(This story appeared in our local newspaper after my launch party for “Someone’s Trapped.” It was so much fun!)
A launch party was held on the weekend for Someone’s Trapped, a sports-themed mystery for children aged eight to twelve, by author Maureen Grenier, resident of Tsawwassen, BC. This is the second in the Viking Club Mystery series, and the mystery is spun out against the backdrop of kids’ summer soccer.
“I love writing sports-themed mysteries for children because the sports world is a microcosm of life itself,” explained Ms Grenier to the gathering of friends and fans. “Through sports experiences—good and bad—children learn how to cope with life, and learn that winning is fun and losing is no disgrace and simply part of the learning process.
The author says that the solution to helping poor readers improve their reading skills is encouraging them to read enough to master the craft and fast enough to enjoy the story, which is the goal of ‘reading for fun.’ What can help motivate children to finish reading a mystery is to find out “whodunit.”
“Sometimes, it is a matter of finding the right book at the right reading level to captivate a young reader,” Ms. Grenier said. “There is no pressure in reading for fun—no test, no danger of being called up to read in front of the class, and no worrisome questions. The only question for the reader is, did you like the book?”
The author gave a brief reading and explained that at the centre of the mystery in Someone’s Trapped is thirteen-year-old Rebecca who is horrified to discover that she has become a suspect in a series of thefts from her soccer team dressing room. Rebecca calls on the Viking Club Detective Agency for help, and hopes that she and the other two members of the club, 12-year-old Chris and 10-year-old Jaylon, will come up with a plan to prove her innocence. If they fail, Rebecca will pay the price. Meanwhile, Chris is trying to cope with being bullied, and Jaylon wants to help solve his good buddy’s problem. Can the young detectives help each other?
“Recent Canadian studies have shown that reading fiction helps children develop empathy and understanding and makes them more adept at sizing up people and social situations,” Ms Grenier pointed out. She added, “Mysteries have the additional benefit of helping children develop their problem-solving strategies, which, of course, has important life applications.
“When helping your children choose books for summer reading, be sure to include a mystery or two,” the author advised. “Reading for fun can help lure children away from the onslaught of summer TV programs and video games for a while. If the reader stumbles over a word, supply it. Do what you can to help move the story along.”
The afternoon book launch included a book signing, and wine and appetizers were served to the guests. The first book of the series, Something’s Missing, a hockey-themed mystery, was also available for purchase.
Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Maureen Grenier and a clickable link back to this page.