August eBook of the MONTH

Welcome to the Mims House eBook of the Month. We offer a free ebook each month. This month, we’re featuring our September release WONKY. Why?

New Classic! First day of school book!

Because while it’s a great Robotics Club story, it’s also a First-Day-of-School book. We hope you’ll share the book with your students on that first day! We know you have your favorites for the first day of school, but we think you’ll enjoy this book for variety! Find a new favorite!

Kirkus Reviews: “With pages filled with animals and robots, this tale will certainly appeal to kids; the story of friendship conquering first-day-of-school jitters remains a bonus.


WONKY: A Robotics Club Story

Wonky: A Robotics Club Story |“A delightful story of friendship and teamwork.” Dori Hillestad Butler, Theodore Geisel Honor Award for King & Kayla and the Case of the Missing Dog Treats, and Edgar award for The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy

“. . .offbeat and clever. . . With pages filled with animals and robots, this tale will certainly appeal to kids. . . .” Kirkus Reviews

Howie ambles into robot club hoping to find a friend. But when Lincoln bounds into the room, Howie hides. The strange new bird is too big and fluffy. The teacher, however, puts the unlikely pair together. Will they be able to accept each other’s wonky ideas and become friends?

For STEM classes, this story emphasizes the discussion of form v. function.
The story encourages divergent thinking as Lincoln and Howie design a robot. For kids who are rigid and inflexible, they’ll see the value of considering different options, and accepting those who are different.



Nathaniel Gold is the award-winning author and illustrator of the beloved Chimpman series, as well as Too Much TV Rots Your Brain and Other Poems. His first book, The Chimpanzee Manifesto, received a 2010 IPPY award for outstanding book of the year.
Nathaniel lives in upstate New York with his wife, two children, and a dog.


“Charming. . .Pattison’s storytelling skills give readers a look into the give-and-take of friendship.”
Carla Killough McClafferty, author of The Many Faces of George Washington

“What’s WONKY? The heart-warming story of an unlikely friendship between Robot Club partners, told in Darcy Pattison’s classic, charming voice. WONKY is a good reminder that friendships are often found with a heart that’s open to the unexpected.” Lynn Rowe Reed, illustrator of Punctuation Takes a Vacation

“WONKY is a delightful mixture of a story about new friends and a robot club–honestly, what could be more fun? I adored Howie and Lincoln, Darcy Pattison’s endearing animal characters, and Nathaniel Gold’s colorful illustrations just pop off the page!” Monica Clark-Robinson, author of Let the Children March


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Makerspace areas of a library have gained popularity in recent years and School Library Journal recently recommended 39 books to stock in your makerspace. See the article for the full list.

Our title, CLANG: Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments, was included in the list of eight Real-Life Makers.

Makerspace Books: Real Life Makers |

Makerspace Books about Real-Life Makers

Clang! 3 Reasons to Read & Buy | Mims House. School Library Journal says useful for " history and science and music."

CLANG! ERNST CHLADNI’S SOUND EXPERIMENTS has been reviewed in School Library Journal.

From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—Pattison and Willis introduce Ernst Chladni, aka the Father of Acoustics, to young children through an engaging narrative and colorful cartoon illustrations. Chladni was a German scientist who traveled Europe entertaining people by explaining and demonstrating the science of sound in the early 1800s. The meeting between Chladni and Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is the main focus of this telling. Willis’s charming artwork provides realistic representations of Chladni’s inventions while staying true to the fun cartoon style of the rest of the story. Pattison includes German and French words, acknowledging the language barrier that the scientist faced when describing his research on the science of sound. Included in the back matter is more information about Chladni’s instruments, his life, and additional historical context. The book can be utilized in the classroom for a variety of curriculum connections from history and science to music. Pattison’s and Willis’s early collaboration Burn: Michael Faraday’s Candle is an equally enjoyable read. VERDICT An additional purchase for elementary school libraries. —Aileen Barton, Sherman Public Library, TX

“Engaging Narrative” says School Library Journal

The reviewer “got” this book, calling it an “engaging narrative.” The illustrations by Peter Wills are “charming.”

This is the second book in the Moments in Science series. The first two focused on elementary physics. Next year, we’ll add two new titles to the series:

  • BURN: Michael Faraday’s Candle
  • POLLEN: Darwin’s 130-Year Prediction, Spring 2019
  • ECLIPSE: How the 1919 Eclipse Proved Einstein’s Theory of General Relativity, Fall, 2019

Peter Willis will be back with exciting illustrations that make the science fun and interesting. Charming!

3 Reasons to Read and Buy

As the SLJ review says, this book is useful for three content areas:

  1. HISTORY. Clang is the story of how Ernst Chladni met with Napoleon Bonaparte and earned a huge stipend to write his book about acoustics – in French. Placing scientists into context of history is important. Also fascinating is how the French and Germans cooperated to further the needs of science. Also of historical interest is the musical instrument that Chladni invented, the clavicylinder.
  2. SCIENCE. While the focus is on the historical event of Chladni meeting Bonaparte, there’s also science about sound. Chladni studied how sound travels in solids. The book explains how sound makes wires, columns of air, and solids vibrate.
  3. MUSIC. To understand music means you must understand sound. Music is a pleasant arrangement of sounds. The book shows how sound is created by vibrating wires, columns of air, and solids.

For extra reading: NOTHING STOPPED SOPHIE: The Story of the Unstoppable Mathematician Sophie German

Nothing Stopped Sophie - Companion book to CLANG! Ernst Chladni's Sound Experiments |

While Ernst Chladni understood the science of his experiments, he didn’t fully understand the math behind the sound. Napoleon was also interested in the mathematical formulas. He offered a math prize to anyone who could solve the math. It was eventually won by French mathematician, Sophie German. This charming book tells her story. These two books make perfect companion books for the study of sound.

For a Elementary Physical Science companion book, consider, BURN: Michael Faraday’s Candle. BURN is a discussion of light, while CLANG! covers sound. Together, they cover the Next Gen Science Standards for elementary physical science.

Covers of BURN and CLANG, elementary science books about light and sound |

Free eBook of the Month

CLICK HERE for Your FREE eBook of the Month Here!

Kell, the Alien: Book 1, The Aliens, Inc. Series
“Amusing, accessible, engaging” – Publisher’s Weekly

For June’s eBook of the Month, we are featuring KELL, THE ALIEN (Lexile: 530L) . When their spaceship crash lands on Earth, those lovable aliens from planet Bix must find a place to live, figure out how to make a living, and try to fit in with Earth’s culture.

Kell finds a best friend in his next-door neighbor, Bree, who inspires the aliens to create Aliens, Inc., a party planning business. They throw an alien party for Bree’s birthday. But what do aliens know about what Earthlings think aliens are like? It’s a mixed up mess complete with a rousing food fight.

It would be SO easy, if not for the Alien Chaser’s Society, led by the school’s principal, Mrs. Lynx. She’s convinced that there’s an alien in 3rd grade and she’s going to find it.

Publisher’s Weekly called this book “amusing” and “engaging and accessible.”

School Library Journal Review: “This fun chapter book series is out of this world.”

Join our Reader’s Group and we’ll send you KELL, THE ALIEN as the June eBook of the Month! You’ll be the first to know each month about the new books. Never miss a Mims House eBook of the Month!

FORMAT: The ebook is available in Kindle or ePub formats. Our customer service makes sure you can load it onto the ebook reader of your choice.

CLICK HERE for Your FREE eBook Here!

Happy Summer Reading

Summer reading! It’s time for beaches, mountains, grandmas, and, yes, reading! Whatever fun you’ve got cooked up for the kids this summer, you’ll want to have along some great books. Books on tape will keep them quiet and occupied during those long car rides, entertaining them with stories, keeping their minds occupied, and their hands away from their neighbor.

We’ve got a summer reading guide for you! It includes audiobooks stories of amazing animals and novels that will keep your teens fascinated. Let’s start with audiobooks.

Listen to the audiobooks!

Summer reading! Covers of easy readers for grades 1-4 summer reading
Available as audio books, ebooks, paperbacks and hardcovers.

Josiah Bildner is an amazing audiobook narrator who took on the task of narrating the aliens Inc. series. These books are our great for third graders to read; however, they are great audiobooks for anywhere from four years old to 10 years old.


Kell and the Alien

Kell and the Horse Apple Parade

Kell and the Giants

Kell and the Detectives

Or, if you prefer adding the books to your ebook reader–it’s a slam dunk to hand a kid a reader and watch them be engrossed for hours–try this box set! Buy the three-book set now at a discounted price of only $4.99.
Summer reading! The Aliens, Inc. Box Set by Darcy Pattison |


Our animal biography series is unique because each book features an individual animal and its life. Bird, spider, mammal–these animals are fascinating for the elementary crowd. CLICK EACH COVER FOR MORE INFORMATION.

Summer reading! Wisdom, the Midway Albatross | Summer reading! Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma | Summer reading! Nefertitit, the Spidernaut |

Teen Science Fiction Novels

Summer reading for teens, especially boys! The Blue Planets World series |
For those older kids, especially middle grade boys, who are looking for a fascinating series, try THE BLUE PLANETS WORLD series, starting with Sleepers. NOW FREE AT AMAZON. (The entire series is free on Amazon till June 1)!

Through all your travels and adventures this summer, we hope you and your kids keep reading! Have fun!
Summer Reading for Kids & Teens 2018

Video Interview: Darcy Pattison

B.L. Ochman, Co-host of the Beyond Social Media Show, interviews author Darcy Pattison about her book, The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story.

video interview with Darcy Pattison, author of The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story|
2018 Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts from NCTE |

If you can’t see this video, click here.

Summary of the Interview

B.L. Ochman is fascinated by this true story and asks Darcy to summarize the story. She talks about the Nantucket Publicity Committee created in March, 1937, and most members of that committee were involved in the hoax.

B.L asks why this would be a good children’s book.

“Kids need,” Darcy says, “a non-political story to discuss fake news.”

The sweet spot for this book is for grades 3-6. A documentary on the story is in process and Darcy may appear in the documentary.

The backmatter of the book includes a timeline, quotes from Thomas Jefferson, and sources.

Thomas advocates for literacy and a free press in his quote: “Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all is safe.”

Later, his opinion turns cynical: “Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.”

Darcy says these two quotes frame the discussion of a free press in America. A democracy needs a free press to keep check on the government; but the free press is also free to print lies. In the end, citizens must maintain a healthy skepticism and support the free press so that democracy can thrive.

This is a story about teaching kids about fake news.
by Darcy Pattison

This week, I participated in the Arkansas Literary Festival, especially their Writers In The Schools (WITS) program. At Forest Heights STEM Academy, librarian Deidre Williams set up a session with 3rd grade for me to read THE NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER: A FAKE NEWS STORY.

This 3rd grade class are all holding a copy of a Darcy Pattison book.
This 3rd grade class (one of several who attended) are all holding a copy of a Darcy Pattison book, including her fake news story.

In August, 1937 Tony Sarg, inventor of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloons, floated a sea monster balloon off Nantucket as a publicity stunt. What raises this above the level of publicity stunt, though, is that all the newspapermen knew the story was fake and yet still published it. The book presents the reports as true and when it’s revealed that the sea monster is just a balloon, the kids were outraged!

Fake News & 3rd Grade: From Outrage to Understanding

The first reaction was outrage. From there, the kids tried to understand what had happened. They had to work through the ideas of fake news.

First, they related fake news to teacher cautions about using websites for research on their own projects.

They’ve been told to trust .org and .gov sites. But as we know, those can still lie.
They’ve been told to look for popular articles. But as we know, popularity isn’t a good gauge of truthfulness.
They’ve been told to check multiple sources. But as we know, each source may say something different and leave confusion.

Those things they could understand.

But one boy asked a specific question. The story said that an eyewitness reported seeing the sea monster rising 15-20 feet out of the air. “How,” he asked, “did they get that balloon to go so high?”

I asked, “Do you think that eyewitness actually saw a sea monster?”

That confused him.

“The eyewitness lied. He didn’t see anything. He just SAID that he saw something.”

That had never occurred to the boy before that moment.

Learning to distinguish truth from lies is hard for 3rd grade. They know when THEY lie, or when a family member lies. But lies on this scale were difficult to understand.

Which is exactly why we need books like this. Digital citizens must develop ways to assess the credibility of a source.

What I found most encouraging was the discussions of the issues. The kids were eager to ask questions and understand. Talking about fake news, it was an important day.

A fake news story, 2018 Notable Children's Book in Language Arts from NCTE |
A story of fake news, a 2018 Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts from NCTE |

Middle grade sports novel, ROAD WHIZ, is just out.

Click to enter a chance to win one of three paperback novels.

middle grade sports novel
Middle Grade Sports Novel

Why do you run? A Thoughtful Sports Novel

When middle grade students start seriously competing, their motivations are often mixed. Why do you compete? Because you love the sport? Or because you want to win? Or because you want to please someone, like a parent?

For Fans of Mike Lupica and Tim Green

Fourteen-year-old Jamie is growing too fast! Friends taunt him that his feet are so big the last time he stepped in a puddle, they called it the Mississippi River. As Jamie moves from 8th to 9th grade, Dad expects Jamie to join traditional sports, like football. Instead, Road Whiz, a retired greyhound racing dog, inspires Jamie to run. He starts training to run 5Ks.

Like the retired greyhound, Jamie struggles with the question of why should he run? Does he run to win, or does he run because he loves running? With Road Whiz as his mentor, Jamie faces the challenges in his life, from family changes to his own growing body.

This middle grade novel will mesmerize boys who struggle with the idea of competition. Jamie’s resolution of his doubts, fears and hopes about competing will inspire teens as they experience their own disturbing, if inevitable, growth.

For more information, see the catalog listing, including a recent librarian review. here.

We are thrilled that the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) has named our book a 2018 Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts.

2018 Notable Children's Book in Language Arts from NCTE |
2018 Notable Children’s Book in Language Arts from NCTE |

News of fake news has blanketed the political discussion for the past two years. In the midst of the accusations of truth and lies, it’s confusing to know how to discuss this issue with children. As students learn about civics and the American political system, balancing the need for a free press and the need to monitor the press’s truthfulness can become controversial.

That’s why children’s book author Darcy Pattison wrote THE NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER: A FAKE NEWS STORY. “It’s a non-political story about the balloons that fly in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade. And it’s true.”

On Saturday, August 7, 1939, the Inquirer and Mirror newspaper on Nantucket Island reported sightings of a sea monster. Island residents were troubled and scared. Tensions mounted as footprints were found on Mandaket Beach. Expert biologists were consulted who said they couldn’t explain the reports or footprint photos. More stories of sightings were published in the August 14 issue of the Inquirer and Mirror and by now, the reports had gone out on the wire services with newspapers nation-wide reporting the incidents.
However, on August 18, the real sea monster appeared: a rubber balloon that would fly in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.

It was all great fun, the newspapers said because 1) no one was injured, and 2) Macy’s didn’t attempt to commercialize or make money from the event.

But this was far more than just a publicity stunt: the newspapermen knew the story was fake and yet published it anyway.

Two Thomas Jefferson quotes are offered for students to debate:
1) Where the press is free, and every man able to read, all if safe.
2) Nothing can now be believed which is seen in a newspaper.

The book is a Junior Library Guild selection and has just been named a 2018 National Council of Teacher’s of English (NCTE) Notable Children’s Book in the Langauge Arts. (NCBLA). For more information, Click Here.

I’m an audio book junkie. I love listening to audio books as I drive. I always have a book going.
Why? Because I love the medium. And because it makes a boring drive interesting. But the real question is if KIDS love audio books?
(And do you spell it as two words or one? Audio books or audiobooks?)

Benefits of Audio Books for Kids

In an article on Reading Rockets, Denise Johnson lists these benefits for all readers, not just the ESL or striving readers.

    • Introduce students to books above their reading level
    • Model good interpretive reading
    • Teach critical listening
    • Highlight the humor in books
    • Introduce new genres that students might not otherwise consider
    • Introduce new vocabulary or difficult proper names or locales
    • Sidestep unfamiliar dialects or accents, Old English, and old-fashioned literary styles
    • Provide a read-aloud model
    • Provide a bridge to important topics of discussion for parents and children who can listen together while commuting to sporting events, music lessons, or on vacations
    • Recapture “the essence and the delights of hearing stories beautifully told by extraordinarily talented storytellers” (Baskin & Harris, 1995, p. 376)

My son was a reluctant reader. He read well, but he didn’t want to sit still long enough to read. But he always loved books on tape. In fact, going back and forth to school, about a 20 minute drive, he and his sister listened to the entire 50 hour audio of THE LORD OF THE RINGS.

In other words, audio books allowed me to give him a love of story! Now, as an adult, he reads more than ever.

Popular audiobooks for kids! Listen to sample audio tracks and choose the best one for your child. Great children's books as audiobooks. | #audiobooksforkids #audioforkids #listentoabook

Audible Free Trials

Audible offers a free trial to get you started listening to audio books. You can choose apps on any smart phone and get started quickly. Choose a book below to get started on your free trial.


Kell, the Alien, Book 1, The Aliens, Inc. series |
Listen to a sample chapter!

Kell and the Horse Apple Parade, Book 2, The Aliens, Inc. series |

Listen to a sample chapter!


Kell and the Giants, Book 3, The Aliens, Inc. series |


Click HERE to start your FREE Audible trial with this title.


Kell and the Detectives, Book 4, The Aliens, Inc. Series |


Mims House is very excited by our March release, CLANG! Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments, a story about sound vibrations.

Cover: Clang! Ernst Chladni's Sound Experiments, a story about sound vibrations
CLICK COVER FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO ORDER: Hardcover and Paperback are always 10% discounted on the Mims House site.
Burn: Michael Faraday's Candle |
CLICK COVER FOR INFORMATION ON HOW TO ORDER: Hardcover and Paperback are always 10% discounted on the Mims House site.

When Mims House published BURN: Michael Faraday’s Candle, we had no idea that it would lead to more science history books. BURN is about Michael Faraday’s famous lecture on how a candle burns. Because elementary science studies light, the book has found a home in many classrooms.

The study of light often accompany studies of sound and sound vibrations. I wondered if there was an equally fascinating story about sound vibrations. So, I went looking for sound stories. This was especially interesting to me because my Master’s degree is in Audiology, or the study of hearing. I worked for a time testing hearing at a doctor’s office, and then teaching at the local deaf school. Sound, or acoustics, has always been fascinating to me.

A Fascinating, Vibrating Story

Clang! is a story of international cooperation among scientists.
Clang! is the story of the Father of Acoustics.
Clang! is the story of an Emperor taking an interest in a scientists experiments with sound vibrations.

The story opens in 1806 when Ernst Chladni . . .
(Wait right there. How do you say that name? KLOD-nee.)
. . . left his home in Wittenberg, Germany for a three year trip.

Most scientists of the time worked for a university, which provided a living, a lab, and funding for their work.
Instead, like Bill Nye the Science Guy, Chladni was a science entertainer and educator. He traveled giving demonstrations of his work to rich people who could act as his patron. He lingered in the Netherlands and Brussels, but finally made his way to Paris.

He arrived in France in 1808.
The French scientists were very interested in his German book, Die Akustik or The Acoustics, about acoustics and asked Chladni to translate it into French. They agreed to help with the French language problems. But Chladni needed funds to live while he did the translation. They had a solution for that, too.

At 7 pm on a Tuesday evening in February 1809, they took Chladni to see Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte!
Chladni showed his experiments, as always, and discussed the math behind acoustics.
The next day, Bonaparte sent Chladni 6000 francs (French dollars) to translate the work.

For me, as a writer, one of the most fascinating things was that I found a discussion of the event in Chladni’s own words! To find such a primary source is amazing! After the audience with Napoleon, Chladni wrote an article about the evening with
Napoleon for the Caecilia, a German music magazine. The article was quoted in his 1888 biography by Franz Melde, Chladni: Life and Times. That means this story is based on Chladni’s own account of his meeting with Napoleon.

In addition, the story is a useful addition to any elementary classroom study of sound and sound vibrations because it discusses vibrating strings, columns of air, and solid materials. Chladni’s own invention, the clavicylinder, is an example that will inspire young STEM students.

The books are available from the Mims House website for 10% discount, or from your favorite educational distributor or online bookstore. It officially launches on March 8. Review copies are available to bloggers or reviewers. Please email Sue Foster.

A Story of Pollen

Even more exciting is that science history will be featured in a forthcoming 2019 book. POLLEN: Darwin’s 130 Year Prediction will follow the pollen of a unique orchid. Look for more in the coming months about this fascinating story.
Covers of BURN and CLANG, elementary science books about light and sound |

On the tiny Midway Atoll, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, there lives the oldest bird, that is the oldest wild nesting bird. Wisdom, a Laysan albatross, and her mate, Akeakamai, nest close to the old Navy bunkhouses. Seabirds, they fly over the north Pacific for half the year before returning to Midway in December to nest.

Book cover of Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, the oldest bird | Surviving plastic pollution and other disasters for over 65 years. | Mims House
Starred Review in Publisher’s Weekly. Click to learn more.
I’ve been following Wisdom’s story since the 2011 Japanese tsunami. I wrote about her amazing survival story then. Her story is intriguing because she was banded by ornithologist Chandler Robbins in 1956, which means we can document that she is over 67 years old. Because she’s so old, I keep thinking that this is her last year to hatch a chick. One of these days, she just won’t come back in December. I anxiously await word that she’s back–somehow, she survived another year.

Scientists think that albatrosses will often take a sabbatical year, a year when they won’t come back and nest. But she’s been laying eggs continuously since 2003. Even if she didn’t show up in December, I’d think she’s just taking a vacation and hope that she’d be back the next year. Instead, she’s steady as clockwork. Appears in December to nest and lay an egg. Hatches that chick in February.

Well, two years ago, the chick didn’t hatch. For whatever reason, the egg just didn’t mature. It’s a common thing among the albatrosses. And last year’s chick hatched on February 4 with no problems.

Still, it’s exciting! On February 6th, 2018, Wisdom hatched a new chick. No one knows how many babies she’s had, but scientists estimate 30-35.

Read more about her story in this February 2018 news article.

The Oldest Bird and Her Family 2017

This video shows the 2017 chick. I haven’t seen any photos of the 2018 chick yet. (Let me know if you see one!)

If you can’t see this video, click here.

See teacher materials including student-made videos, coloring pages, and a vivid verbs worksheet.

Are there urban cougars?

This week in the news, police in Aberdeenshire, Scotland were called to a farm because a tiger was sitting in a man’s barn! The police took this very seriously. They sent out several units, while others called local wildlife preserves to find out if an animal was missing.
Fake Stuffed Tiger Scares Farmer and Police: A Story of Urban Cougars |

Halfway across the globe in Banff, Canada, a cougar was seen strolling across downtown.
Immediately, officers went searching while an alert went out to residents to remove any outside food that might attract the wild animal. Officers quickly caught sight of the cougar darting between cars and followed its footprints. Eventually, the cougar returned to the wildlife corridor.
Cougar strolling through downtown Banff, Canada: A Story of Urban Cougars |

Wildlife Corridors

These aren’t surprising incidents. When I researched Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma, I discovered that the reclusive puma or cougar often lives in urban areas. Because they are nocturnal, they can often avoid being seen unless they attack and eat pets, chickens, and so on.

The Brazilian scientists, Márcia Rodrigues, Ph.D. and Sergio Ferreira, have worked hard to establish a wildlife corridor for the pumas there. A wildlife corridor is protected route for wildlife to travel between suitable habitat areas. It’s necessary because animals need to be able to find others of their kind to mate, because many animals travel as they hunt, and because of seasonal changes in food and shelter.

The Scottish police had to take the call about a wild animal in a barn seriously because it could easily happen. The Banff officials had to track the puma across downtown Banff to make sure it returned to the protected areas.

Because habitat is shrinking, humans must find ways to accommodate wildlife in our urban areas. Wildlife corridors are one important tool in living happily with wild pumas or cougars.


Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma |

My grandson is seven years old. When we take short trips to the lake, about 1 1/2 hours away, we often listen to music. But there’s a big discussion about music styles. Daddy likes country. My Darling Husband (DH) has an eclectic taste, though, so we often pull up Pandora or Spotify and try something different.

We have sung along with the three tenors as they sing opera.
We’ve listened to popular Broadway songs. DH was singing “Getting to know you, getting to know all about you,” a memorable line from a song in The KING AND I musical.

By far, though, the most popular genre for the grandkids is cowboy music. Especially yodeling. They LOVE to listen to yodeling like this video. Isn’t this kid amazing?

If you can’t see this video, click here to view it on YouTube.

So, my grandson got in trouble at school this week.
He made poor choices.
He yodeled in class!

His overall behavior, though, was nicely balanced by two positive points for going to the library. That’s my boy!

Of course, my thoughts immediately went to books. Is there a good story that has yodeling as a key part of it?
Not that I know of.

I wish there was one, though. Would you buy a book about yodeling for your school?

What’s the weirdest (or most wonderful) request you’ve had for a picture book topic? Who asked for it? Did you eventually find something interesting for that patron?
Yodeling? What's the weirdest book request you've had from a kid? |

My Dirty Dog: My Informative Essay book cover. Girl holding her dog.

Are your students struggling to write informative essays? The Common Core requires informative essays starting in first grade with a how-to essay. After that informative essays (or expository essays) are required writing every year.

Author Darcy Pattison draws on her many years of professional writing and experience teaching professional development classes in The Read and Write series of books to help students write better.

Informative Essay Printables – Simple & Fun to Teach

In Book 4, Darcy turns her attention to informative writing. Students will be entranced by the ongoing story of cousins Dennis and Mellie as they interact with their pet dogs and their family. This time, it’s Grandma’s birthday and the family goes to the K-9 Karnival. While there, the cousins learn about their dog breeds and give their dirty dogs a bath. Later, at home, Mellie write a how-to essay about dog baths while Dennis write an informative essay about groups of dog breeds. These mentor texts are perfect for the elementary class who is learning to write informative essays, how to essays, or expository essays.

To make it even easier for teachers, we offer free printables. They makes the books into a complete lesson plan! Fill out the form below to receive the printables. The book is available now for PREORDER on many platforms. By next week, it should be available everywhere.

The Read and Write Series : Essay Writing Made Simple for Elementary Classrooms. Book covers for I Want a Dog, I Want a Cat, My Crazy Dog, and My Dirty Dog


Hurrah for Essays! All writing lessons should be this much fun.
“. . .fill(s) a niche for teachers. . .” – School Library Journal 5/1/15
” “. . .breezy and engaging introduction to genre writing.”
” “The model essay can be used across multiple genres (informational and narrative nonfiction in addition to opinion).”
” “. . .useful for teachers showing early elementary students the relevancy, power, and importance of effective writing.”
Booklist 6/17/15

We are excited to be teaming up with Triangle Media to create read-along versions of selected picture books. These ebooks are ePub3 standards, for which Overdrive has recently added the capability.

The books are the regular ebooks, but they are enhanced by added audio that is synced to the text. When a word is read, the word is highlighted. The technology to create this type of ebook has been around a while, but not all ebook readers were capable of correctly rendering the ebook. Until now. Overdrive now makes this available across its network. The enhanced ebooks are on sale at a 25% discount till January 31.

Read the Samples Read Along Picture Books – 25% Discount Ends on January 31

The enhanced ebooks are currently available from Overdrive who has provided samples.
Please click on the book cover below to read the sample:

11 Ways to Ruin a Photograph | Abayomi, the Brazilian Puma |
This is my favorite. If you try only one, try this one!
Burn: Michael Faraday's Candle |
Rowdy: The Pirate Who Could Not Sleep | Mims House Wisdom, the Midway Albatross |

We are very excited that ePub3 has finally come to Overdrive because it’s a great way for kids to read picture books. After you read a sample, let us know what you think!

We are pleased to offer you the 2018 Mims House catalog.

Download the 2018 Mims House Catalog

Featured are the new titles for this year, in order of release.

Spring 2018 Titles

Click the book covers for more information.

February – My Dirty Dog: My Informative Essay, Book 4, The Read and Write Series

March – Clang! Ernst Chladni’s Sound Experiments

Coming March, 2018. The Father of Acoustics – sound experiments.

April – Road Whiz

Middle Grade Sports Novel

Fall 2018 Titles – Read the catalog for more information.

August – Wonky

An unlikely tale of friendship.

September – Rosie the Ribeter: The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

Download the 2018 Mims House Catalog

Let us back up a couple years. In November 2014, we released two essay books: I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay and I Want a Cat: My Opinion Essay. By May, 2015, we added My Crazy Dog: My Narrative Essay.

We fully intended to follow that with an informative or expository essay book within six months or so.

Enter the twins. The illustrator, Ewa O’Neill was pregnant with twin boys. As you might imagine, her life became extremely busy, so we waited. She kindly gave us permission to find a different illustrator for the book. But we felt strongly that a series needed a cohesive group of illustrations. We waited.

But this year, with the boys almost three years old and her family living in a new area, she returned to the series and delivered art.

We are thrilled that the art is just as fabulous as the first books, and thrilled to be able to complete this series of language arts picture books, The Read and Write series. These are some of our most popular books.

Because we want these books used in classrooms to help teach writing, we make available a full set of printables. We’ve just updated them with printables for My Dirty Dog. It’s a free download when you sign up for our newsletter.

The Read and Write Series - Mims House

Shh! Don’t tell anyone!
Here are the covers of our Spring 2018 books!
More information to come!

My Dirty Dog: Book 4, The Read and Write series, by Darcy Pattison |
Coming February 2018. The 4th book about writing essays with kids. Illustrations by Ewa O’Neill.

Coming March, 2018. The Father of Acoustics – sound experiments. Illustrations by Peter Willis.

Road Whiz by Darcy Pattison |
Coming April, 2018. Middle grade sports fiction.

Please write in the comments! Which book(s) are you most excited about seeing in print?

Junior Library Guild selection - The Nantucket Sea Monster | We are thrilled that THE NANTUCKET SEA MONSTER: A Fake News Story is a December selection for the Junior Library Guild.

In August, 1937 newspapers across the nation reported that a sea monster had been sighted off Nantucket Island. It was actually a balloon for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade and the whole thing was a publicity stunt. Amazingly, the newspapermen knew it was fake, and yet went along with it.
The Nantucket Sea Monster: A Fake News Story |

To celebrate the December JLG release, Darcy Pattison has been interviewed on a couple blogs.

  • The Children’s Book Council asked Darcy to write about 3 questions she wished people would ask her. Did you know that there’s an “Easter egg” hidden in the story?
  • Picture Book Builders blog features authors talking about how they write picture books. Darcy talks about the importance of patience and waiting until the right moment for a story.
  • For more, this article has links to copies of the historical newspaper archives and digital photos of the event.
  • Listen to an audio sample here.

We are thrilled that Pilgrims, Book 3 of The Blue Planets World series is now available on all platforms!

Complete Trilogy: YA Sci-Fi

The Blue Planets World series is now complete. The first trilogy in the world begins when Jake, a half-human and half-alien teen, comes to Earth to live with his paternal grandparents on Bainbridge Island.


Earth finally receives a message from space:
“You only live on land. Allow us to live in the seas.”

Rison will implode soon. They desperately need a new blue planet, a water planet. But Earth is crowded. Will humans be able to open their hearts to an alien race?


Sleepers, Book 1, The Blue Planets World seriesA rogue militia. A diabolical sabotage. Is an alien teen is the only hope for either blue planet?

A test-tube baby, fifteen-year-old Jake Rose is half human and half alien; he has both lungs and gills. He’s been raised on the “other blue planet,” Rison. However, in a horrifying science-gone-wrong scenario, Rison will soon implode. He evacuates to Earth to live with his human father’s parents on Bainbridge Island in Puget Sound. His mother, Dayexi Quad-de is Rison’s ambassador to Earth. She’s tasked with finding Risonians a new home on Earth in a peaceful manner.

Jake accidentally discovers that Earth’s elite ELLIS forces are trying to sabotage Mt. Rainier by starting an eruption so that they can blame it on the Risonian aliens. Working to thwart them, Jake suddenly realizes his mother—the ambassador—is missing.

Sleepers is the first novel in the action-packed science fiction The Blue Planets World series. This classic teen novel of finding your place in society combines with thrilling science fiction that delivers a punch. If you like the intrigue and excitement of Ender’s Game or I Am Number Four, you’ll love Darcy Pattison’s science fiction series of survival among the galaxies.

See the series page at Amazon.

SIRENS, Book 2

Sirens, Book 2, The Blue Planets World seriesSirens is the continuing story of Jake Rose, a teenager who is half-alien and half-human. When aliens beg for refuge on Earth, they ask only for a home in the seas. But what if Earth’s oceans aren’t empty? The undersea civilization of the Phoke, the mermen and mermaids, comes out of hiding to take a place at the negotiation table. They’ve been infected by a Risonian water-borne illness and demand a medical mission to Rison to find a cure. Jake is devastated when he learns that his girlfriend, Em, is a Phoke, and she’s infected. When a rogue General orders his troops to attack the Phoke, the stage is set for an epic underwater struggle. If you like stories of the fantastic blended with scientific possibility, you’ll be fascinated with the underwater culture. Come cheer for Jake as he searches the cold North Sea for Em.


Pilgrims, Book 3, The Blue Planets World SeriesPilgrims is the thrilling conclusion of an epic science fiction trilogy that pits Risonians and Earthlings against inevitable implosion of a planet. A small team from Earth travels to Rison to find the cure for a water-borne disease that threatens the Phoke, the mermen and mermaids of Earth. In a rush against time, they must deal with the politics of desperate men and the tricks of a dying planet. Jake battles with his mixed heritage as he pushes for the team to find the cure for the disease. Em’s life is in the balance, and he won’t stop until he’s got what the doctor needs. Will they find the cure and escape in time?

ENVOYS, Prequel

Envoy, Prequel, The Blue Planets World seriesEnvoys, Prequel is the short story of the first contact with the Risonians on their Cadee Moon Base. The ambitious naval officer Blake Rose joins the team as the comparative biology specialist. He’s the first to shake hands with a Risonian, Dayexi Quad-de, who immediately captures his heart. Still, he has a job to do: protect Earth from aliens.
Interested in the origin of the Blue Planets World series? This is the short story for you.
In fact, we’d love to give it to you free. See the sign up below!

Have you waited and waited and now it’s almost too late?

The Girl, the Gypsy, and the Gargoyle |

This deliciously creepy Halloween Novel is on sale for only $0.99. The ebook price goes back to $4.99 tomorrow. Buy before midnight.

More about The Girl, the Gypsy and the Gargyole: Creepy Novel for Middle Grade

  • This story is an audiobook narrated by Paula Bodin. Listen to a sample.
  • Read a sample chapter.
  • Read an outtake. This is a prologue that didn’t make it into the book but explains the backstory of the Gargoyle Man.

Only $0.99 for October – On All Platforms



Kobo ePUB
BEST DEAL On Amazon, buy the print book and get the ebook for only $0.99


All formats are also available on Mackin, Follett, Permabound, Overdrive, and Ingram.

by Darcy Pattison
Why science is so important to science fiction?

Let’s look at the Arecibo Message. In 1974, the Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, sent a message into space looking for extra-terrestrial intelligence.

A great deal of thought went into the message, and included input from Carl Sagan, Dr. Frank Drake (the Drake equation) and other prominent scientists.

This is the message with color added to highlight its separate parts. The actual binary transmission carried no color information.

Quoting from Wikipedia:
The message consists of seven parts that encode the following (from the top down):

  • The numbers one (1) to ten (10) (white)
  • The atomic numbers of the elements hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus, which make up deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) (purple)
  • The formulas for the sugars and bases in the nucleotides of DNA (green)
  • The number of nucleotides in DNA, and a graphic of the double helix structure of DNA (white & blue)
  • A graphic figure of a human, the dimension (physical height) of an average man, and the human population of Earth (red, blue/white, & white respectively)
  • A graphic of the Solar System indicating which of the planets the message is coming from (yellow)
  • A graphic of the Arecibo radio telescope and the dimension (the physical diameter) of the transmitting antenna dish (purple, white, & blue)

Science + What If = Science Fiction

When I write science fiction stories, I can’t write in a vacuum. I need facts to extrapolate from or to build on. I read about the Arecibo message, especially that the scientists didn’t expect an answer for 50,000 years because it was aimed at the distant globular star cluster M13, and that’s the time needed for a round trip with current technology.

But what if. . .

That’s where things get interesting to me. I build on facts, but take it to a new and imagined place.

What if. . .there was another civilization who was also sending out their version of the Arecibo Message. Their technology is faster than ours and meets our message much, much earlier than expected. Let’s say, just 25 years after launching the Arecibo, we heard from another intelligent species. OK, but why are they out there looking for something?

Unlike Earth, they are faced with the destruction of their planet and are looking for a suitable place to live. (Well, then, you have to go and read all about the Kepler space ship’s search for Earth-like planets!) Speculation leads to more science! Which leads to more what ifs! The rich, fascinating interaction of scientific fact and speculation leads to fascinating milieus, or worlds for a story to inhabit.

Throw in Characters

Within the world created, it soon becomes clear that certain types of problems are inherent. That’s when I start to add characters who must face those problems and find ways to defeat the problems and/or live with them.

Does that mean that the characters are slighted in science fiction? I don’t think so. Often, there’s the same interaction with scientific fact: psychology studies feed into the fiction. Characters act and react according to current thinking about human behavior. Sorta. Of course, there’s always the what if and the imagination that adds twists and quirks.

When I write science fiction, the science blends with the fiction seamlessly to create a powerful story.

Take the premise of The Blue Planets World series. What if a planet experiments with ways of controlling volcanoes, only to discover that they’ve ruined the planetary core and it will implode soon. They’d destoryed their own planet through arrogance.

That means they need a new world. Which means that when they find Earth, they want to come here as refugees.
Finally, I had the premise for “The Blue Planets World series.”

The Series is Complete

Pilgrims, Book 3, The Blue Planets World series launches on November 1. Preorder now! With this publication, the entire trilogy is now available as ebook, paperback, and hardcover.

The Blue Planet Series by Darcy Pattison |
Book 3 publishes on November 1. The complete trilogy will be available then in hardcover, paperback and ebook formats.

Jake Rose joins the courageous crew of the Eagle 10 as they streak across the galaxy to Rison, the other blue planet. Their goal is to find the umjaadi starfish, the host of an organism that is deadly to the Phoke, the water people of Earth. The mission is foolhardy because Rison will soon implode—the catastrophe is mere days away—from a science-gone-wrong scenario. Forced to enter the Risonian society at its darkest hour, the team struggles against local politics and race against time to find the starfish.

Utz Seehafer, the son and heir-apparent, of the southern Bo-See coalition is assigned to help the Earthlings’ search. He battles his own demons of a lost brother, a grieving father, and the urgency of escaping a dying planet. Will he be able to save his beloved Derry, and their pet project, the great white shark named Godzilla?

Pilgrims is the exciting conclusion of an epic science fiction trilogy that pits Risonians and Earthlings against inevitable implosion of a planet. In a rush against time, they must deal with the politics of desperate men and the tricks of a dying planet. Will they find the cure and escape in time?

And to think it started with a simple binary code in 1974 that was broadcast into space in hopes of finding extra-terrestrial life!

Order Now from Amazon Kindle or Kobo

Order Hardcover from Educational Distributors


HARDCOVER – Coming on Nov. 1

iBOOK – coming

All formats also available on Follett, Mackin, Permabound and Ingram.

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