New Kids Books are a hit

New Kids Books are a hit

At the  Association of Great Lakes Outdoor Writes fall conference one of our members provided me with a copy of these three children's books.

I have to say they're right on target and can be of great interest to young readers.  But who am I to judge something like that?  My wife has been in the school system for nearly 30 years and I feel she could be a better judge to determine if these are books that kids like.

Well, the author Kristine (K.J.) Houtman and her Fish On Kids books were a hit.  The books were even shown to a few youngsters and they enjoyed them.  They didn't want to put them down till they were done.  I received these books in September and because the "test" readers wanted to read them all, cover to cover, it took until now for them to finish their own little "Book Review"

Kristine gets two thumbs up.  Good job.  Below are a few words that Kristine has to say about the books.  But to learn more, visit her site at

From Kristien Houtman...

Fish On Kids Books are quality fun-packed fiction for 2nd through 6th grade readers that tie to adventures around fishing, camping and hunting. Currently three are available, at least nine are planned.

Book #1 - A Whirlwind Opener
Meet Gus Roberts, a fifth grader who can't wait for his family's big plans for the fishing opener. Gus needs some time on the water but also a break from Matt Driver, a bully who's got everyone anxious for the end of the school year. With his new fishing rod and tackle box always nearby, Gus joins his grandfather to meet the rest of the family at the cabin up north. Life has a few surprises in store and everyone adjusts to a different weekend than planned.

Book #2 - Driving Me Crazy
Gus discovers the bully, Matt Driver, is causing trouble for more than just him, and it's worse than a little teasing. A Memorial Day weekend getaway camping is just the ticket, and gives Gus a chance to think through a solution for reigning in Matt's antics. Gus enjoys time fishing, swimming, biking and hiking around the headwaters of the Mississippi River and Lake Itasca with his new friend, Drew. But even that gets a little rocky and Drew and Gus share an adventure of their own.

Book #3 - Spare the Rod
Mom and Dad spring some news on the family and Gus' older brother Jake isn't thrilled with the surprise in the driveway on the last day of school. But summer vacation is here and Gus couldn't be happier. June means fun trips and lots of fishing and camping in addition to a break from school. A cousin's high-school graduation party in Wisconsin brings highs and lows with plenty of adventure. Gus shares a little windshield time with Dad where surprises lurk around every corner.

Recently released in the fall of 2010, the new Fish On Kids Books series is the work of fishing industry veteran K.J. Houtman. A fourth book is planned for release in December of 2011 entitled: What the Deuce. At least eight books are planned for the Fish On Kids Books series.

Houtman worked at the American Sportfishing Association in the early 90’s and then the last fifteen years with the media company that produces North American Fisherman and North American Hunter magazines, along with their skill-building books, television shows, custom-produced events and web-based connectivity. In addition to writing, Houtman is an accomplished marketer and public speaker.

“This is exactly what we need,” shared Mike Nussman, President of the American Sportfishing Association, when asked about Houtman’s books. The outdoor industry has taken a back seat to video games in recent years when it comes to kids engaging in the sport. In fact, an entire generation of parents has arisen that doesn’t understand the value of letting kids enjoy the outdoors.

“I love everything about these books,” shared Susan Baumann-Duren, the Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) prevention social worker in the Sauk Prairie School District in southern Wisconsin. “We know how important it is to a child’s overall health and enjoyment of life to get outdoors. These books embrace that—and the kids love them. Both the boys and the girls, and life lessons are woven within.”

A number of schools have assigned reading the books in their classrooms, as well as non-profit groups using the books for fundraising, including: National Professional Anglers Association (NPAA), FM Walleyes Unlimited, Minnesota Teen Challenge Fishing Challenge, YMCA and Eight to a Lamp to name a few.

The books are a great fit for scouting organizations and school-age fundraising efforts.



Kristine (K.J.) Houtmans is not a sponsor of Illinois Outdoors.


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