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Hot off the Press!

Apr 6, 2015 | By: Beth McGinnis-Cavanaugh

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Campbell, CA (1/15) — Wavecrest/FastPencil  is proud to team with the Through My Window organization to present Sonia Ellis’s Talk to Me, a captivating young adult mystery novel that will thrill young students and engage them in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).

In Talk to Me, seven-year-old Maddie Reyes can talk to Mom, Dad, and 14-year-old Sadina, her sister and protector. But with the rest of the world—except for Bella, her robotic cat—she’s too terrified to speak a word. Maddie wakes one night to find an intruder in the house, and now she’s the only one who can identify him and save Mom from being arrested. Sadina suspects her best friend, Rio—especially now that Rio has started paying attention to another girl. With Mom in trouble and Rio acting like a stranger, Sadina’s world is collapsing. And that’s when her friends join together to help transform Bella into Chattercat, a talking robot that just might get some answers from Maddie.

Filled with beautiful illustrations by Evanleigh Davis, this captivating mystery, geared toward readers in grades 4 to 8, covers a range of important issues: friendship, teamwork, trust, making hard choices, and continuing to pursue goals, even in the face of overwhelming odds. With its key plot device involving artificial intelligence and design, the story also motivates children to explore engineering and other STEM fields. Click here to read this remarkable new book.

Children can continue the adventure at, the Through My Window website.  Here they can join the book characters in STEM learning adventures featuring colorful graphic novels, games, journaling, videos, and other interactive elements.  Plus, at the multimedia engineering website, parents, teachers, and youngsters will find colorful supplemental materials to help further promote a well-rounded STEM curriculum, from interactive learning adventures and a collaborative online journal to a wealth of educator support.

“I’ve always believed in the power of imaginative education, which uses a well-written story to provide context and engage learners,” says Glenn Ellis, Professor of Engineering at Smith College, the project leader for Through My Window and a Carnegie Teaching Award winner. “For Through My Window, I collaborated with Beth McGinnis-Cavanaugh—an award-winning professor at Springfield Technical Community College—as well as a group of innovative educators and designers. The result is Talk to Me, the story of a young girl who uses engineering to solve a crime. With the help of a National Science Foundation grant, the team then went on to create the Through My Window website. Thoughtfully designed and in tune with how young people learn, it uses narratives to help students think deeply about engineering and other knowledge questions.”

”I started out as an engineer,” adds author Sonia Ellis. “My family is full of engineers who have done amazingly different things. Engineering is not just about building bridges! Talk to Me is meant to be enjoyed, all on its own, as a story about a girl who figures out how to face the troubles in her world. At the same time, the things Sadina has to face all relate to the very real lives of engineers, who actually deal with the same sorts of problems that kids do. The story is also tied to a much bigger world that you can be a part of at So I hope readers begin to see that engineering is something they can do too.”

About FastPencil
FastPencil is leveraging the disruptive trends of self-publishing, social media, print-on-demand, and eBook distribution to deliver a new unified online service that streamlines the book publishing process, offering more control and higher margins for authors. The FastPencil writing and publishing service enables authors to create books online, collaborate, publish, and distribute from one engaging, simple, cost-effective solution. For more information please visit  Courier Corporation (Nasdaq: CRRC), one of America’s leading innovators in book manufacturing and content management, acquired FastPencil in April 2013.

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This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Nos. 1223868 and 1223460.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

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