Looking for an exciting, adventurous new read? Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas by Jonathan W. Stokes may be the book for you. It’s the first book in a new series that promises laugh-out-loud moments and nonstop action. What’s it about?
12-year-old Addison Cooke just wishes something exciting would happen to him. His aunt and uncle, both world-famous researchers, travel to the ends of the Earth searching for hidden treasure, dodging dangerous robbers along the way, while Addison is stuck in school all day.
Luckily for Addison, adventure has a way of finding the Cookes. After his uncle unearths the first ancient Incan clue needed to find a vast trove of lost treasure, he is kidnapped by members of a shadowy organization intent on stealing the riches. Addison’s uncle is the bandits’ key to deciphering the ancient clues and looting the treasure . . . unless Addison and his friends can outsmart the kidnappers and crack the code first. So it’s off to South America, where the excitement, danger, gold, booby traps, and car chases are never-ending!
Read an Excerpt from the Book
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We recently had the chance to ask Stokes about his new book. Here’s what he had to say:
What can you tell us about Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas?
Addison Cooke is a fast-talking sixth grader who lives in New York with his little sister, Molly. When their aunt and uncle – famous archaeologists – are kidnapped by fortune hunters, Addison and Molly must embark on a globe-trotting adventure to locate a hidden Incan treasure and rescue their aunt and uncle. Joining them on their perilous journey are Addison’s two best friends, Raj and Eddie, who help almost as much as they hurt. Along the way, the team faces constant dangers from treacherous treasure hunters racing to uncover the Incan treasure.
How did you come up with the idea?
As a sixth grader, my friends and I spent most of our time exploring in the woods, sneaking into abandoned houses, planning secret missions, building gadgets, and setting elaborate booby traps. Addison shares all of these interests. But he’s much smarter than I was, and more resourceful. So whereas my secret missions might take me all the way to the hayloft of a neighbor’s barn, Addison’s missions take him all the way to the Amazon Rainforest.
While a lot of current middle-grade books dive into fantasy and/or science fiction, this book is more of a throwback to the history and adventure of stories like Indiana Jones. Was that an intentional decision?
Yes! Just this year, a man in England discovered an 1,800-year-old Roman palace buried in his backyard. A few days earlier, a family in France discovered a 135 million dollar Caravaggio painting that had been hidden in their attic for centuries. History is buried a few inches below your feet, or secreted away behind the walls of your attic. It is all around us for those who wish to explore. This is the world I want to write about.
There’s a Boy Scouting reference in the book. What inspired that? Were you a Scout?
Sadly, I was never a boy scout. But I went to YMCA summer camps growing up where our only shower was the lake and our only bathroom was the woods. We had to learn to build fires, put out said fires, and not starve to death, so I mined those survival skills for the book.
You got your start writing movie screenplays. What drew you to writing books for kids?
I originally pitched Addison Cooke and the Treasure of the Incas as a movie screenplay for actor Ben Stiller’s production company. It was rejected. So I then pitched Addison as a movie for actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, and their kids Jaden and Willow. It was rejected again. So finally I just decided to write the book. It didn’t get rejected! And now I’ve discovered I love writing for kids.
Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I play upright bass and musical saw in the bluegrass band, “Everly Snodgrass.” I’m also a competitive ballroom dancer. When I’m too wiped out to write, play music, or dance, I read a disturbing amount of books and enjoy editing Wikipedia.