Author Spotlight: Kevin Sylvester
Kevin Sylvester might be known to you as a CBC radio personality, sports caster and illustrator. But what you might not know is he is also a very successful children’s author. Currently, Kevin has two non-fiction sports titles (both award winners) and has published the first two titles in a fiction series (third title to be available in the spring of 2012) perfectly aimed at the Grade 4 to 6 crowd. Following up on the previous post about putting the “just right” book into a child’s hands, Kevin certainly seems to have captured the pulse of the reluctant boy reader, while still engaging the attention of girls in that age group as well.
Kevin has turned his passion for sports into two amazing award winning non-fiction titles The Sports Hall of Weird and Gold Medal for Weird. What is important to note here is that the short vignettes of sports trivia are perfectly nuanced to both gross out the reader while sending them into gales of laughter. Be prepared for your youngster to repeat these snippets at any family gathering while waiting for the inevitable adult reaction. These books are real page turners and the readers will be all over them like mustard on a hot dog! What is especially great about these books is that there is only one vignette per page and it is easy to read for a while, put it down and then get back to it without losing the gist of the story. There are sure to be favourite bits of trivia in here (remember the gross parts previously mentioned) but each will be appreciated in its own way. The Sports Hall of Weird was a Silver Birch honour book in 2006 and Gold Medal for Weird won the Silver Birch Non-Fiction award in 2009. As these are children’s choice awards, you already know that thousands of students in Ontario have enjoyed and recommended these books.
Kevin also has a fiction series aimed at the same age group. His first in the series Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders was the Silver Birch Fiction category winner for 2011. In this book, Neil Flambé, a 14 year old wunderkind chef, helps the police in Vancouver solve the murders of high profile chefs. It is a fast paced rollicking read, exhibiting Kevin’s quirky humour and interesting knowledge of the culinary arts.
The best part of this book is that if your child loves it, as many have already, you are ready to present them with the next title in the series, Neil Flambé and the Aztec Abduction. As the Harry Potter series proved, once hooked on a character and plot, kids will scramble to read on.