Matthew Cody, author of the “Powerless” series and other popular middle grade books, has a new book out, “The Peddler’s Road.” Right now, Cody is on the road (not the Peddler’s Road) touring and presenting to elementary schools about his books and his life.
Like his books, Cody’s story is fascinating, with never a dull moment. He bonds with the kids from the start, asking them how many of them love reading. Some raise their hands. Then he says he’s taking a survey, and he wants the teachers to close their eyes. He asks the kids, “How many of you raised your hands just because your teachers are here? Come on, be honest.” Then he tells the teachers to open their eyes and says, “No one raised their hands!” The kids all giggle at that.
Cody shocks the students when he admits that he didn’t like to read as a kid. In fact, until he was in 3rd grade, he didn’t read anything. He then relates how he got hooked on reading by finding a stash of comic books at a flea market. He tells a really funny anecdote about Devil Dinosaur and its story. But he wasn’t ready to do more than read comic books until his older brother got involved. He has an amazing older brother!
Cody’s comic timing is perfect — he often had the kids laughing with him. In fact, throughout the presentation, he kept the students involved by asking them questions. “Why did I pick that book?” and “What kinds of things do they sell at a flea market?” and “What is the climax?”
Cody shares his rejection letters with the students. He says to the kids, “How often do we do something for the first time and do it well? Like swing a baseball bat?” He goes on to explain that he decided to look at the first book as a practice book. He studied what he did wrong and what he did right and tried to write a better story. His next book was “Powerless,” and the rest is history. What a great lesson for students to take away — persevere to find success.
Of course, no author presentation is complete without hearing all about the author’s books, and Cody does a great job explaining what his books are about and why he wrote them. The story behind “The Peddler’s Road” is very interesting, and he shows a slide of a plaque on a piece of the old wall in the town of Hamelin, Germany. It says, “This wall was built in 1556, 272 years after the magician stole 130 children away.” It’s in a museum, and apparently scholars actually believe that something took place in June of that year and over a hundred children disappeared.
The sequel to “The Peddler’s Road” will be published in November. In the meantime, interested readers can read “Will in Scarlett,” about a youth who joins Robin Hood’s band of merry men, and the series “Powerless,” including “Super,” and the last book in the trilogy, “Villainous.”