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Junebug - Alice Mead

Citation: Mead, A. (2009). Junebug. Square Fish.

 

Annotation:

"Some of the stuff that goes on in the Auburn Street Projects, I'm never gonna do. These projects are like some kind of never-never land, like they never got put on a regular map. Nobody comes around here on purpose. It's as if we all got lost, right in the middle of the city."

Reeve McClain, Jr.--Junebug--has decided to skip his birthday. Since ten is the age when boys in the projects are forced to join gangs or are ensnared by drug dealers, Junebug would rather remain nine. Still, he does have a birthday wish: to someday become a ship's captain and sail away. So Junebug comes up with a plan to launch a flotilla, fifty glass bottles containing notes with his wish, in the hope that someone somewhere will help to make his dream come true.

 

Author's Information: I had an unusually healthy childhood-sailing across the ocean on a steamship at age 7, visiting England,Scotland, and Norway, and playing endlessly with my dollhouse, which perhaps eventually lead to writing many books for children. Because I live in a refugee resettlement city Portland, ME, I wrote about displaced kids from war areas, Sudan, Kurdistan, and Kosovo. I was also an art teacher. The book, Soldier Mom, now 20 years old, was written during the first Gulf War, when we suddenly used a "reserve" army instead of an enlisted one. I had two active sons, dogs, rabbit, chameleon, hamster and later assisted 40 Kosova high school students. I loved gardening, painting, reading. But suddenly began to hurt everywhere, falling, weak. Nothing helped.I had to leave my job as an art teacher but was still able to write.
Nearly twenty years (plus a bout with severe cancer) into feeling weak, I now know I have Myasthenia Gravis, a neuromuscular disease that affects your eyes, breathing, endurance and speech.
I still write, paint, sing, practice my standup comedy, and take photographs. Really nothing inside me has changed at all. I fight to improve, laugh over the silliness of ordinary life, and am curious about all sorts of things.

 

Rewards: None

Reading Level: Grades 3-5

Genre: Fiction