Secret Mission ... Melissa is in deep trouble if she doesn't make the best mission project in her 4th grade class. Popsicle sticks, cardboard, wood, styrofoam, molding clay--all great materials for building a scale-model of a historical mission, but not good enough for Melissa. When she writes to the mission, she receives printed information--and a mysterious medallion in the mail. Melissa wonders who the antique gold medallion belongs to. Did a padre wear it hundreds of years ago? Why did someone send it to her? Melissa follows a trail of clues that lead her to a surprising discovery at a ghostly graveyard. With the project due in just two days, Melissa has a startling idea. Mission impossible: Solved. (Note: This book can also be a fun resource for educators teaching about historical Spanish missions. Intriguing facts are woven into the mystery, and at the end readers are challenged to figure out which of the 21 California missions Melissa made.)
A Hard Shell Word Factory Release
Linda Joy Singleton lives in Northern California with her husband and a menagerie of animals. She's written over 30 books, including MY SISTER THE GHOST #1 TWIN AGAIN, which was chosen as the Best Children's Eppie Winner in 2004. She has a blog, fun pictures, book news, short stories and more on her website www.LindaJoySingleton.com.
"Linda Joy Singleton's latest release of over twenty-five Young Adult books, Melissa's Mission Impossible, is very inspirational for students who fret about not being the very best student in their class. The message comes through loud and clear, 'Then, be the best that you can.'"JoEllen -- Lighthouse Literary Reviews
Chapter One: Kings, Queens, and Swallows
"BIRD POOP," JOEY explained. "That's why I want Mission San Juan Capistrano for my history project. Lots of cool swallows fly there every year. Plop, splat, smoosh! Attack of the bird bombers!"
"Gross!" I shifted in my desk and frowned at Joey across the aisle. As usual his black hair poked up in three different directions and there were food smudges on his baggy T-shirt. I bet if I looked up the definition for "gross" in the dictionary, I'd see Joey's picture.
"Building a mission model is going to be so BOR-RING." I tapped my fingers on my history textbook and gazed longingly out the window. Gray-blue sky, marshmallow clouds, the lure of California spring sunshine. I belonged out there, shooting baskets or kicking soccer balls, not inside with blackboards, pencils, and assignments. "I wish I could skip fourth grade and skip this dumb project."
"First you have to pass fourth grade."
I didn't have to look sideways to know this snotty remark came from my twin brother Matthew. The only thing we had in common was our birthday. Otherwise, we were total opposites. He had short light-brown hair. I had long raven-black hair. His eyes were hazel. Mine were blue. He was a creep. I wasn't.
"Melissa's grades are fine," Amanda, my best friend and loyal defender, said. She sat behind me, which was convenient for whispers and passing notes.
Matthew arched his brows skeptically. "Dumbbell Mel got a D on her last history quiz. Mom and Dad sure didn't think that was fine."
"It was a D plus," I snapped. "And don't call me names, Mutt Face."
"Yeah," Amanda added. "Go pollute the air somewhere else."
"This is my class, too," Matt said.
"Don't remind me," I said with a groan.
"You're just jealous because I got an A on my history quiz. I told you to study instead of hanging out at the basketball court."
"B-ball was more fun. Besides you didn't get an A. It was an A minus."
"And I'm darn proud of it." He grinned widely, like he was so smart.
Of course, Matthew was so smart, which made me feel really dumb sometimes.
Mrs. Sweeny returned from the office, and talking instantly stopped in the classroom. She carried a sprawling wooden model on a long, flat board; a miniature fortress with clustered square and arched buildings, small bristly trees, tiny people, and an elegant bell tower.
"Attention, everyone," Mrs. Sweeny called in her clear, musical voice. "As you know, today we're going to start our mission projects. So I brought in a diorama to show you. Can anyone tell me which historical mission this represents?"
Wouldn't you know it? My twin's hand flew into the air, faster than a speeding teacher's pet. "I can!" he shouted.
"Yes, Matthew?" Mrs. Sweeny asked.
"Mission San Luis Rey. The largest mission in California. The King of Missions." Matthew grinned. "It'd be cool to get Mission San Luis Rey for my project. I'd like to make the King."
"Then I want the Queen," the most out-going girl in class, Daneesha Martz said. Her crown of dark braids swayed as she spoke. "Is there a queen mission, Mrs. Sweeny?"
"Yes," my teacher answered, placing the diorama on a long counter. "Mission Santa Barbara is called the Queen of Missions."
"Then that's the one I'm gonna make," Daneesha declared.
I glanced over and saw that Joey had his hand raised. I groaned, knowing he was going to ask about the "bird poop" mission. All this mission talk was really getting bor-ring. And outside, through the windows, the sun shined an invitation.