Tuesday, June 23, 2009

39 Clues ... an interesting concept

Normally,  series titles bore me.  The only series I ever finished as a juvenile reader were the Little House books.  I loved them!  But when Laura Ingells Wilder decided that the stories were over,  I never went back to reading another series.  An occasional Nancy Drew, but never the a series.  For today's young reader, the trend in Children's Literature seems to be that authors have to come up with a series.  There are so many good series out to choose from, that it is quite a task to find the best ones. As a librarian reliving her youth through some of these titles,  I wish these books would have been around when I was a kid.   One of the best series was,  Percy Jackson and the Olympians which became an unexpected thrill through Greek Mythology.   Rick Riordian found gold and the stories are quite a gem.   So it came to no surprise to me that the next adventure he chooses to tackle is the 39 Clues.  
The best way to describe the 39 Clues series is think of the movie, National Treasure, but instead of Nicholas Cage running around the world searching for clues and hidden treasures, it is two young orphans who have conniving relatives,  au pair who is responsible, yet cool in a punk-like way, and a chance to become rich.  The adventures of Dan and Amy Cahill are to say the least outlandish.  Having said that, even though the reader may think to themselves "Yeah, right.",  they are hooked in trying to decipher the clues alongside Amy and Dan.   Each book has it's own set of  trading cards.  The cards can then be used to find additional clues online at   It's reading with a board game feel.  
This series has four books out to date and a fifth title in the series due out in August 11th and the final book will be out by September 2010. In order to see all 39 clues and try to win the game, readers read he book collect the cards and choose missions on the website. Fans can't wait to see what happens next, but I got to wonder are there any closet 39 clues addict out there who would want to form an alliance to solve the mystery of the Cahill fortune?   If you have read the 39 Clues,  young or old, and would like to share insights on Amy and Dan's treasure hunt,  leave a post to this blog.  I am not sure where this will lead, but I am hoping that as a librarian this could lead to the rewarding treasure of sharing books with young readers.  

Monday, June 15, 2009

Needed to Read This One!

As  a Youth Services Librarian, I find that summer months are the busiest times at the library.   Kids are off for the summer, and parents are looking to entertain their children as cheaply as possible.  Who can blame them?  Especially in this economy.   (Yes,  another "hurray" for  public libraries  and  the role they play in the community.)   Having said that, I have been busy catching up on  reading  books that I have been on my Need to Read List.  Since I am busier in the Summer, I try to steal as much time as I can to read.  Trust me, it is a challenge.  Next to my desk, I've got a notebook that I have dedicated to Need to Read.  Hardly do I ever say,want to read because for me want and need go hand in hand.  Besides, Need to Read sounds so poetic, doesn't it?  So beginning today, I am going to add a new part of my blog where I will name it "Need to Read".   
For a quick, yet  wonderful story of family, identity and love I needed to read So B. It by Sarah Weeks.  Very few authors can take the ingredients of an unusual situation, a strong female character, a journey of discovery  and turn it into a story that whips up the emotions and imagination.  Ms. Weeks does this with class and style.  Admittedly at first, the premise of a child growing up in a home with a mentally challenged mother and a neighbor who is agoraphobic (fear of going outside)  seemed a bit depressing.  Really, how interesting  could this thirteen year-old's life be? It seemed to be reminiscent of Higher Power of Lucky, which was the worst book that I have ever had the displeasure of reading.  Not another story about a girl who lives in depressing neighborhood, where there is no hope for things ever changing.   Thankfully,  Ms. Weeks tells the story of Heidi's journey in a way that lifts the spirit.  It is a classic underdog story that everyone loves.   Heidi not only wins our attention, she wins in life too. Without giving the ending away, it is safe to say that Heidi not only finds her identity, she is also able to discern what is and is not important to know.  The book is definitely one to pick up at the library or at your local bookstore.  If either places don't have it, ask to  have it interloaned or ordered.  It's that  good! 
If anyone has a suggestion of titles or books that may be deserving of being placed on the Need To Read List, please send suggestions to