE BROTHERS SAVED THE NAVY. Three preteen brothers uncover a terrorist plot to destroy their navy father’s ship. They show great courage and ingenuity in ferreting out the details, escaping the gang, and then thwarting the plot with an ingenious idea of their own.
Book #4 is THE TRAVEL TWINS AND THE LOST SECRET OF THE VIKINGS. This book’s plot unfolds on a scary (but real) train winding its way high in the beautiful mountains of Norway. Felons with mysterious motives have stolen the famed Leif Erikson Sunstone from their uncle’s Viking museum in Oslo, and the twins Hannah and Josh decide to get it back.
All these chapter books are aimed primarily at the 8 to 12 year-old audience, though even younger children may enjoy having the books read to them. Though each book has suspense and elements of danger, violence is very minimal and not explicit. To use the movie rating system, I would rate all the books as “G”. Speaking of films, the best review I have yet received of the series came from my oldest grandson, aged 10: “Granddad, this book is great! It should be a movie!”
I hope all children will enjoy reading these action-packed books as much as my own grandchildren do.
THE KARE KIDS ADVENTURES can be purchased at Amazon or anywhere books are sold.
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