Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Tour-Welcome Hoppers!

Welcome everyone,

Glad you are here.  My name is Jim Westcott and I’m the author of Jack’s Tales-a unique chapterbook for children around the ages of 7-10.  I’d like to express my gratitude to Vicki Taylor for including me as an author on ”The Next Big Thing Blog Tour,” and making it easy for me to participate while she did the leg work. This is a great idea and I hope the other authors on this tour receive some well deserved attention.

So, if you haven’t heard of a blog hop and wondering what it may be, this may shed some light.

“THE NEXT BIG THING is designed to raise awareness of our work, or work in progress. We do that by answering ten questions about it. We graciously thank the person who nominated us, and tag four to six other authors whose work could very well be THE NEXT BIG THING.”

So let’s get this show on the road!

So, here we go, ten questions about my work.

What is the working title of your book?

Jack’s Tales

copy of cover

Where did the idea come from for your book?

I was a Special Education teacher for fifteen years. I worked with many younger students, especially boys, who did not like to read, especially fiction, for any length of time. I wanted to write something in fast segments, but with all of the elements of high quality fiction. So, I came up with the idea of putting my guy Jack-main character and coincidentally my sons name, in the center of three fast, quirky, very character centered and thoughtful stories and called it Jack’s Tales.

What genre does your book fall under?

How about creative and fun? The stories are realistic fiction with two stories having potential to be paranormal or fantasy fiction until they turn into realistic fiction at the end.

Which actors would you choose to play as characters in a movie rendition

I would hire my nine year old son, who happens to be named Jack and who the stories are based on.  Why?  Because, no doubt he’s a character.

What is a one sentence synopsis of your book?

Find out what a boy named Jack does at eight years old when he thinks he’s hooked a bay monster fishing with his dad or at nine when he offers a shadow ghost in his basement pizza, or when he is ten when he decides to save U10 Elite soccer by saving himself first.

Will your book be self published or by an agency?

Jack’s Tales is being published by Nathan Levy Books. This is a small education publisher.  Nathan Levy is the author of the StoriesWithHoles series and a national education speaker.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I played around with the manuscript for around a year.

Who or what books would you compare this story to?

My all time favorite children’s author is Jerry Spinelli. I’d like to think my writing style has his quirky voice and tone.

What inspired you to write this story?

My son, Jack.  No doubt the desire to hook boys who don’t like reading and wanting to make them laugh because the words that I wrote.  Very cool if I can. I hope this book provides reluctant readers with a greater interest to read more fiction and hopefully a path to longer middle grade books.

Anything else about this book do you want to say?

I truly enjoyed writing it. Writing for this age group, and especially for boys is something that I am very passionate about. I hope that teachers find Jack’s Tales a useful classroom reading tool as well. I think it lends itself really well to thinking about character development and how we as humans no matter what age are always changing and learning about who we are and how we fit in and who we aren’t as well.

Oh, one more thing, the illustrations were done by Melissa Fasalono and they are amazing.  She is hugely talented!

Jack’s Tales will be released in late winter or early spring – 2013.

Check out these wonderful writers and their excellent work:


Posted by on January 10, 2013 in Uncategorized


Reluctant……Struggling? Are they different?

I find that reluctant and struggling readers are all lumped into the same squishy heap and I wonder if there is truly a difference.  I also find the terms ‘’reluctant’’ and ‘’struggling’’ tend to mean different things and describe two different animals at times.  So, which is it?  Are they reluctant or are they struggling?  I’m being a bit facetious here.  Personally, I think they tend to be both and are along many different ranges within these two categories.  I don’t think they are as easily defined as they sound.

Here is some solid information on the matter from:  Maybe this can help.

Characteristics of Reluctant Readers 

  • • Readers who tend to be unmotivated often lack

self-esteem regarding their ability to read.

  • • They often attribute their difficulties to the

difficulty of the task, interference, too much

noise, vision problems, or unfairness.

  • • Seldom do they acknowledge that their own lack of skill is at the heart of the


  • • Often they have a sense of hopelessness. When the reluctance of these students to

participate in activities is interpreted as defiance or laziness, their underlying reading.problem may not be identified or addressed.

  • • Reluctant readers who have had many years of frustration often become skilled

evaders who try either to “hide out or act out” so they can avoid reading.


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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Uncategorized

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