Scholastic has just announced their next big multi-platform project and this time, it's science fiction. Introducing Infinity Ring (Scholastic's follow-up to The 39 Clues), a time-travel book that takes kids into the battle for history itself.
In 2008 (two years before the introduction of the iPad) Scholastic realized that in the future kids wouldn't be satisfied with books alone — they would want websites, interactive content, games and more. They also realized that media companies that control copyrights (a tactic more common among movie studios and comic book companies than publishers) can exploit their copyrights fully across a variety of media and make more money.
Thus was the globe-trotting mystery The 39 Clues born. Each book had a different author, collectible cards and codes that unlocked online content. Kids who played the online game became eligible for prizes like free books. There was also a grand prize of $10,000. And it was all wrapped up in the noble ideas of teaching kids about history. The online games were also designed to sneakily teach kids all about online research and evaluating sources and such.
The sequel to The 39 Clues, Infinity Ring will also involve learning more about history. Characters Dak Smyth and Sera Froste accidently discover a time travel device after Dak's parents go missing. They are helped by the Hystorians who are trying to right time. With the Infinity Ring, a time travel device, and Riq, an Hystorian-in-training, Dak and Sera travel through time fixing "Great Breaks." The books in the series will be accompanied by online video games.
What's really exciting about this project are the writers Scholastic has brought on to pen these time travel adventures. Carrie Ryan, the author of the post-apocalyptic zombie novel, The Forest of Hands and Teeth will be writing the second book. The award-winning Matt de la Peña, author of Mexican Born White Boy will contribute as well. The first book is by New York Times best-selling author of The Maze Runner James Dashner. Middle grade sci-fi is still a pretty sparse genre compared to fantasy for the same age. A big, well advertised series like this may help get more kids interested in not just history, but sci-fi as well.