Could a playful kiss on the cheek from a world-famous Revolutionary War hero change the life of a troubled young girl in 1825 New England? A Buss from Lafayette, called "a winning historical tale" by Kirkus Reviews, shows how it could have happened. The protagonist, Clara Hargraves (14) is ". . .a tomboyish, quick-witted girl who ... makes the pages of the book come to life."- Red City Review (paperback, e-book, audiobook, & teacher's guide available)
The Riddle of Penncroft Farm was an International Reading Association Teachers' Choice Selection and a Jeanette Fair Award winner. It was also a Master List Selection for the William Allen White Children’s Book Award, the Rebecca Caudill Award, the Mark Twain Award, the South Carolina Children’s Book Award, the Hoosier Young Readers Award, and the Sunshine State Young Readers Award. The Riddle of Penncroft Farm also won 1st place in the Historical Fiction category of the 2014 Purple Dragonfly Book Awards, 25 years after its original publication!
"A fantastic document any middle school teacher would love to use while expanding on the many aspects of this fiction/non-fiction youth book!" - Middle School Teacher and Principal
"This teacher's guide gives many wonderful suggestions of how to integrate subjects with the historical content of A Buss From Lafayette, and suggests questions that challenge higher level thinking." —Susan Elliott, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Quinnipiac University Literacy and Curriculum Development.
Inspired by the Broadway smash hit HAMILTON and Longfellow's "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere," I combined my love of history and my enjoyment of writing in rhymed couplets, and the result is this book. It tells the complete story of Lafayette's role in the American Revolution, in verse!
Here is how it opens:
So, listen up, my children, and I'll do my best to tell
How a teenaged French aristocrat served all of us so well.
Without his help, we might have lost our fight for liberty,
And we'd still be lowly subjects of the British monarchy!
STORIES IN VERSE
Owen and Alex, two naughty little boys, sneak downstairs before dawn on Christmas morning. They open one of their gifts and find Tizzy, one of Santa’s elves, who was packed inside by mistake. Can they get him home to the Pole 1) before the big Elf Celebration and 2) before their parents come downstairs!
Blizzy, Tizzy's "favorite lass", is the only elf who notices that Tizzy is missing on Christmas morning. When she starts questioning all her friends about when they saw him last, and where Tizzy could possibly be, however, they think she is just being a "worrywart". What Blizzy REALLY is, however, is very, very clever, and she just might figure out the mystery!
Dizzy has worked all year next to his friend, Tizzy, and heard all about his Great Adventure. The trouble is, Dizzy wants to have an adventure, too! He sneaks aboard Santa's sleigh, and finds all the adventure he's dreamed of with two little boys, Stuart and Drake. They share a wild joy ride and plenty of fun in this third "Izzy Elves" story.
Frizzy styles dollies’ hair, but misses them dreadfully when Santa takes them away on Christmas Eve. (She suffers from S.A.D.: Seasonal Affection Distress.) Frizzy decides she needs to start making something completely different (and "yuck"), that she won't get attached to. Frizzoy soon finds, however, that her plan isn’t going to work out exactly as she intended!
Bizzy (Santa's "Right Hand Man") is a great organizer. He not only convinces S. C. (Santa Claus) to let the depressed Izzy Elves go on a much-needed vacation, but he finds a great place where they can blend in—Santa Claus Lane. What he doesn't plan on, however, is the other elves calling him "bossy boots," or two smart boys, Henry and Miles, recognizing the Izzies despite their disguises.
Works in Progress
Only about four chapters in, I am working on this historical novel set in 1675 Massachusetts (during King Philip's War). I'm not sure who the target audience will be, but likely it will be for young adults.
Many years ago, I wrote a non-fiction piece for a series of history books for kids. I tried to write (as I always do) as if I were just talking to the reader and explaining things in the most entertaining way possible.
It ended up being rejected because it was too funny for serious history, apparently. This pretty much convinced me to continue writing fiction instead, so I could leaven history with humor as much as I want.
Anyway, this has been languishing on my computer (or series of computers) for over 30 years. I'm trying to polish it up for publication!
These pages feature pix of people, events, and objects mentioned in each story.
Videos, & Audios
On this page, I post musings on the writing process in general, historical fiction, and/or favorite books written by others. Or something like that.