Monday 12 March 2012

Humour is the Best - guest post by chapter book author Adam Wallace

Adam Wallace Chapter Book Author

Yep. Chuck out the rest. Humour rules. Humour is king. Humour rocks my world. Oh. Maybe I have said too much.
Anyway. Let’s move on.
Why is humour so important in books for children? What is it about humour that gets kids hooked, gets them reading and gets them excited about books?
The short answer is … who cares??? However it does it, it does it! And getting children excited about books and reading is just about the most important thing in the world (after world peace, eradicating poverty, etc etc of course).
The long answer is that humour makes books seem fun, especially for younger readers. Children are forced to read a lot of books at school that there is no way they would normally choose. There is probably no way we would normally force our kids to read them either. They have their place, these books, but they cater to “all children.” The problem is that “all children” don’t like reading the same thing, they don’t learn to read in the same manner, and they get bored to death reading about a worm in the garden, a worm on the flower, a worm blah blah blah.
Who wouldn’t go and play a computer game?
Books by authors such as Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl, Andy Griffiths, Jeff Kinney. These books are often frowned upon as being bad influences on our kids. By getting them reading? By having them sharing books and laughs instead of punches and cyber put downs? Ooooookay then.
The thing is that some of these books may be gross. Some of these books may be a little bit close to the edge. But they are starting a lifelong interest in reading, and before long the kids reading these books will want to look for other books to read. They will be asking who else writes good books. They may even want to, gasp, go to the library! They will branch out, and they will discover new and exciting styles of writing.
But humour is often the key to getting them in, even if the books have so much more to offer. The amazing Harry Potter books (some more that were thought inappropriate by many parents) have humour woven through their stories. But they also have courage and honour and loyalty and love and excitement and danger and good and evil and friendship. This is true of many stories. They may be bathed in humour, and they can be read at that level, but delve a little deeper, and you will often find there is a lot more to the stories than you may have first imagined.
Oh. And for authors, there is one more bonus to a book having humour.
They are so much fun to write!
Adam's top three tips for writing chapter books:
1: Write! As much as possible. And, as much as possible, write in the
style you enjoy. Don't be influenced by popular topics and styles if they
aren't your thing.

2: Ask questions of those who have made it. Email, write letters,
whatever. I have found authors to be an amazingly friendly and giving
group of people. Even those who have sold hundreds of thousands of books
have written back or even called with advice when I have contacted them.

3: Persist. Not just with sending out to publishers, but with your
writing. Not everything will fall into place straight away, but the more
you write, the more you find your voice, the easier it will become.
A qualified Engineer and Primary School Teacher, Adam Wallace settled on
writing books for children as his career of choice. With 20 published,
including Better Out Than In and the How to Draw series, Adam is fast
becoming a well-known name in the world of children’s books.

You can find Adam's books at Adam Wallace Books and his Facebook author page here.

Book by Adam WallaceBook 1 By Adam wallaceBook 2 by Adam Wallace

Adam Wallace's books:
Better Out Than In.
The Share-a-not
Mac O'Beasty
The Negatees
The Incredible Journey of Pete McGee
The Giant Book of Jokes Binder
Fun Ferret Classroom Chaos
Fun Ferret On the Loose
The How to Draw Series (12 books)
Coming in 2012 - Pete McGee and the Dawn of the Zombie Knights
Better Out Than In Number Twos

There is a very special give-away today.  Adam Wallace has offered to do a short and simple critique of one lucky Chapter Book Challenge member's FIRST CHAPTER! All you need to do to be entered is to be signed up officially to the challenge and comment on this post. The winner will be drawn through a random number generator.


  1. Great post! Thanks so much for sharing! Humor is great no matter which way you're used to spelling it! :)

  2. oh wow.. your prizes are fabulous Rebecca! I have some of Adam's books, and agree wholeheartedly!thanks for a fantastic interview.

  3. Great tips. My kids (both boys) LOVE Andy Griffiths & Jeff Kinney, and Paul Jennings. I love the fact that they're reading and love books.

  4. Thanks for sharing this. I love books with humour and try my best to infuse my stories with humour. Dr. Suess a bad influence? Really? I find that hard to believe.

    1. Yep Rena, it's a minority, but there are teachers and parents who have told me they won't read Dr Seuss with their students/kids, saying they are not the sorts of books kids should be reading! People I have spoken to who have said this find it hard to actually give me a valid reason why though!

  5. With my lit. program for early learners, I find that humor also encourages shy children to engage more. I've had this program for about five years. I've seen this amazing thing happen time and time again. Good post and thank you!

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