Early Houghton Mifflin Books
How to Make a Mummy Talk
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1995
Dell paperback edition, 1997
This fact-filled book takes the reader on a mummy-discovery tour that spans centuries and continents. You'll learn exactly what mummies are, how they are created, where they have been found, how scientists investigate them, and what they tell us about people who lived long ago. Published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin and in paperback by Dell, this book is now out of print. Illustrated by True Kelley. For ages 8 and up.
Selected as an Honor Book in Science by the Society of School Librarians International, 1996
Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books: "With an enticing blend of detail, practicality, and humor, Deem unwraps the phenomenon of mummies.... Lively and illuminating pencil sketches, maps, diagrams, and boxed sidebars keep the pages accessible and appealing.... Fans of [Deem's] previous books...will be tickled by this trip to the tombs."
School Library Journal: Deem "provides plenty of intriguing anecdotes and tips off readers on where to track down museums that display mummies and where to read more about them."
Booklist: "Deem's aim is to transform mummies from being gross curiosities to being witnesses of past history.... An up-to-date bibliography and a general tone of excitement about what can be learned from mummies make the book of interest to budding Egyptologists and physical anthropologists."
The Horn Book: "Deem's logical, thorough exploration of a compelling topic is liberally sprinkled withfascinating anecdotes. Well-organized chapters delineate the historical and cultural aspects of mummies. In order to 'avoid the sensationalism of the past,' no photographs are included; instead, line drawings elucidate the text."
How to Read Your Mother's Mind
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1994
Dell paperback edition, 1996
Have you ever known what your mother was going to say before she opened her mouth? Have you ever known who was calling before the phone even rang? Have you ever had the same dream as someone else in your family? Perhaps you have extra-sensory perception, or ESP. Or maybe you've longed to have this special ability but thought it was impossible. In this book, you'll find out what is known, believed, and speculated about that most mysterious of all powers: ESP. Here are true stories of people who claim to have had an ESP experience-- along with a series of experiments to test the ESP potential of you, your family, and your friends! Originally published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin and in paperback by Dell, the book is now out of print. For ages 8 and up.
Nominated for the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Children's Nonfiction Book, 1994
School Library Journal: "A fun, easy-to-read exploration of the sixth sense.... Kids wanting information on this subject will thank you for this book."
Booklist: "Deem does more than just give a flashy introduction to the topic of ESP. He is extremely evenhanded in his discussion and is obviously trying to make kids think hard about the topic and not just swallow tales of the supernatural."
Kirkus Reviews: "An entertaining and informative treatment of a fascinating subject.... A superb presentation.... Witty b&w cartoons on almost every page, many with dialogue and in comic strip format, further clarify the text."
Los Angeles Times: "...a sensible but lively approach to this thoroughly juicy topic...a playful approach to high-interest food for thought."
How to Hunt Buried Treasure
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1992
Avon paperback edition, 1994
Have you ever dreamed of finding an old map and following it to a spot where a pirate buried a chest full of glittering gold? This book will tell you about many hidden treasures even more valuable than pirates' gold. And you will learn treasure-tracking tips that will guide you on adventures that are fun and perhaps money-making. You'll learn five important clues to look for, some dangerous treasure traps to avoid, what to do when you make a discovery, how to follow a treasure trail and what the six types of treasure are. Originally published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin, this book is now out of print. For ages 8 and up.
School Library Journal: "Interesting, entertaining, and will make anyone want to learn more about the art of treasure-hunting."
Booklist: "An inviting handbook for kids intrigued by the subject."
Kirkus Reviews: "Rewarding reading few children will be able to resist."
Washington Post: "Breathes there a child who has not yearned, at some time or another, to find buried treasure? In his latest work of improbable nonfiction...James Deem provides a complete guidebook for would-be treasure trackers. In general, historical anecdotes alternate with practical advice about the laws of treasure trove, the importance of getting written permission before digging up someone's property, etc. Deem also stresses that treasure is in the eye of the beholder: Buttons, toys, household implements, and other artifacts can be both valuable and historically important."
How to Catch a Flying Saucer
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1991
Avon paperback edition, 1992
If you've ever stared up at the night sky and spotted an object you didn't recognize, you might have seen a UFO. From amazing eyewitness accounts to all kinds of UFO sightings from around the world, you'll learn what the experts have to say about those mysterious Unidentified Flying Objects. Originally published in hardcover by Houghton Mifflin, this was my second book. It is now out of print, though used copies are still available on Amazon. For ages 8 and up.
School Library Journal: "Just the ticket for budding UFOlogists."
Booklist: "A good, solid look at the UFO phenomenon."
Encounters: "Rather than promote a theory, Deem teaches careful observation, precise description, and critical thinking--the skills of scientists as well as detectives, writers, lawyers, doctors, and teachers.
How to Find a Ghost
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1988
Avon paperback edition, 1990
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to see a ghost? Based on a thorough examination of ghosts reported in the United States and Europe, this book will tell you where ghosts come from and what they really look like. It describes six different types of ghosts, from the one that dwells in a haunted house to the mischievous poltergeist, and suggests how you can begin your own ghost hunt (hint: start in your local library, not the the local cemetery). It lists "Ten Ways to Find a Ghost"--did you know that your chances are better if you stay indoors and read a book?--and gives scientific advice on how to prove your ghost really exists and how to write up a convincing Ghost Report. By the time you're done, you'll be a tried and true Ghost Detective. (This was my very first published book, and it was well-received. Houghton Mifflin unexpectedly put it out of print a number of years ago, but used copies are still available. I still receive emails from many adults who read the book as children and fondly remember it.) For ages 8 and up.
School Library Journal (November 1988): "This is a how-to-be haunted manual for aspiring junior ghostbusters. Written with a mixture of seriousness and chuckles reminiscent of campfire ghost story sessions, the book describes several different kinds of ghosts that a ghost hunter might encounter, and suggests places where the ghosts might be found. Deem also provides tips on how to conduct a ghost investigation. He includes a sample form for recording other worldly experiences, and even an address to send in ghost hunting experiences. The book is filled with 'true ghost accounts' told with the same blend of smiles and shivers...this will be welcomed by middle-grade ghost fanciers."
Booklist (November 1, 1988): "An unusual and entertaining title that will undoubtedly prove fascinating and popular with upper-grade students."
Bulletin for the Center of Children's Books (November 1988): "...young readers may want to grab a flashlight and head for the nearest likely haunt...."
Kirkus Reviews (August 1, 1988): "A handbook for novice ghost-hunters, pleasantly free of both stubborn skepticism and mystical mumbo-jumbo. 'To find a ghost you must be brave, determined and, most of all, patient,' the author warns, but meanwhile he offers plenty of encouragement--as well as a sense that ghosts aren't all that hard to find once you now how and where to look.... Must reading for armchair investigators, as well as for more active detectives."