Double Delight!

AMAZING news- times two!

The Society of Illustrators in New York has accepted both PERKIN’S PERFECT PURPLE and ART IS LIFE for the prestigious 2020 Original Art Show.

Congratulations Francesca Sanna, my illustrator for Perkin’s Perfect Purple and Keith Negley, my illustrator for Art is Life!

What did Victoria’s coronation SOUND like?

Queen Victoria commanded “Make me a coronation crown of purple velvet and silver and gold…”

This poster hung in the window of the royal jeweler, Rundell Bridge & Co. bragging that they’d created the masterpiece crown “in obedience to the command of her most sacred majesty Queen Victoria.”

The Queen was amused.

We can see paintings to find out what the coronation looked like.

We can read accounts, like Queen Victoria’s own diary, to find out what was planned to happen — and what wasn’t. For example, when 82 year old Lord Rolle tried to climb the stairs to bow to the new Queen he tripped. Victoria herself wrote that he “rolled right down, but was not the least hurt. When he attempted again to ascend the steps, I advanced to the edge, in order to prevent another fall.”

But what did the coronation sound like?

With great research we can discover that, too… so we can almost experience Victoria’s coronation for ourselves.

This is the music played for Victoria’s coronation.


And this is how it sounded- listen to Victoria’s Perfectly Purple Coronation for yourself!

PURPLE! By Command Of The Queen!

“Make me a coronation crown of PURPLE velvet, and silver and gold,” commanded Queen Victoria.

Purple was tricky, until William Perkin came along. The rare color was reserved for Queens and Kings until William made PURPLE FOR THE PEOPLE.

How much do you know about Queen Victoria? She wasn’t always an old widow dressed in black. When Princess Victoria became Queen and commissioned her purple crown she was only 18 years old- just like William Perkin when he made his marvelous invention of purple dye and changed chemistry forever.

Royal_Reviewer is creating an excellent series that charts Victoria’s rise from Princess to Queen. Check out Elliot’s Victoria videos here.

PERKIN’S PERFECT PURPLE: How A Boy Created Color With Chemistry (Little Brown, 2020) will be in bookstores everywhere on October 6!


 The American Society for Engineering Education, the International Technology and Engineering Educators Association, the National Science Teachers Association, the Society of Elementary Presidential Awardees, and the Children’s Book Council selected INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED as one of 31 BEST STEM BOOKS for K-12!

We’re thrilled!

But that’s not all–

INSTRUCTIONS also was named a 2020 NSTA-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Book!

The National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and the Children’s Book Council have named INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED as an OUTSTANDING SCIENCE TRADE BOOK! We’re so honored!

Hip Hip Hooray for Betty, Jean and Kay!

I’d love to share INSTRUCTIONS with your science class. Email me to arrange a free Skype visit.

Let’s Do World Read Aloud Day!

I love World Read Aloud Day– so I’ve turned it into World Read Aloud MONTH! All February I’ll be Skyping with schools, troops and kids around the world. And it’s FREE! Plus we’ll send free bookmarks for you to share with your students.

I’m a former elementary school librarian and I love to talk to students about inspiration, writing and research– with my books INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED and WE REALLY DO CARE. I’ll also give your kiddos a “top secret” preview of the AMAZING new books I have coming out in 2020.

My INSTRUCTIONS co-writer Debbie Dunn is also Skyping for WRAD. I’m managing both our WRAD schedules so you can book either one of us by emailing me. We still have a few slots available on February 5– and more on lots of other days in February.

Email me today to schedule your WRAD Free Skype visit with me or Debbie.

My email is

I can’t wait to hear from you and to meet your students!

Women’s History Month is around the corner…

I have something VERY special planned for you, your class or troop to celebrate Women’s History Month all March long! Lots of scientists you need to know and lots of fun puzzles, games and activities!

Stay tuned and check back in February for all the details!

Texas Book Festival

Join Debbie and me at the Texas Book Festival in Austin, Texas!

True Stories That Inspire

Sunday, October 27, 2019 1:15 PM – 2:00 PM Authors Tami Lewis Brown and Debbie Loren Dunn, and National Book Award Finalist Steve Sheinken with Moderator Diane Hernandez at Next Chapter Tent Congress Avenue, AUSTIN Texas

And at 2:15 we’ll be signing INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED in the Kids Signing Tent!

Do you love fun facts? Is social studies your favorite subject? Do you hope for a history lesson? Or do you just really like learning about awesome people from the past? We’ve got two stories of amazing women from history who took on the challenge of flight and engineering to change the world. Learn how the soared through the clouds and programmed the very first computers!

Steven Sheinkin’s new book is Born to Fly: The First Women’s Air Race Across America. And guess what– Elinor Smith is one of the women included in his story!

Can you believe it? We’d love to hear what Elinor would have to say about that!

Debbie and I can’t wait to talk to Steve and to meet more Austin book lovers! Y’all come!

The Algorithm Game

Computer programs are written with a series of steps. An algorithm is that series or the order in which the computer performs the steps.

A story is also a sort of algorithm. In INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED the three young women, Betty, Jean and Kay wanted to be mathematicians and, later, more specifically, computer programmers. To accomplish that goal they studied, applied for a job as a “human computer” and worked very hard. They were specially selected to work on the ENIAC project. By using logic and mathematics they were able to enter complicated problems into the computer and commanded it to solve them.

The Algorithm Game is a fun way to use a story to learn about algorithms. Download a free PDF for The Algorithm Game here.

Coding With Cookies Activity Download

What’s as good as a girl scout cookie? A secret message– in cookie binary code. Girls have been computer programmers from the very start. Betty, Jean and Kay INVENTED computer programming. Read more about their work in INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED: How A Team Of Women Coded The Future.

You can be a coder, too. Get started with this unplugged basic coding activity, writing code like Betty, Jean and Kay, but we do have instructions!

Download a free PDF here.