Friday, November 13, 2009

Press Release: 2010, Year of the Children's Mystery Book

2010: Year of the Children's Mystery Book

(CHARLOTTE, NC) - At the American Association of School Librarians, to be held in Charlotte, North Carolina in early November, Carole Marsh, Founder and CEO of Gallopade International, will announce 2010 as the Year of the Children's Mystery Book. Marsh was a longtime North Carolina resident and is the most popular children's book author in the state, with almost a dozen NC-based mysteries. She founded Gallopade in Rocky Mount in 1979 and the company is now one of the top producers of children's mystery books in the world.

"The children's mystery book has a long and distinguished history in literature for young people," says Marsh, originator and spokesperson for 2010: Year of the Children's Mystery Book. "Today, mystery books for readers ages 7-14 serve a more important purpose than ever," says Marsh. "Often, even for reluctant readers, the short, chapter, mystery-based book is the key that turns the lock of turning children on to reading!"

Marsh should know. As long ago as the mid-1970s, while living in Bath, the author was encouraged to write a mystery so compelling that it would lure children back to reading from television. "Uh, that was black and white TV," the author reminds. The then unpublished author responded by spending a year researching the pirate history of the colonial port town of Bath, former home and haunt of the infamous Blackbeard, so-called "Fiercest Pirate of Them All!" "I had grown up reading Nancy Drew and even Hardy Boys," Marsh explains. "But they seemed tame and old-fashioned compared to television. So I created a new mystery series using real children as characters and real places as settings. Something about that real life combo captured the imagination of young readers and I found that I had created a monster: an instantly successful children's mystery series!"

The Mystery of Blackbeard the Pirate, Marsh's first "Real Kids/Real Places" mystery, was widely hailed by readers, booksellers, school and public librarians, parents, and critics as a great new wrinkle in children's mysteries. The author actually had to create a small press, recruit family and other employees, and instantly gain numerous new skills to keep up with the demand for books which at that time focused exclusively on Tarheel locations such as the Biltmore House, Kill Devil Hills, the Graveyard of the Atlantic, and others.

Soon, locales across the nation begged to be included in the series and Marsh expanded her growing list of books to include locations across America, ranging from New York City to the Grand Canyon to the Space Center in Houston and on Alaska's Iditarod Trail. Simultaneously, she created an opportunity for children to "apply" to become characters in future books. After her own children (now adults active in the publishing company) outgrew real character roles, she used the children of family and friends as well as eager applicants for the roles from around the U.S. Today, her grandchildren, Christina and Grant, are the key characters, with other real children filling slots in mysteries as diverse as new ones for 2010 such as The Mystery at Fort Sumter and The Mystery at Yellowstone National Park.

"The goal of the 2010: Year of the Children's Mystery Book is to revive further interest in this amazing genre," says Michele Yother, president of Gallopade International, today a global publisher of educational fiction and non-fiction for the children's market. "The competition for kids' time is tough: video games, computer time, and yes, as always, television. From our 30 years in this specific industry, our experience with Carole Marsh Mysteries has emphasized how crucial the role of a well-written, entertaining, and even educational mystery can be in both transforming good readers into avid readers, but also reluctant readers into reading more and at much improved capabilities."

While 2010: Year of the Children's Mystery Book will launch at the AASL biennial conference, the coming year will include many special events, including those tied to National Reading Week and other such literary times. Marsh will complete a major new history on the children's mystery book, which will be released early in the year. Contests, tie-ins, and other creative opportunities will be announced in a calendar to be sent out closer to year-end.

"We continue to gather sponsors and other alliances," says Sherry Moss, head of Gallopade's New Product Development department. "For 30 years, we have had the strong support of teachers, parents, librarians, homeschoolers, booksellers, Accelerated Reader, school supply and teacher stores, and so many others in the wide and varied community who help match young readers with good books they really will read, and that is, now more than ever ... a children's mystery book!"

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1 comment:

  1. I like The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart.
    It's really good! I recommend it highly. :D.
    It's my favorite book!!


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