Novels

Don't Feed The Boy

ISBN: 978-1596437555

Roaring Brook Press/Macmillan

“Readers won’t soon forget Whit and Stella’s adventures.”
–Publisher’s Weekly

"This is solid storytelling."
- School Library Journal

“Feed this to animal fans.”
– Kirkus

Selected to represent Alabama at 2013
National Book Festival in Washington, D.C.

Named a 2013 Bank Street College
Best Children's Book of the Year

“Don't Feed the Boy is a delightfully satisfying blend of action and emotion, tension and heart. Everyone should have a best friend like Whit.”
–Kathryn Erskine, winnerof the National Book Award for Mockingbird

No kid knows more about zoo life than Whit. That’s because he sleeps, eats and even attends home-school at the Meadowbrook Zoo. It’s one of the perks of having a mother who’s the zoo director and a father who’s the head elephant keeper. Now that he’s eleven, Whit feels trapped by the rules and routine of zoo life. With so many exotic animals, it’s easy to get overlooked. But when Whit notices a mysterious girl who visits every day to draw the birds, suddenly the zoo becomes much more interesting. Who is the Bird Girl? And why does she come by herself to the zoo?

Determined to gain her trust, Whit takes the Bird Girl on his own personal tour of the zoo. He shows her his favorite animals and what happens with them behind the scenes. For Whit, having a friend his own age that he can talk to is an exciting new experience. For Stella the Bird Girl, the zoo and Whit are a necessary escape from her chaotic home life. Together they take risks in order to determine where it is they each belong. But when Stella asks Whit for an important and potentially dangerous favor, Whit discovers how complicated friendship—and freedom-- can be.

Brimming with animal facts, adventure and tender truths, this heart-touching tale is about the human struggle to find one’s place in the world.

Questions & Answers with the Author

Don't Feed The Boy Discussion Guide

Leaving Gees Bend

ISBN: 978-0399251795
G.P. Putnam's Sons

"authentic and memorable"
Booklist

"stunning debut"
First Draft Magazine

Ludelphia Bennett may be blind in one eye, but that doesn't mean she can't put in a good stitch. In fact, Ludelphia sews all the time, especially when things are going wrong. But when Mama gets deathly ill, it doesn't seem like even quilting will help. Mama needs medicine badly - medicine that can only be found in Camden, over forty miles away. That's when Ludelphia decides to do something drastic - leave Gee's Bend.

Beyond the log cabins, orange dirt, and cotton fields of her small sharecropping community, Ludelphia discovers a world she could never have imagined. Fancy houses, cars, and even soda pop! But there's also danger lurking for a young girl on her own, and Ludelphia begins to wonder if she'll ever see Gee's Bend or her Mama again. Despite the twists and turns, Ludelphia weathers each challenge in a way that would make her mama proud, and may even save the day not just for Mama, but her entire town.

Set in 1932 and inspired by the rich quilting history of Gee's bend, Alabama, LEAVING GEE'S BEND is a heart-touching tale of a young girl's unexpected adventure.

Questions & Answers with the Author

Leaving Gees Bend Discussion Guide

Magnolia Award Nominee 
2011 Alabama Library Association Children's Book of the Year
Crystal Kite Award Finalist
SIBA Book Award Finalist
Bank Street College Best Book
ALSC Notable Children's Book Nominee
Kentucky Bluegrass State Finalist
Top Ten Alabama Books List
IndieNext Kids List Spring 2010

Listen to Walter Jackson Elementary students talk about Leaving Gee's Bend

Questions & Answers with Irene about Leaving Gees Bend.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT GEE'S BEND

Arthur Rothstein photos
Crossing Over by J.R. Moehringer (winner of the Pulitzer Prize)
Tinwood Media (books and educational materials and information about art shows)
The Quilts of Gee's Bend (Quilters Collective History)
The Quilts of Gee's Bend (NPR)
The Gee's Bend Ferry
The Future of Gee's Bend by Deep South Magazine

» Photos from one of my trips to Gee's Bend (11/07)

Personalized and/or signed copies of Leaving Gees Bend are available here.