One hundred years ago, Dies Drear and two runaway slaves hiding in his house, an important station on the Underground Railroad, were murdered. Legend has it that the ghost of Mr. Drear still haunts the lonely old house. But Thomas Small’s father, a Civil War history professor, doesn’t believe the legends and buys the house. The house is fascinating, thinks Thomas, and it is filled with hidden doorways and secret passages that he can’t wait to explore.
Virginia Hamilton (1936-2002), a giant in the world of children's literature, was the first African-American woman to win a Newbery Medal and the first children's book author to be awarded a MacArthur Genius Grant. In her prize-winning anthology of American Black folktales, The People Could Fly, Hamilton has gathered and retold a collection of stories that teach us much, move us deeply, and make us laugh out loud.
When M.C. Higgins climbed the 40-foot steel pole near his house, he could see over the spiky treetops and far across the rolling emerald hills. There, on Sarah’s Mountain, with his face turned toward the sun and his arms spread wide, M.C. welcomed in the morning of a brand new day. How he would have liked to stay there forever! But M.C. knew - better than his family - that strip mining had reduced the outcropping upon which their cabin was built to rubble, and soon the spoilage would come raining down, burying their home forever. When two strangers come to the mountain, M.C. thinks he’s found a solution....
Why had he come to her, with his dark secrets from a long-ago past? What was the purpose of their strange, haunting journeys back into her own childhood? Was it to help Dab, her retarded older brother, wracked with mysterious pain who sometimes took more care and love than Tree had to give? Was it for her mother, Vy, who loved them the best she knew how, but wasn't home enough to ease the terrible longing?
Natalie is different from the other kids in Dreenie's fifth-grade class. She comes to school in a wheelchair. She always wears a knitted hat. And she's allowed to bring her puppy to class. The kids in the class call Natalie "Bluish" because her skin is tinted blue from chemotherapy.
Junior, a 300 pound musical and artistic prodigy, depends on his imagination for companionship. Buddy is used to depending on no one but himself. Homeless, he uses his wits to survive the streets. With the help of Mr. Poole, the school custodian, the two boys discover a sheltered universe of their own in the basement room. When their hiding place is discovered, and Junior loses the only place he feels safe, his imagination takes over. It will take all of Buddy’s resource to protect his friend as the realities of Junior’s world come crashing in around them both.
This summer, young Elizabeth and her little brother are going to their uncle’s farm alone. Their parents are staying home in the city. Elizabeth can’t wait to run through the fields, sleep outside, and explore her uncle’s big farm house. One night at the farm, Elizabeth sees a tall, thin figure floating down the road. Although at first she thinks it’s a ghost, she soon finds out that it is Zeely Tayber, going to feed her hogs before dawn. In the following days, Elizabeth watches the proud, dignified woman. She is unlike anyone Elizabeth has even seen before.
Eleven-year-old Valena, her family, and dog live in rural Ohio, where she and her cousin Melinda share experiences that include seeing the aurora borealis, surviving a tornado, and going to an amazing circus.