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Scholastic Kids Press Corps
The Scholastic Kids Press Corps is a team of about 50 Kid Reporters around the nation.  The interactive site brings daily news to life with reporting for kids, by kids.
News anchor for The 39 Clues, William Michael (center), talks to four of the five the authors of the book series: (from left) Patrick Carman, Peter Lerangis, Jude Watson, and Gordon Korman, at a live webcast on November 2. (Photo by Miles White)

Join in the Hunt for The 39 Clues

Live webcast kicks off release of Book Six in multimedia book series

By Gowtham Balaji | November 3 , 2009

Agents in training all over the world had been waiting for this moment. The atmosphere in the Scholastic auditorium was electric as kids from several schools in New York City and many, many more from across the country awaited the beginning of a live webcast featuring their favorite authors of The 39 Clues® book series.

The 39 Clues Advanced Agent Training webcast broadcast live on November 2 at the Scholastic headquarters in New York City. The event kicked off the next-day release of the newest book in the series, In Too Deep by Jude Watson.

When authors Gordon Korman, Peter Lerangis, Patrick Carman, and Watson came on stage there was a huge burst of applause. "News Anchor" William Michaels, who stars on The 39 Clues website, sat in as training moderator in place of Whoopi Goldberg who was sick. Author Rick Riordan joined in via Skype from a remote location.

Authors Reveal their Research


First step in the training, the authors revealed some of their research secrets. Riordan, who wrote the first book, The Maze of Bones, said he learned that one of his main characters, Benjamin Franklin, was in Paris when people in France began using the city's catacombs to store human bones. That's how he decided to make the catacombs home to one of the first clues.

"What a creepy place!" Riordan said. "Talk about a great Halloween location."

Korman discussed how he researched Venice for the setting of Book Two, One False Note. He had looked forward to writing about a great car chase, but he discovered there were no roads in Venice. The city is a group of hundreds of islands connected by canals. His car chase turned into a boat chase!

Lerangis, author of Book Three, The Sword Thief, has always been interested in alchemy, which is the science of turning any metal into gold.

"Imagine how valuable my car would be," he joked. His research led him to the discovery that Isaac Newton was one of the first to research alchemy. The man who discovered gravity had extensive notes on his research, which mysteriously burned up in a fire. His findings were lost to history, but were ripe for use in The 39 Clues.

Advanced Agent Training Begins

Finally, it was time to test the agents in training. A panel of four kids worked together to come up with the answers to five different puzzles. The audience—both in the auditorium and in classrooms logged on via the Internet—had two and a half minutes to come up with each of the five answers.

The tests focused on math, geography, deductive reasoning, language arts, and problem solving. Each correct answer revealed two letters that then had to be unscrambled to answer the question: "Who is the secret partner of William McIntyre?"

The Inside Scoop

Toward the end of the webcast, each of the authors revealed a secret about the clues in their respective books. Lerangis revealed the title and cover of the next release, Book Seven, which he has already written: The Viper's Nest.

Watson had the real shocker. Someone readers know very well is going to die in Book Six. The whole auditorium gasped at the news.

Watson spoke to this Kid Reporter after the webcast. She said she enjoyed writing The 39 Clues series because building on another author's story was a challenge that presented her with new ideas.

Working on the book was fun, but sometimes difficult, especially because of the amount of research involved. "If I had to pick [the most difficult part] I would choose the ending," she said.

Samir, a fifth grade audience member, said he liked the books mainly because he enjoyed looking for clues. He now wants to read other books by the authors.

Laura, another fifth grader, said her favorite character was Amy Cahill.

The best things about The 39 Clues, said several fans, was getting involved in the hunt for clues, collecting cards, and tracking the story in print and on the web.

You can watch a video of the webcast and join the hunt for clues on The 39 Clues website.

Kid Reporter Gowtham Balaji reviews The 39 Clues Book Six: In Too Deep by Jude Watson.

Check out more interviews with 30 Clues authors and reviews of books in the series in the Kid Reporters' collection of 39 Clues stories!

KIDS READ

Do you need help picking out what book to read next? Find out what Kid Reporters are saying about all the latest books by reading their book reviews in this special report.

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