Lord of the Mountain

Albert Whitman, 2018

Ever since Nate Owens saw a needle glide across a 78-rpm record, he’s been fascinated by the science and beauty of music. Before long, he was devouring Popular Science magazines and making his own crystal set radio.

Now it’s the summer of 1927. Music producer Ralph Peer is coming to Nate’s hometown of Bristol, Tennessee, and there’s no way Nate is going to miss the chance to meet him. The problem is, Nate’s preacher father hates music—forbidding it in his home and his church. So when he finds out Nate’s been hanging around musicians like the Carter Family, he comes down hard.

Starred review in School Library Journal

Room of Shadows

Albert Whitman, 2017

There’s something odd about the house David Cray and his mom moved into following his parents’ split. Sure, it’s old and battered and a little off kilter, but that’s not all. With so many nooks and crannies, it seems like the walls were built to keep things hidden—or maybe from getting out.

Dreambender

Albert Whitman, 2016

Everyone in the City is assigned a job by the choosers—keeper, catcher, computer. Callie Crawford is a computer. She works with numbers: putting them together, taking them apart. Her work is important, but sometimes she wants more. Jeremy Finn is a dreambender. His job is to adjust people’s dreams.

Night on Fire

Albert Whitman, 2015

Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn’t think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town’s residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can’t help but feel stuck—and helpless—in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views.

The Year of the Bomb

Simon & Schuster, 2009

The year is 1955, and there’s nothing that Paul and his best friends Oz, Arnie, and Crank love more than horror movies. So when Invasion of the Body Snatchers starts filming in their small California town, they couldn’t be more excited. But when their acquaintance with Laura and Darryl, extras in the movie, leads to what may be an atomic spy, Paul is afraid they’re in too deep. It's not a horror movie anymore—this is real life.

On Beale Street

Simon & Schuster 2008, 2018

Living in Memphis in 1954, Johnny's world is completely segregated—until he starts sneaking out to Beale Street at night. Beale Street, with its music clubs, is on the wrong side of the tracks, but it’s the only place Johnny can hear the blues, which is all he cares about. It’s also near Sun Records, where Johnny finds himself working for Sam Phillips—and witnessing history in the making when an up-and-coming musician named Elvis records his first song. Nobody has heard anything like it.

Monkey Town: The Summer of the Scopes Trial

Simon & Schuster, 2006

When school lets out in sleepy Dayton, Tennessee, fifteen-year-old Frances Robinson has one thing on her mind—spending time with handsome schoolteacher Johnny Scopes. But when Frances’s father has Johnny arrested for teaching evolution, overnight Dayton becomes the center of the universe. Every bigwig, from Clarence Darrow to William Jennings Bryan to H.L. Mencken, is heading south. As the fire and brimstone heat up in court, Johnny begins to struggle. And Frances has never been more at odds with her father, or more in love with the teacher whose trial made the whole world stop and think.

Sammy Carducci’s Guide to Women

Lodestar (Dutton), 1991; Puffin (Penguin), 1994; Dramatic Publishing, 1995; Excerpted in Childsplay, 1995

At four-foot-two, Sammy Carducci may be the shortest kid in the class, but he’s not going to let that stand in his way. Dressing for school in a suit, tie, and sneakers, he dares to be different.

The Glitch: A Computer Fantasy

Lodestar (Dutton), 1985

Benjamin Bean hates computers the way most kids hate homework. Suddenly, Benjy’s worst nightmare comes true—he’s trapped inside a computer.

As he hunts for an escape, Benjy discovers that he’s become a glitch—a malfunction in the system. The Computer Police, led by the dreaded Delete, are searching for him. With his companions—a tailcoated professor, M the minstrel, and Negatori—Benjy undertakes a dangerous journey from the I/O Port, through the Electric Forest, to CPU City. Not only must he find his way home, but he must contend with the warring factions of ROM and RAM, which are threatening the Computer Kingdom.

Sizzle & Splat

Lodestar (Dutton), 1983 Dell, 1986 Yugaku Sha (Japan), 1987

When the Pirelli Youth Orchestra’s rehearsal room is vandalized and the orchestra is warned not to play Hans Kleiman’s trumpet concerto at the fall concert, no one can figure out why. Then the orchestra’s sponsor is kidnapped, and his abductors say they will return him after the concert—providing the concerto is not played.

Who Is Felix the Great?

Lodestar (Dutton), 1983

Tim Julian has been feeling pretty empty ever since his father died. Especially now that his mother is seeing a new boyfriend. So when he has to write a report for his eleventh grade English class on a once famous person, Tim suddenly remembers Felix the Great, the legendary Chicago Cubs shortstop who had been his father’s hero.

Dunker

Lodestar (Dutton), 1982; Bantam, 1984

Being the kid from the Dunker’s Delights commercials—and having his face on every billboard in town—made Bobby Rothman feel like a freak. He hated having pushy show-biz parents, and looking like twelve when he was really sixteen.

That's What Friends Are For

Lodestar (Dutton), 1978

If you didn’t know Scott, you’d think he was a bully. He was big, with a loud voice, and he liked to argue and pound one fist into the other. But he wasn’t really like that. He hated to play football. He hated violence. And Scott and Gary were best friends.