Image by Priscilla Du Preez

Who likes to go on vacation?

Reading to me is being able to travel without physically going anywhere. I like books that take me on a trip or just take me away. As soon as we turn to the first page of a book, I feel like we should all be going on vacation. 

This travel bug is at the heart of my writing. My adventure novels are set in international locales because travel has made me feel alive and given me an insatiable curiosity to learn... which I feel driven to share, especially with kids. 

I used to teach 5th grade English, and one of the things that inspired me to write was a dearth of smart (travel and geographic) action-adventure books for this age group. I like reading grown-up action-adventure (Ludlum, Patterson, Grisham, etc.) so I wanted to write something similar but on a kid level.

When I speak to classrooms, I focus more on the travel part of my series. There are more than 300 Geographic references in the first three books alone. But with kids, I talk about travel in terms of VACATION. Who doesn't like to go on vacation? Right? We all do, and kids love to tell you where they've been. So that's where the fun starts.

For me, learning, reading, and writing are essentially traveling. The terms are synonymous, and imagination is the fuel for learning and reading. So basically I like to talk to kids about using their imaginations as forms of travel.

In a Skype session, I try not to be didactic. What I've learned from most of my Skype sessions is that kids just want to ask you questions, like how do you come up with character names and things like that. In a Q&A, I can be less of a teacher or more of a real person and get away with saying things like, the road to success is paved with books.

Let's hit the road and let's hit the books mean the same thing to me!

Paul Aertker

Paul writes the Crime Travelers series, an international spy action-adventure series that "reads like the Bourne Identity but for kids."


As a traveler and multilingual teacher, Paul has clocked nearly half his life outside the US.

A former middle school teacher, Paul says he writes for this age group because he relates to it.

Most people say Paul acts like a child! :) He says that his emotional level doesn't really go past age eleven!


When he was a teenager, he slept on the streets of London to watch a royal wedding.


He took the CIA exam because he wanted to be a spy for the good guys (and not the “Good Company”).


He was an au pair in France and built a children’s library in Africa.

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