Children's Literature in Education

, Volume 42, Issue 3, pp 256–273

New Literacies and Multimediacy: The Immersive Universe of The 39 Clues

Original Paper


The 39 Clues (2009) is a multimedia series produced by Scholastic for readers 7–14 years old that includes printed texts released periodically; trading cards also published periodically in print and virtually; and a complex, intriguing, and entertaining website. To fully experience the multimedia series, the publishers expect that readers can read printed text, negotiate the website that blurs the boundaries between history and fiction, author, character, and reader, compete for prizes, and build online communities. The more able a reader is to use multiple media sources for her own purposes, the more likely she is to reach the end goal of solving the central mystery of the series and win cash prizes. We found that The 39 Clues is a unique instantiation of new literacies (e.g. Knobel and Lankshear, A New Literacies Sampler, 2007) in action.


Children’s literature New literacies Multimedia book series Online environment 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Elementary Education and Literacy Programs, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, College of EducationUniversity of AlabamaTuscaloosaUSA

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