surviving_the_applewhites.jpgSurviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan

Book Summary

With his spiked hair and all-black clothing, 13-year-old Jake looks the part of the juvenile delinquent he's supposed to be. He's moved from Rhode Island to rural North Carolina to stay with his grandfather, and the only educational institution that will have him is the Creative Academy, the homeschool run by the zany Applewhite family. The Applewhites, from four-year-old Destiny to grandfather Zedediah, are all creative, talented, artistic types, and their haphazardly run school is more of a self-education opportunity. E.D., the almost 13-year-old daughter of the clan, feels like the odd one out-her talents lie in organization, not in art, writing, dance, or theater, like the rest of the family. But when her director father undertakes a local production of The Sound of Music, all the Applewhites throw themselves into making it a success. E.D. is indispensable as stage manager, and Jake gets a starring role in the play and discovers a passion for the stage. Just like the butterflies they hatch from caterpillars as part of a self-directed science project, the two adolescents find their wings.

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Author Information -- visit author site here

Stephanie S. Tolan's earliest memories involve books --those that were read to her and those she read to herself. She always thought there was a special magic in the little black marks on paper that could turn into whole worlds and real people. Born in Ohio and raised in Wisconsin, she wrote her first story in the fourth grade. It was thrilling to discover she could make the magic herself, and she decided then and there to be a writer. Other ambitions came and went, but writing stayed on, and she majored in creative writing at Purdue University, then went on to a Master's Degree in English. Marriage and the sudden addition to her life of three young stepsons, and then a son, forced writing into the nooks and crannies, but she wrote poetry and plays for adults as she taught college English. In the mid-seventies, Stephanie began working in the Poets-in-the-Schools program in Pennsylvania. Her first group of students were fourth and fifth graders, and she found among them a new generation of intense readers, still using the flashlight-under-the-covers trick. Mrs. Tolan currently lives on a little lake in the big woods in Charlotte, North Carolina. Surviving the Applewhites was a Newbery Honor book.

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