If you’re like me, you’re in the middle of last-minute online holiday shopping. Right now I’m shopping for my ten-year-old nephew, who's not crazy about reading, but loves to play online games. I’ve found the perfect gift: The 39 Clues!
I heard about The 39 Clues on an NPR Morning Edition segment last week. The 39 Clues is a suspense-adventure series in which brother and sister Dan and Amy Cahill collect clues to solve the mystery of their family’s special powers. While Dan (age 11) and Amy (age 14) are collecting clues, so are Cahill relatives in other branches of the family. Each wants to be first to collect all 39 clues and a one million dollar inheritance.
The series is a combination of books, clue cards, and online game playing. And it's funny! The 39 Clues is like Magic Tree House, Nancy Drew, Boxcar Children, and Harry Potter all in one.
Read on to find out more about The 39 Clues.
When my daughter, Julie, was a 5th grader, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone came out. I credit Harry Potter with making Julie into a real reader. In the same way, The 39 Clues will make readers out of today’s upper elementary and middle school students.
It’s a multi-platform series. Readers use books, cards, and a Web site to discover facts and solve a mystery. Each book comes with six clue cards, and readers can purchase sets of 16 cards that go with certain books. Cards and Internet activities are part of clue collecting.
Photo: Scholastic bookstore display.
The first ten books in The 39 Clues series were written by a team of authors between 2008 and 2010. Rick Riordan wrote the first book, The Maze of Bones, and outlined the series. Other authors include Linda Sue Park, who wrote Book 9, Storm Warning, and Margaret Peterson Haddix, author of Book 10, Into the Gauntlet. The Black Book of Buried Secrets is a recently published guidebook.
It would be fun to read The 39 Clues with your class. Book 1 could be read aloud as a way to get students into the series. To introduce the books, you could show your class a video clip. For more ideas, teacher resources are also available.
If your students have already read the first ten books in The 39 Clues, a second part of the series is coming this spring. In April 2011, Vespers Rising, Book 1 in the second series, will be coming out!
I've decided to get my nephew the first three books, a package of cards for Books 1–3, and The Black Book of Buried Secrets. After he opens his presents, I'm going to show him how to join the Web site and read the first few chapters of The Maze of Bones aloud.
Have you taught reading or writing lessons based on The 39 Clues? If you have, please share them here!
Due out in April 2011!