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Chasing Ghosts Throughout History

By Jeremy Loudenback
December 1, 2002

The Ghost Hunter

Part macabre spook story, part detective thriller and part history lesson, Trish Kline’s new series of books are aimed at getting reluctant readers to pick up books by using a combination of suspense and web-based innovation. Kline’s newest offering, entitled The Ghost Hunter, uses web-based links to extend the storytelling concept out of the book and onto the web page. Readers follow the exploits of Cori Denton, a specter-spotting detective of the supernatural, and her computer guru sidekick, Marta Santiago, as they solve historical whodunits around the world featuring spirits from beyond the grave. Each book focuses on an era from history and uses multimedia tools to grab a child’s interest.

At the end of each chapter of the print book, readers are directed to a link on the Internet, where a clue awaits the reader in the form of a webscene. Astute readers can assemble the clues in the webscenes to solve the mystery before the intrepid duo. Webscenes are illustrations, animation, video or audio clips, puzzles or games. Anything, Kline says, to involve young readers in the reading process and pique their curiosity about the learning experience. While children enjoy taut mystery and bone chilling visits from ghosts, they also glean an appreciation of an era’s history. The current selection of Ghost Hunter uses the setting of the Civil War to teach children about the grisly conditions of hospitals during the time. In order to help ghosts trapped between the worlds of the living and the dead, Cori and Marta must learn about the history of the time to set things right.

The Ghost Hunter And The Ghost of Gettysburg

In a day where reading takes a back seat to the short attention span of television and the fighting frenzy of computer games, Kline is following the path many booksellers are considering: utilizing creative approaches like the Internet to make reading a greater priority for youngsters. In describing the impetus for her Ghost Hunter project, Kline recalls repeatedly hearing about the problem of “reluctant readers” in schools and the necessity of reaching out to them in a way that would capture their interest.

“So many adults want to write books based on their learning experience,” Kline said. “Kids can’t identify with that. This generation is growing up in a very visually stimulating culture. We have to adapt to them.”

Garnering positive reviews from such esteemed educational sources as Library Talk and The Book Report, Kline has had The Ghost Hunter on the market since June of this year. Initially, Ghost Hunter started with a tale about the Civil War, but Kline has written two more stories to entice young readers. This year has brought more and more reviews from teachers, who hail her innovative approach to reading that is based on years of various experiences in education. Kline and partner Mary Kaiser Donev have penned over 50 children’s books as well as software titles, videos and children’s television programming. In January, Kline looks to premiere Earth Academy 7, an adventure for younger ages with interactive exercises online that build reading skills and teach about computers.

Information about ordering the Ghost Hunter books can be found at theghosthunteronline.com. For a sneak peek at a Ghost Hunter adventure, go to theghosthunteronline.com/books/gettysburg/index.html, and follow the links to adventure. Happy ghost hunting!


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