Yesterday, I released three books into the wild, in a fun Book Scavenger Hunt game I discovered. I thought today, I should give you a little backstory about where the idea came from. Think Geocaching with books, (without the required understanding of navigation and compass stuff), and you'll have some idea where this is going.
Since my childhood, I've always loved scavenger hunts. Mysterious clues leading to more clues, leading to treasures, with fun surprises along the way. As an adult, I've missed them, but found a temporary fix with the National Treasure films. Yes, I know, these are are films in league with Casablanca... but getting lost in the mystery of the clues and where they lead - well - I can do that all day long. This is probably why I've watched the films more times than I can count. The thrill of the hunt never gets old for me... even if I know the outcome. It's one of the few child-like indulges I've held on to over the years.
When I found a story called Book Scavenger, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman I knew I needed to read it. It's a middle-grade tale of clues, ciphers, adventure, mystery, and BOOKS! For me, this is the perfect combination for summer entertainment. The story is about a twelve-year-old girl who plays a game, hosted online, where players follow clues that lead them to discover books in hiding places around town. I was transported back to sixth grade as I read and followed the adventure. I thoroughly enjoyed it. As I turned each page, I kept thinking... Someone should actually build this game... I wonder how difficult it would be?
Well, at the end of the book, I discovered that it's a real thing, this book scavenger hunt game, and I was tickled to discover that there are actually two versions; one specifically designed for children, and one intended for readers of all ages. As it turns out, this has been a thing for a pretty long time. I wish I'd known about it sooner.
Here's how you can play along and spread the joy of both literacy and scavenger hunts!
Book Scavenger, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman is the book that started it all, for me. I highly recommend that anyone who loves books, and games, and mystery, read it. It's a quick, fun read. A great family read, and a great introduction to the idea of scavenger hunts, writing codes, and breaking codes. There are three books in the series, and I'll be reading the next two shortly... I'm hooked on these characters and their literary adventures!
The author actually designed a kid's version of the game on her website. It's fun and easy to play along - and it's free! I'll be releasing my children's books using this site in the next week or so. Check it out at https://bookscavenger.com/
BookCrossing.com is the other website with a similar program. This is where I released three of my books so far; and it's where Ms. Bertman says she got the idea for her book. This game has been around since April 21, 2001... and quite honestly, I'm shocked that I didn't know about it until now!
According to the website, there are currently 1,898,581 BookCrossers and 13,323,533 books travelling throughout 132 countries. It's incredible how much there is to this site. There's a serious movement going on here to connect people with literature in a super-fun way. If you find one of my books (or any others that have been hidden), there is an easy field to fill in the ID number right on the top of the home page... and the site will walk you through the rest.
This is a great way, especially during the time of COVID to connect authors, their books, and readers, with a fun activity that is mostly outdoors. This is a game that's fun, even when socially distanced. If you're an author, this is an, inexpensive addition to your marketing toolbox. Visit the website at https://www.bookcrossing.com
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