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The 39 Clues® Book 10 Is Here!

27 Aug

When The 39 Clues® series launched in September 2008, we just couldn’t wait to read the first one! But when we found out that the series was not just made up of ten adventure-filled novels written by seven of the best children’s authors today, but that it was also a multiplatform series that combined books, collectible cards, and an online game, we were absolutely floored! There was nothing like it on the market and we just knew that kids were going to go wild for this interactive way of reading–we were right!

Two years later, the groundbreaking series comes to an end with Book 10, which releases nationwide next Tuesday, August 31. In it, Margaret Peterson Haddix picks up the quest of Amy and Dan Cahill as they face their final challenge on a mysterious lost island. Margaret, who is also the author of the exciting Shadow Children series, agreed to speak to Book Talk about her experiences writing this final installment of The 39 Clues®. We can’t wait to get our hands on this one!

One-on-One with Margaret Peterson Haddix:

BT: What branch of the Cahill family do you belong to?

MPH: Ekaterina.

BT: Which member of the Cahill family would you team up with on the hunt?

MPH: Oh, definitely Amy and Dan!

BT: If you could change the identity of the man in black from Book 9, who would he be and why?

MPH: Interesting question! I think if the man in black weren’t…uh…who he really is, I would want him to be Amy and Dan’s grandfather. Partly this is because I feel so bad for Amy and Dan that all their closest relatives (except each other) are dead. I’m not sure how it could be explained why everyone thought the grandfather was dead—or where he’s been for most of Amy and Dan’s lives—but it might be fun to try. Or, possibly the man in black could have been their grandfather on their father’s side, so it would turn out that they have Cahill connections on both sides….

Photo Credit: The Backstage Studio

MPH: Still having exciting adventures.

BT: If you could join Amy and Dan on one of their adventures, which one would it be and why?

MPH: The one in Book 10. Because they know the most about what’s going on then.

BT: Did you work with the other authors of The 39 Clues® series in planning/writing Book 10?

MPH: Rick Riordan, who wrote the first book in the series, also wrote brief outlines for all the other books, including Book 10. But, given that he wrote it before the other books were finished, that outline was fairly sketchy, and I was happy that it left a lot of room for me to use my own imagination. I had a lot more contact with Linda Sue Park, who was writing Book 9 about the same time that I was writing Book 10. Linda Sue and I—and The 39 Clues® editor, Rachel Griffiths—had a long conversation early on to make sure that our character development and plotlines would work together. And then while Linda Sue and I were both in the writing process, we occasionally exchanged e-mails along the lines of, “Someone’s going to need to address this particular issue before the end of the series. Are you handling that in your book, or should I take care of it?”

BT: Did you have any input in the planning/writing of Books 1–9?

MPH: None at all with Books 1–8. But, as I mentioned in my last answer, Linda Sue and I did compare notes while we were writing Books 9 and 10.

BT: How was writing Book 10 different from writing other books you’ve written?

MPH: This was the first time I’ve ever written a book based on a situation and characters that someone else came up with. I was a little worried about being able to write from the perspective of certain characters who were very different from me—for example, the Holts or Jonah Wizard—but it turned out that their scenes were some of the ones that I had the most fun writing.

The other big difference was that this had to be a much more collaborative process than I’ve ever been involved in before. In one sense, this made me less decisive than I usually am as a writer, because certain things were outside of my control. But I also felt a huge sense of responsibility, because I absolutely did not want to mess up anything when so many other people were also working hard to make The 39 Clues® project great.

BT: How long did it take you to write Book 10?

MPH: It took two months to write the first draft of the book, then about another two months to revise. Then, for a couple months after that, I worked on the book for a few days at a time, here and there, to deal with line editing, copy editor questions, etc.

BT: Was it more difficult to write the last book of this EPIC series after so many other great authors (besides yourself, of course) had contributed to it?

MPH: Absolutely! After nine books of incredible, dramatic, heart-stopping action, it was really hard for me to think of something that hadn’t already been done!

We want to thank Margaret for so graciously agreeing to stop by our blog and Book Talk with us!

You’re invited to a LIVE GLOBAL WEBCAST EVENT for the release of The 39 Clues®, Book 10 on August 31, 2010!

The 39 Clues®, Book 10: Into the Gauntlet and the complete boxed set of Books 1–10 are being offered this September in the Arrow, TAB, and Teachers’ Picks catalogs! If you haven’t already, join the hunt!


Duck and Goose Have a New Friend! Meet Rocket!

26 Aug

There is a very special new character on Firefly this October and we have some very special friends who want to introduce you to him! Take a gander at the letter, and be sure to download the exclusive Book Clubs’ “I Can Read Like Rocket!” certificate for your classroom!

Click here to download our exclusive “I Can Read like Rocket” certificate! You can see a sample below:

Don’t forget you can find Duck and Goose themselves on Firefly September in a brand new adventure, Duck and Goose Find a Pumpkin!

Meet the New Kids in Class!

23 Aug

This fall, Scholastic Book Clubs wants to introduce you to the new kids in school—Frankly, Frannie and George Brown, Class Clown!  We are just so excited about these two new series, and can’t wait for you to read them, too!  We asked our Lucky Editor, Caitlin (of Ook and Gluck video fame) to tell us a little bit about these two new characters.  Check them out in your Lucky September flyers!

Frannie Miller is not your average kid. She desperately wants a job, loves offices, and hopes to get her very own assistant for Christmas. Frannie is a true original, which is why she changes her name so often. “Frankly” is her newest name—she would tell you it’s also a scientific fact! Frankly wants to be a grown-up, and she is learning to act like one every day so she can become one super fast. Actually, she has a briefcase, a résumé, and business cards already! Some of Frankly’s jobs have been a table clearer (her best one), a temperature taker, and a mustard sniffer. She wants to help out all the time; however, she sometimes gets “Frances-ed” by her mom. (That means Frankly, Frannie thought she helped, but she actually made a big mess of things.) You’ll love reading about Frannie’s crazy antics, especially if you’re already a fan of Clementine and Junie B.!

George Brown has to move around a lot because his dad is in the army. His brand-new town is Beaver Brook and his new school is Edith B. Sugarman Elementary. Since George has left Cherrydale, he has also left all his friends (including Katie Kazoo!), his old house, and even the old George behind. He wants a new start at being a new George, and that means no more class clown. In Cherrydale, everyone knew George as the funniest kid around—he was full of jokes and silly pranks! George starts out not being a total goof, but when he makes a wish on a star to make the kids in his class laugh, everything changes. Now whenever George gets this rumbly, grumbly, bubbly feeling in his stomach, a HUGE burp happens and turns him into a complete clown! Perfect for fans of Stink and Fudge!

Meet these new kids this September in Lucky to find out if Frannie will become a radio star, and whether George will get rid of his bad case of the burps, or be a class clown for life!

Teacher Advisors: Our Eyes and Ears

16 Aug

Although we here in Book Clubs love to read children’s books, and some of us even have children of our own, we rely heavily on the teachers out there on the frontlines to help us understand the pulse of the classroom year to year.  We are so lucky to be able to work with these wonderful educators who are just as excited as we are about new books and finding new ways to use them in their classrooms.  This year, you’ll be hearing from a few of these “Scholastic Teacher Advisors” as they  review hot new titles, but don’t be surprised if they pop up on the blog from time to time just to say hi!

Here’s a sneak peek of two of the September Teacher Advisor Reviews that went up on our Facebook page this morning:

Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill

[Available in Seesaw September]

It’s fire safety week in Miss Mingo’s room!  This book introduces fire drills and safety in a unique and fun way. This would be a perfect read aloud for teachers to introduce fire safety or for parents to ease their child’s worries! This book is great for animal lovers as well because it gives fun non-fiction facts about the animal characters in the book. If your child loves animals or learning about school, they would love this book. Enjoy!

—Brittany Begg Lee, First-Grade Teacher

THE SLIGHTLY ODD UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
[Available in Arrow September]

Scholastic fans young and old would enjoy THE SLIGHTLY ODD UNITED STATES OF AMERICA if they (1) have ever dreamed of being a contestant on Jeopardy, (2) would like to meet Alex Trebek, or (3) could impress millions of television viewers with their intelligence. If only (2) applies to you, I can’t help you much. Try his agent? THE SLIGHTLY ODD UNITED STATES OF AMERICA reinforced for me what a great, sometimes zany, country America is. Continue reading

Steve Brixton, Boy Detective!

11 Aug

When you think of the all time great detectives, certain names come to mind: Sherlock Holmes, the Hardy Boys, Nancy Drew, Steve Brixton–wait! Steve Brixton?! Who is that? you might be asking. Steve Brixton is the sole detective of the Brixton Brothers Detective Agency. And he is the main character in the Brixton Brothers series (which you can find in September’s Arrow and Just Right Reads!)

After solving The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity, Steve decides to open his own detective agency since his services are in high-demand. Granted, Steve is not the most astute 12-year-old detective–he is clumsy, has a knack for attracting trouble, and always seems to get his best chum Dana into all kinds of crazy situations–but with his trusty companion, The Bailey Brothers Detective Handbook, what could go wrong?

These books are hilarious, action-packed adventures that Middle Grade readers will love! I, for one, could not put them down and even LOL’d on the subway train while reading them. Enough from me, why don’t we hear about Steve Brixton and the new book in the series, The Ghostwriter Secret, from author Mac Barnett and illustrator Adam Rex!

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Meet Book Clubs: Editorial Part 1

21 Jul

We all remember circling our favorite books on Scholastic Book Club fliers to take home and beg and plead and hope that our parents would let us get them ALL.  Maybe you have recently had this experience with your student or child? There are so many great books, aren’t there? How do you choose?

There are a lot of people involved in getting Scholastic Book Clubs from our minds to your schools, and every week we’re going to introduce you to a different part of Scholastic Book Clubs.

Today, it’s all about Book Clubs editorial, where we spend long hours reading and searching through thousands of books to find the best ones for kids everywhere.

So how do we start? Continue reading

ALA Exposé: Meet Lori Ess, Senior Editor for Book Clubs

20 Jul

In case you missed it on our Facebook page, here is an amazing account of ALA from one of our Senior Editors in Book Clubs, Lori:

I was a pretty different person when I attended my first American Library Association Annual Conference back in 2005. I was about to finish my Masters in Library Science and had gone to Chicago to walk wide-eyed into a world where reading and the reader consumed everyone’s thoughts. I was also looking for a job. After five days of panel discussions, author events, conference sessions, and countless hours scouring the exhibit halls, I was fired up for my new profession. I also had found a job, and it brought me to Queens, New York, where I started my career as a Children’s Librarian. Five years later I was back at ALA, but this time as an editor for Scholastic Book Clubs. But no matter my job title, it was, as it had been five years ago, all about the books.

Each year, ALA holds an annual conference where people from all walks of librarianship, bookselling, publishing, education and technology can come together and discuss, network, and do business. As an editor with Scholastic Book Clubs, my mission was to meet publishers and seek out fabulous titles, most of which happened in the legendary Exhibit Halls. The Exhibit Halls are legendary for two reasons.

Reason #1: Swag. If you’re a book person, Continue reading