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MOWMT Day #3: Michele McAvoy Pits ER v. ER

Early Reader v. Early Reader

By Michele McAvoy

The early reader landscape is changing and I love it!

I have two kiddos. When my son, Daniel, was little (he is now 13) we had the step readers to help build vocabulary and fluency. These early readers were essential to his literacy but often not terribly fun and exciting and they always had the level advertised on the front cover which was a source of embarrassment when he wasn’t reading on level with his peers (or at a high level). Needless to say, he was a struggling and reluctant reader and while these books did the job of teaching him they didn’t develop a love of reading which is so important for sustainability.

Fast forward to my daughter (who is now 11- two years younger than her brother). When Daphne was learning to read she had all of her brother’s old early readers. She read them but without fervor. She was excited to discover (as was I) the Unicorn & Yeti series! (Scholastic), an early reader that was like a step reader but with a little more pizzazz. These early readers helped build her literacy and her love for reading. And, importantly, the cover didn’t forecast the reading level so she wasn’t embarrassed. It was a win win!

This new format of early readers with their amazing illustrations, oftentimes as comic panels, are my new favorite. I believe they truly allow for independent reading because children want to engage with the often character-driven stories and search the bookstore shelves for the next installment.

While I think Scholastic took the lead in this format (at least that’s what I saw from my daughter’s shopping habits three years ago) many more publishers have followed suit.

Maud the Koala (Penguin), is a good example of a graphic Early Reader with mostly comic panels (some full spreads).

This book is less than 50 pages in length and the font is easy to read. And while some of the vocabulary is more challenging to read (ie: vaccination) the illustrations serve as a guidance and the storyline is relatable to young readers.

Bella & Blue is a graphic Early Reader with The Little Press. This title is a bit longer than Maude the Koala (complete at 78 pages), and is a mix between spreads and panels. This graphic novel is broken up into three short stories which is perfect for young readers’ stamina.

Pizza and Taco is another graphic Early Reader with Random House. This title is complete at 68 pages and reads more like a graphic novel. It is broken up into short chapters (much like its step reader counterpart.)

Finally, furthering my love for this new and improved genre, I am excited to announce my upcoming Early Reader, Willa the Werewolf with The Little Press, illustrated by Jan Dolby. Willa the Werewolf is about a piglet who turns into a wolf at the strike of midnight. A modern-take on The Three Little Pigs.

Cover Reveal here!

Be sure to check out this book in my new favorite format releasing September 15th!

The coolest thing with this expanding genre is that for those of us who love to write picture books and enjoy a great chapter book can now meld the two and endeavor to expand our horizons with Early Readers!

Best of luck on your writing journey. Remember, this industry is difficult for everyone and you should never judge your success based upon others. Keep creating, keep writing, keep learning, and you will find your way. Promise. Best always, Michele.

BIO:Michele McAvoy is a multi-award-winning author, attorney, educator, and publisher from New Jersey. Her publishing company, The Little Press, publishes picture books through YA.

She is also the host of the popular kidlit podcast, My Messy Muse, and the creator of #GirlPowerHour, an annual event celebrating strong women and diversity in children’s literature. Michele’s titles include Buckingham Gets A New Shell, (Pigman Books), multi-award winning Cookie & Milk (Cardinal Rule Press), The Gorilla Picked Me! (The Little Press), and the award-winning My Superhero Grandpa (The Little Press.)


You can find Michele on social media

Instagram @michelemcavoy

Michele is graciously giving away five (5) above the slush submissions!


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