Novels with a Digital Connection

One of the hot new crazes in children & teen novels these days is making them interactive with online components.  Children are able to read the novels and then continue the story by playing online games, connecting with the characters online or watching videos that make connections directly with the story.


The 39 Clues

The most popular novel series that has an online game component is The 39 Clues.  This series created by Scholastic and penned by several different authors is a story about two children who are on a journey traveling around the world to find the 39 Clues to solve the mystery that their grandmother left for them to solve after her passing.  These novels make many connections to history and culture along with being suspenseful as the children encounter and solve problems along the way.

The online gaming portion connected to the book, allows users to play online missions to receive more clues.  There is also a section to play mini games to buff up on clue-hunting.  The clues, along with the game cards, help readers to solve the mysteries of The 39 Clues.  The game cards come with the books and can also be purchased separately.  You add these clues to your online account to help you solve the missions.

There is also an iPhone/iTouch app that follows The 39 Clue series.  The game includes 39 mazes that have to be solved by the player.  Once all of the mazes are solved, a clue is revealed to be used for the online gaming portion from the main website.

The Amanda Project

Another mutil-platform series that is available is The Amanda Project.  This series of novels is geared for teenage girls.  It is about a unique girl named Amanda.  She starts at a new school and is trying to make friends.  Then,she suddenly vanishes from the town.  A group of students then set out to find her and solve the mystery.  In total, there will be 8 books in this mystery series.

The online component of the book allows the users to interact with each other.  There are message boards where users can post questions or ideas about the mystery presented in the novel.  There is also a component where users can write stories, poems, or create drawings that have the possibility of being published on the website.  Another interactive component of the website is that users can take fun quizzes that relate to the book to see which totem you most closely resemble.

Skeleton Creek

Skeleton Creek is a book combined with a movie.  Readers follow the novel from the perspective of Ryan, a boy who has been injured in mysterious accident and is housebound and forbidden to see his friend, Sarah.  After reading between 20-30 pages, users are given a web address and a password to go online to watch a video from the perspective of Sarah, who is out exploring with her video camera.  This series is geared toward middle school students to get them excited about reading.

There is also a community portion of the website where readers can leave comments and connect with other readers to discuss the novels.

These multi-platform novel series would be a great way to get struggling readers active in reading through the online connections in a fun and interactive way this summer.

Article By Laura Ketcham

Picture By Bruce McKay~YSP

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