Welcome to our blog.

This is our new Mother-Son blog. I am Donna, (Mom), and Lucas is my 13 year old 7th grader. We both love to read and decided to create this blog to write about the books we enjoy. Lucas is very interested in science cannot wait to share his insights about the books he's reading and 7th grade.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Karen Pokras Toz

The book features the continued adventures of Nate Rocks.  He has to go to summer camp (yuck) with his friends (yay!!) and his sister (double yuck).  He has many new adventures while at camp, some are imagined but most are real.  

(I gave the book 5+ ice cream cones)

Today’s guest is 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge, star of award winning children’s novel, Nate Rocks the World  and newly released Nate Rocks the Boat.  Thanks so much for joining us today Nathan!

LUCAS:  So Nate - what do you want to be when you grow up? 

NATE: I really want to be a comic book artist. I think I’m pretty good at it, and I love making up stories. I’ve actually done a few already. Maybe one day I’ll show them to you. Abby says they’re dumb, but I think they are cool.

LUCAS: Speaking of your sister, do you two ever get along?

NATE: Sometimes she’s okay... I guess. Most of the time I just try to stay out of her way. She’s always in some kind of a mood – Mom says it’s just a phase, but so far this phase has been lasting as long as I can remember. Older sisters can definitely be a pain sometimes. I was hoping to be able to spend the summer without her around, but as it turns out Mom & Dad are sending us both to the same summer camp! I mean can you believe that? Of all the thousands  - maybe millions – of camps, you’d think they could send her somewhere different. 

LUCAS: Well, maybe you won’t see too much of her. I hear summer camp is a lot of fun. Are you looking forward to it?

NATE: I wasn’t at first. But then I realized I wouldn’t have eat Mom’s cooking for six whole weeks! Not only that, but I convinced my best friend Tommy to come along with me. I think it’s going to be lots of fun (and filling.)

LUCAS: What do you mean? You don’t eat good meals at your own house?

NATE: Apparently you’ve never had my mom’s cooking! She tries and all, but no matter what she makes, there’s always something not quite right about it. Last night we had hotdogs. Easy right? Wrong! I had to chew each piece at least 100 times just to swallow it. Dad must be used to it or something because he never complains about mom’s cooking.

LUCAS: So your Dad is pretty easy going?

NATE: Dad? Yeah mostly. He works a lot, but don’t ask me what he does – it has something to do with numbers and data. I used to try to ask him about it, but no matter what you ask Dad, he always ends up telling some story from his childhood that you’ve heard a million times already.  I’m expecting to hear his summer camp stories about a gazillion times this summer.

LUCAS: Getting back to your comics - where do you like to draw?

NATE: Anywhere really – just as long as I have a pencil and a piece of paper. Sometimes I get in trouble because I’m supposed to be doing something else, but I just can’t help myself. Once I get started; I just get lost in what I’m doing. 

LUCAS: Do you get in trouble a lot?

NATE: Not a lot, but I have to be careful in school. There is this one girl named Lisa Crane, and she is so annoying. Her mom and my mom are best friends. One day I got in trouble for drawing in school when we were supposed to be taking a spelling test. Do you know what Lisa did? She went right home and told her mom, who of course called my mom. I mean – who does that?

LUCAS: Well at least you get the summer a way from Lisa.

NATE: Thank goodness! I do have to see her one more time though. Mom and Dad are throwing a big going away party for Abby and me before we leave for camp, and guess who is invited? Ugh.  If I can just avoid her for the day, then I won’t have to think about Lisa Crane again all summer!

LUCAS: Sounds like everyday is an adventure for you.

NATE: I guess it is. Being ten is kind of cool actually. 

LUCAS: Nate – thanks so much for letting me interview you. You really do ROCK!


With fourth grade finally winding down, 10-year-old Nathan Rockledge is looking forward to a fun and relaxing summer at home with his friends. That is, until his mom decides he has to go to overnight camp with his annoying older sister.  When his best friend Tommy decides to tag along, Nathan thinks maybe his summer won’t actually be so bad. After all, he does get to be away from his mom's awful cooking for an entire six weeks.

Amongst Color War competitions, a flaky counselor, and a bully named "No-Neck,” Nathan turns to his trusty sketchpad, transforming himself into Nate Rocks: 10-year-old extraordinaire. His speedboat ready for action, Nate saves the day time and again from the perils of floods, snakes, ghosts, and even the most wanted criminals.

Join Nathan, Tommy, Abby, and a whole new cast of characters as Nate Rocks once again proves nothing can hold him back in this second book of the Nate Rocks series.


“Welcome, Hawks. I’m Matt, your counselor. I’ve been coming to Camp Spring Ridge every summer since I was your age. This is a great place, and it’s my job to make sure you boys have the best summer ever.” Matt looks up at the sky as the wind rustles through the papers on his clipboard. “Now, before it starts raining, let’s see if we can get through some of the camp rules.”

“Rules? We don’t need any dumb rules! It’s summer!”

I look over toward the sound of the husky voice to see a boy who looks more like he’s Abby’s age than my age. He also appears to have arms as big as my thighs and no-neck. I’ve never seen anyone without a neck before. I’m sure it’s there somewhere. It’s just that this kid’s head is enormous. I am in the right bunk aren’t I?

Matt doesn’t seem disturbed by the outburst as he continues right along. “The rules are only there to make sure you have the most fun possible while staying safe. We wouldn’t want anyone getting hurt...or worse.”

Worse?! Tommy and I look at each other. I turn around to scan the dirt road. Dad must still be at Abby’s bunk. If I left right now and ran, I could probably get there before he and Mom leave. I’m sure Mom would take me with her to see Grandma once I explained about how dangerous it is here at camp. She’s always saying we don’t get to visit with Grandma enough. Or I could just stay at Tommy’s house. I’m certain Tommy would follow me if I took off running. But what if they were already gone? Then I would have to return to my bunk. I could already hear the other kids laughing at me as the camp director returned me to the Hawks.

“Okay,” Matt starts, holding down the paper on his clipboard. “Rule #1: Always listen to your counselor—he’s the coolest guy here.” Matt starts laughing, but quickly notices no one else joins in. He clears his throat and continues. “Rule #2: Stay with your bunk at all times unless you have specific permission to go somewhere. Rule #3: Lights out at 10:00pm. Rule #4: When it’s our turn to have kitchen duty, everyone must participate, and the most important rule—Rule #5: Stay out of the forest! Look, you guys are old enough to hear this, so I’m just going to tell it to you straight. The forest may look cool, but it’s big and dangerous. Every summer, one or two campers decide to wander in there, and the same thing always happens. They get lost. The camp has to call in a search party with dogs and the whole bit. If you wander too far in, you might run across snakes or even coyotes and wolves. So do yourselves a favor and stay out!”

I look around the table to see everyone staring at Matt... even No-Neck.


Karen Pokras Toz is a writer, wife and mom. Karen grew up in Orange, Connecticut and currently lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband and three children. In June 2011, Karen published her first middle grade children’s novel for 7-12 year olds called Nate Rocks the World, followed in 2012 by the second book in the Nate Rocks series, Nate Rocks the Boat. Karen is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators (SCBWI). 


Website:  www.karentoz.com
Barnes & Noble: 

by the way, if you want to read a review of the book (5 ice cream cones again) go to Mom's blogsite at http://bookloversparadise.blogspot.com/


  1. Thank you Lucas - Nate had a great time chatting with you! Thanks for being a part of the Nate Rocks the Boat blog tour!

  2. Thanks, Lucas! Sounds like a fun read : ) ~ F

  3. What a fantastic review. I really want to read this series. I have the first one to read and so many of the kids in my classroom are reading them. Your review and interview with Nate was great and made me even more interested in reading them. I hope to get started soon!