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Excerpt from book:
BAD HAIR DAY
When the fire alarm began to beep and blink on Tuesday morning, the first thing Miss Wheeling thought about was her hair. She’d been outside on bus duty forty minutes ago, and it was a bright October day, moist and windy—the worst kind of weather for her hair. Couldn’t the principal have put off this drill for a couple of days?
It was free-activity time near the end of homeroom, and she clapped her hands sharply. “All right, everyone, this is a fire drill. Line up quickly, and I want you quiet! And don’t clean up, don’t do anything except get in line right now!”
She wrestled a scarf around her hair, and then, clutching her clipboard, Miss Wheeling led her homeroom students down the hall, past the gym, and straight outside toward their assigned spot along the playground fence. She noted with pride that hers was one of the first groups out of the building—pretty good for a brand-new teacher! She hoped the principal would notice.
She tried to remember the last time she’d been part of a fire drill, but she couldn’t get a clear picture. . . . It had probably been during high school—about five years ago, back when she was just Holly Wheeling, that girl who was crazy about insects.
She heard some loud whispering behind her, but she didn’t need to look to know who it was. This class had a handful of very gabby kids.
“Annie and Kelley? I asked you not to talk. A fire drill is serious business.”
She still felt amazed every time she realized that now she was Miss Wheeling, the teacher. She looked young, she felt young—she was young, only twenty-three years old. In fact, her own little brother was twelve, the same age as most of her students. And she was very glad that her family lived in Cedar Falls, Iowa, instead of Harper’s Grove, Illinois—the town where she now lived and worked. The thought of being Carl’s teacher? It was enough to give a girl nightmares.
The wind kicked up a flurry of dead leaves along the playground fence, and Miss Wheeling held the corners of her scarf tightly under her chin. But she knew it was hopeless. This was going to be a bad hair day—mega-bad. She’d been trying to set an appointment for a haircut for the past three weeks, but her first months as a new teacher had been insanely busy. Not that haircuts ever helped much. Her hair was very full, extremely curly, and almost impossible to style. She’d been fighting with it almost every day since she was about six years old. And losing.
All the classes were outside now, and she saw Mrs. Buckley at the far side of the playground. The principal was moving from teacher to teacher, checking off each group.
Miss Wheeling whipped her scarf off her head and stuffed it into the back pocket of her slacks. She looked at her clipboard and called out, “Billy Atkinson?”
Miss Wheeling hurried through the names as the principal came nearer, and finally called out, “Alton Ziegler?”
She called the name again. “Alton Ziegler?”
The principal was close now, talking with Mr. Troy, the other sixth-grade teacher.
Desperate, Miss Wheeling flipped to her attendance sheets . . . but Alton was definitely present today. She was certain that she’d seen him just half an hour ago, and she was sure—
“Good morning, Miss Wheeling.” Mrs. Buckley smiled at her and thenThis map-tastic middle grade story from Andrew Clements gives the phrase “uncharted territory” a whole new meaning!
Alton Barnes loves maps. He’s loved them ever since he was little, and not just for the geography. Because maps contain more information than just locations, and that’s why he likes to draw maps as well as read them. Regular “point A to point B” ones, sure, but also maps that explain a whole lot more—like what he really thinks about his friends. And teachers. Even the principal.
So when Alton’s maps are stolen from his locker, there’s serious trouble on the horizon…and he’ll need some mad cartographic skills to escape it.
From “a genius of gentle, high-concept tales set in suburban middle schools” (The New York Times), this stand-alone story is off the charts.