The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place
By E.L. Konigsburg
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Hardcover, 9780689866364, 304pp.)
Publication Date: January 27, 2004
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The summer she's twelve -- the same year that Cabbage Patch dolls are popular, that Sally Ride becomes the first American woman in space, that El Niño affects weather patterns worldwide and causes disasters on almost every continent of the planet Earth -- Margaret Rose Kane must confront a catastrophe brewing in her own backyard.
Freshly rescued from a miserable experience at Camp Talequa, where she was housed with seven cruel cabin mates, Margaret is looking forward to spending the rest of her summer with her beloved great-uncles, Morris and Alexander. Little does she know, the Uncles themselves are in need of a rescue.
For the last forty-five years, the Uncles have been building three giant towers in their backyard from scrap metal and shards of glass and porcelain. But now, bowing to pressures from some powerful home owners, the towers have been declared a blight on the neighborhood. Even worse, the city council has voted to have them destroyed.
Margaret Rose is outraged. She knows the towers for what they truly are: irreplaceable works of art. To Margaret, the towers sing. They sing of the joy of making something big and beautiful out of bits and pieces; of integrity; but perhaps most important of all, they sing of history. And Margaret Rose is determined to make sure they always will.
This companion story to the acclaimed Silent to the Bone is a rousing tale of art, history, and the fierce preservation of individuality, as only the incomparable E. L. Konigsburg could write it.
E.L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and be runner-up in the same year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named a Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View From Saturday. She has also written and illustrated three picture books: Samuel Todd’s Book of Great Colors, Samuel Todd’s Book of Great Inventions, and Amy Elizabeth Explores Bloomingdale’s. In 2000 she wrote Silent to the Bone, which was named a New York Times Notable Book and an ALA Best Book for Young Adults, among many other honors.
After completing her degree at Carnegie Mellon University, Ms. Konigsburg did graduate work in organic chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh. For several years she taught science at a private girls’ school. When the third of her three children started kindergarten, she began to write. She now lives on the beach in North Florida.