By JOANNA SHEPHERD | Intern
Recent evidence suggests that reading for pleasure is the single biggest factor in a child’s success at school—even more so than their social or economic background. Studies also demonstrate that children who read for enjoyment every day perform better on reading tests than those who don’t, develop a broader vocabulary and have a better understanding of other cultures.
However, some parents struggle to find quality books that match both the interests and reading level of their child.
This exact plight is what inspired Palisadian mom Robin Afrasiabi’s first children’s book, “Little Luke and the Ghoster Coaster.”
“My co-author [Dani Shear] and I were chatting at the Marquez Book Fair about the lack of quality, relatable early chapter books for, most specifically, young boys ages 5-8,” Afrasiabi explained.
It was in this moment that the two Marquez Charter Elementary School moms resolved to be part of the solution, and the “Little Luke” series was born.
“I always had the ‘Little Luke’ character in my head about a little boy who always wants to be older than he is and can never just ‘live in the moment’,” she shared with the Palisadian-Post. “My nephew was just that way, and then I started hearing the same theme among my own children and their friends.”
In this first book, Little Luke embarks on a seven-day quest to grow one inch in time for his birthday celebration at Adventure Land, where the 48” height requirement for the Ghoster Coaster—the ride Luke has idolized for the past year—threatens to keep his dream just out of reach.
“Little Luke and the Ghoster Coaster” was published just last month, but book No. 2 is already underway. In his next adventure, “Little Luke and the Littlest Labradoodle,” “Luke learns the hard way that with a little dog comes some big responsibilities, and readers will find out if he is indeed big enough take this on,” Afrasiabi revealed.
Afrasiabi lives in El Medio Bluffs and is a proud mom of two Marquez Elementary bookworms, to whom she accredits her introduction to the wonderful world of early chapter books.
She has written for both the book and newspaper publishing sectors, and public relations world, and has also taught critical reading courses and adult learning theory at several California colleges at both the undergraduate and graduate level.