By Pat Schmatz
(Candlewick Press (MA), Hardcover, 9780763653347, 226pp.)

Publication Date: September 13, 2011

List Price: $15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.
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Selected by Indie Booksellers for the Winter 2012 Kids' Next List
“I loved this story about unlikely friends, each lonely and trapped by labels - trailer trash, brainy dork, and bluefish. I cared deeply about these characters, who are struggling not to be defined by their past expectations, and I cheered for their unconventional teacher who provoked them into seeing their future possibilities. A great book for fans of Katherine Hannigan and Gary Schmidt.”
-- Ellen Davis, Dragonwings Bookstore, Waupaca, WI


Thirteen-year-old Travis has a secret: he can't read. But a shrewd teacher and a sassy girl are about to change everything in this witty and deeply moving novel.

Travis is missing his old home in the country, and he's missing his old hound, Rosco. Now there's just the cramped place he shares with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he's called on to read out loud. But that's before Travis meets Mr. McQueen, who doesn't take "pass" for an answer--a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it's before Travis is noticed by Velveeta, a girl whose wry banter and colorful scarves belie some hard secrets of her own. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters--and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.

About the Author
Pat Schmatz is the author of three previous books: Mrs. Estronsky and the U.F.O., Mousetraps, and Circle the Truth, which was named a Bank Street College Best Children s Book of the Year. She was awarded the 2010 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship for Bluefish. About the book, she says, I started with Travis, a loner with a kind heart and an eye for beauty. He loved the woods and swamp and had no desire to move out. But when Velveeta s colorful scarves caught his eye and mine all three of us began a walk through the world of possibility. Pat Schmatz lives in rural Wisconsin.
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