LONDON, June 1 /PRNewswire/ -- Following the successful launch of the 'Watch Them Grow' initiative and sunflower-growing competition, Renaissance Learning is proud to announce a further opportunity for UK schools to win fantastic prizes, whilst testing their mental skills and encouraging reading for pleasure.

Renaissance Learning's 'Quest for Knowledge' allows UK pupils to pit their wits against a host of best-selling authors, such as Peter J Murray of 'Mokee Joe' fame, 'The Parliament of Blood' author Justin Richards and Carnegie Medal winning writer Theresa Breslin.

In-keeping with the core values of 'Watch Them Grow', the year long 'Quest' is an online puzzle adventure consisting of a series of individual monthly 'missions' that have each been set by a different author. Each author has been given complete freedom to use either their existing, or create new, characters and place them when and wherever they wish.

Officially launching on 1st June 2009, the first 'mission' has been set by the New York Times best-selling author GP Taylor. Graham's rise to fame has been truly astounding as it was only seven years ago, when still working as a Vicar, that he decided to sell his beloved Harley Davidson to fund the publication of his novel, 'Shadowmancer'. Within weeks he had a multiple-book contract with Faber, and the book topped the UK charts for a record 15 weeks. His works now include Wormwood, Tersias, The Curse of Salamander Street, Mariah Mundi and The Dopple Ganger Chronicles. Graham is currently mentoring Zack Dante - the hero of the first 'mission' - as he recalls some of the scariest experiences of his life. Zack Dante - The Orb of Hubris is available from all good book shops - but be warned, it is the most frightening book you will ever read!

One lucky school that successfully completes the first 'mission' will receive a signed first edition collector's copy of the internationally best-selling 'Shadowmancer' book - currently valued between GBP1000 and GBP1500. The Quest for Knowledge is one of the most important events any child can engage with. It is exciting, different and challenging, and there is a chance to win an exceptional prize. I cannot recommend it highly enough, comments GP Taylor.

As with the 'Watch Them Grow' sunflower-growing competition, the 'Quest' is completely free for schools to enter at, and a winner will be picked at random from the correct answers submitted for each 'mission'. Schools that successfully complete each author's challenge will be entered into a draw to win a grand prize once the final 'mission' has closed in 12 months time.

Dirk Foch, Managing Director, Renaissance Learning UK Ltd. comments:

As with everything Renaissance Learning do, particularly through our Accelerated Reader Advantage program, our primary objective is to get pupils of all ages reading and discovering books. As part of the 'Watch Them Grow' initiative, the 'Quest for Knowledge' aims to not only do this, but also provide a series of fun challenges that really get them thinking. We are extremely grateful to be working with such talented and successful authors who have donated their time and effort to make this all possible.

Chris Bradford, author of the 'Young Samurai' series, comments:

Kids need challenges and the Renaissance Learning 'Quest for Knowledge' is a perfect opportunity for readers to experience the trials and challenges Jack Fletcher, the hero of the 'Young Samurai' series, is faced with. Such projects as this bring the reading experience alive and into the classroom.

Theresa Breslin, Carnegie Medal winning author of 'Whispers in the Graveyard', comments:

An innovative and interesting way of tempting young people into reading. They'll not resist the challenge to sleuth their way to stories!

Peter J Murray, author of the 'Mokee Joe' series, comments:

I share Renaissance Learning's ambition to inspire children to read, to develop their own powers of creativity and to generally increase their self-esteem. As a schoolboy, I regarded myself as a complete failure. My self-esteem was very low. My worst subject was Maths and I wasn't particularly good at writing. The fact that I finally obtained a Master's Degree at Cambridge, became a MATHS teacher and recently a very successful children's author is in itself an inspiration to the thousands of pupils I speak to every year during my 'school author visits'. The 'Watch Them Grow' campaign is a great initiative and I feel privileged to be part of it.

Andy Briggs, author of the 'HERO.COM and VILLAIN.NET series, comments:

Renaissance Learning's 'Quest for Knowledge' is a fantastic way to engage both avid and reluctant readers with an interactive quest revolving around the HERO.COM and VILLAIN.NET universes. These quests are an excellent way to promote reading, maths and creative thinking - and I hope readers find themselves immersed in fabulous worlds of mystery and mayhem...

UK schools can register for 'Watch Them Grow' and start the 'Quest for Knowledge' at

About Renaissance Learning UK Limited

Renaissance Learning UK Limited is a subsidiary of Renaissance Learning Inc, a company founded in Wisconsin (USA) in 1986. Renaissance Learning UK Ltd is a leading provider of educational solutions to primary and secondary schools across the United Kingdom.

Adopted by more than 75,000 schools worldwide and used by over 250,000 children in the UK everyday, Renaissance Learning produces software that provides teachers and pupils with immediate access to information on academic performance. The Accelerated Reader Advantage and Accelerated Maths Advantage programs provide timely and reliable feedback that enhances individualised instruction, creating a better learning environment for more motivated pupils.

Renaissance works closely with the National Literacy Trust, the National Education Trust and Specialist Schools and Academies Trust, and is supported by best-selling authors for children, such as Malorie Blackman, Peter J Murray and GP Taylor.

For further press enquiries, please contact Gareth Andrews, Tel: +44(0)20-7184-4074, email, or Nicki Walker, Tel: +44(0)20-7184-4071, email, website:

For further press enquiries, please contact Gareth Andrews, Tel: +44(0)20-7184-4074, email, or Nicki Walker, Tel: +44(0)20-7184-4071, email