HomeBooks by AgeAges 9-12The 39 Clues Blog Tour: Access Granted, Peter Lerangis

The 39 Clues Blog Tour: Access Granted, Peter Lerangis

By Peter Lerangis, for The Children’s Book Review
Published: August 18, 2010

Welcome to the 7th stop of The 39 Clues blog tour. We are thrilled to host Peter Lerangis! Be sure to enter the giveaway for your chance to win books 1-7 of this exciting and groundbreaking series.

The teacher looked distressed as she greeted me.  “I can’t believe what happened to my class,” she said.

I braced myself.  Behind her, hundreds of excited kids were filing in to the gym.  They sat in sections based on the colors of their shirts: red, blue, green, gold, representing the four branches of the Cahill family.  Most were dressed as 39 Clues characters.  Jonah Wizard (with his bling) and Nellie Gomez (with her punk attire) were very popular — but also a set of twins dressed as fish (Saladin’s red snapper), a girl in a three-piece suit (Jonah’s dad), and a guy dressed as Nellie.

They seemed happy and engaged.  So what had gone wrong?

I knew the school had chosen The 39 Clues as the theme for that year’s curriculum.  Makes sense — the series is a worldwide search (geography) for Clues left by the most influential people of all time (history, science), involving twisty plots and strong emotional character connections (language arts) among colorful locales (visual art) and requiring the decoding of cryptic clues (mathematics, logic).

Hmm.  Was the teacher disturbed by the intensity?  It was kind of extreme …

That morning, the school had warned us to call ahead. As we got close, we were told to drive around the block and hide.  When we finally got the OK to approach, our jaws hit the floor.  The students were pouring out of the building, screaming, crowding against a line of traffic cones that stretched along the school.  Another lane of cones had been set up for us to drive through.  When I left the car and began high-fiving the kids, cones shmones — they mobbed me.  On a video of the incident, you can hear a teacher saying, “Somebody get him before they kill him.”  I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t Justin Bieber.

So maybe this teacher was worried — the way teachers in my elementary school had worried about our Beatles obsession.  I felt a vague urge to apologize.  “So, um … what did happen to your class?” I asked.

“Well, we just finished Book Two, and they have become obsessed … ” She met my eyes with a bewildered look.  “ … with Mozart!”

I was speechless — not surprised, because if anyone could make an oddball eighteenth-century composer and his sister exciting, it’s Gordon Korman — but speechless.

“And I panicked,” she continued.  “I didn’t know a thing about Mozart!”  She finally smiled, and when she glanced at her kids again, it was with great pride.  “So I had to get CDs and other materials.  We’ve been listening to his music, studying Vienna — and we’re learning so much! Now, with The Sword Thief, they’re starting to get hooked on Japanese culture.  I can’t wait!”

I couldn’t either.

Touring to promote The Sword Thief was one eye-opening experience after another.  Part of the fun was that I was in the process of writing Book 7, The Viper’s Nest.  I learned which characters the kids connected to best, which aspects of the hunt excited them the most.  They became my guides.  Until then I had been worried about writing a story involving historical figures relatively unknown to American kids (Shaka Zulu and Winston Churchill), in a locale fraught with a tortured historical legacy (South Africa).

But looking at this teacher, and at the throng of kids so excited about a book — not a movie or a song or a game or the latest app, but a book — I took courage.  If they could bond with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, well, anything was possible!

About the author: Peter Lerangis is the acclaimed author of the New York Times bestseller The 39 Clues Book Three: The Sword Thief, as well as many other popular books for children, including Spy X, Antarctica, and the Watchers series. He lives with his family in New York City.

Reading level: Ages 8-12

Series overview: The 39 Clues is a groundbreaking, multi-media adventure series for children ages 8-12 that spans 10 adrenaline-charged books, hundreds of collectible cards, and an online game that allows readers to play a part in the story and compete for prizes.

The series centers around the Cahills—the most powerful family the world has ever known. But the source of the family’s power has been lost. Grace Cahill, the last matriarch of the Cahills, changed her will minutes before she died, leaving her descendants an impossible decision: receive a million dollars or a clue. The first Cahill to assemble all 39 clues hidden around the world will discover what makes the family so powerful—a reward beyond measure. It’s Cahill versus Cahill in a race to the finish, with readers hot on the heels of the main characters, fourteen-year-old Amy Cahill and her eleven-year-old brother, Dan. The series highlights famous historical figures kicking off with Benjamin Franklin in The Maze of Bones, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart in One False Note, Toyotomi Hideyoshi in The Sword Thief, Howard Carter in Beyond the Grave, Anastasia Romanov in The Black Circle, and Amelia Earhart in In Too Deep.

The series launched on September 9, 2008, with Book 1: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan, which debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. On December 2, 2008, Book 2: One False Note by Gordon Korman was released and also debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. Since then, the series, including Book 3: The Sword Thief by Peter Lerangis, Book 4: Beyond the Grave by Jude Watson, Book 5: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman, and Book 6: In Too Deep by Jude Watson, have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists.

The complete list of authors and publication dates for all 10 books in The 39 Clues series is as follows:

Book 1: The Maze of Bones (September 9, 2008) by Rick Riordan
Book 2:One False Note (December 2, 2008) by Gordon Korman
Book 3: The Sword Thief (March 3, 2009) by Peter Lerangis
Book 4: Beyond the Grave (June 2, 2009) by Jude Watson
Book 5: The Black Circle (August 11, 2009) by Patrick Carman
Book 6: In Too Deep (November 3, 2009) by Jude Watson
Book 7: The Viper’s Nest (February 2, 2010) by Peter Lerangis
Book 8: The Emperor’s Code (April 6, 2010) by Gordon Korman
Book 9: Storm Warning (May 25, 2010) by Linda Sue Park
Book 10: Into the Gauntlet (August 31, 2010) by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Movie rights for The 39 Clues have been acquired by DreamWorks Studios with Steven Spielberg eyeing to direct. Deborah Forte, President of Scholastic Media, will produce. The script is being penned by Jeff Nathanson whose credits include “Catch Me If You Can” and “Rush Hour 2.”

39 Clues Online Game: Create an account, discover which branch of the Cahill family YOU belong to, and start exploring the website to see if you can be the first to find the Clues. Get the latest intelligence on the authors, upcoming books, answers to your questions, and more. Plus, talk strategy and share secrets with other Cahills on the 39 Clues message boards.

The 39 Clues has been licensed in 22 languages to date.

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

  • Good Luck to all that enter. I am so excited I can’t wait to see who wins! Thanks so much Peter Lerangis for keeping your mind in constant clutter with words!

    August 18, 2010
  • This is such a good series! I’ve only read the first three, I can’t believe how fast these came out.

    August 18, 2010
  • Would love to win these books! Sound so interesting to read!

    August 18, 2010
  • Tweeted about this awesome giveaway

    August 18, 2010
  • I want to win!
    I tweeted about it (http://twitter.com/mom2busyboys) and also added blurb and link in sidebar of my blog: http://janasbooklist.blogspot.com/.

    August 18, 2010
  • Please enter me in the contest

    August 18, 2010
  • My daughter just got one of these books and is enjoying it so I would love to get more of the series for her

    August 18, 2010
  • I’ve heard about this series but have not read any of the books. My middle school child is a reluctant reader and I have thought that these books might really appeal to her. Thanks for the chance to win!

    August 18, 2010
  • Can’t wait to read them all!

    August 18, 2010
  • What a great series & a great contest!

    August 18, 2010
  • My daughter would love these. Thanks for the great giveaway.

    August 18, 2010
  • I would love to read this and so would my niece. Thank you so much for the chance.

    August 18, 2010
  • Would love to have this series in our library. Thanks for holding this contest.

    August 19, 2010
  • I’ve heard such great things about this series and would love to read them! My son is currently obsessed with all things mystery. I know the books are geared towards kids who are a little older than him, but he has been loving reading chapter books with me before bed. And I love that helping to “solve a mystery” along with the characters keeps him so captivated with the stories we read!

    Thanks for the chance to enter!

    August 19, 2010
  • I tweeted: http://twitter.com/MommaStaciA/status/21632082524 Thanks!

    August 19, 2010
  • My daughter would love this complete series
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    August 21, 2010
  • tweet
    tbarrettno1 at gmail dot com

    August 21, 2010
  • Hi! I’m a teacher, and my students would be very excited to have a set of books 1-7.

    August 22, 2010
  • This is such a great series. I can’t wait for the tenth book!

    August 22, 2010
  • I’d love to win these books for my grandson. I know he would really enjoy them!

    August 22, 2010
  • I’ve heard how popular these books are. I’d love to be able to give them to my kids. Thanks.

    August 22, 2010
  • would love to add this to my classroom library!
    teacher6th ; twitter

    August 23, 2010
  • Great Middle Grade reading series!

    August 23, 2010
  • I was pleasantly surprised by the entire 39 Clues series. I had put off reading them even though many of my students had been asking me to read them. I finally broke down and read the entire series this summer and had a blast. I am thinking they would be a great history curriculum tie-in. Can’t wait to finally read the last one.

    August 23, 2010
  • My son is crazy about this series! We would love to win this extra-special giveaway.

    August 23, 2010
  • I really would love to read this series with my grandson.

    August 24, 2010
  • I am following you on Twitter as MSEREADS and ( tweeted here:
    Thank you.

    August 24, 2010
  • My son would love this. Thanks so much for the chance!

    August 24, 2010
  • Follow you on twitter and tweeted at http://twitter.com/justicecw/status/22058756830

    August 24, 2010
  • Tweeted about this giveaway.

    August 26, 2010
  • Tweeted this giveaway. 8/28

    August 28, 2010
  • I’ve heard so many wonderful things about these books! And I know my daughter would just LOVE them!

    August 29, 2010
  • I am so fascinated with what these books have to offer through their readings. They would be great for the classroom. Please enter me into your giveaway.

    September 1, 2010
  • I follow you on Twitter and tweeted about this giveaway http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/22775635563

    September 1, 2010
  • I follow you on Twitter and tweeted about this giveaway http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/22776949516

    September 1, 2010
  • I follow you on Twitter and tweeted about this giveaway http://twitter.com/ossmcalc/status/22780701020

    September 2, 2010
  • Wow! I’ve been seeing 39 Clues all over the place but had no idea what the series was all about. I homeschool my son and have decided to work the series into our curriculum this year. Can’t wait to get my hands on book #1.

    September 2, 2010
  • Please add us to this great giveaway.I have seen these books mentioned on the news about how educational and interactive they are so I would be thrilled to win these books for my daughters to read.We started homeschooling this year,so I think we could easily work these books into our curriculum. 🙂

    September 2, 2010
  • I think I’d love this book as much as my tweenies

    September 6, 2010
  • I tweeted about the giveaway: http://twitter.com/PicPocketBooks/status/23225494178

    September 7, 2010
  • My son would love these, especially since there is an online game also!

    September 7, 2010
  • Awesome! Please enter me in the contest. The kids at my library are crazy for the 39 Clues!

    September 7, 2010
  • What a nice contest! thanks for the opportunity

    September 7, 2010
  • Would love to win this book! Have heard great things about the author and a great book to teach along with a geography/ social studies lesson.

    September 9, 2010
  • Please enter me in the contest. My students love these books and I need more copies! Thanks!

    September 11, 2010
  • I have just started reading this series and cannot wait to read the rest of the series. Thanks for the giveaway.

    September 11, 2010
  • How exciting! Would love to win!

    September 13, 2010
  • Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity!

    September 14, 2010
  • This giveaway is closed. Thanks to everyone who entered!

    Our winner is MarthaE: I really would love to read this series with my grandson.


    September 17, 2010
  • Hello Bianca –
    Thank you so much. However I already won and accepted at an early blog stop. So, as much as I would love to have through book 7, please pass this to another reader. 🙂

    September 17, 2010
  • Awarded to an alternate winner:

    Annmarie W. said:

    I’ve heard so many wonderful things about these books! And I know my daughter would just LOVE them!

    September 19, 2010
  • Thanks for sharing your thoughts about peter lerangis.

    December 27, 2014

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