Children’s novelist returns to adventure trail

Adrienne Kress finds the 8–12 age group the best to write for

EYE FOR IMAGINATION: Yonge and Eglinton denizen, Adrienne Kress, returns to writing for 8- to 12-year-olds -— an age group she adores for their vivid imaginations.

The Explorers: Door in the Alley author Adrienne Kress describes herself as a bit of a reluctant reader.

The former Yonge and Eglinton resident admits that’s one of the audiences she writes for with her third foray into middle grade fiction.

“This isn’t someone who doesn’t necessarily have issues with reading, but would need a lot of convincing to do it,” she says, in an April phone call. “There are many kids who are nervous about books, and my hope is that I am able to write for everyone.”

The ultimate goal, though, is that she wants readers to have a fun time.

That’s what she strived for with her first two middle-grade books, Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate.

The great thing is middle-grade writing is the best audience for her sense of humour and her love of the absurdity.

“I feel very comfortable,” she admits. “I don’t know if that means I’m stuck in an eight- to 12-year-old mindset.”

The Explorers introduces readers to by-the-book Sebastian who is forced to join the Explorers’ Society after he rescues a little pig in a teeny hat. From there Sebastian joins forces with Evie to help discover the fate of Filipendulous Five – a group of explorers that mysteriously disbanded.

It’s all about adventure, and friendship, which is a plus in Kress’s books.

“I’m a big fan of promoting friendship,” she says. “It seems that romance is the pinnacle, but I try to elevate friendship. I got to write about friendships again.”

The Explorers hit the shelves on April 25, and the official launch party will be at the Blake House, May 11. It’s infused with a little bit Roald Dahl, a dash of Mordecai Richler and the zest of Lemony Snicket.

Coming back to the thought of the reluctant reader, Kress says she ensures there is no negative space or long dialogues in the books.

“It’s a fallacy that in order to get reluctant readers to read, you have to make short books, or you need to make simple books,” she says. “They want something that will entertain them.”

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