Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Tumblehome Learning is Open for Business

Tumblehome Learning immerses kids in science through adventure stories and hands-on activities.  Just nine months after incorporating, we launch our first four products this weekend at the USA Science and Engineering Festival Book Fair in Washington, DC.  The three books and one activity kit are also for sale in our online store.  Let me tell you about them.

Leading off is the first book in our Galactic Academy of Science series, meant for kids ages 9-13.  Each book features two kids encouraged by a teenaged visitor from the future to solve a science-based crime.  To do so, the kids borrow a hand-held time travel device to visit scientists from the past and ferret out the knowledge they'll need to catch the criminals.  The visits are wild and usually funny, but they also convey solid scientific information in the context of adventure.

Volume #1 in the GAS series draws on the science behind electronic devices. It's called The Desperate Case of the Diamond Chip, by Pendred Noyce.  (Yes, that's me.) When the Russian scientist living downstairs accuses Clinton of stealing his invention, Mae and Clinton want nothing more than to get away and work on their science fair project.  But that's before a Dudette from the future appears and challenges them to solve the mystery.  The kids travel back in time to meet Dmitri Mendeleev, Niels Bohr, John Bardeen, William Shockley, and Robert Noyce. They interrupt a seance, outwit the Gestapo, and jump from a plane as they gather the knowledge they'll need to seek the missing diamond semiconductor chip.

With color pictures and brief inset biographies of the scientists the kids visit, the book is both engaging and informative. Our hope is that it will inspire kids to dig deeper and learn more.

Even more fun comes with the accompanying science kit, which can be bought with the book or separately.  Inside, kids will find experiments involving thermal paper, diffraction lenses, building an electroscope, sun lithography, and how to cut through an ice cube with the heat from their hands. The experiments relate directly to concepts in the book.

More books in the GAS series will appear soon: The Furious Case of the Fraudulent Fossil by Barnas Monteith should arrive by late summer.  With visits to ancient China, English sea cliffs, a Paris laboratory, and the fossil-hunting fields of Montana and Mongolia, Fraudulent Fossil will be another rousing adventure.

Our second current book offering is another middle grade book, this one a weather mystery by Michael Erb called Kelvin McCloud and the Seaside Storm.  When a mysterious woman slips them a newspaper story about a prominent banker's death in a hailstorm, Henry and his uncle Kelvin McCloud suspect foul play.  Clues lead them to an empty mansion, a feisty young artist, a baseball bat-wielding suspect, thunderstorms, a devastating fire, and more.  As they pursue the murderer, Kelvin draws on and shares his knowledge of lightning, storms, why the sky is blue, how seasons work, and why we have weather at all.

Venus: Daedalus One, by Jeffrey Morris (also known as FutureDude), is a beautifully-drawn graphic novel about a trouble-ridden first manned mission to our inside neighbor.  Scientists theorize that Venus, which has not continental plates, generates enough internal heat that its entire surface melts and re-forms every hundred million years or so.  What would it be like to be exploring the planet when such an event begins?

All four authors will be present at the Tumblehome Learning booth (BF-6) at the book fair this weekend (April 28-29).  Michael Erb will be present only on Sunday, which is also the day I'll be giving a talk at 10 am on the Teen Stage.  Called "Mthemysticals and Musical Leaves," my talk will touch on how I went from being a doctor to being the author of fantasy and scientific adventures.  I'll show lots of pictures from the Lexicon books (including The Ice Castle, which comes out in August), and I'll even play an illustrated version of Girls Can't Do Math, the first completed song for the Lost in Lexicon musical.

Visitors to our booth will also get the chance to inspect fake and real fossils, play with static electricity, mold some fossils of their own, and enter a raffle to win a "gem" made of many many tiny industrial diamonds.  We look forward to seeing you there!


Mom2two said...

We will be attending on Saturday and look forward to meeting you, seeing the new series of books, and getting our copy of Lexicon signed. :)

Marva Dasef said...

Congratulations, Penny. I wish you much success. Parents will find your books perfect for teaching kids while having fun. A great combination.

Penny said...
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