Alec Greven, a fourth-grader at at Soaring Hawk Elementary School in Castle Rock, Colo., began writing the book "How to Talk to Girls" — about the dos and don'ts of dating — when he was 8 years old. The book came out of a school writing assignment, and he so impressed his teacher and principal that the book was sold for $3 at the school book fair and became the fair's top seller. The book eventually made its way into the hands of a publisher, and Alec has since been doling out advice to boys of all ages all over the country. He spoke to TODAYshow.com about what inspired him to write this book, why boys should stay away from "pretty girls" and what the future holds for him as a dating expert.
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
A: I saw boys around the playground having trouble getting girls — just not knowing what to say. I wanted to write a book that could help them.
Q: How did you become such a "dating expert" so young?
A: Let's say a boy was gonna try go say "Hi" to a girl he likes, I would stand nearby and peek and listen in. If a problem happened twice, I put it in my book. If something worked a few times, I put it in my book, too. I did research around the playground. I got interested in the topic because there's a lot to learn about girls.
Q: In the book you write that "A crush is like a love disease. It can drive you mad." Did this happen to you?
A: Not really, because I don't really get crushes that much. But I've seen it. It can drive you mad because if a girl ditches you, you could get so depressed. Your grades drop — bad things happen.
Q: You say that boys should be careful around pretty girls. What do you have against pretty girls?
A: Well, pretty girls … all they care about is their looks. She doesn't care about a boy liking her, or how a boy feels about her. It's just, "Oh, do I look nice?" Regular girls can be pretty, too. Plus, a regular girl has other things on her mind and is fun to be around.
Q: What's the best way to talk to a girl?
A: You want to walk up casually — you can't look shy or nervous, like you're doing something really important. Just say "Hi." If she says "Hi" back, you're off to a good start. What you want to do is let the girl do most of the talking, start off asking about stuff she likes to do and then let her talk. If you mess up, it's not good. If the girl messes up, it's OK.
Q: Do people come to you with their dating problems now?
A: Some people ask questions but … well, it's kind of like repeating the same things … "I have a girl, where should I take her on a date?" Things kind of like that that people want to know.
Q: How do adults react to the book?
A: Some adults, women, told me they buy it for husbands as a joke to say, "See, you should do this." It makes me laugh because it's funny that they say that to their husbands.
Q: What's the most attractive quality about a girl?
A: I don't really know — just because they're girls.
Q: Are you dating anyone now?
A: No. Not yet, because I just haven't found the right girl yet.
Q: What do you like most about being on a book tour?
A: I like going everywhere, traveling places. I also like being interviewed because everybody has been so nice.
Q: Do you plan to write more about dating?
A: I might be writing "How to Talk to Girls II" for middle schoolers, then part three as a guide for high schoolers, and then [parts] four, five and six for college and after that. I'll write them when I get to each age — I don't think I could get past security guards at a high school right now to do research ’cause I look too young.
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