Author Gallery
Authors and illustrators JACK GANTOS, JEFF KINNEY, JARRETT J. KROSOCZKA, JON SCIESZKA, and GENE LUEN YANG will be speaking at An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe in Plainville, Massachusetts on Thursday, October 5 at 7:00 p.m.

Join renowned authors and illustrators for young people JACK GANTOS, JEFF KINNEY, JARRETT J. KROSOCZKA, JON SCIESZKA, and the Library of Congress National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature GENE LUEN YANG on Thursday, October 5 for How to Get and Keep Boys Reading.

Our lively panel of authors and illustrators, whose work is of special interest to boys, will participate in an informative and entertaining discussion on how to get and keep boys reading. Librarian extraordinaire Maria Salvadore will lead the discussion, which will introduce a breadth of great books boys will love.

How to Get and Keep Boys Reading will be held at An Unlikely Story Bookstore (created by Jeff Kinney) in Plainville, Massachusetts starting at 7:00 p.m.

Teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone who shares a love of children’s literature are encouraged to attend. Young people ages seven and older are also invited to attend accompanied by an adult.

Copies of books by the participating authors will be available for purchase before and after the event. Librarians and teachers who show their ID are eligible for a professional discount on their book purchases. Book signing will take place immediately following the event.

Event Door Prizes

As an added incentive, the NCBLA will be giving a free ticket to every attendee to win books. You must be present to win.

Don’t Miss Out!
The event is FREE, but you need a ticket to attend.
Registration will open soon, and tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. If you are not on the email list for An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe, please sign up now to ensure early notice of registration.

Event Details
Featured Books
Education Resource Materials

About the Speakers

Jack GantosJack Gantos has written books for readers of all ages, from picture books and middle-grade fiction to novels for young adults and adults. His works include Hole in My Life, a memoir that won the Michael L. Printz and Robert F. Sibert honors; Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key, a National Book Award Finalist; Joey Pigza Loses Control, a Newbery Honor book; and Dead End in Norvelt, the 2012 Newbery Medal Winner and the Scott O’Dell Award Winner for Best Historic Fiction.

While in college, Gantos and an illustrator friend, Nicole Rubel, began working on picture books. After a series of well-deserved rejections, they published their first book, Rotten Ralph, in 1976. It was a success and the beginning of Jack’s career as a professional writer. This surprised a great many people who thought he was going to specialize in rehabilitating old bookmobiles into housing for retired librarians.

Jack continued to write children’s books and began to teach courses in children’s book writing and children’s literature. He developed the master’s degree program in children’s book writing at Emerson College and the Vermont College M.F.A. program for children’s book writers. He now devotes his time to writing books and educational speaking.

Jack Gantos recommends Harriet the Spy (Harper & Row, 1964), written by Louise Fitzhugh, as a Great Read for ages 8-12. Check out more Great Reads here.

Learn more about Jack Gantos and his books on his website and his Facebook page.


Jeff Kinney CROPPEDJeff Kinney didn’t grow up wanting to be a children’s author. His dream was to become a newspaper cartoonist, but he wasn’t able to get his comic strips syndicated. In 1998 Jeff came up with the idea for Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a story about a middle-school weakling named Greg Heffley. Jeff worked on his book for almost eight years before showing it to a publisher in New York.

In 2006, Jeff signed a multi-book deal with publisher Harry N. Abrams, Inc. to turn Diary of a Wimpy Kid into a print series. The first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book was published in 2007 and became an instant bestseller. Just a year later, more than 100,000 copies were in print in the United States alone. With each subsequent book, in-print numbers continue to grow exponentially both in the U.S. and abroad. There are now more than 180 million copies of the series in print worldwide.

Jeff Kinney is also the creator of Poptropica, which was named one of Time magazine’s 50 Best Websites. He spent his childhood in the Washington, D.C., area and moved to New England in 1995. Jeff lives with his wife and two sons in Massachusetts, where they own a bookstore, An Unlikely Story.

Learn more about Jeff Kinney and his books on his website and his Twitter account.


Krosoczka CROPPEDJarrett J. Krosoczka, a New York Times bestselling author/illustrator, creates books with humor, heart, and a deep respect for his young readers—qualities that have made his titles perennial favorites on the bookshelves of homes, libraries, and bookstores.

First published at the age of twenty-three, Krosoczka has more than thirty published books to his credit. Titles include several picture books, his wildly popular Lunch Lady graphic novels, and the Platypus Police Squad middle-grade novels. He also recently launched a new story arc in the Jedi Academy series with Star Wars™: Jedi Academy: A New Class.

Krosoczka is a two-time winner of the Children’s Choice Book Awards Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year and has been a finalist for the prestigious Will Eisner Comic Industry Award. He has delivered two TED Talks, which have collectively accrued more than two million views online. Krosoczka has been featured on NPR and can be heard weekly on The Book Report with JJK on SiriusXM’s Kids Place Live, a show focusing on books, authors, and reading. His Punk Farm, Lunch Lady, and Platypus Police Squad series are all currently in development for film.

Krosoczka lives in western Massachusetts with his wife and children, and their pugs, Ralph and Frank.

Learn more about Jarrett J. Krosoczka and his books on his website and his Facebook page.


Jon ScieszkaJon Scieszka is a bestselling author and the first National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, having been appointed in January 2008. The position was created by the Library of Congress to raise national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education, and the development and betterment of the lives of young people. Born in Flint, Michigan, Jon Scieszka earned a bachelor’s degree in writing from Albion College and a master of fine arts degree from Columbia University. He held a number of teaching positions in the first through eighth grades before taking a year off to develop ideas for children’s books.

He is the author of many bestselling children’s titles, including The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (winner of  a Caldecott Honor medal), The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Math Curse, Robot Zot!, and the Time Warp Trio, a chapter book series. In addition, Scieszka is the founder of Guys Read, a nonprofit literacy organization. Jon lives in Brooklyn with his family.

Jon Scieszka recommends Bomb (Roaring Brook Press, 2012) by Steve Sheinkin, as a Great Read for ages 10 and up. Check out more Great Reads here.

Learn more about Scieszka and his books on his website and his Twitter account.


Gene Luen Yang CROPPEDGene Luen Yang began making comics and graphic novels in the fifth grade. In 2006, his book American Born Chinese was published by First Second Books.  It became the first graphic novel to be nominated for a National Book Award and the first to win the American Library Association’s Printz Award. It also won an Eisner Award for Best Graphic Album – New.

In 2013, First Second Books released Boxers & Saints, his two-volume graphic novel about the Boxer Rebellion. Boxers & Saints was nominated for a National Book Award and won the L.A. Times Book Prize. Yang has done a number of other comics, including Dark Horse Comics’ continuation of the popular Nickelodeon cartoon Avatar: The Last Airbender and DC Comics’ Superman.

In addition to cartooning, Yang teaches creative writing through Hamline University’s MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults.

In January 2016, the Library of Congress, Every Child A Reader, and the Children’s Book Council appointed Gene Luen Yang as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature.

Learn more about Gene Luen Yang and his books on his website and his Facebook page.


Maria SalvadoreMaria Salvadore works as a children’s literature specialist, consulting with local and national organizations. Before becoming a consultant, Salvadore served as Coordinator of Children’s Services for the District of Columbia Public Library system. Prior to her return to Washington, she worked as the Children’s Services Coordinator in Cambridge (MA) Public Library. While in Massachusetts, she taught at Simmons College of Library Science and worked with the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. She continues to teach level courses in the iSchool at the University of Maryland College Park. Salvadore continues to review children’s and young adult books for various professional journals. She was consulting editor and contributor to The Essential Guide to Children’s Books and Their Creators and contributed to Children’s Books and Their Creators (both edited by Anita Silvey) and co-authored Books Your Children Will Talk About with Susan Hepler (NEA, 2003). Salvadore has served on or chaired various award juries including the Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards, the Caldecott Medal, Newbery Medal, the Washington Post/Children’s Book Guild Nonfiction Award, and the Notable Children’s Book Committee. She holds Masters degrees in Education and Library Science.


How to Get and Keep Boys Reading will be held on the evening of Thursday, October 5, 2017 starting at 7:00 p.m. and ending at approximately 8:15 p.m. The presentation will be followed by approximately fifteen minutes of questions and answers.

Books by the participating authors and illustrators will be available for purchase. Book signing by all participating authors will begin immediately after the question and answer period.

Event Details

Photograph courtesy of An Unlikely Bookstore & Cafe
Photograph courtesy of An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe

The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance, in partnership with An Unlikely Story Bookstore and WETA Public Television/Reading Rockets, will be holding How to Get and Keep Boys Reading on Thursday, October 5, 2017 at 7:00 p.m. in the Second Story of An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe (111 South Street in Plainville, Massachusetts).

An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe is located at the corner of Route 1A and Route 106 in Plainville, two miles south of the landmark Wrentham Outlets. Take Exit 15 off Route 495, follow Route 1A for 2.5 miles. An Unlikely Story is on the left. You can’t miss the big blue building!

From Gillette Stadium, follow Route 1 South for 6 miles, then turn right on Route 106. Follow for just short of a mile, and An Unlikely Story will be on the right, on the corner of Route 1A.

Parking is plentiful and free. One lot is located directly behind the store. Look for a second large parking lot on the corner diagonally opposite the store.

Combined RR and Unlikely LOGOSThank You!
The National Children’s Book and Literacy Alliance expresses sincere gratitude to its partners An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe and WETA Public Television/Reading Rockets for collaborating with us on this inspirational event.

You can find more information about An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe on their website:

Learn more about WETA Public Television/Reading Rockets, and discover a treasure trove of educational materials, at


The event is FREE, but you must have a ticket to attend. Registration will open soon, and tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Attendance is limited to 200 people, but the bookstore will create a waiting list.

If you are not on the email list for An Unlikely Story Bookstore & Cafe, please sign up now to ensure early notice of registration. Librarians and teachers who sign up for An Unlikely Story Bookstore’s email list are provided a professional discount once they have shown their ID.

Questions? Please email any questions you have about registration to We promise to reply as soon as possible!

Featured Books

The participating authors and illustrators will be speaking about many books during the evening, with a particular focus on the following:

  • Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories by Jack Gantos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017).
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney (Amulet Books, 2014).

  • Jedi Academy: A New Class by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Scholastic, 2016).

  • Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka (Viking Juvenile, 2008).
  • Secret Coder Series (Books 1 through 4) by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes (First Second Books, 2015-2017).

Book Gallery

Education Resource Materials

To expand and complement the content of How to Get and Keep Boys Reading, please check out the following education guides, articles, blog posts, and videos.

Education Resource Guides

An education resource guide for each of the participating author’s and illustrator’s books will be published here soon. Please check back!

Articles from the NCBLA

Articles from Reading Rockets

Blog Posts from Reading Rockets

Video Interviews