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THIS OPERATION IS HOT. WE ARE A GO. Join the Mission Manhattan tour with NYT Best Selling Author James Ponti

Have you ever wondered how a childhood filled with reading struggles could blossom into a career of crafting captivating stories for middle-grade readers? James Ponti, the creative force behind the City Spies series, takes us on an exhilarating journey from his days as a fledgling reader to becoming a literary hero for the younger generation. And it turns out that James and I are connected by a dear friend and an inspiring teacher -- listen to find out more about this small world connection.

James Ponti also gives us a sneak peek at the brand-new City Spies: Mission Manhattan, which launches this week, and the environmentally-conscious Sherlock Society series. His stories do more than entertain; they instill a sense of adventure and problem-solving that can inspire both the youth and adults alike. And teachers and librarians, his website contains a lot of resources you can use for enrichment when teaching his books! So buckle up and prepare for a ride through the imaginative realms of one of today's most influential middle-grade authors, where the love for story is just as important as the message it carries to its readers.

Book Trailer for City Spies: Mission Manhattan, which launches this week. Furnished by the publisher, Simon and Schuster.

I devoured my advance copy of City Spies: Mission Manhattan. The characters are so vivid and engaging. The plot is fast-paced and intelligent. It's a mystery with an environmental twist that keeps you on the edge of your seat right up to the concluding pages. And, for those of you who are new to the magic of James Ponti, even though this is the latest book in the series, it stands on its own as an outstanding middle grade read (although treat yourself and go back and read the rest of the City Spies books!).

My conversation with James Ponti celebrates the heart of strong storytelling for reluctant readers. James shares his transition from the world of television screenwriting to penning novels that reflect a rich tapestry of diverse backgrounds and experiences, embodying the global world that our readers are part of. He opens up about the meticulous research and personal site visits that go into each book, ensuring that the settings are as authentic as his dialogue. Whether it's the streets of Venice, the corridors of Washington DC, or the secret nooks and crannies of the NY Public Library, James's commitment to bringing these worlds to life is matched only by his dedication to writing characters that resonate with young hearts and minds.

A look at the research that went into the newly published City Spies: Mission Manhattan. (Video provided by the author and publisher, Simon & Schuster.)

You can order James Ponti's latest books on

*Note: I am a affiliate. If you scroll through and make a purchase from this link, I may receive a small commission. I share this link as a way of supporting independent bookstores and providing a way for you to see the books connected with this week's podcast.

You can listen to this week's podcast here or wherever you download your podcasts. Please subscribe, like, and comment.

You can watch the full video of my conversation with the delightful James Ponti here. Again, please subscribe, like, and comment.

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