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Works by
Alison McGhee
(Writer)

Amazon Shorts
  • 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

Anthologies
  • 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

Fiction
  • Rainlight (1998)
    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.

  • Shadow Baby (2000)
    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.

    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.

  • Countdown to Kindergarten (2002) with Harry Bliss, Illustrator
    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?
    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? (2003)
    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.

  • Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth (2004) with Harry Bliss, Illustrator
    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.

    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.  Ages 4-8

  • Snap (2004)
    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 (2005)
    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.

  • A Very Brave Witch (2006) with Harry Bliss, Illustrator
    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.

    Until one very special Halloween comes along . . Ages 4-8

  • Bye-Bye, Crib (2007)

  • Falling Boy (2007)
    "Did you really rescue your mother from a fate worse than death on a cliff overlooking the sea?"

    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 out.

    "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.

  • Someday (2007) with Peter H. Reynolds, Illustrator
    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 life. Baby-Preschool

Young Adult
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