August 30, 2013

Mary Shelley's Birthday

Today is the 216th birthday of Mary Shelley, best known as the author of Frankenstein. Published in 1818, Frankenstein has become a classic piece of literature.

Creating this classic as a graphic novel was done by Sergio A. Sierra and illustrated by Meritxell Ribas.
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Frankenstein by Mary Shelley is a 96 page book, with amazing black-and-white illustrations.

Written for the middle school reader, this title is available in both library and paperback editions, and can be found at your preferred vendor, your independent bookstore,, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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August 28, 2013

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

On the 50th anniversary of Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech, this title for elementary readers is a
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great introduction to this man.

Written by Patricia and Fredrick McKissack, this is an easy-to-read book, describing how Dr. King brought people of all races together to fight for equality without using violence. Readers will learn about the civil rights movement and what made Dr. King so special.

Available in both library and paperback editions, as well as a multi-user eBook version, this title is available from your preferred vendor,, your independent bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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August 26, 2013

Women's Equality Day

For Women's Equality Day, let's discuss an inventor who contributed to the world of medicine and cancer medication.

Because of the shortage of male chemists during World War II, female chemists were hired in laboratories.
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One of these scientists was Gertrude Belle Elion, who worked alongside George Hitchings, to create drugs to fight diseases such as herpes, leukemia, and malaria. Their research led to the discovery of AZT, which was the first drug used in AIDS patients.

Gertrude Elion shared a Nobel Prize with George Hitchings in 1988, and was the first woman inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Having developed a drug that slowed the development of leukemia cells, she conducted more experiments, and then changed the drug so that it would allow pediatric leukemia patients to live longer than they would have without the medication. This medication became the standard treatment for childhood leukemia in the 1950s and is still used today, along with other medications.

Gertrude Elion is one of ten inventors included in the Amazing American Inventors of the 20th Century. Part of the Inspiring Collective Biographies series, this title includes William Lear, Philo Farnsworth, Beatrice Kenner, Gordon Gould, Charles Ginsburg, Robert Shurney, Jack Kilby, Stephanie Kwolek, and Lonnie Johnson.

This title, as well as the others in the series, are available from your preferred vendor,, your independent bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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August 23, 2013

Kobe Bryant and STEM Friday

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What do Kobe Bryant and STEM Friday have in common? Well, it's Kobe's birthday today so in celebration of that we are going to mention two Kobe biographies, as well as a science book about the physics of sports.

The first biography is written for the elementary market. Read About Kobe Bryant, part of the I Like Sports Stars! series, is a photo-essay great for the emergent reader. This title has been correlated to the Common Core standards. Other athletes covered in this series are Alex Rodriguez, Carmelo Anthony, Derek Jeter, Drew Brees, and Eli Manning.

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Kobe Bryant: Champion Basketball Star is written for the middle school reader and is part of the Sports Star Champions series. The author highlights the career of this basketball star, and this book has also been correlated to the Common Core standards. Other athletes included in this series are Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, Kevin Garnett, Peyton Manning, and Tim Duncan.

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Science plays a role in sports. Newton's First Law of Motion is used when dribbling a basketball. How is science used when making shots at the basketball hoop? The Physics of Sports Science Projects gives the reader step-by-step instructions on how physics is used in sports. This title has been correlated to the Common Core standards. Part of the Exploring Hands-On Science Projects, other topics covered in the series are plants, sound, solids, liquids, gases, toys, games, and magic.

All of these titles are available from your preferred vendor,, your independent bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

August 20, 2013

Math Word Problems? "No Problem" With Enslow Math Titles

Math word problems are increasingly appearing on high-stakes mathematics assessment tests for the Common Core and for specific state requirements. These problems, which require reasoning as well as performing mathematical operations, take considerable practice to master. Finding suitable, concise material to help students grasp these challenges is not easy.

Enslow Publishers offers a solution. Our Problem Solving and Word Problem Smarts! title provides excellent, step-by-step instructions and examples that bring clarity to mathematical issues. Author Rebecca Wingard-Nelson's 64-page work includes useful problem-solving tips and organizational suggestions that can contribute to improved performance and academic success.

Problem Solving and Word Problem Smarts!, part of Enslow's "Ace Your Math Test" series, is available in a paperback edition for $7.95. A library-bound edition is available directly from Enslow Publishers for $20.95; that price represents a 25% school/library discount from Enslow's list price.

The book is also available from your preferred vendor, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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August 19, 2013

Latest Brightstone title is available! Author Interview with Paul B. Thompson

Author Paul B. Thompson
Book 3 in the Brightstone Saga trilogy, The Battle for the Brightstone, is now available. Read our interview with the author, which was posted in December of 2012.

 Author, Paul B. Thompson began his association with Enslow Publishers in 2007 with a 160-page biography of Joan of Arc. His interest in history forms a link through his body of work for Enslow, including his most recent effort, the fantasy fiction trilogy called "The Brightstone Saga."  The first book in this venture -- The Brightworking -- was published this fall to positive reviews. Following up The Brightworking is our January 2013 release of Book II -- The Fortune-Teller. The trilogy's culmination -- The Battle for the Brightstone -- is scheduled for a Fall 2013 release.

We recently spoke with Thompson about his writing, how he approaches his work, and the rewards and challenges he faces as an author of historical fiction and fantasy fiction.

Enslow: What inspires you to write and why?

Paul: There are several ways to answer this question. For one thing, I love writing. It's the most satisfying work I've ever done (and I've done a lot of different things in my life). I am inspired by what I read also. History is my first and foremost love when it comes to books, and I thrilled to many a page when I was young. My fiction writing is almost always an adaptation of history--whether in plot, character, situation, style, or setting. Even my science fiction and fantasy writing is historically based.

On a more personal level, I am always inspired by wife, Elizabeth.

Enslow: Would you say you experience writer’s block more or less when writing your sorcerer and wizard characters than with your historical fiction characters?

Paul: Not at all. I have never experienced writer's block. In my view, sorcerers, wizards, robots, aliens, or any other fantastic character are really just people under their robes, rivets, or scales. Truly alien or magical characters would be very difficult to write about or understand, since their place in reality would be far different than ours. To keep things realistic, a wizard can be considered the doppelganger of any other driven, powerful type: a banker, a general, a scientist, et. al.

Enslow: How is your writing process different for historical fiction books from your fantasy fiction books?

Paul: It's different in a very obvious way. Historical fiction requires precise research. You need to know names, dates, places, etc. in order to be historically accurate. And boy, do you hear about it if you're not accurate! Fantasy fiction only has to be internally consistent. If the hero's eyes are blue in Chapter 3, they need to be blue in Chapter 11, unless there's a plot reason they've changed. Readers notice mistakes in fiction too, but they're less vociferous than history buffs.

Enslow: How is the Brightstone Saga different from your Dragonlance series? How are they similar?

Paul: Dragonlance was created by other people, and six books were published before I had a hand in writing any. It was very popular, and still has a very loyal fan base. Over the years I've gotten a lot of flak about not cleaving to the holy writ of Dragonlance lore. Some of this criticism was deserved, but most of it wasn't. Because I did not originate the series, a lot of fans decided I had no right to change *anything* about the series, even after I wrote or co-wrote more than a dozen titles in the series. (Do I sound grumpy about this? I am.) The Brightstone Saga is my story, start to finish, so this problem of faithfulness does not arise.

Another difference is the 'pitch' of the stories. Dragonlance was aimed at a general audience, though in fact the majority of Dragonlance readers are males between 15 and 25. The Brightstone Saga is meant for much younger readers, and I hope it is enjoyed by boys and girls alike. Dragonlance had very strict guidelines on the level of sex, violence, occultism, etc., you could put in, though the enforcement of these guidelines tended to vary with who was editing you. Because The Brightworking Saga is intended for younger readers, there's no question of loading it with mature themes and actions.

Similarities between the two series are a medieval setting, the use of magic, non-human characters, monsters, etc., and a general reliance on Western traditions of good vs. evil. Both series are youth-oriented. The heroes tend to be young people, though Mikal and Lyra are actually younger than typical Dragonlance protagonists, who tend to be past their teens.

Enslow: What types of books have influenced your writing of fantasy fiction?

Paul: History, surely, particularly ancient history up to the onset of the Dark Ages--say 4000 BCE to 470 CE. You can see this in the names and politics of The Brightstone Saga. Mikal's home country, Phalia, is modelled loosely on medieval Germany. The Florian Empire has aspects of the Roman Empire, the Byzantine Empire, and the seagoing realms of ancient Greece.

As for fictional influences, I always enjoyed the historical fantasies of L. Sprague de Camp, Fritz Leiber, and C. L. Moore--de Camp especially. I stopped reading new science fiction and fantasy some years ago (busman's holiday), so contemporary writers have not influenced me. There are other famed fantasists I will not name whom I actively dislike, and deliberately avoid their work.

When people ask me, what is the best fantasy novel ever written, my usual answer is THE WANDERING UNICORN by Manuel Mujica-Lainez. A great book.

Enslow: Where did your idea for Master Harlano, the evil wizard from the Brightstone Saga, come from? Is he based on anyone you know?

Paul: I'll take the 5th Amendment on that. I had a supervisor many years ago who acted like Harlano (smiling when he was about to do something really unpleasant). He never turned anyone to stone, but he could bore you to death.

Harlano's politics are old-school, counter-reformation, and reactionary. There are many examples of this kind of thinking throughout the history of world, even today.

: What obstacles did you face creating the imaginary medieval world in the Brightstone Saga?

Paul: It wasn't hard. I've been writing fantasy since 1985, and I've read many novels and works of non-fiction on the pre-industrial world of western Europe. The concept of magic in The Brightstone Saga wasn't hard either. It basically works like magnetism. The hardest part of the plot was the social order. In real medieval times, most men, all women and children had zero rights and privileges. If I wrote a realistic story set in medieval times, modern readers used to social and political diversity would be appalled. Even so, you have to adapt modern sensibilites to a fantasy setting, to give the flavor of the Middle Ages or ancient times without the Hobbesian desperation. Having working magic helps, since access to magical power is open to anyone. Indeed, the cause Harlano fights for is determined to undo this democratic access to the power of magic, so it all dovetails together well, I think.

Enslow: Without giving anything away, what can readers expect from “The Fortune-Teller” the second book in the trilogy that’s coming out in January?

Paul: More action! The Brightworking is structured like a mystery--the main thrust of the plot concerns Mikal's gaining knowledge about magic, Orry, and the world he lives in. The Fortune-Teller is a chase story. I won't give away who's chasing whom, but a lot more ground is covered, and some wild new characters turn up.

Enslow: What specific challenges did you face while writing “The Battle for the Brightstone” the third and final book in the Brightstone Saga?

Paul: When writing an epic, it's important to include a human scale, so things don't become detached and impersonal. Grand forces are at work in Book III, but I had to keep Mikal and his friends at center stage, so the readers will know how they feel and what they experience. Empires, lords, armies and navies clash, but it's a slightly older and wiser Mikal (and company) who have to come through. Do they save the world? Stay tuned!

We'd like to thank Paul Thompson for taking the time to do this interview.

Anyone who wishes to review The Fortune-Teller may request a complimentary copy by sending an email to

The Fortune-Teller and The Brightworking can be purchased directly from Enslow Publishers. The books are also available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Institutional buyers may also purchase them from their preferred vendor.

August 16, 2013

It's National Tell a Joke Day

Why not combine National Tell a Joke Day with STEM Friday?

Super Silly Science Jokes, a series written for the upper elementary reader, has six titles. Q: Why did Benjamin Franklin fly a kite in 1752? A: The idea that lightning was a giant electric spark had him all charged up. Find this joke, as well as scientific information about electricity and magnetism in Shockingly Silly Jokes About Electricity and Magnetism.

Other titles in the series include rocks, minerals, and soil; wacky weather and silly season; the solar system; dinosaurs and prehistoric life; and spiders and other bugs.

Containing fun illustrations by Gerald Kelley, these books will keep students entertained as well as teach them about different aspects of science. Interested in writing your own jokes? These titles help with suggestions on how to do so.

These titles are available in library and paperback editions from your preferred vendor,, independent bookstores, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. They are also available as epubs and single-user and multi-user PDFs.

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August 13, 2013

Math Biographies for the Common Core

The Common Core embraces the notion that reading literacy is a goal in all subject areas. That direction includes mathematics. To address this idea, Enslow Publishers offers a number of age-appropriate biographies that incorporate information-rich texts on mathematicians and their contributions to the field.

For example, Enslow's "Great Minds of Ancient Science and Math" includes a biography of the Greek mathematician Euclid. Author Paul Hightower's well-written, 128-page work delivers a lively look at Euclid's life and profound contributions to understanding geometry and the reasoning underlying its axioms. The book provides an excellent text for math teachers to use for Common Core literacy development.

Hightower's The Father of Geometry: Euclid and His 3-D World is available in a library-bound format directly from Enslow Publishers for $23.95. That price represents a 25% school/library discount from Enslow's list price for the title. The book is also available from your preferred vendor, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon.

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August 12, 2013

Happy Birthday Walter Dean Myers!

Biographies for middle school readers are a popular topic for reports. Enslow's new biography series geared toward those readers includes a book about Walter Dean Myers. What started as a way to be able to read
aloud to classmates despite having a speech impediment, turned into a career. Writing has earned him numerous prizes and awards. He first started writing poetry, which was published in literary magazines in 1961. His first book, a picture book, was published in 1969.

Other people featured in this series include Oprah Winfrey, Toni Morrison, Will Smith, Halle Berry, and Maya Angelou. Titles in the African-American Icons series are over one hundred pages each and are available in both library and paperback bindings. These titles are also available as multi-user eBooks.

These books are available from your preferred vendor, your independent bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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August 09, 2013

Congratulations to our July raffle winner!

Congratulations to the Maggie Cordova Elementary School library in New Mexico for winning July's raffle of books!

August 07, 2013

Better Together: The Louisiana Purchase & A Musical Journey in the Footsteps of Lewis & Clark

Since 2008, Elaine Landau's The Louisiana Purchase: Would You Close the Deal? has been one of the most adored social studies titles released by Enslow Publishers.  Landau's book, written for students in grades 3-4, teaches the Louisiana Purchase through a series of segments in which a historical situation is explained and the reader must decide on a course of action.  Primary sources and illustrations are a constant throughout the book.

A Musical Journey in the Footsteps of Lewis & Clark, created by our own president, Mark Enslow, with his wife, Anne Enslow, and a band of talented musicians, is a unique musical history of the Lewis & Clark expedition.  The album contains a mix of narration and performances of historical songs from Lewis & Clark's era.

Making these two resources available to students learning about the Louisiana Purchase and the Lewis & Clark expedition is a great way to give them a deeper understanding of the overall time period while providing the materials needed to create great reports.

Check out for these and other great non-fiction titles!

August 06, 2013

Animal Stories + Math = Enslow Common Core Success

Enslow's "Math Fun with Sebastian Pig and Friends" embraces fun reading with solid math skill development for young readers. Author Jill Anderson's and illustrator Amy Huntington's winsome six-book series features 32-page books that students can use in class, share in read-along sessions, or read at home. Each of these AR 1.8-2.0 illustrated books address a key mathematical operation, such as addition, subtraction, measurement, geometry, or counting. One title focuses on money math. The books make a strong contribution to a library, media center, or classroom's collection, and are appropriate for Common Core supplemental materials needs.

Titles in the "Math Fun with Sebastian Pig and Friends" series are available in library-bound, paperback, and e-book formats. The library-bound book may be purchased directly from Enslow Publishers for $16.95 per title; that price represents a 25% discount from Enslow's list price for each book. Paperbacks are available for $6.95. The multi-user e-book is available directly from Enslow for $21.95; that price represents a 25% discount from Enslow's list price for these items.

August 05, 2013

Which famous musician would have celebrated a birthday yesterday?

Louis Armstrong! If he were alive today, he would have celebrated his 112th birthday. Not only was he
known for his musical talent on the trumpet, he was also a singer. He earned his nickname, "Satchmo," after his friends noticed how big his smile was. He was initially nicknamed Satchel Mouth, which, over the years, became "Satchmo."

Part of the Famous African Americans series, Louis Armstrong is written for the upper elementary reader, and is matched to the Common Core Standards. Available in both library and paperback versions, this title is available from, your preferred vendor, your local independent bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

For the middle school reader, Louis Armstrong, part of the African-American Biography Library series, is also matched to the Common Core Standards. This 128-page book explains how Louis overcame poverty and adversity to become a well-respected musician and singer. This library-bound title is also available from, your preferred vendor, your independent bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble.

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August 02, 2013

New science series for fall 2013

Using a microscope to look at tiny images can be fascinating, or disgusting, depending upon the person. Zoom In On... is a series of four books geared to the middle school reader, and perfect for the STEM curriculum.

Want to see what a flea looks like under a microscope? How about a hair, or a grain of pollen? Find out in the Zoom in on Crime Scenes book. These 32 page titles offer the reader who is fascinated with science an interesting way of seeing what items look like under a microscope.

In Zoom in on Body Invaders, salmonella bacteria is shown under a microscope, as is a bed bug, head lice, and a tick, among other items.

Bizarre Bugs zooms in on earwigs, assassin bugs, dragonflies, dung beetles, and more. Just reading about the dung beetle was enough!

House of Horrors includes information about cockroaches, silverfish, termites, wasps, spiders, and more. The illustration of a housefly's face under a microscope and the description of how they eat their food is more than enough!

All of these titles are available from your preferred vendor, your independent bookstore,, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble. Both library and paperback versions are available.

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