• Mikey's quick thinking saves the day during a terrible ice storm. - 09/01/2011

    Mikey pressed her cheek against the cold windowpane and watched the gray clouds roll across the winter sky. She was imagining herself at the Olympics, spinning across an ice rink in a sequined red skating dress and white figure skates. The crowd threw bouquets, and the judges stood to applaud her. Her...

  • A shortcut turns into an adventure that lasts all night long. - 09/01/2011

    I was driving home to New Mexico after spending ten days in Nevada’s Great Basin Desert. I had camped each night. During the days, I had followed bands of wild horses, taking pictures and making notes for a story I wanted to do on mares and foals. I was exhausted and eager to be home in my own bed....

  • A swim coach's advice saves the day during a scary boat trip. - 09/01/2011

    The lone sailboat bounced across the choppy water, racing for the darkening, pine-covered shore more than a mile away. Katie shivered as she scanned the black clouds billowing over the mountains. She glanced at her older brother, Rick. “You think we have enough time?” “Of course, of course,” said...

  • Tim and his crew retrace the steps of explorers who sailed thousands of years ago. - 09/01/2011

    The first emperor of China, Qin Shihuang, wanted to live forever. When he heard of a magic land far to the east where life-extending plants grew, he commanded a great sailor named Hsu Fu to cross the Pacific Ocean to gather the plants for him. Ancient Chinese records say Hsu Fu took the challenge...

  • Wendy and Alex make a new discovery that turns out to be very useful on their planet. - 09/01/2011

    Wendy and Alex stared at the strange flower at their feet. Dozens of them bloomed in this remote corner of the field. As if someone might overhear, Wendy whispered, “We saw them first, so we get to name them.” Alex agreed. “That’s the rule. I vote for Woolly-Puffs.” Wendy bent down for a closer...

  • Joe learns the value of a stepbrother on a fishing trip. - 09/01/2011

    “Rats!” I groaned. “Is he coming along?” I stared disgustedly at my new stepbrother, Benny, sitting in the back seat of Dad’s car. Benny is eight, short and thin with beady eyes and big ears. Now that Mom and Dad are divorced, I only see Dad every other weekend, and Benny is always horning in. He...

  • Xavier and his cousin have a close encounter while fishing. - 09/01/2011

    Grandfather had warned Xavier not to go out on the Yukon that day. But about a hundred yards from the willow-choked shore, kneeling by a small hole cut in the thick ice, were Xavier Beans and his cousin John Ianutuk. Xavier searched through his red backpack for his tackle box. His cousin, who always...

  • Jamie's quick thinking helps save the lives of the village fishermen. - 09/01/2011

    Andy Morgan looked up in surprise as his youngest son came into the kitchen. “Why are you up at the crack of dawn, laddie?” He turned and winked at his three older sons seated at the breakfast table. “I’ll wager it will take the Queen’s own Pipers to get him out from under his bedcover when the time...

  • Jess and Ma helped a runaway slave escape, but how will they know that he is safe? - 09/01/2011

    Jess tried to steady his trembling legs. It wasn’t easy to do with the strangers in the house. They were searching every room and surrounding Ma, who stood there bravely. “A slave?” she was saying. “We have no slaves on our farm.” “We’re looking for a runaway named Orion,” said a bearded man. “If...

  • Anna Mae was sick in bed, so she took an adventure in her head! - 09/01/2011

    Anna Mae was sick in bed. A cold was clogging up her head. No school today, no outside play— now, what was she to do? She blew her sniffly, snuffly nose, put fuzzy slippers on her toes, held her head, slid out of bed, and found some things to do. With colored blocks she made new words, she...

  • Zol, a Clovis boy of the Ice Age, sets out to prove he is not afraid of the woolly mammoth. - 09/01/2011

    Zol crept out of the hide-covered shelter without waking Father and Mother. A blanket of fog hung over Mammoth Camp. In the dimness, the shelters looked like large hairy animals hunkered down for the night. Zol shivered and pulled his bison robe tighter around him. Silently he trotted out of camp...

  • How can the school ski trip be fun if Carly has no friends? - 09/01/2011

    My new school’s ski trip seemed like a good idea to my mom, who was holding up the slick new ski jacket she’d just bought for me. Mom must have imagined me-her seventh-grade daughter, Carly—and my new rosy—cheeked friends sipping hot chocolate beside a roaring fire. Maybe she thought I’d spend the...

  • With only a covered wagon to call home, pioneers braved the Oregon Trail. - 09/01/2011

    It’s a familiar pioneer image: covered wagons rolling across vast prairie to Oregon Territory. But what was it like to call a wagon “home” for six months, traveling over two thousand miles of rough, roadless terrain? Pioneer diaries and letters tell us. Your wagon must “. . . be strong in every...

  • A plan to get even gets two boys into high water. - 09/01/2011

    I left the sweet morning air and the warm African sun outside when I entered the old shack. My friend Anuko did not look up. He was busy. I peered over his shoulder as he flipped through the pages of his thick book. He stopped on page twenty, jabbed his finger at it, and growled, “Magnets! Here is...

  • Can you die from the bite of a black widow spider? The author finds out the hard way. - 09/01/2011

    There is no worse fate, no greater or more gruesome bad luck, than to be bitten by a black widow spider. This was the firmly held opinion of everybody I knew when I was a kid. It wasn’t just my friends who thought this. Adults believed it, too. We knew a black widow’s bite meant death would follow,...

  • Could Blondin succeed in carrying a man across the gorge of Niagara Falls on a tight rope? - 09/01/2011

    Funambulist! Oh, how Harry Colcord rued the day he’d met one. Eager to horn into the wages of fame, Colcord now feared he had sold his young life to Monsieur Blondin, famous funambulist-high-wire acrobat. Chicagoan Henry (Harry) M. Colcord was no daredevil or athlete, but a slightly built, white-collar...