Posts Tagged The Great Library Giveaway

STEM Tuesday– Special edition– SEARCH PARTY!

A STEM-tastic Search Party mission, if you choose to accept it:

STEM Tuesday Search Party Event

What: A From the Mixed-Up Files online scavenger hunt search using the new STEM Tuesday site search tool to find the answers to the questions in the Google Form contest entry.


  • February 20, 2019 – Contests begins!
  • March 28, 2019 @ Midnight EST – Entry deadline by Google form.
  • April 1, 2019 – Announce the winners via STEM Tuesday post.

Where: The From the Mixed-Up Files site search tool

Prizes: Entries with the correct answers will be awarded a prize package from one or more of the 13 donating authors. (If more entries than author prize packages are received, they will be assigned a number according to the order received and the 13 numbers will be randomly selected using a randomizer selector tool. If less than 13 entries are received, the prize packages will be evenly distributed.)

The Backstory

Stephanie Stemread sat in her student volunteer cubicle in the dim, dusty recesses of the book stacks in Edison Falls Public Library. Mrs. Newton had assigned Steph the task of sifting through the middle grade STEM nonfiction section and weeding out the outdated books left by the former and recently retired children’s librarian. Frederick de Fictione.

While Mr. de Fictione had in an eye for children’s fiction, he ignored all things science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Thus, Mrs. Newton gave Steph the job of weeding the outdated middle-grade STEM books. This task was more than a job for Stephanie Stemread; it was a mission.

She flipped through what, once upon a time, must have been some sort of textbook. “One day man may even walk on the moon?” she read as she snapped the book shut in a cloud of dust and tossed it into the recycling bin.


The front desk bell rang and echoed to complete silence down the aisles of Edison Falls Public Library. Stephanie walked to the front desk and found herself face to face with a short, elderly woman dressed all in black with a black hat pulled low over her dark sunglasses. The lady in black cleared her throat, pursed her lips, and handed an envelope across the counter to Stephanie with a black-gloved hand. The elderly lady leaned in and whispered in a raspy voice, “For the children’s section, dear.”.

Stephanie grabbed the envelope and studied the letters “S”, “T”, “E”, and “M” scrawled on the paper in a shaky script.

“STEM?” she asked.

“Shhh!” The lady in black looked around the library and pointed a long finger at the envelope. “It’s all in there.”


“Shhh! Not a word to anyone.”


“Not a word!”

As Steph stood completely dumbfounded and holding the envelope, the lady in black slunk toward the door. The door opened with a flood of sunlight. The old woman slipped through and paused briefly to remind Stephanie, “It’s all in there.”.

The door slammed shut.

The envelope shook in Steph’s hands while she fumbled to open the seal of the mysterious STEM letter.


(How about this list of prizes for the Search Party contest? Pretty awesome. A huge shout-out to all the authors listed who donated books!)

Amy M. O’Quinn




Sarah Albee





Natascha Biebow





Nikole Brooks Bethea

SUPER SCIENCE FEATS (4-book Series from Pogo Books published by Jump!)






Donna Janell Bowman

STEP RIGHT UP: HOW DOC AND JIM KEY TAUGHT THE WORLD ABOUT KINDNESS, illustrated by Daniel Minter (Lee and Low, 2016)

ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S DUELING WORDS, illustrated by S.D. Schindler (Peachtree, 2018)




Susan M Latta





Janet Slingerland





Miranda Paul

Donating TWO prize packages:

Book Set #1 (plus a set of water stickers and a set of new baby stickers!)


NINE MONTHS (Advance F&G copy only) 



Book set #2 (plus a few bookmarks!)



Kate Narita

100 BUGS!



Laurie Wallmark

(Author of Hedy Lamarr’s Double Life, Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code, and Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine)

  • A classroom prize pack of:
    * bookmarks
    * stickers
    * STEM-related word searches
    * pencils

Dianne White

WHO EATS ORANGE?, illustrated by Robin Page (Beach Lane/S&S, 2018)




Mary Kay Carson




Jennifer Swanson

A 3-pack of:






Mike Hays has worked hard from a young age to be a well-rounded individual. A well-rounded, equal opportunity sports enthusiasts, that is. If they keep a score, he’ll either watch it, play it, or coach it. A molecular microbiologist by day, middle-grade author, sports coach, and general good citizen by night, he blogs about sports/training related topics at and writer stuff at www.mikehaysbooks.comTwo of his science essays, The Science of Jurassic Park and Zombie Microbiology 101,  are included in the Putting the Science in Fiction collection from Writer’s Digest Books. He can be found roaming around the Twitter-sphere under the guise of @coachhays64.


SPY ON HISTORY Book – Interview with Workman Publishing’s Editor Daniel Nayeri and a Giveaway!

Looking for an innovative way to experience history? Give this new series a try. It is AWESOME! I read the first book and loved it! Not only do you learn, but you get to solve mysteries as you read. Very interactive reading and totally fun. I’m thrilled to be able to introduce this book to you today and also give you a behind-the-scenes interview with the editor  behind this new series!

Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring introduces an exciting interactive series for middle grade readers Spy on History, where the reader gets to experience history in a whole new way.

Meet Mary Bowser, an African American spy who was able to infiltrate the Confederate leadership at the highest level. Enigma Alberti dramatizes Mary Bowser’s suspenseful story how she pretended to be illiterate, how she masterfully evaded detection, how she used her photographic memory to copy critical documents.

Using spycraft materials included in a sealed envelope inside the book, a canny reader will be able to discover and unravel clues embedded in the text and illustrations, and solve the book’s ultimate mystery: Where did Mary hide her secret diary?

What people are saying about this book:

“A gripping story that offers a window into a pivotal time in U.S. history and puts a face to a little-known figure.” — Publishers Weekly

“Alongside it being a great story, this will rise to the challenge to any curious-minded wannabe spies.” — Black Girl Nerds

“Sometimes, a very special book comes along that allows your mind, and the kids’ minds, to actively exercise and expand while tromping through a story and learning some history. Mary Bowser and the Civil War Spy Ring…is one such book.” — Geek Dad

The cool thing, or maybe I should say, the mysterious thing about this book, is that the author is unknown. This is done on purpose, to add to the intrigue of the book and also well, it’s just cool! So instead of interviewing the author, the editor of this amazing series has agreed to speak with us.


Meet Daniel Nayeri, Director of Children’s Books at Workman Publishing, editor, and author.


Daniel Nayeri was born in Iran and spent a couple of years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is the author of How to Tell a Story, and Straw House, Wood House, Brick House, Blow, a collection of four novellas. Daniel is the director of children’s books at Workman Publishing. Before entering children’s publishing, he was a pastry chef.


Daniel, thanks for joining us today. We are so excited to learn about this book. Let’s jump right in!

1. How did you come up with this unique format?

Books like THE ELEVENTH HOUR by Graeme Base have always been enthralling to me. Escape Rooms, of course, are extremely popular. We wondered, what if there was a book series where a kid could read about little-known figures in history while also engaging with a larger puzzle? The puzzle could be contextually relevant to the story, using primary texts, and methods contemporary to the narrative. The only thing cooler than reading about Mary Bowser and her incredible spy craft would be employing some of your own to complete your own mission. It just seemed like the kind of book we would have all devoured as kids.

2. Why use an actual nonfiction fact as the focus point for the book?

There are so many unexplored nooks and crannies of history that are full of drama. We couldn’t imagine anything else. The series was always about these moments that read like thriller novels, but have the added import of being true.

3. How do the clues work to solve the mystery (without giving anything away of course)

Once we had the manuscript, our Art Director—Colleen AF Venable—and the illustrator, Tony Cliff, began an incredible process of layering clues and encrypting messages throughout the illustrations. There are several “threads” of clues that can lead a reader to the final solution, which is the codeword you need to decrypt Mary Bowser’s letter at the end of the book. Some of these threads are easy…they’re just a few steps…solve some Morse code here, compare it to a map there, and voila. Some are incredibly hard. My favorite—spoiler alert—is the thread that uses the language of flowers. Early in the book, Mary is told that some flowers means different things, and there is an illustration that gives the reader some examples. One flower, the snapdragon, means deceit. So on all the pages that have snapdragons on them (as border illustrations), all the clues are lies.

4. Was editing this book the same as editing any other book or were there more challenges?

Outside of the usual challenges in editing a nonfiction narrative story, we had lots of added issues with the hidden codes. I had to become fluent in Vigenere ciphers, but Colleen had to become a downright cryptologist by the end. You could say the puzzles were like a third layer of discourse (alongside the text and imagery). We had several vetters going through to make sure the puzzles worked and weren’t too deeply embedded.

5. Why is there a secret cadre of authors writing these books? Is that part of the mystery, too?

Mysteries upon mysteries!
The nature of a secret cadre of authors is that they are like any other cadre of authors: murderous if you give up their secrets. I wish I could tell you everything.

6. Can you tell us about the next book in the series?

This, I can do. The next book is called VICTOR DOWD AND THE WORLD WAR II GHOST ARMY. It follows an amazing unit of soldiers made up of painters, composers, and other artists whose job was to create decoys to fool the Nazis. They painted inflatable tanks to look life-like and trick the German spy planes. There are moments in the story where a tiny group of sound engineers hide in a forest and project the sounds of an entire battalion marching through. If the Nazis only knew, they could have walked right into the forest and captured them.

7. Workman creates such neat and interesting books. Many of them are interactive. Can you tell us why you feel this is a great thing for your readers?

The editorial mandate I have for the group is to make “Art Objects for Great and Terrible Children.” To us, this means a great number of things. First and foremost, it means we take our work seriously enough to call it art. Of course, we’re not too precious about it. We know a good fart joke is an art form to kids. And we call them objects because we care about the “thingness” of books, the format, the interactive possibility of a book that wants to speak, but also wants to listen. In other words, a book that asks for input, a book that wants kids to learn, certainly, but also make and do. Those are all perfectly synchronous behaviors as far as we’re concerned. A book as an act of play is no less a literary endeavor than a book as a lecture. To us, the interaction is even more compelling when trying to inform a child on a nonfiction topic.

8. What future Workman titles should our middle grade readers be aware of?

We have so many exciting titles in the works. Of course, we just launched WHO WINS, which is an interactive book with 100 biographies of historical figures. We’ve also got the third book in our DOODLE ADVENTURES series, which is like a visual Mad Libs where kids draw in parts of the story. One title on the same list as SPY ON HISTORY 2 is a history of archery called THE MOST DANGEROUS BOOK: ARCHERY. It tells the history of archery in war, in battles like Agincourt, and in folklore. It shows bow designs from all over the world, and explains the physics of arrow in flight. The book also turns into an actual bow. It shoots paper ammunition (included in the book) at papercraft hay bales, and a William Tell apple (papercraft targets also included). I can’t wait to see the grown-ups’ faces when that one launches.

Sounds fantastic, Daniel! Thanks so much for joining us today and giving us a behind-the-scenes look at this awesome book.

Since we already offered a giveaway of this amazing book last week, we are offering a different book as a giveaway. Daniel mentioned it above, it is called, Who Wins and is a fantastic book for spurring discussion in the classroom.

Simply enter a comment below for a chance to win.

Jennifer Swanson is a huge nonfiction nerd and loves all things science and history. Throw in a mystery and she is hooked! You can read more about Jennifer at her website 


Vote For the Great Library Giveaway of 2012

Many of the books donated for our Great Library Giveaway of 2012.  Photo Copyright Laurie Schneider 2012. All rights reserved.

We’ve enjoyed reading the 196 nominations that came in for our Great Library Giveaway.  We wish we could supply each library with a stack of books, but since we can’t, we are grateful to our readers for helping us choose who should receive our middle-grade collection.

And today is the day you can help.  Today you can vote for which library you think needs these books the most.  But first, we’d like to introduce the finalists, chosen at random by our random generator, and share a little about each school with you.  Here they are in random order.

Nipomo Elementary School Library in Nipomo, California!

Photo property of Cathe Olson and Nipomo Elementary School. Used by permission.

Cathe Olson nominated this library.  Also the school librarian, she says of the school:

“Nipomo Elementary School is made up of almost 500 kindergarten through sixth grade students, many are low income or English learners, but all are bright, talented, and wonderful kids. Because of school budget cuts, we are not getting any funds to purchase library materials. Many of our books are old and falling apart.

“Our students love the library and love books. We need new books that will appeal to the kids and help them become lifelong readers. Reading is essential for students to be successful in school and in life. The library is where they can find that one book that will turn them on to books and help them to become lifelong readers. ”

Discovery Middle School Library in Granger, Indiana!

Photo property of Discovery Middle School. Used by permission.

This library was nominated by The Brain Lair, who is also the school’s librarian.  She says:

“Why should Discovery Middle School receive 100 middle grade books? Because we. LOVE. TO. READ! Every Friday morning we stop everything for Friday Reads. Each person; student or staff reads for 30 minutes and then spend time talking about and sharing our reads.  We also have Book Talk Tuesday – where in I entice the students with book talks on our morning news show. We also do One Book, One School – last year we read the Hunger Games then over 100 students participated in our Battle of the Book! We even had weekly trivia game shows!! We can’t get enough of reading! So, what do we need at our school? More BOOKS! Please help us get them so we can keep doing what we love!”

Gateway College Preparatory School Library in Georgetown, Texas!

Photo property of Gateway College Prep. Used by permission.

This library was nominated by a parent, Shelly.  We talked with the school’s librarian, Kara Angell, and she had this to say:

“Gateway College Preparatory is a K-12 charter school in central Texas. Although Gateway College Prep is in its fourth year of existence, the library has only been operational since February of this year. Our collection consists of donated resources, many of which were gently used and several years old when given to the school. Although these books are loved by our 820 students, they are beginning to fall apart from overuse.

“The children at Gateway are avid readers. The parents and teachers do a fantastic job of instilling a love of reading in these students. Our goal as a library program is to nurture that passion by expanding our current collection and providing them with as many opportunities as possible to make a connection to story or a character. Through this contest, our students will have the opportunity to get their hands on brand new books- something many of them have not done before while visiting the school library. One hundred books may not seem like a lot to some of the bigger, public school libraries but at Gateway it would mean the world. I can only imagine how excited the students would be to know that new books were coming, and all because people took their time to vote for the little charter school out in the cornfields. :-)”




Now it’s your turn to decide. You can find the poll at the top of our left sidebar.  If you have trouble voting, please send us an email at librarygiveaway at fromthemixedupfiles dot com and we’ll manually add your vote to the tally. Please feel free to leave comments as well, but these will not be counted in the official tally.  For the official list of rules, please view our Great Library Giveaway FAQ. Polls close at 11:59pm on October 30, 2012.


Good luck to all three finalists, and our voters as well!