a middle grade novel for ages 9-13
a magical adventure
about a girl who sits in a tree
to stand up against climate change
13-year-old Phoenix Reising is embarrassed by her name, her hippie mom, and her eco-depressed sister. It doesn’t help that her tree-scientist dad went missing nine months ago. But things get a whole lot weirder when she finally “finds" him. She can’t see him or touch him, but she “hears” him through the tree roots: The trees are getting angry!
"Had I really made those roots move… with my mind? How was that even possible? And why had the Wood Wide Web listened to me? I felt something powerful coursing through me. It was the pulse of the planet. Thrumming. From my fingers to my toes. And I wondered: If I could make the roots do what I wanted, what else could I do? Could I speak Tree? Could I…make things grow?"
–Phoenix Reising, age 13
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else
will save it.”
—Robert Swan, Arctic Explorer and Climate Activist
At the first side street, Roxy took a left, pulled over, and stopped her bike. She reached into her jean jacket, pulled her hand out, and opened it. She had a fistful of candy.
“How did you--?”
She wiggled her fingers again. “Slick Hands,” she said, eyes twinkling. “And don’t tell any of your stupid friends, or you’re history.”
I forced myself to smile. Lots of people at school thought Roxy was a bully--including me and Mila. And I heard she got suspended last year. But I didn’t know she was an actual criminal!
She ripped open a Snickers with her teeth and handed it to me. My mouth watered instantly when I smelled the chocolate, but I was too scared to take a bite. Was eating a stolen candybar a crime? Would the police come? Maybe I would spend my summer watching TV…in jail! I pictured myself in a dirty, stinking cell. My parents would disown me. And I’d be an orphan. And homeless. And I’d have to sell drugs.
“It’s not a big deal, you know,” Roxy said, chomping into her own Snickers “Just think of the billions of dollars candy companies make off of us. Do you think they need another frickin’ dollar? Besides, I bet this only cost a dime to make. Maybe a nickel. They overcharge so much, they’re really the ones stealing!”
I had never thought about it that way. I didn’t hear any sirens. Or see any cops. There was just me and Roxy on an adult bike, a Snickers melting in my hand, and a whole summer ahead of us so...I took a bite.
And it tasted good.
Middle Grade | Ages 9-13
HAPPENS IN THE LOFT
IN THE LOFT
There are some secrets
that shouldn't be kept
It's the summer before sixth grade. Addie's BFF abandons her to go to theatre camp. And her Mom just got a book called Unplug Your Kids for the Best Summer Ever! Yeah, life sucks.
Then the strangest thing happens: tough-girl Roxy Reingold, who spits and swears and has been through, like, puberty, wants to be her friend. She even invites Addie to the new secret lair in the old hayloft above the garage. Summer just got better, 1000%!
But what happens in The Loft crosses the line. This wasn’t the kind of secret Addie wanted, and all she knows is that she can't tell a soul. Until...she realizes that some secrets aren't meant to be kept.
Middle Grade | Ages 9-13
Sue Alexander Award
In the Year of Our Cat
"It's raining cats and dogs"
sn't a cliché anymore.
Eleven-year-old Salazar Silverstein wakes up at his desk, staring at a creepy Egyptian cat goddess on his HoloScreen. Yup. He’s been sleep-drawing again. And now apparently, he sleep-writes hieroglyphs! Could he be…losing his mind?
The good news: he’s not going crazy. Bad news? His nightmares are coming true. A powerful Ancient Egyptian priestess comes back to life, hacks an army of SmartDogs to round up all the humans, and declares this Year One: Anno Catti. Oh yeah, and she’s planning to resurrect the cat goddess known as The Slayer of Infidels to, you know, smite mankind.
The wicked bad news is Sal is the key to saving the world—the very same scaredy cat who sleeps with the light on and runs away from the class bully. So much for mankind. Unless…
He really is a Dreamwalker.
"It’s raining cats & dogs" isn’t a cliché anymore. They’re like…reigning!
Los Angeles, California, 2041 A.D.
I woke up screaming something about killer cats. This would have been embarrassing enough for an eleven-year-old boy, but I wasn't in my bed at home.
I woke up screaming something about cats on our overnight field trip to the Museum of Man...with the entire sixth grade.
It gets worse.
Not only did I wake up screaming something about killer cats on our overnight field trip at the Museum of Man with the entire sixth grade, the teachers couldn't get me to stop. They had to call my parents to come pick me up in the middle of the night. That's when I turned from a Fairly Forgettable Nerd into a Supernatural Weirdo.
As my parents walked me out of the Hall of Ancient Egypt, past all the whispering kids, I couldn't stop thinking about this creepy cat goddess from my dreams. I mean, I'm not afraid of cats. Usually. But when they're two stories tall, their fangs are the size of my arm, and they vow to kill all of mankind, then, heck yeah, I'm scared!