Attract young readers and engage their parents and grandparents with one of Missouri Press Foundation’s popular historical fiction serial stories.
Our stories are unique in their camera-ready format, small space requirements, activities within each chapter and affordability, even for the smallest community newspapers.
Hundreds of newspapers across America and beyond have published Missouri Press Foundation serial stories, from small weeklies to large dailies.
Story Descriptions and Sample Chapters
Descriptions of each serial available from Missouri Press Foundation as well as a sample chapter of each story can be accessed by clicking on the link(s) to the right of the story.
Pricing for NIE stories is based on circulation and can be found on the contract.
For more information or help with purchasing a story, contact Missouri Press Foundation at (573) 449-4167. If you have a NIE question, please send an email to Helen Headrick, NIE Coordinator, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mr. Eads Bridge
The 2019 serial story, Mr. Eads Bridge, combines STEM and history for an engaging time travel tale. An ordinary field trip to the Gateway Arch turns extraordinary when Becky is transported to the 1870s. The creature that sent her into the past wants one thing, for her to learn.
She meets the man behind the Eads Bridge, James Eads, and Laura Ascot, an architecture student. Between these two, Becky learns a great deal about the science, technology, engineering and math of building a bridge across the Mississippi River, making her trip into time a success. Students will also learn from Mr. Eads Bridge, both from the engaging story and the associated Teaching Guide. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available, download code: 2019mreadsbridge)
Kali: A Polar Bear’s Tale
Kali, a polar bear cub, made news across the country when he was just a few months old. Rescued after hunters shot his mother, Kali quickly became famous. Polar bears are known to regularly travel long distances but Kali may take the record. He was born near Alaska’s northwest coast, rode on an ATV to the town of Point Lay, and had three plane trips; to Anchorage, Alaska, Buffalo, New York and Memphis, Tennessee. The last leg of his trip to St. Louis, Missouri was in a customized truck, sized and cooled to polar bear standards.
This heartwarming tale takes this small orphaned cub from one adventure to another as he grows and learns how to be a polar bear. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available, download code: kali18)
Jim the Wonder Dog
Have you ever felt like your dog understands you? Sam Van Arsdale did. In fact, Sam’s dog understood English, French and even Morse Code! This is the story of Jim the Wonder Dog — a Llewellin Setter living in the 1930s who amazed everyone with his ability to follow any command, hunt like a champion, and even predict the future. Newspapers across the country wrote about Jim the Wonder Dog in the 1930s
Was Jim really super smart, or just very well trained? What exactly do animals know, and how much of our language can they truly understand? These questions and more are explored through the story of a unique dog’s remarkable life. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available. Published as a children’s picture book.)
Night at the Capitol
Eleven-year-old Charlie just moved to Missouri from California. Bored on his field trip to the Missouri State Capitol, Charlie wanders off and, when night falls, finds himself involved in a wild mystery to find an important piece of Missouri history. After hiding in the Senate Chamber, Charlie falls asleep and wakes to find a very different Capitol. History has come to life. Charlie joins soldiers, Native Americans, authors, musicians, baseball stars and a quirky reporter turned tour guide on his adventure through the Capitol. Charlie learns Missouri history and what it takes to be brave during his quest. (13 chapters, companion teacher guide available.)
There are baseball heroes – and then there are legends.
Dizzy Dean stands among the legendary players who have truly left their mark on America’s game. History remembers Dizzy not only for his prowess on the pitcher’s mound, but also for his character off of it. “The Gashouse Gang” takes readers back in time to a simpler era in Major League Baseball. Follow Dizzy and his teammates on their journey as they grow from a ragtag bunch of misfits to true world champions. (12 chapters, companion teacher guide available. Published as a children’s picture book.)
Lily is a Weimaraner that grows up in Joplin with her owner, Tara. Tara trains her dog in search and rescue to help people who are lost or missing loved ones. One day Lily becomes very sick. Her recovery is a miracle. A month later, Joplin is hit by a massive tornado. The search and rescue dog’s bravery and resilience are put to the test as she is called upon to help put her city back together, piece by piece. This is a true story of hope and hometown heroes, celebrating the courageous spirit of one very special dog. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available. Published as a children’s picture book.)
A young girl named Jenny finds a “Window to the Past” when she discovers a diary in an old attic trunk. The stories reveal that one of her ancestors was a friend of Girl Scout founder Juliette Low more than 100 years ago. “Window to the Past” will inspire young readers to seek out the interesting stories that can be found in their own family histories. (8 chapters, companion activity guide available that meets many Girl Scouts badge requirements)
Life’s no field of clover for Manny. Over the years, his kind has gotten stuck with a bad reputation. They’re believed to be lazy, ugly and dumb. Manny has had it up to his long ears with this pile of mule hooey – and in a new eight-week serial story, he’s going to set the record straight. Each chapter in this series shows mules in a new light – mules enlisted for the military, mules making history, even a mule movie star. Entertaining and educational, “Manny Kicks Long Ear Lore” shows mules from a mule’s perspective. (8 chapters)
This series highlights pups with a purpose — dog mascots from the Civil War. Each chapter features a canine that participated in, or witnessed, a fray or major battle, from St. Louis to Pennsylvania, concluding in Illinois with Fido, the beloved mutt Lincoln left behind when he was called to Washington D.C. to serve as president. (9 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
“Three Generals,” introduces young readers to three men – John J. Pershing, Maxwell D. Taylor and Omar N. Bradley – who had significant roles in two world wars. Inspired by these three famous American generals, the characters learn that no matter where they live, boys and girls can achieve great success through hard work and a belief in their own dreams. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
“A Fine Fella” tells how, in his rugged youth, America’s most beloved president was molded to guide his country in the dark days of the Civil War. Share his adventures on the frontier, his youth sorrows and the humor that kept his spirit alive during the low points of his life. “A Fine Fella” shows how Mr. Lincoln formed his opinions about such issues as slavery, and how he learned to live with sorrow and defeat.
Now, 200 years after his birth, America celebrates and remembers “A Fine Fella.” (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
Toby LePage, an 11-year-old frontier boy, has a dream come true when he is given a ride on the Arabia, a steamboat headed up the Missouri River. Toby was sure he was on an adventure that he would remember for the rest his life. However, the adventure he had was not the kind he expected as he and his father, along with all the passengers and crew on the Arabia, face a great tragedy on the Mighty Missouri. And, as a result of his adventure, Toby comes to understand that, indeed, The River Speaks. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
As Violet learns the words of this patriotic song, she doesn’t know that those words will one day become her country’s national anthem.
“Beautiful Music” tells the story of how a little tune, written in the midst of battle, became the greatest song in America. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
“Pressing West: A Page in History,” is the story of the first newspaper in Missouri, the Missouri Gazette, founded in 1808 by Joseph Charless. Celebrate more than 200 years since Missouri’s first newspaper was founded by publishing “Pressing West” in your newspaper! (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
A tractor-trailer carrying horses to a slaughterhouse crashes on a highway. Rescuers save many of them, including a pregnant mare. When her “miracle colt” is born, he draws national media attention. Young readers will be able to meet “Twist of Fate” when “Twister” tells his tale and introduces folks to friends he’s made at Longmeadow Rescue Ranch. This is a story “straight from the horse’s mouth. Color feature. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
The Lady in White
The arrival of a lady in a small Kentucky coal town in 1920 sends gossip through the community. Is the stranger a new school teacher or has she come to marry the town doctor? In the end, two girls learn a valuable lesson when the mystery of the “lady in white” is solved. (8 chapters)
When a very unusual dog shows up on the Herman farmstead in Tennessee, 10-year-old John Robert has a new friend. But, a year later, in the spring of 1811, a second visitor to the farm reveals a story of historic proportions. John Robert learns that his new dog is one of the most famous characters in American history. John Robert also learns that a frontier can be in many places. (8 chapters)
A Familiar Face
A homework assignment leads Scotty Brown to discover “A Familiar Face” in the pages of history and to learn about the role a boy from Missouri had as an adult in international decisions of humanitarian aid, war and racial equality. Scott takes from the lesson a new appreciation for the top job in America and the realization that even he could someday be president. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
The Big Ditch
Commemorate President Roosevelt’s historic November 1906 international visit with The Big Ditch, Missouri Press Foundation’s first serial story available in full color! In 1906, Douglas Taylor leaves his home in the United States to spend a year in Panama. He watches the construction of the Panama Canal, but more importantly, he learns how his father and other doctors fight bravely to save the lives of the men who built “The Big Ditch.” Available in color and black and white versions. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
An Old Secret
While picking watermelons on his father’s Oklahoma farm, Joe Porter finds a piece of the past buried in the watermelon patch. As he digs into the history of his father’s farm, Joe learns an old secret held by two families. After the old secret is told, Joe becomes part of a new secret that carries a noble tradition. Joe Porter’s 1952 adventure is a tale of watermelons and cowboys. (8 chapters)
Everybody Loves Jack
Adam Holmes never had a pet until he found a wounded stray dog. But from the moment the dog comes to Adam’s house, unusual things begin to happen. As he helps care for the wounded animal, Adam learns about life in the north woods of Minnesota in 1900. He learns there are more than trees in the forest. He also learns that “Everybody Loves Jack.” (8 chapters)
Ode to Joy
Alice Palmer and her family start a new life when they move to Arizona in 1935 to operate a trading post in Navajo country. Alice soon makes friends with Susan, a Navajo girl. With the help and encouragement of their families, the two girls come to understand and appreciate each other’s cultures. (8 chapters)
The Best Storyteller
Eleven-year-old Emily Todd, daughter of a Mississippi riverboat captain thought adventures happened only on the river. But adventure and excitment found Emily on dry land as a pair of bumbling bank robbers stumble their way into her life. Emily’s escapades, high on the river bluffs, provide some humerous literary material for Sam, the boy Emily thinks is “The Best Storyteller.” (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
Madeline Fischer spends a week at the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. Each day she finds new adventures and wonderful new inventions and discoveries. While Papa works at the fair, Madeline and her mother ride the massive Observation Wheel, learn about hot air balloons, see the world’s largest floral clock and even meet an Olympic champion. (8 chapters)
School is out at last and Sarah Callaway has returned to Lighthouse Island for the summer. She is happy to be back home to help her father take care of the lighthouse. But, on her first day home, a mystery develops when Sarah discovers a monkey perched up on the lighthouse galley and a strange boat is found hidden in the cove. Sarah’s summer adventure becomes a real circus in a story titled “Freedom Circus.” (8 chapters)
A Hunter’s Heart
Twelve-year-old Sam Pittman wanted a dog to help with the chores on the farm and to be his friend and companion. Sam had his heart set on having a dog like Old Drum – a dog with “A Hunter’s Heart.” This story is about a boy who wanted a dog and the tragedy which struck Missouri’s most famous dog. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
Larry and the other boys in his neighborhood didn’t have many baseballs to play with. Because his dad was away fighting in the war, Larry and his mother did not have enough money to buy baseballs. So, when the last ball is gone, Larry has to make a big decision. He has a baseball that Uncle Chuck caught at a Cleveland Indians baseball game. Should he give up his Big League prize for the neighborhood team? The answer can be found in “The Sacrifice.” (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available)
When his big brother becomes one of the famous Tuskegee Airmen, Joey Cooper gets a front row seat to an important episode in American history. He watches as some of the first black men in America are allowed to serve their country as fighter pilots. Joey also learns about one of America’s greatest scientists, George Washington Carver. In this new eight-part serial, Joey uses his vivid imagination to soar through the skies, creating the sound of Black Thunder. (8 chapters)
Here They Come!
Follow Captain Meriwether Lewis and Captain William Clark on their historic 1804-1806 journey through the Louisiana Territory through the eyes of children. “Here They Come!” tells the personal stories of children the explorers might have encountered in villages, high on council bluffs, along the banks of the Missouri River and inside tepees and lodges. (12 chapters.)
A 28-page companion tab for “Here They Come!” also is available. This Discovery Journal encourages students to become explorers themselves and provides space for journaling, pages to save the story chapters, quotes from Lewis and Clark’s journals and historical information linking to the story.
Hannah’s Diary: A Tale of the Pony Express
The story of Hannah, a little girl on the American frontier, who makes history by sending one of the first letters on the Pony Express. Hannah learns that you can keep old friends while making new ones. She also discovers fun on the riverboats and how, by working hard, anyone can make a dream come true. (8 chapters, companion teacher guide available) Also available in Spanish.
Captain of the Universe
The story of the boyhood of astronomer Edwin Hubble. A country boy who was introduced to the moon and stars by his grandfather, Hubble became an astronomer because he followed his heart. One of the most important astronomers in history, he “discovered” the Big Bang theory of creation. The Hubble Space Telescope is named for him. (8 chapters, Includes a free teacher’s guide.) Also available in Spanish.
A Place at the Table
The story of Libby, a little girl on an orphan train in 1928 in search of a family. Readers learn about tolerance of people who are different. In the late 1800s, orphan trains began taking children from New York City to the Midwest, hoping rural families would give them, “A Place at the Table.” (8 chapters Includes a free teacher’s guide) Also available in Spanish.
The War That Never Was
Ethan lives near the Iowa border in 1839. At that time a “honey war” breaks out between Missouri and the Iowa Territory (Iowa was not yet a state) over a small piece of land both claimed as their own. State militia from both sides were called out to fight over the land with “liquid gold.” (8 chapters)
Hooked on Horses
Suzanne wants to become a champion rider. In her story, set in 1934, she learns about freedom from her riding instructor. Tom Bass, a world-famous horseman in Mexico, Missouri, was a black man born in slavery. After the Civil War, he gained a reputation for horsemanship, providing horses for at least four United States presidents. (8 chapters)
Spin, Sputter & Spout
This story tells how a frontier family survived the massive 1811 New Madrid Earthquake. Young Jacob’s family loses everything in the quake and accompanying flood. This story describes the devastation that occurred along the Mississippi River. It also shows the value of friendship and how the family refuses to give up their home. (8 chapters)
The Little Horse Mystery
Nathan Curtis is mystified by the toy horse found on his back porch. He soon learns that his home in Illinois is a station on the Underground Railroad, a route black slaves used to find freedom in Canada. “The Little Horse Mystery” brings together two boys from different cultures in a moment that changes both lives. (8 chapters)
The Christmas Tree
Life on a Mississippi cotton farm is always hard. But it gets worse when the Great Depression turns the land to dust. Mary Jo Drake must decide between saving her tree or doing what’s best for her family. But things change when a stranger, using a bit of magic, gives Mary Jo a chance to save “The Christmas Tree.” (8 chapters)
Ben Collins and his two friends are America’s first “Young Patriots.” Self-appointed spy catchers, they help America fight for independence. At his grandfather’s livery stable in Philadelphia in 1776, Ben meets delegates to the Continental Convention. From them, he learns the value of education and is button-busting proud when John Adams calls Ben and his friends “Young Patriots.” (8 chapters)
Good Morning, Mr. President
In this story, Peggy Ann discovers a BIG surprise when her father takes a job in South Dakota. Every morning when she awakens, Peggy can see the face of George Washington carved on the side of a mountain. Spend a summer with Peggy, Old Mrs. Potter, the Keystone Boys and each day say, “Good morning, Mr. President.” (8 chapters)
Miguel Sanchez is determined to keep his “Grandfather’s Wish” by building a flock of sheep. This story tells how a Spanish sheepman lived, worked and played in early-day California. Learn about the loyalty of herd dogs, the perils of the shepherd and his flock, and a young boy’s dream of becoming a rancher. (8 chapters)
Friend on the Trail
This is a story of disaster after disaster striking a wagon train headed for the Oregon Territory. Twelve-year-old Martha O’Connor finds herself right in the middle of Indian trouble, sickness and a hard life on the trail. Given the responsibility of her sick mother, a small baby and camp life, Martha’s hardship is eased by an unlikely “Friend on the Trail.” (8 chapters, Includes a free teacher’s guide.)