This first book in the Anatolia Steppe mystery series, published in 2012 by SpyGirls Press, won the Silver Medal for "Pre-Teen Fiction – Mystery."
The Moonbeam Awards are intended to bring increased recognition to exemplary children’s books and their creators, and "to celebrate children’s books and life-long reading."
Mahle and Dennis said they are thrilled that Lost in Petra received this honor.
Mahle and Dennis started writing "adventure/espionage" stories for children in 2005 after their own adventure climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.
Mahle, a former spy with the CIA, teamed up with Dennis and the duo began to write books for nine- to 13-year-olds. The pair said their goal is "to capture the interest of reluctant readers and book-hounds who like plots that knock their secret agent socks off."
"There is only one thing cooler than spies - kid spies,” Mahle says.
Mahle, who also does children’s programs at the International Spy Museum in Washington D.C., said she sees first-hand the kid-appeal of espionage.
“Kids of all ages want to know what spies actually do. So I make sure that my stories are packed with tricks of the trade - what we spies call 'tradecraft.'"
Mahle and Dennis continue to collaborate - their second adventure/espionage story, Camp Secret, was released today, Oct. 15.
Set in a deceptively normal summer camp, Lee Wong and his new friends must survive weeks of training, mind games and betrayal in a top secret Junior Spy program.
TELL US - What types of books do your pre-teens like to read most? Do you find it hard to get your child excited about reading? Share in the comments below.
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