Cool New Blog

Today I stumbled on a cool new blog and wanted to pass it on.  Ink Splot 26 is put together by sixteen Scholastic staffers and is full of daily information on new books, new movies (based on books!), and interviews with celebrities and authors.  According to their info:

nk Splot 26 is your daily blog for info on the hottest titles, authors, and industry events around. Get the latest on books before they hit the big screen, and hear from celebs about their favorite reads! Soak up exclusives, gasp at spoilers, test your trivia, stream some video, and surf our Top Five Listings. And if you’ve got an opinion — we wanna hear it!

I’ve added them to my Google reader and love the information they post!  Keep an eye on them.  :)

The Next Harry Potter?

Those of you who have been wallowing in children’s lit purgatory since the publication of “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, the last Harry Potter book, can now rest easy. On Tuesday morning, Scholastic is expected to officially announce the publishing of their newest series, which they hope will become the next Harry Potter. “The 39 Clues” will be a multi-author series spanning 10 books. There will also be web, video game, trading cards, and other merchandising tie-ins. The series is aimed at the same middle grade age group that embraced Harry Potter a decade ago. The mysteries will tell the story of the Cahill’s, a centuries-old family who are also the world’s most powerful family. Famous historical figures, including Ben Franklin and Mozart, will be labeled as members of the Cahill family tree, with the plots centering on two young protagonists, Amy (14) and Dan (11). Amy and Dan will race against other branches of their family tree to be the first to find 39 clues that will lead to ultimate power. The first book will be penned Rick Riordan, author of the best-selling Percy Jackson series (which I love). Riordan has also outlined the story arc for the remaining 9 novels, which will be penned by authors such as Gordon Korman, Jude Watson, and Peter Lerangis.

This is quite a coup for Scholastic, as they will retain all rights to this series, unlike Harry Potter- JK Rowling retained the rights to Harry Potter, allowing her to search out and control her own movie and licensing deals. Scholastic is crossing their fingers that this series will be the next Harry Potter while also lining their pockets even more than Harry Potter did.

I am not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I do love Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, and Gordon Korman is also popular with my students (I am not familiar with the other two authors mentioned). On the other hand, and I am leaning more towards this one, I have never been a fan of multi-author series. I find that it is hard to keep story elements consistent when you have a different author penning each volume of the series. Or the books become too simplified, like The Babysitters Club. A series like this feels too manufactured for my tastes. I will say that I am a bit intrigued by the plot summary. It sounds like a middle grade version of “The Da Vinci Code”/National Treasure. But I can easily see it moving into the boring, preachy, historical fiction that my students can’t stand. I will probably read the first volume and make a decision from there. But I will be interested in seeing the final product when it is released in September.

Do I think this will be the next Harry Potter? No, I don’t. I don’t think you can predict that kind of success. Kids know what they love, and it can be almost impossible to predict what that is from day to day. Also, Harry Potter built up an incredible YA and adult fan base, who grew up with the books. With these books being published multiple times a year, Scholastic will lose that very important aspect of the fan base- fans won’t have time to grow with the series. Yet, there is something to be said for instant gratification, and most kids these days are used to that instant result when they ask for something. Plus, the online and gaming tie-ins will add a new twist to the marketing scheme, one that Harry Potter had to do without when the first few books were published.

What do you think? Is Scholastic trying too hard here? Will “The 39 Clues” be a success? More importantly, will you read the series?

Scholastic Sale Damage

This weekend, a friend and I volunteered at the Scholastic Warehouse Sale.  It was a great way to earn some money to spend at the sale, and spend I did!  I spent my voucher plus a good deal of money.  However, I purchased approximately 60 books for 1/3 of their retail price.  Needless to say, you can expect a lot of reviews over the next few weeks!  I was lucky enough to purchase a lot of very new titles, specifically a few mentioned on some mock Newbery lists.  :)

Scholastic Sale

Attention teachers! Be on the lookout for a Scholastic Warehouse sale near you. I know the NJ one is coming up in the next week or so (and I am volunteering as a cashier). There are sales all across the country, though, so check it out! The warehouse sales are a great way to build up your classroom library. Books are usually 50-80% off and there are many books for $2 and under. The sales are held a few times each year and I normally spend about $100 and am able to get over $300 worth of new books for that price. You will find books from the club flyers, book fairs, and even adult books. I will be sure to do a little Christmas shopping at the sale, too.

Also, Scholastic Dollar Days are here!!!! Check out the Scholastic website for over 700 items on sale for $1. The items include professional books, bulletin board sets, activity books, folders, and much, much more. I’ve already placed my order, and the items go quickly so get going!

A word of caution, you do need to be a teacher or homeschooler to take advantage of either of these offers.

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