Mims House makes its home in the historic Quapaw Quarter of Little Rock. Houses in this historic neighborhood are named for the family who lived there in 1890. The Mims family gave their name to our office. About 20 years ago, it was gutted and rebuilt with reproduction wallpapers and beautiful hardwoods.

Which of these blue houses is Mims House?
The first correct answer will receive a paperback book of your choice.

House 1

House 1: Which house is Mims House? | MimsHouse.com

House 2

Is this Mims House?

House 3

Which blue house is Mims House? | MimsHouse.com

House 4

Is this Mims House? | MimsHouse.com

House 5

Could this be Mims House? | MimsHouse.com

Leave a comment with your guess of which house is really Mims House.

Congratulations to illustrator Ewa O’Neill! She was awarded a Muse Medallion for a series of illustrations of cats in the 22nd annual Cat Writers’ Association Communication Contest.

2016 Cat Writer's Association Muse Medallion - Series Illustration for Ewa O'Neill | MimsHouse.com
2016 Cat Writer’s Association Muse Medallion – Series Illustration for Ewa O’Neill | MimsHouse.com



I Want a Cat: My Opinion Essay is Ewa O’Neill’s second book with Mims House. Her style is colorful, fun and exciting. Part of the challenge of this book was the variety of species. We looked at the top 20 most popular breeds in the U.S. (just as we did for dogs on I Want a Dog: My Opinion Essay).

I love seeing the different breeds of cats, especially when its from award-winning illustrator Ewa O'Neill. She was awarded the 2016 Muse Medallion - Series of Illustrations by the Cat Writer's Association | MimsHouse.com


I love the way Ewa captured the looks and personality of each cat breed. | MimsHouse.com
I love the way Ewa captured the looks and personality of each cat breed. | MimsHouse.com



I love that illustrator Ewa O'Neill shows kids and cats interacting in fun ways. | MimsHouse.com
I love that illustrator Ewa O’Neill shows kids and cats interacting in fun ways. | MimsHouse.com


REVIEWS OF THE READ AND WRITE series of popular books

“. . .fill(s) a niche for teachers. . .” – School Library Journal 5/1/15

• “. . .breezy and engaging introduction to genre writing.”
• “The model essay can be used across multiple genres (informational and narrative nonfiction in addition to opinion).”
• “. . .useful for teachers showing early elementary students the relevancy, power, and importance of effective writing.” –Booklist 6/17/15


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One of the fun things about publishing a story about a wild creature is that the story is ongoing. Our book, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, features the oldest known wild bird in the world. Banded on December 10, 1956, she is over 65 years old and on February 4, 2016, she hatched a new chick. As I write this in summer, 2016, she is likely flying over the North Atlantic looking for a nice squid to eat. We’ll all hold our breath in early December to see if she returns to Midway again.

I love this cover of Wisdom, the Midway Albatross, the story of the oldest wild bird in the world. | MimsHouse.com
The US Fish and Wildlife Service continues to post many great photos and videos of the continuing story of the oldest known wild bird in the world. All FWS photos and videos are public domain and you may use them as you wish.


Here are videos about the book.

Wisdom Multimedia: Wisdom the Oldest Mother


If you can’t see this video, click here.

Wisdom Multimedia: How Big is an Albatross?

This was videotaped at an Arkansas Audubon Summer Camp. It’s a great way to show kids how big an albatross really is.

If you can’t see this video, click here.

Other Teaching Materials for Wisdom

Creative Coloring Pages
CreativeColoring-Wisdom

Wisdom: Mentor Text for Teaching Writing
Vivid Verbs Lesson by Marcia Atkins

Share Wisdom’s Story on These Special Days

These organizations have many teaching resources on their websites.

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Opening lines are often difficult for writers. They spend time rewriting that first sentence endlessly in hopes of grabbing a reader. Readers just browsing in a bookstore or online will often turn to the first line of a book to decide if they’ll read further.

Here are the first lines of Mims House books. Which book(s) would you like to read more about?

“When Laurel disappeared, her father and the villagers and the priest of the Cathedral of St. Stephens searched and lit candles in prayer and pleaded with the heavens for news of her, but they never thought to look up.” Read more.

“I bent over the giant state of Texas.” Read more.

“Ba-boom, Ba-boom, Ba-boom.” Read more.

“‘Kell, did you know that my birthday party is next month?'” Bree Hendricks said to me. Read more.

“My hands dripped with blue paint.” Read more.

“Above the armadillo’s den, the western sky was ablaze with red, coral, and dark purple, while the eastern sky was just dark enough for stars to begin twinkling.” Read more.

“Saucy Dillard loved gingerbread days.” Read more.

“‘Kell, we need to plan the Friends of Police parade,’ Mary Lee Glendale said.” Read more.


When I read these OPENING LINES, I want to read several of these children's novels! Which would you like to read?| MimsHouse.com

Happy Father’s Day! June 19th is the last day for you to enter the GoodReads Giveaway for ROWDY: The Pirate Who Could Not Sleep

Watch four fathers reading to their daughters in this YouTube Playlist.

Question: Darcy, why did you write this book?

Answer: There are always several reasons for writing a certain book. I seem to be drawn to stories of father-daughter relationships. I think it’s because I’ve watched my husband, DH, develop strong relationships with his three daughters. Once, I was at a conference all day and he took all three girls to float the Buffalo River. By himself. Well, there were certainly three child-sized life jackets along, too. He has joked with them, lectured them (seldom), and generally loved them. This is the type of story I could see him reading to the girls. The rowdy pirate, Captain Whitney Black McKee, isn’t happy until “her own dear pappy” arrives. DH never sang to the girls, as the captain’s father does, but he told many a wacky bedtime story.
I love Ewa O'Neill's stylistic drawing of a father singing to his daughter. The rowdy pirate captain can't sleep until "me own dear pappy" arrives to sing her a lullaby. Great Father's Day story. | MimsHouse.com

Question: Why did Mims House choose Ewa O’Neill as the illustrator?

Answer: Ewa (pronounced EV-uh) had already illustrated three books for Mims House and done a book cover when she did this book. We showed her two manuscripts. One is MY DIRTY DOG: My Informative Essay, the fourth book in the Read and Write Series. The other was the manuscript for ROWDY. She came back very excited by the story of ROWDY. When a creative person is excited about a project, you know they’ll work hard and stretch for the most creative art possible. We decided to work on ROWDY first, and we hope to do the essay book later with Ewa.

When people ask questions about writing for kids, two questions pop up over and over. Author and writing teacher Darcy Pattison says, “People want to know what to do about illustrations and how many pages in a children’s picture book.”

Writing for Kids Means Art

I like the simple instructions on writing for kids in this ebook. There are sections on writing ABC books, nonfiction, mysteries, and more. | MimsHouse.comChildren’s picture books can’t exist without the art that graces their pages. Everyone knows that. But where does the art come from?

If you’re writing for a traditional market, you don’t have to do anything about the art. In fact, you hurt your chances of getting published if you try to provide art. The art director and editor at the publishing house choose the artist. They match up stories with illustrators who have a proven track record of selling well, which pulls the books sales up. Seldom will they match an unknown author with an unknown illustrator because that’s bad business. So, if you show up with your wife’s neice’s husband’s art – you’ve cut your chances of selling in half. The editor must LOVE the text, and the art director must LOVE the art. If that nice fella does indeed have a professional portfolio of artwork and is just making the jump into children’s books, you might be in luck. But I doubt it.

Instead, write your story. Format it in a standard manuscript format (typed, double-spaced). And submit it through the usual channels.

Writing for Kids Means a Strict Format

Children’s picture books are almost always 32 pages. This is because of the way paper is folded and how most printing presses are set up. With the advent of ebooks, there is more flexibility. However, if you want to convert easily from print to digital, you’ll still want to stick to the 32 page limit.

Need answers to more questions about writing a children’s picture book? Award-winning author, Darcy Pattison, walks you step by step through the process of writing, editing, and submitting a picture book story to a publisher. This book is only available as an ebook.


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Summer reading 2016 days are upon us! We’d like to suggest two fantasy novels for your kids to read.

Los Armadillos Invade the Ozarks – Refreshing Summer Reading 2016

Armadillos! I love the way these small creatures come alive in this fantasy story for kids. Los armadillos have their own history, hopes and dreams. Great summer reading 2016! | MimsHouse.com
Galen, the nine-banded armadillo, must accept the Tex, the ambitious outsider, as leader of the search for the fabled Faralone Falls, a place they can finally call home. But on the frontier, survival is the only thing that matters. Not pride.

In the tradition of Warriors , Seekers, or The Guardins of Ga-Hoole comes the American fantasy, VAGABONDS, the sweeping saga of El Garro’s armadillo colony, the scouts and pioneers who have always been at the forefront of the migration. Rumors from their original homeland, the jungles far to the south, suggest that El Garro’s colony may be nearing the fabled Faralone Falls, where they will find the answer to why they have traveled northward for decades. This epic story is a poignant metaphor of the immigrants search for a better place for their families.

Follow Galen as he grows into a leader among his people, one worthy of being remembered in ballads.

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Deliciously Creepy, but With Two Miracles at the End

Deliciously Creepy - Give your summer reading 2016 a chill. | MiimsHouse.comEvery once in a while, there’s a quote that stays with you and makes you feel sort of creepy. That’s the case with this famous quote from Michelangelo.

“Every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it.” –Michelangelo

Of course, the question is what’s inside the stone? Just a statue? How did it get there? Who put it there?

This middle grade fantasy answers the question with a slightly scary answer. Need just a tiny chill for your summer reading?

Summer Reading 2016 Brings Miracles – at a High Price

What if an unscrupulous sculptor could trap someone inside a block of stone, just so he could carve them? And can miracles come from tragedy?

Threatened with the loss of the only home she’s known, Laurel listens to a proposal from Master Gimpel, a deformed stone carver. He intrigues Laurel when he offers a path to untold riches. Master Gimpel explains that his Troll’s Eye, a red jewel, is a doorway into the stone world where a treasure cave awaits. From the moment Laurel looks through the Troll’s Eye, she and her gypsy companion enter a dangerous race for their lives.

This is a rich, surprising, and sometimes disturbing tale of gargoyles, and those who carve the creatures from solid stone. There’s darkness in this cautionary tale, that nevertheless pulls off not one, but two miracles, and brings Laurel home to stay.

Follow Laurel’s harrowing journey toward miracles.

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Mims House is proud of illustrator Ewa O’Neill, whose series of cat illustrations in I Want a Cat: My Opinion Essay book has earned a Certificate of Excellence from the Cat Writer’s Association. This means her art is in the final competition for the CWA Muse Medallion which will be presented at the BlogPaws Conference late in June.

Like other cat lovers, I'm excited that the artist of this book, Ewa O'Neill, has been nominated for an award for her series of cat images. It's a fascinating look at the 10 most popular breeds in the U.S. | MimsHouse.com

Research for Cat Breeds

Ewa spent a lot of time researching the different breeds of cats popular in the U.S. From hairless to very hairy, small to large, the variety of breeds is amazing. Of course, we had experts from the Cat Fancier’s Association vet the text and illustrations. They had only one minor correction on one species, a testament to the careful research that Ewa did.
As a cat lover, I am fascinated by the different breeds of cats, especially when the art is from award-winning illustrator Ewa O'Neill. This is the last page of I WANT A CAT: My Opinion Essay | MimsHouse.com

We Invite Cat Lovers to Join the Excitement

We’ll be anxiously awaiting news from the CWA on the final awards late in June. As soon as we hear, we’ll let you know. Meanwhile, cat lovers, you can find the book here.

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Summer reading should be fun and humorous, light and entertaining! The Aliens, Inc. Series fits that description.

When I was looking for a great summer read for kids, I found this series. The Aliens, Inc. Series is great summer reading for kids going into 3rd-5th grades. I love series because it makes the choice of what to read next so easy. | MimsHouse.com

These are the stories of Kell, an alien from the planet of Bix, who is shipwrecked because his father’s drink spills onto the control panel of their spaceship. With technology’s help, they learn English and have to face the problem of making a living on Earth. Kell enters third grade and must avoid the principal, who is the President of the Alien Chaser’s Society.

In this fun early chapter series, the Smith family (you couldn't pronounce their alien name!) is shipwrecked on Earth. How can they make a living? | MimsHouse.com

Summer Reading to Keep 2nd-5th Graders Happy!

Author Darcy Pattison says, “This was a fun series to write because there were repeating elements, and yet each book had to stand alone.”

Each book starts in an art class. They draw, paint themselves into a corner, and create a “found art” bulletin board that Mrs. Crux calls The Accidental Art board. Nutrition, social studies, choir and nutrition teachers get their say also, as each book includes assignments from one of those classes.

To up the tension, the Principal, Mrs. Lynx is President of the Alien Chaser’s Society. She’s sure that someone in third grade is an alien, if she could just catch them. She employs a different technique in each book, coming close, closer and closer.
I love the drama added by the Alien Chaser's Society. In each book of The Aliens, Inc. Series, they get closer to capturing Kell and his family. | MimsHouse.com
Someone, it also worked out to have a song in each book. If you try the audiobooks, narrator Josiah Bildner does an amazing job of pulling off “The Star Spangled Banner.” The audiobooks are great listening in the car or on a child’s ipod.

With all that fun, we almost hesitate to add (Shhh!) that there are complete lesson plans (PDF download) for the series.

Start The Aliens, Inc. Series Today

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