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Chopin and the Albino Squirrel
"For me, the
stages of writing a book follow a definite pattern. There’s the initial
urge, which is dread (why do you even bother writing these stupid books,
you’ll never be any good) and wild happiness (happiness only because the
book isn’t written yet, so there’s still the possibility that this one
might actually be good). Then there’s the searching for a toehold (where
the hell do I begin?), which is accompanied by an odd focus on strange
little things (such as a) my inability to master Chopin’s Prelude in E
Minor and b) the albino squirrel who lives in my neighborhood). Then
something I really don’t want to write about at all enters the scene (such
as a boy in a wheelchair who looks up at me and says, “What the f---? You
can’t write about me?”). Then, eventually, there is the day when I sit
down at the keyboard and begin. All in all, it’s a weird thing to spend
your life doing." -- Alison McGhee
One Minute of Knowing (1996)
An anthology of poetry and creative prose by the winners of
the 1996 Loft-McKnight Awards and Awards of Distinction. Includes
works by Alison McGhee, Carolyn Colburn, Debra J. Quaal, Glenn J. Freeman,
J. P. White, John Engman, Lorna Landvik, Marilyn Magee, River Karner, and
Sheila J. Packa
Even in a small town people have secrets, including how much they really
mean to each other. In Alison McGhee’s haunting debut, a tragic event
sparks revelations from nine-year-old Mallie, her mother, her grandfather,
a waitress, and Mallie’s father’s ex-lover. They discover long-hidden
truths and forge new bonds in this unforgettable, heartbreaking novel
about parents, children, and love.
Clara first spies him through the crack in the
stained-glass window of her church, lighting a string of handmade lanterns
in the Adirondack woods. A lone old man, Georg Kominsky moves stealthily
among the shadow world of his hanging, glittering creations.
Shadow Baby (2000)
In Alison McGhee's stunning novel Shadow Baby, eleven-year-old
Clara is struggling to find the truth about her missing father and
grandfather and her twin sister, dead at birth, but her mother steadfastly
refuses to talk about these people who are lost to her daughter. When
Clara begins interviewing Georg Kominsky for a school biography
assignment, she finds that he is equally reticent about his own concealed
history. Precocious and imaginative, the girl invents version upon version
of Mr. Kominsky's past, just as she invents lives for the people missing
from her own shadowy past.
The journey of discovery that these two oddly matched people embark upon
is at the heart of this beautiful story about friendship and communion,
about discovering what matters most in life, and about the search to find
the missing pieces of ourselves. McGhee's prose glistens with shrewd truth
and wild imaginings, creating a fine novel that will reverberate in the
hearts and minds of readers long after the book is finished.
It's just ten days before kindergarten, and this
little girl has heard all there is to know--from a first grader--about
what it's going to be like. You can't bring your cat, you can't bring a
stuffed animal, and the number one rule? You can't ask anyone for help.
Ever. So what do you do when your shoes come untied, if you're the only
one in the class who doesn't know how to tie them up again?
Countdown to Kindergarten (2002) with Harry Bliss, Illustrator
Told with gentle humor by Alison McGhee and brought to exuberant life by
New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss, this lighthearted take on
pre-kindergarten anxiety will bring a smile to the face of every
child--and parent--having first-day jitters. Baby-Preschool
Was It Beautiful? is a powerful and tender
portrayal of loss and renewal at midlife. With singular grace and humor,
Alison McGhee pays loving attention to the details of life in the
Adirondacks and to the small kindnesses and idiosyncrasies that make each
member of a community precious and unique.
Was It Beautiful? (2003)
Sure, first-grade teacher Mrs. Watson may look
human, but it is a known and proven fact that she is actually a
three-hundred-year-old alien who steals baby teeth from her students.
Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth (2004) with Harry Bliss, Illustrator
Thank goodness for a second grader's warning, because this little first
grader has a secret: She has a loose tooth! Her first! How will she make
it through an entire year without opening her mouth?
Told with the same gentle wit as in their first irresistible
collaboration, Countdown to Kindergarten, this lighthearted take on losing
one's first tooth will have children and parents laughing aloud.
Eddie Beckey makes lists for just about everything
and everyone in her life. And for matters of real importance, she wears
(and snaps) an array of colored rubber bands on her wrist. Unfortunately,
the world is not always so orderly and knowable. No list can help her cope
with what's happening to her best friend, Sally - or change the course of
things for Sally's grandmother, whom Eddie has grown to love and depend on
as well. With subtlety and insight, novelist Alison McGhee tells the story
of a young girl's first encounter with grief, and of the enduring power of
friendship. Ages 9-12
All Rivers Flow to the Sea
To seventeen-year-old Rose, it seems it keeps
happening - that car crash on a mountain road, her older sister, Ivy,
behind the wheel, the same Ivy who is now in a coma with only the WISHHH
of a respirator keeping her alive. Mom refuses to believe that Ivy is gone
and won't even visit, spending her days at the brewing factory and her
nights in the mindless weaving of potholders or folding of paper cranes.
It's up to Rose and family friend William T. to make the daily vigil to
Ivy's bedside, where Rose reads aloud from a book on the sudden
destruction of ancient Pompeii. More and more, she has the frightening
sense that there are rivers inside her threatening to overflow their
banks. In an effort to feel something - anything - else, she takes to
meeting a series of boys at the gorge while her mind drifts away like a
hovering bird, watching her actions below.
Heart-rending, honest, and ultimately hopeful, this first young adult
novel from the acclaimed author of Shadow Baby and Snap is the poetically
told story of a teenager overwhelmed by trauma and loss yet steadied by
loyal friendships and, finally, the solace of first love. Young Adult.
On the far side of town in a big dark house lives a
brave little witch. She has heard lots and lots about that very human
holiday Halloween, and even though she thinks she knows what humans are
like, she has never, ever seen Halloween for herself.
A Very Brave Witch (2006) with Harry Bliss, Illustrator
Until one very special Halloween comes along . . Ages 4-8
Bye-Bye, Crib (2007)
"Did you really rescue your mother from a fate worse
than death on a cliff overlooking the sea?"
Falling Boy (2007)
After a mysterious accident left him paralyzed, sixteen-year-old Joseph
finds himself living with his father in Minneapolis and working hot summer
days in a bakery. What happened to the life he used to live? How did he
come to be here? Although they approach the mystery in different ways, two
people in Joseph's new life--seventeen-year-old Zap, who also works in the
bakery, and Enzo, a fierce and funny nine-year-old girl--both want to find
"Are you really a superhero?" whispers Enzo, who secretly longs for her
world to be transformed. "Please be a superhero."
Stoically quiet, Joseph has never thought of himself as a superhero,
especially now that he is in a wheelchair and can't feel his legs. But
others disagree. Who is the hero? Who is the enemy? Is redemption
possible, and if so, where is it to be found? In Alison McGhee's strange
and powerful Falling Boy, a small band of tough kids turn the myth of the
superhero inside out as they face down the shadows of childhood.
A deceptively simple, powerful ode to the potential
of love and the potential in life, Someday is the book you'll want to
share with someone else...today. The perfect gift for Mother's Day,
Graduation Day or Any Day - share a copy with every special person in your
Someday (2007) with Peter H. Reynolds, Illustrator
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