Monday, March 17, 2014

What's Better Than a Series? A Series Sequel!

To a reader, there is no better feeling than being totally bitten by a book and knowing that it is part of a SERIES! The story doesn't have to end when the last page has been turned. Wait! Maybe there is something to surpass that - a sequel to the series.

Hands down, one of the best purchases for my school library this past year has been Seven (The Series). This adventure series is unique in the fact that a common plot starter ties the narratives together; yet, each of the seven titles totally stands alone. Not only does each book feature a separate main character with his own adventure, but each title is written by a different author. Some of the top names in Canadian children's literature have collaborated to create Seven (The Series): Sigmund Brouwer, Norah McClintock, Shane Peacock, Richard Scrimger, Ted Staunton, Eric Walters, and John Wilson.

Naturally, readers are attracted to different characters, plot lines, and author styles. Students have been very vocal about sharing their favourites with me. This is where the true brilliance of the concept is shown - not only does it increase the potential audience, but it exposes readers to new authors to explore. The series has been well-received by both boys and girls, and since the titles may be read in any order, it has been a logistical gift to my Holds Shelf.

Now, along comes The Seven Sequels (Orca Book Publishers). I know I am going to have some happy students when this stand-alone series hits bookstores on October 1, 2014. The original series has as its starting point the death of beloved grandfather, David McLean. In his will, McLean leaves each of his seven teen-aged grandsons with an adventure or quest to complete. This time the grandsons have stumbled upon something so shocking that it makes them question who their grandfather really was. Before we know it the teenagers are off on seven more thrilling adventures to find the truth.

I was intrigued by the origins of this collaborative venture. Although the original series "came out of the blue," the sequels, according to Eric Walters were developed as the authors travelled together while promoting Seven. While their work is often done in solitude, they enjoyed the shared experience, appreciated the positive response to the series, and were eager to continue the tales. In true twenty-first century learning style, the authors brainstormed together and came up with a common starting point to kick off a sequel series.

Prior to the release of the original series, Orca uploaded monthly excerpts from the books onto their website. There may be plans to do this again with the sequel, so I suggest checking in regularly at the series' site: here.

The Seven Sequels. Orca Books, October 2014.
Audience: Ages 10-14

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