SLJ Leadership Summit 2011: Patrick Carman

When it comes to encouraging kids to read, author Patrick Carman needed to figure out how to meet them halfway. “We need to get smart about tech,” Carman, the popular author of the Skeleton Creek series and Trackers, told attendees at SLJ’s summit on October 23 in Chicago. That way, he said, “we can get them to turn more and more pages.”

In his take on the conference theme, “The Future of Reading,” Carman described how technology elements can enrich the fictional narrative and engage young readers. With Skeleton Creek, for example, readers, at about every 20 pages, encounter a password and Web address with which they can watch the story advance. His book Trackers goes further in bringing kids into the story with a gaming element, where readers can play as a character in the book, as well as learn more about related technology.

Carman also spoke in praise of Skype and how the videoconferencing tool enables him to visit more classrooms and libraries; he currently does about 200 visits a year. He’s also joining forces with Jon Scieszka; their Skype program, completely free of charge to anyone who wants to sign on, will occur in March. Visit the site for details.

Patrick Carman