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5 Beaverton Children's Middle Readers- General

Other titles in the Yearling Newbery series:

When You Reach Me

by

When You Reach Me Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Things You Keep in a Box

So Mom got the postcard today. It says Congratulations in big curly letters, and at the very top is the address of Studio TV-15 on West 58th Street. After three years of trying, she has actually made it. She's going to be a contestant on The $20,000 Pyramid, which is hosted by Dick Clark.

On the postcard there's a list of things to bring. She needs some extra clothes in case she wins and makes it to another show, where they pretend it's the next day even though they really tape five in one afternoon. Barrettes are optional, but she should definitely bring some with her. Unlike me, Mom has glossy red hair that bounces around and might obstruct America's view of her small freckled face.

And then there's the date she's supposed to show up, scrawled in blue pen on a line at the bottom of the card: April 27, 1979. Just like you said.

I check the box under my bed, which is where I've kept your notes these past few months. There it is, in your tiny handwriting: April 27th: Studio TV-15, the words all jerky-looking, like you wrote them on the subway. Your last "proof."

I still think about the letter you asked me to write. It nags at me, even though you're gone and there's no one to give it to anymore. Sometimes I work on it in my head, trying to map out the story you asked me to tell, about everything that happened this past fall and winter. It's all still there, like a movie I can watch when I want to. Which is never.

Things That Go Missing

Mom has swiped a big paper calendar from work and Scotch-taped the month of April to the kitchen wall. She used a fat green marker, also swiped from work, to draw a pyramid on April 27, with dollar signs and exclamation points all around it.

She went out and bought a fancy egg timer that can accurately measure a half minute. They don't have fancy egg timers in the supply closet at her office.

April twenty-seventh is also Richard's birthday. Mom wonders if that's a good omen. Richard is Mom's boyfriend. He and I are going to help Mom practice every single night, which is why I'm sitting at my desk instead of watching after-school TV, which is a birthright of every latchkey child. "Latchkey child" is a name for a kid with keys who hangs out alone after school until a grown-up gets home to make dinner. Mom hates that expression. She says it reminds her of dungeons, and must have been invented by someone strict and awful with an unlimited child-care budget. "Probably someone German," she says, glaring at Richard, who is German but not strict or awful.

It's possible. In Germany, Richard says, I would be one of the Schlusselkinder, which means "key children."

"You're lucky," he tells me. "Keys are power. Some of us have to come knocking." It's true that he doesn't have a key. Well, he has a key to his apartment, but not to ours.

Richard looks the way I picture guys on sailboats--tall, blond, and very tucked-in, even on weekends. Or maybe I picture guys on sailboats that way because Richard loves to sail. His legs are very long, and they don't really fit under our kitchen table, so he has to sit kind of sideways, with his knees pointing out toward the hall. He looks especially big next to Mom, who's short and so tiny she has to buy her belts in the kids' department and make an extra hole in her watchband so it won't fall off her arm.

Mom calls Richard Mr. Perfect because of how he looks and how he knows everything. And every time she calls him Mr. Perfect, Richard taps his right knee. He does that because his right leg is shorter than his left one. All his right-foot shoes have little platforms nailed to the bottom so that his legs match. In bare feet, he limps a little.

"You should be grateful for that leg," Mom tells him. "It's the only reason we let you come around." Richard has been "coming around" for almost two years now.

We have exactly twenty-one days to get Mom ready for the game show. So instead of watching television, I'm copying words for her practice session tonight. I write each word on one of the white index cards Mom swiped from work. When I have seven words, I bind the cards together with a rubber band she also swiped from work.

I hear Mom's key in the door and flip over my word piles so she can't peek.

"Miranda?" She clomps down the hall--she's on a clog kick lately--and sticks her head in my room. "Are you starving? I thought we'd hold dinner for Richard."

"I can wait." The truth is I've just eaten an entire bag of Cheez Doodles. After-school junk food is another fundamental right of the latchkey child. I'm sure this is true in Germany, too.

"You're sure you're not hungry? Want me to cut up an apple for you?"

"What's a kind of German junk food?" I ask her. "Wiener crispies?"

She stares at me. "I have no idea. Why do you ask?"

"No reason."

"Do you want the apple or not?"

"No, and get out of here--I'm doing the words for later."

"Great." She smiles and reaches into her coat pocket. "Catch." She lobs something toward me, and I grab what turns out to be a bundle of brand-new markers in rainbow colors, held together with a fat rubber band. She clomps back toward the kitchen.

Richard and I figured out a while ago that the more stuff Mom swipes from the office supply closet, the more she's hating work. I look at the markers for a second and then get back to my word piles.

Mom has to win this money.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com, January 14, 2014 (view all comments by Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club com)
Miranda lives with her mom in a New York City apartment. In sixth grade, she and her friend Sal, who lives below her, have earned their parents' trust enough to navigate their neighborhood on their own. Together they learn to avoid the group of boys that hang out in front of the old garage and the mentally ill homeless man who habituates the corner by their homes.

That’s where When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead starts, but from there the narrative builds into a puzzle, where Miranda gets notes from someone who seems to know a lot about her and her friends. The notes ask her to write down a story, to be delivered at some point in the future. They say the story hasn’t happened yet, but she’ll know when it does.

Miranda can feel change in the air. Her first inkling of it was when her friend Sal got punched by a kid for an unknown reason, and then Sal started to withdraw from their friendship. Another clue was her budding friendship with Colin and Annemarie, who she starts to hang out with at lunch. The three of them work together at a local deli to earn sandwiches. Then Miranda gets to know Marcus, the kid who punched Sal. He’s older and really nice other than the punch, and he seems fascinated with the possibility of time travel, a topic that confuses her.

As the puzzle of the notes builds, Miranda learns a lot about making and keeping friends and speaking up when there’s a problem to be solved. It’s difficult to say too much about When You Reach Me without giving away the mystery of the notes, but I felt Miranda’s story reveals a lot about the tenacity of the human spirit, the tenderness of love, and the timelessness of friendship. This small book unfolds seamlessly while giving readers a lot to think about. By the end, you may find yourself rereading passages that contained clues along the way to get the full impact. I highly recommend it for mother-daughter book club with girls ages 9 to 13.
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SAMills, January 2, 2013 (view all comments by SAMills)
Rebecca Stead is stupendous at creating the gentle and wrenching dynamics of pre-teen relationships. There is so much realness to them, even though the characters do not always have the language to name the significance of this story told in subtle moments. Stead is the strongest teller of the complexity, beauty and hurt held in young people's relationships I have come across. That she catches all of this in a story of mystery and intrigue that keeps you guessing is a bonus. This year I read this book out loud to a dozen 12 year old girls, and it was adored. It is also fantastic for adults wanting to re-emerge themselves in a good story and the world of a young person.
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books4ever, February 12, 2012 (view all comments by books4ever)
This book was incredibly delightful to the very end. Not only is the writing obviously talented and unique, but the entire plot is brimming with creativity. I was hooked as soon as I read the first line, and the suspense never ended! Although this book is about two hundred pages and you could easily finish it in a day, the topic, and the meaningful messages that it relays to you, is unforgettable and has been with me ever since I opened that book up. I highly recommend it to everyone, no matter what genres you enjoy, because this book is absolutely worth it!!
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780375850868
Author:
Stead, Rebecca
Publisher:
Yearling Books
Author:
Berlin, Eric
Author:
Schmidt, Gary D.
Author:
Fitzgerald, Laura Marx
Subject:
Family - General
Subject:
Lifestyles - City & Town Life
Subject:
Social Issues - Friendship
Subject:
Children s-General
Subject:
Situations / General
Subject:
Children s Middle Readers-General
Subject:
Interactive Adventures
Subject:
Action & Adventure
Subject:
Mysteries & Detective Stories
Subject:
time travel;fiction;friendship;mystery;science fiction;newbery;ya;new york city;fantasy;young adult;1970s;new york;novel;newbery medal;children s;family;historical fiction;wrinkle in time;coming of age;game shows;children;middle school;realistic fiction;g
Subject:
time travel;fiction;friendship;mystery;science fiction;newbery;ya;young adult;fantasy;new york city;1970s;new york;novel;newbery medal;children s;family;historical fiction;wrinkle in time;coming of age;game shows;middle school;children;realistic fiction;g
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Puzzling World Winston Breen
Publication Date:
20101231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
from 4 up to 9
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.63 x 5.13 in 1 lb
Age Level:
09-14

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Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
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When You Reach Me Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
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Product details 256 pages Yearling Books - English 9780375850868 Reviews:
"Review" by , "[W]hen all the sidewalk characters from Miranda's Manhattan world converge amid mind-blowing revelations and cunning details, teen readers will circle back to the beginning and say,'Wow ... cool.'"
"Review" by , "[T]he mental gymnastics required of readers are invigorating; and the characters, children, and adults are honest bits of humanity no matter in what place or time their souls rest."
"Review" by , "This unusual, thought-provoking mystery will appeal to several types of readers."
"Review" by , "Readers...are likely to find themselves chewing over the details of this superb and intricate tale long afterward."
"Review" by , "Smart and mesmerizing."
"Synopsis" by ,

From two-time Newbery honoree and Printz honoree, Gary D. Schmidt, comes a tale of high fantasy, where a peaceful civilization of a faraway planet has been besieged by a dark lord, and in a desperate attempt for survival send their most precious gift across the cosmos, hurtling past a trillion lighted stars . . . all the way into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Massachusetts.

"Synopsis" by ,
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler meets Chasing Vermeer in this clever middle grade debut

When Theodora Tenpenny spills a bottle of rubbing alcohol on her late grandfathers painting, she discovers what seems to be an old Renaissance masterpiece underneath. Thats great news for Theo, whos struggling to hang onto her familys two-hundred-year-old townhouse and support her unstable mother on her grandfathers legacy of $463. Theres just one problem: Theos grandfather was a security guard at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and she worries the painting may be stolen.

With the help of some unusual new friends, Theo's search for answers takes her all around Manhattan, and introduces her to a side of the city—and her grandfather—that she never knew. To solve the mystery, she'll have to abandon her hard-won self-reliance and build a community, one serendipitous friendship at a time.

“Uniquely readable, entirely charming, and a pleasure from start to finish. Debuts this good are meant to be discovered.” —SLJ Fuse 8 Blog

“Riveting from start to finish.” —BookPage 

"Synopsis" by ,
The Valorim are about to fall to a dark lord when they send a necklace containing their planet across the cosmos, hurtling past a trillion stars . . . all the way into the lunchbox of Tommy Pepper, sixth grader, of Plymouth, Mass. Mourning his late mother, Tommy doesn't notice much about the chain he found, but soon he is drawing the twin suns and humming the music of a hanorah. As Tommy absorbs the art and language of the Valorim, their enemies target him. When a creature begins ransacking Plymouth in search of the chain, Tommy learns he must protect his family from villains far worse than he's ever imagined.
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