Parksville author Jocelyn Shipley shows her latest book, Impossible, written for teens and adults who don’t yet enjoy reading. — Adam Kveton Photo

Parksville author reeling in reluctant readers

Jocelyn Shipley’s latest book meant to engage teens who don’t yet love to read

Those who don’t like reading may simply have not met the right book yet.

That’s the contention of part-time Parksville resident and author Jocelyn Shipley and Victoria’s Orca Publishing.

Shipley’s latest book, titled Impossible, is part of Orca’s Soundings series, meant for “undiscovered or reluctant readers.”

Written in straightforward language and with a compelling main character and linear storyline, the book is meant to be an easier read, but no less fun to read, for teens or adults, said Shipley.

And she’d know. While researching the Soundings series before writing a book for them, Shipley came to enjoy the books as well.

“They are quite different from other books,” she said. “(They have a) linear plot and no sub-plots, no back story, not a lot of description. You take out all the parts that someone is going to skip reading anyway, that kids skip, all the boring things, and I found I really like that writing. It’s almost more like a script that you’re writing.”

Shipley has written 10 books now, including some for adults, though most of her books are for teens.

Though writing for reluctant readers is still a fairly new focus, Shipley said, these stories can really change a teen’s feelings about reading.

“I think so many kids are made to feel that they’re not smart or that they can’t read or they don’t like books because they’ve been given material that isn’t relevant to them,” she said.

While some people delight in Shakespeare and Lord of the Rings, their complicated use of language and non-contemporary worlds can turn some readers off.

When you’re also competing for a young person’s time with social media, Netflix, sports and school, that’s just not good enough.

“These books for reluctant readers are short, they are fast-paced, they are high-interest. This particular series is contemporary, and I like to think they engage on the first page,” said Shipley.

The idea for Impossible came to Shipley while going on walks in downtown Toronto, where she lives part of the year.

“There are sometimes shootings down in our area… and I’ve often wondered, I walk a lot, what if I was walking along and witnessed a shooting or something like that, what would I do?”

In Impossible, a 17-year-old single mom witnesses a drive-by shooting. But the only reason she saw it was because she’d left her baby alone in her apartment to buy diapers. The problem she’s faced with is to report the shooting and risk losing custody of her child, or let a killer go free.

Shipley drew on her own experience raising kids, as well as the lives of the teenagers in her life to accurately portray a contemporary 17-year-old mom. Getting the voice correct is, of course, very important for readers, and something she is careful to get right, she said.

Shipley said she’s “very happy” with her latest book, noting that she feels it’s best for ages 14 and up.

It’s available for teachers to order, and can be purchased online, at the Chapters in Nanaimo or borrowed from the Vancouver Island Regional Library.

For more info on Shipley and her books, visit online at www.jocelynshipley.com.

Just Posted

Single-use retail plastic bags to be banned in Parksville March 1

Over the next few months, the city will undertake public education outreach

Retail pot business interest in Parksville

City gets two referrals for licences; QB expected to have first cannabis store soon

Motorcyclist collides with bear in Coombs

The man was transported to hospital

VIDEO: This is what buying legal pot in B.C. looks like

Take a look inside B.C.’s first and only legal pot shop located in Kamloops

Mellow opening to B.C.’s only legal pot shop

About five people lined up early for the opening of the BC Cannabis Store in Kamloops.

Foster care is ‘superhighway to homelessness,’ B.C. youth advocate says

Katherine McParland grew up in foster care and lived on the streets

Carr, Morneau off to China next month to deepen commerce

Carr says Canada and China aren’t embarking on formal free trade talks

Edmonton girl guide sells out of cookies in front of cannabis store

On the first day cannabis was legal a young entrepreneur capitalized on cookie sales

Tougher laws introduced against bestiality, animal fighting

The Liberal government is proposing to strengthen the laws today

Money Monitor: Should you switch to a fixed-rate mortgage?

BMO’s Omar Abouzaher outlines the pros and cons of both types of mortgages

Earth still moving in Old Fort, B.C., but not above homes: geologists

Transportation Ministry crews are ready to start work on the Old Fort road

Around the BCHL: Youth trumps experience for Chilliwack and Salmon Arm

Around the BCHL is a look at goings-on in the BCHL and the junior A world.

Proportional representation grows government, B.C. study finds

Spending, deficits higher in countries where voting system used

Most Read