Renee Hand and The Crypto-Capers - A New Interactive Reading Series for Kids
Today's special guest is author Renee Hand. The first two books in her Crypto-Capers series have been released and a third book is due out later this year. We reviewed The Case of the Missing Sock and The Case of Red Rock Canyonhere and here.
In this story siblings Max and Mia Holmes, along with their good friend Morris and their flamboyant Granny Holmes, are know as The Crypto-Capers. They are a group of detectives who unravel crimes by solving cryptograms that criminals leave behind.
Renee is touring the blogosphere in June to promote Book 1. The Case of the Missing Sock leads the Crypto-Capers to Florida, where they are hired by a Mr. Delacomb. The mystery leads the team to different locations. Clues flourish throughout the mystery. Suspects by the handful seem to pop up at every turn, but who committed the crime?
Readers must solve the cryptograms and puzzles to help the detectives solve the crime.
Renee shares with us the inspiration behind this new interactive children's detective series and why she targeted this specific age group.
My Crypto-Capers Series is read mostly by 4th-7th graders. I wrote in this age group for many reasons. After doing lots of research and asking some of my book industry friends, I came to the conclusion that there were a lack of books out there for this age group, especially around that 5th – 6th grade level. The biggest complaints I have heard from some teachers I have asked concerning reading, is that they have kids who are just not interested in reading. Reading comprehension we know is big in schools and in testing and there are many kids out there who are just not thinking about what they are reading and they want everything just laid out for them nice and easy. Several kids that I have talked to from all over have admitted this to me. That’s a problem and it is a hard one to overcome. Kids not wanting to think about what they are reading, and just getting by. Well, we all know that you just can’t “get by” in life. In life we know that we need to have reading comprehension in our lives as well as problem solving and critical thinking. If kids don’t start asking themselves why things happen then they will never know.
That’s where my series comes in. This series is fun and entertaining, always keeping the reader’s attention. Not only does the series challenge the avid reader, but also keeps the reluctant reader's attention. As soon as the reader picks up the book, they have instantly joined the team as a detective. The reader will be asked to look up different things and to participate in the story on different occasions. My goal was to have kids remember what they were reading because they were learning information with value, yet having fun at the same time. I am all about having fun in my stories and the activities I create for it. I want kids to learn about various things and remain interested in them. But most importantly I want my readers to ask why? Why did this happen? How did it come about? That’s what I love about mysteries. I love to read mysteries and the reason why is because I have to think about what I am reading. I have to pay attention to detail and why events in the story are happening. That is what I am teaching kids to do in my series. They need to ask why, and when they do, they will be rewarded with an answer and a better understanding. Kids have to realize that they also can’t always believe what they see, sometimes our eyes deceive us. We see things happen and we come to a conclusion based off what we see, not what we know. I am getting kids to find the whole truth in something and not to believe everything they see but to put the effort into finding out what really happened.
There were no major hurdles that I had to overcome in writing in this genre or for this age group. The biggest thing that every author deals with is getting your book out there to the right audience who will most benefit from it. I have learned a lot since my first book was published a few years ago. I have four books to my credit with more to come and each book brings its own frustrations and problems to overcome, but what I have also learned is to be strong and determined. Any problem can be fixed with a little time and patience.