Reverse Psychology For Reluctant Readers


Do Not Open This Book!  It says so on the cover.  John Farndon created a treasure trove of freaky facts and outrageous theories.  I had so much fun flipping through this book.   I first noticed this book in the latest copy of VOYA.  This book is full of colorful photos and cartoon drawings.  It has the feel of a website because this book is meant to be browsed, not necessarily read from front to back.

Did you know in Japan that it is considered rude to blow your nose in public, but it is perfectly acceptable to pick you nose? 

Did someone sink the Titanic on purpose?  Was the Titanic really a patched up older ship sunk to reclaim insurance money?  See page 197.

On page 124 you can find out what was built in Hitler’s secret laboratory.  What was he making in the mountains of Norway?

Some of Houdini’s secrets are reviled.  Did you know the rivets around his milk churn were fake, allowing him, an easy escape?

Where are the divorce papers of Henry VIII hidden?

My personal favorite is page 138 where we hear about Anastasia the Lost Princess.  When the bodies of the murdered Romanov Czar and his family where found, the body of son, Alexei and a girl.  This started the rumor one of the princesses escaped.  Several claimed to be Anastasia, but the one who captured the most attention was Anna Anderson who was found in a hospital with memory loss in 1920.  DNA matched against UK’s Duke of Edinburgh, the closest genetic relative to the Romanov’s proved she was not the lost princess.  Even more interesting, measurements of the skull revealed a different princess may have either escaped or been lost. 

This has endless possibilities for teens to discuss.  Just pick a theory and go crazy.  Farndon does not seem to try to really debunk theories; he merely offers the different opinions gathered over time.  This is one for putting out on the table and saying to a group hanging out, “Hey guys, did you know….”


One comment

  1. I grew up as a reluctant reader. And this was in the home where my father authored over 70 books. There may be a reluctant reader in your family or circle of friends.

    At the end of 2001, I decided to do some research into why I hadn’t liked reading, and I found some startling patterns. So I began writing the kinds of books I WOULD have enjoyed as a child.

    My books have larger print. I use shorter sentences, with lots of dialog, humor, and heart-pounding action and adventure. Readers won’t find big blocks of words, or endless descriptions.

    Maybe these books will be the answer you’re looking for because I believe that a reluctant reader is simply a person who hasn’t found the right book yet.

    If you try one or more of these books for Christmas this year, things might be different at your house with your reluctant reader.

    My blog, Books for Boys, consistently ranks in the top 10 on Google. You will find it at

    Available on Amazon, and all are ranked by Accelerated Reader.

    Max Elliot Anderson


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