Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Game World

by Christopher John Farley. Black Sheep, 2014. Middle grade fantasy with an inclusive cast of characters. Sixth grade gamers are sucked into their favorite video game and have the chance to become heroes battling giant spiders, evil hummingbirds, and plant people. Heavily drawn from Jamaican culture and video game story lines. Farley's children and their friends read the drafts and gave editorial advice, which gives it a genuine kid voice. My own two sons age 9 and 12 loved the book. I read it to them at bedtime over a couple weeks and they were begging for more at the end of every chapter. I had a little bit of a hard time getting into the story myself because it is so much like a video game, and I am not a gamer. During the same time we were reading it I started playing Pokemon with my 9 year old and after that the book made more sense to me and I enjoyed it more. It's definitely a book kids will connect with and get into. Recommended to middle grade readers, fantasy lovers, and gamers.

Publisher's site for the book with links to features and interviews with the author. He has a lot to say about inclusion and getting kids more into reading.

Kirkus Review

Interview with the author, who speaks about bullying, gaming, and integrating fantasy worlds: