Star Podcasters Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz Blend Science with Game Show Fun in the ‘Two Whats?! and a Wow! Think & Tinker Playbook’

Out in June, this interactive “playbook” will offer science-focused quizzes, activities, games, and fun facts to keep kids thinking and tinkering while learning at home

NEW YORK – As kids, families, and teachers shift to learning at home in the face of worldwide school closures, HMH Books for Young Readers will publish Wow in the World: Two Whats?! and a Wow! Think & Tinker Playbook by Mindy Thomas and Guy Raz, hosts of the #1 children’s podcast Wow in the World. Based on Thomas and Raz’s new game show–style daily podcast, Two Whats?! And a Wow!, this science-focused activity book goes on sale June 30, 2020 and will engage kids’ brains—and funny bones—as summer gets underway.

“We launched Two Whats?! and a Wow! as a rapid response to the worldwide school closures affecting almost a billion children. Our goal was to create a playful daily routine to help make remote learning engaging and entertaining,” said authors Thomas and Raz. “We hope this playbook will bring families and friends together for games and activities long after the coronavirus that inspired it has passed.”

Aimed at children ages 8 to 12, the Wow in the World: Two Whats?! and a Wow! Think & Tinker Playbook takes its cue from the podcast: readers will have to identify the true “wow” fact out of three options, two of which are made up. For example, which of the following statements about inventions is true?

  1. Scientists have invented a clock that is powered entirely by grasshoppers.
  2. Cotton candy was invented by a dentist.
  3. The invention of knee macaroni went down in history as the biggest food flop of the 1950’s.

Turning the page will reveal backstory about the correct answer (in this case, “b”) and offer a related STEAM-based activity. The book will cover a broad range of science topics, including animals, weather, and space, and will feature fun facts and sidebars throughout.

“Mindy and Guy are unmatched in their ability to keep kids laughing while learning,” said Catherine Onder, SVP and Publisher at HMH Books for Young Readers. “Like many parents, I’m keenly aware of the need for resources to keep children occupied, entertained, and inspired with schools closed and summer approaching, and we crashed this smart, interactive title to meet that immediate need.”

Wow in the World: Two Whats?! and a Wow! Think & Tinker Playbook was acquired by senior editor Amy Cloud. In spring 2021, HMH Books for Young Readers will publish Wow in the World: The How and Wow of the Human Body, also by Thomas and Raz, a hilarious, fact-filled, and highly illustrated journey through the human body.

The Wow in the World and Two Whats?! and a Wow! podcasts, as well as the new activity book, will also be integrated into HMH’s leading K-12 core curriculum programs, including Science Dimensions and Science Fusion, which reach millions of students and educators across the country each day.

Created and produced by Tinkercast and distributed by NPR, Wow in the World has been downloaded more than 40 million times since its launch in 2017; episodes lead curious kids on a creative, auditory journey into the most amazing stories in science, technology, and new discoveries. An enthusiastic fanbase of “Wowzers” have kept the podcast at the top of the kids and family charts.

About Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books & Media 

For nearly two centuries, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt has published some of the world's most renowned novels, nonfiction, children's books, and reference works. As part of a leading global learning company, it is uniquely positioned to offer educational and entertaining content for all audiences. Its distinguished author list includes ten Nobel Prize winners, forty-eight Pulitzer Prize winners, fifteen National Book Award winners, and more than one hundred Caldecott, Newbery, Printz, and Sibert Medal and Honor recipients. Current and recent authors include Tim O'Brien, Natasha Trethewey, Tim Ferriss, Paul Theroux, Ursula K. Le Guin, and a celebrated roster of children's authors and illustrators including Kwame Alexander, Lois Lowry, and Chris Van Allsburg. HMH is also home to The Best American series® The Whole30®, Weber Grill, How to Cook Everything®, and other leading lifestyle properties; books by J.R.R. Tolkien; and many iconic children's books and characters, including Curious George®, The Little Prince, and The Polar Express. HMH Productions develops and produces media and licensed products related to brands such as Carmen Sandiego and Oregon Trail. HMH Audio, a newly launched imprint, publishes audio books of HMH front list and backlist titles.

About Tinkercast

Tinkercast is the leading producer of high-quality educational audio programs for curious kids and their grown-ups. Founded in 2017 by three media veterans, parents and storytellers (Meredith Halpern-Ranzer, Guy Raz, and Mindy Thomas), Tinkercast's mission is to provide screen alternative content that engages the minds of the whole family and inspires today's kids to become the tinkers and thinkers that will shape tomorrow. The company's premiere podcast, Wow in the World, leads curious kids on a creative, auditory journey into the most amazing stories in science, technology and new discoveries. Distributed by NPR, Wow in the World is NPR's first kids and family program in its 50-year history. Since its launch in May 2017, the show has consistently led the growing list of kids podcasts with more than 55 million downloads to date. To learn more, connect with us at, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.



John Sellers 

Director of Publicity 

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers 

(212) 420-5878