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Edited by Katie O’Donnell ’07, director of stewardship and alumni relations, the Beaver Bookshelf spotlights titles by alumni authors. If you have an alumni publication you would like to share with the UMF community, please send the details to us at umfalumni@maine.edu. We’ll add titles as we receive them, in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
*Entries marked with an asterisk have been added in the past month.

Kimberlee Bennett ’97

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Paddling Southern Maine

Bennett and Moore’s guide provides directions and descriptions for 54 paddling adventures for those who wish to explore Maine by kayak, canoe, and stand-up paddle board. These day trips allow paddlers to explore beautiful ponds, lakes, slow-moving rivers, protected tidal rivers and saltwater coves. (All appropriate for recreational paddlers)  None of the trips require shuttling or portaging. All of the trips, with only a couple of exceptions, are within an hour’s radius of Portland, Maine.

Jenn Bogard ’97*  

Bogard - ABC

The ABCs of Plum Island Massachusetts

Take your child on a scavenger hunt around Plum Island with this delightful children’s book that celebrates the past and present of Plum Island, Massachusetts. Each letter highlights a special part of Plum Island and includes vivid photographs and short poems. Many of the poems are “found poems” created with words and phrases located on the island: in the signs at the Hellcat Wildlife Observation Area; in the artifacts at the Burgess Museum; in the displays at the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center; in a pamphlet from the Marine Fisheries Shellfish Purification Plant and more. Some words are found in old newspaper articles about the island, and you can read the full articles in the book. Peek into the diary of a Plum Island Lighthouse Keeper and his family from the year 1911!

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Bogard - Integrate Arts

Integrating the Arts Across the Content Areas

(Co-authored by Jenn Bogard) These professional resources include dynamic activities, concrete examples, and effective strategies through artistic mediums such as storytelling, music/rhythm and visual arts! With creative methods for rewarding results, your students will learn to be well-rounded, successful future learners.

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Jenn Bogard - Writing is Magic

Writing is Magic, or is it? Using Mentor Texts to Develop the Writer’s Craft

(Co-authored by Jenn Bogard) students become strong writers and support their understanding of mentor texts with this practical, standards-based resource that dives deep into multiple genres such as poetry, narration, informational texts, literary nonfiction, and persuasion. Teach students how to read mentor texts for the purpose of writing as well as specific strategies that authors typically use in order to help students integrate their strategies into their own writing. This resource provides teachers with strategies and resources to encourage students to understand writing as a craft while using mentor texts to teach them different aspects of writing.

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Scott Bowden ’12

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Introductory Algebra

Bowden’s publication is a low-cost alternative to an expensive traditional Algebra I book. Crafted by a high school Algebra I and II teacher who draws on the experience of teaching those courses, the text starts with a review and discussion of number sense and fluency and then dives into the wonderful ocean that is algebra. Starting with linear expressions, equations, inequalities, and graphs, this text goes through examples in a formulaic, straightforward manner. Ending with quadratic equations, factoring, and graphing, it encompasses everything one could want from an introduction to algebra.

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Shelley (Reed) Burbank ’90*

Burbank - Last Ten Days

The Last Ten Days: Academia, Dementia and the Choice to Die

The Last Ten Days: Academia, Dementia, and the Choice to Die is a heartrending memoir of love, scholarship, dignity, courage, and the choices one is forced to make when given the devastating diagnosis of a terminal illness.

Spanning sixty years, this extraordinary book recounts the love story of Martha Risberg Brosio and her husband, Richard Brosio, Ph.D., a brilliant scholar and college professor whose communication skills dazzled all with whom he came in contact. Teenage sweethearts who went their separate ways after high school, Martha and Richard reconnected twenty-six years later over a friendly dinner that sparked into passionate love. They married in 1983, enjoying a vibrant life.

Then tragedy struck. In late 2013, Richard was diagnosed with Primary Progressive Aphasia, a type of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The disease impacted Richard’s ability to communicate. Eventually, he would lose his verbal and processing skills. There was no cure. Determined to have a dignified death at the time and in the manner of his own choosing, Richard hastened his death two years after his diagnosis by voluntarily stopping eating and drinking, seeking only palliative and hospice care until the end.

Reminiscent of Still Alice, The Notebook, Tuesdays with Morrie, and When Breath Becomes Air, The Last Ten Days grabs the heartstrings and gives a mighty tug.

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Sarah Carlson ’90

Carlson-Sarah

The Radiance of Change

Carlson penned her collection of poems in the 12 years following the sudden death of her husband. Part of her process of healing involves an emergence of the written word and deep connections to the natural world. In this collection she blends the two through pairing each poem with digital photography of her experiences hiking and skiing the mountains, walking and biking the woods, and swimming and paddling the rivers and lakes in and around her home in Maine. This book reflects the positive changes that can happen when one chooses to explore within while recovering from and adjusting to difficulties that life inevitably contains.

Louy Castonguay ’89,’94

louy-castonguay

My Neighbor’s Keeper — Charlie Henson Book 1

My Neighbor’s Keeper, the first in a series, is centered on retired paramedic Mrs. Charlotte Henson, aka Charlie or Mrs. H. She’s 60 years old and a widow. Her husband, a former police officer, was run down by a drunk driver three years before. Charlie befriends shy 6-year-old Bert, from next door. One evening, Bert comes to her door, dirty, tattered and crying. His mother won’t wake up and his two younger sisters, he says, are hungry. Charlie runs to the rescue, and ends up embroiled in a murder. Bert’s mother is crumpled at the foot of the cellar stairs. When Charlie realizes she’s under surveillance, she sneaks out the back door and down to the river, where her canoe is kept. She gets out on the river, at night, in a rainstorm, goes upriver and travels to a cabin hidden in the woods in order to buy time to solve the crime. Along her journey, she makes friends, and also gets help from her husband’s niece, Louise.

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Kathleen (Strange) Clemons ’79

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All About Textures

Clemons’ 60-page book contains everything you need to know to start adding textures to your photos. From finding, creating, and choosing textures, to four different ways to apply them — this book covers it all. There are also five video links included so that you can watch Clemons demonstrates the techniques covered in the book.

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Jason “Jay” Hawkins ’08

Jay Hawkins

The Greatest Heart

Jason Hawkins’ loved ones published the works in this book with the intention of promoting discussion and creating awareness about the realities of suicide, especially in young people. This collection of writings showcases the beautiful mind of a beloved young man who left us too soon.

Alana (Aubin) Eisenbarth ’99

The Girl Who Thought She Was God

In the days preceding a cataclysmic event, animals flee to safety. A shift is happening in the human species. Those of us attuned to our inner nature are moving to higher ground. However, it is not a physical movement but spiritual. And it is not to a place but an elevated level of consciousness, for this is how we evolve.

An apocalyptic vision leads a mystic to accept her role as Prophet in this philosophical journey into who we are and why we have come. But when her spiritual investigations carry her so far from the phenomenal world that she finds no place in it on her return, must she forsake all she has brought with her to survive? Or is her survival and the survival of us all contingent upon her recognizing what she has found? Told predominantly through a series of lyric dialogues woven through with narrative and culminating in myth, The Girl Who Thought She Was God is a modern story in the ancient master-disciple tradition. At its most fundamental level, it is a book about restoring balance to the world through the return of the feminine divine.

The Apocalypse of Eve

Everything they told us was wrong, Aurora discovers when her love for something human wrenches her from the plane of light and locates her again in the world of forms, a world that relegates prophets to lost civilizations and the unseen to the realm of the insane. How one might apprehend everything all at once and then let go, falling back into a human mind. How strangely biblical it all seems, and how prescribed that she is Eve now betraying Adam for God, for she cannot reconcile the two. When in scathing diatribe her husband reveals the repercussions of her neglect and threatens to leave her, she unwittingly sets fire to the bridge of light, the way back to the universe beyond. She has lost God, and now she is losing Adam. There is only a memory of peace and the knowledge of how little we have learned in the land of illusion.

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Kenneth Winfield Emerton ’18

Freshman Year

Freshman Year is a socially satirical romantic comedy. When David and Carol begin their freshman year in high school, they immediately fall in love. At the same time, their English teacher, Mr. Morrison, also falls in love. “Freshman Year” tells the tales of each romance as it unfolds, showing the ups and downs of each relationship and showing how both age and maturity dramatically change the outcome of each.

Melissa Falcon Field ’97

What Burns Away

What Burns Away

Good wife, good mother. That’s all Claire Spruce is trying to be, but the never-ending snow in this new town and her workaholic husband are making her crazy. Even the sweet face of her toddler son can’t pull her out of the dark places in her head.

Feeling overwhelmed and alone, she reconnects with her long-lost high school boyfriend, Dean, who offers an intoxicating, reckless escape. But Dean’s reappearance is not a coincidence. He wants something from Claire-and she soon finds that the cost of repaying an old favor may lead to the destruction of her entire life.

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Stefanie (O’Keefe) Jolicoeur ’97

Devil’s Chair

Kate is thrilled when she buys a new house, just for her. That is, until she discovers it’s haunted. Things quickly go downhill as she learns of the strange legend of Devil’s Chair–seven suicides on her property, a red-eyed creature luring people to their deaths, and terrifying stories of the local Penobscot tribe.

Undeterred, Kate decides to rid her house of this curse once and for all.

With the reluctant help of her new boyfriend Matt, Kate launches herself headfirst into solving the mystery and destroying the creature.

In this paranormal thriller, the only question is: who will win?

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Gabby Michaelson Has Fleas

Gabby has just about everything going for her at the start of eighth grade. She’s smart, pretty, loves school and has a special friend in Dana. If that isn’t enough, a gorgeous Italian exchange student, Benito, has singled her out as the object of his affection. However, someone is out to get Gabby, writing mortifying things her locker. Who is doing it and why? With its array of believable characters and witty dialogue, Gabby Michaelson Has Fleas captures all the yearnings, excitement and colossal embarrassments that come with adolescence. Join Gabby on her quest to solve the mystery!

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Mousamus: A Gladiator’s Tail 

Mousamus – A Gladiator’s Tail encourages readers, big and small, to dream big, be brave and know that everything will be okay. Keep your eye out for new adventures for Nibbles, the main character in Mousamus – A Gladiator’s Tail. This time he’s a gladiator… next time… who knows!

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Sir Mousalot: A Knight’s Tail

In Sir Mousalot – A Knight’s Tail, a mouse named Nibbles imagines he’s a knight and uses his new-found bravery to save himself from a “squeaky” situation. As Sir Mousalot, Nibbles proves that even a little imagination can help you cope with everyday challenges, big and small. Through Nibbles and his wonderful imagination, I hope to teach kids that the power to protect yourself is already within you! Read, learn and be brave!

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Colorful Critters 

Colorful Critters is a fun way to teach your child about colors! Unique and engaging artwork combined with a sweet, rhyming poem lead you and your child through each color of the rainbow. You and your child will love to read it again and again!

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Sola’s Wish

Sola is a colorful mermaid who yearns to look like everyone else in her ocean village. When her wish on a passing sea star magically comes true, Sola discovers how important it is to be herself and to be grateful for the unique gifts that she was given.

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Rat-a-Claus

Rat-a-Claus was inspired by a story my father had created for my sisters and me when we were little. In my father’s story, Santa’s sack was becoming full of coal and sticks for the bad little kids so he needed help to make room for the presents for the good kids.

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Tonya (Pellegrino) Leger ’04

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Saved;

Leger’s poems are enchanting. They bring you through a stage, a moment, a time in life, and have you embrace it fully. There is no way you cannot become mesmerized by her thrilling descriptions. Each phrase you may think of, Leger will take a bit further to make sure that you are put into that part of her life and you are witnessing that moment in time. You are drawn to feel her feelings, to taste her tears, to embrace her moments of happiness. Leger knows how to make a poem go from paper to life. If you take the time to read them, really read them, her poems will show you a world in which you have never been; and you will be all the better for experiencing that type of emotion.

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Zackary Lavoie ’17*

Zackary Lavoie - Upheavals

Upheavals: a collection of poems

“Rhubarb grows from rhizomes, releasing its body wherever conditions prove favorable. Similarly, Zackary Lavoie’s poems in Upheavals contain those rhubarb-like qualities of disruption and alteration, an I that vanishes and reappears in the natural world, in the city, in the sacred, and back in a corporeal body. There is a rich curiosity in Lavoie’s poems that reminds me of how Elizabeth Bishop, Matthew Henriksen, Neruda, Blake, and William Carlos Williams devise imagery in their works. “if i could create // a religion i would pray to trees and call them mother,” Lavoie claims in world replete with myth, flora, and longing. These poems will meander like rivers to “fill [your] bell[ies] with pebbles,” and you won’t soon forget their humming.” -Roy G. Guzmán, author of the forthcoming collection, Catracho, from Graywolf Press.

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Jean Skelton Libby ’75

Beware of the Dog: Breaking Free from Abusive Relationships

Nothing I had believed was as it seemed. This was the bottom of the pit for me. I’d endured abuse for twenty years with my first husband only to now have spent another five and a half years of my life being chewed up and spit out by another man who I believed in. The first one exited my life spewing hateful, vulgar, blaming curses as he was sinking into self-loathing and suicidal episodes only to then point the gun at me. Then, again, in my simple quest for love and partnership, my devotion was rewarded with hatred, deceitfulness, and destruction.

After twenty years of teaching Family Life Education and experiencing the devastation of abusive relationships, I offer real-life tools to enable the reader to recognize real love, avoid the counterfeits and understand God’s desire to heal us when we make poor choices.

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Katie Marshall ’13

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The Blackbird’s Song

After his mother’s death, Brian suffers severe trauma from his abusive father. When the abuse becomes too much, his mind splits into multiple personalities and starts him down a path of murder and destruction. Lizzie’s life is turned upside down when she is tortured by a serial killer. Now she has to learn to cope with a new school, new friends, and a new life with a sister that she didn’t meet until recently. As Lizzie struggles to discover the identity of the man who ruined her life, people think she’s crazy and suffering from delusions. But when Lizzie finally discovers that Brian was her attacker, the two collide in a battle of survival…

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Katie Marshall-2

A System of the Chaotic Mind

Marshall’s series of short stories tell of everyday people placed in overwhelming situations and beating odds to find more of themselves. They might make you laugh, cry, and think — but regardless of the emotion, they will make you feel.

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Katie-Marshall-3

Tears Against the Windowpane

Marshall’s collection of poems is dedicated to the struggle of life and the will to continue, regardless of the obstacles. There are poems about life, love, and discovering one’s self in a collection that will leave tears on your pillow and hope in your hearts.

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Katie-Marshall-4

The Writer

This selection of poems tells of the muse of a writer — and how inspiration can come from the most simple of places.

Jennifer McGee ’86

Nine Minutes - McGee

Nine Minutes and Counting

Every year Lizzie and her family travel to their favorite spot, Beaver Brook Campground. In the year of this storytelling, Lizzie is nearly 12, entering middle school, and has been temporarily charged with babysitting her 2-year-old brother. Distracted by the allure of the campground, she turns her attention away from her little brother who wanders into the woods, resulting in a tragic series of events. All of this happens in the span of nine minutes. Nine Minutes and Counting brings the reader into Lizzie’s journey as she navigates middle school, her classes, her friendships, and her unraveling home life, all while coping with intense feelings of grief and guilt. The reader experiences this difficult and emotionally raw journey through Lizzie as she encounters a very special teacher and interacts with other middle schoolers who have experienced loss. Middle school students, young adults, parents, teachers, coaches, administrators, and school counselors will come away from the book with insights and tools for coping with their own tragedy, or for helping someone else mired in guilt and grief. Although the story has moments that are dark and gritty, the overall tone is one of hope. Lizzie models strength and resiliency, and the reader will experience her steady march from darkness into the light.

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Jo-Anne Bean Palmer ’82

My Cape Cod Magic

A beautifully illustrated early reader for parent and child, based on an engaging poem and with fifteen, fine art, picture-postcard images of classic Cape Cod scenes reminiscent of children s picture books more commonly found a century ago, but also refreshingly today.

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ElsBeth and the Pirate’s Treasure

When Halloween approaches, a never-quite-forgotten pirate’s treasure awakens some serious trouble in the sleepy Cape Cod town. ElsBeth Amelia Thistle, who happens to be the youngest witch on the Cape, and her friend Johnny Twofeathers, chief-to-be of the local Wampanoag tribe — together with a cast of spirited classmates and curious magical creatures (including two troublesome fairies from the old country) — must face off against dangerous outsiders, and the notorious pirate Billy Bowlegs, to restore the balance of past and present, good and evil.

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ElsBeth and the Privateer

Her grandmother worries there are too many out-of-control ghosts in Boston for ElsBeth’s field trip off-Cape to the historic Freedom Trail. But the young Cape Cod witch is determined to go and Sylvanas, her cat, handles that. The real danger turns out to be human when one of her classmates from a royal family is kidnapped. ElsBeth encounters and enlists the ghost of the famous Captain Thomas Jacques to lead the sea chase all the way to Nantucket Island. But she needs all the science and magic her grandmother has taught her, and help from the birds and fishes ElsBeth also recruits to their cause. And along the way she and her friends find out about fighting for freedom, and caring for something bigger than themselves. 

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ElsBeth and the Call of the Castle Ghosties

When their ancestral lands in the Highlands are threatened, three ancient ghosts of the castle need one of their clan from the living world. They call the young Cape Cod witch across the sea. ElsBeth has a personal calling to protect the natural world, and her own need to know more about the family line. Drawn deep into the present danger and the mysteries of the old country, she is in well above her magic level.

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The Little Cape Cod Witch Cookbook

Wholesome, tasty treats for young folks to make with their grown-up helpers and to enjoy with friends. Graced with original full-color art, whimsical stories, and entertaining facts, readers find out how cooking is a kind of magic! And come to know the truth: good magic is difficult on an empty stomach.

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R. David Philbrook ’70

Philbrook Short Stories

Sharing Some Short Stories — Eight Science Fiction Adventures

This anthology comprising eight short science fictions stories includes tales of space ghosts that attempt to trap a ship and its crew, mutant beetles that create electrical short circuits aboard a space station, gold-stealing space pirates that put a planet to sleep, telepathic sand crawlers that control a village of farmers, a young village girl setting out to find her kidnapped brother, a hapless spider trapped in a sink, a space culture composed completely of automated entities, and a mind game within the mind.

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Aleena and Elliss

The Adventures of Aleena and Elliss: Book 1, The Protectorate Manipulation

Aleena’s search for her abducted brother, Elliss, and their adventures form the narrative arc of this novel. Space ghosts, telepathic plant-animals, and insulation-eating beetles test their resolve to survive as they deal with the space raiding ViNarians.

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Little Prince and Gargoyle

The Little Prince and the Gargoyle

In a small village there is much sadness. Many of the children are missing and have been carried away by a mean gargoyle that lives in the nearby forest. The king’s son is determined to find the children and return them to the village. He thinks he can trick the gargoyle but he is only a little boy and must be very brave and resourceful.

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Jacques J. Rancourt ’09

Novena

In poems inspired by and sometimes borrowing their forms from the novena, a nine-day Catholic prayer addressing and seeking intercession from the Virgin Mary, Jacques Rancourt explores the complexities of faith, desire, beauty, and justice. Novena is a collection that invites prayer not to symbols of dogmatic perfection but to those who are outcast or maligned, LGBTQ people, people in prison, people who resist, people who suffer and whose suffering has not been redeemed. In Novena, the Virgin Mary is recast as a drag queen, religious icons are merged with those who are abolished, and spiritual isolation is scrutinized in a queer pastoral.

In the Time of PrEP

“Jacques J. Rancourt’s rapturous poems look backwards and forwards at once. Living ‘half in this world, half in another,’ they interrogate desire and queer history, showing us how one generation struggles to understand the one before. Like all essential art, they take the long view, reminding us of what passes, what endures. We’re lucky to have this book in the world, proof of a prodigious talent and of a wise and generous heart.”

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Robert Rowe ’93

Robert Rowe - Main Street

The Day Kal Aikens Streaked Down Main Street

Robert Rowe’s poems tell stories. The high school student Kal Aikens who, in a carpe diem moment, dons a Halloween mask and streaks through the center of Bath, Maine. The skier Marcus Muller who schusses Tuckerman’s Ravine to impress a girl. The chatterbox grandmother who won’t stop telling stories even though people have stopped listening—but not Mr. Rowe. The athlete in “The Perfect Search” who swims from Maine to Canada in a quest to find life’s meaning. In short, Mr. Rowe’s characters attempt to strip off the veneer of everyday life to discover what it means to truly be alive. Mr. Rowe is happy to oblige. With his lyrical language, intricate off-rhyme schemes, and that rare ability to extend metaphors through entire poems, Mr. Rowe serves poetry that is surprising, fused with emotion, and is a pleasure to read. Most of all, his poems complete the sacred task of poetry: the ability to lift readers up, and take them to a sacred place where, in the words of one of Mr. Rowe’s characters: “the skin never cuts, the neck never snaps, and the snow never stays this late in June.” Readers of Robert Frost’s “Birches” and “Mending Wall” and E.A. Robinson’s “Richard Cory” and “Miniver Cheevy” will find a kindred spirit in the poetry of Mr. Rowe. This wonderful volume firmly places Mr. Rowe at the forefront of a Pre-Eliot movement in American poetry. I suspect this book will delight poetry lovers, but also attract new readers to poetry. – Michael Jones

Emily (Coye) Smith ’10

Thumbs Up - Smith

Thumbs Up For All

Everyone deserves a thumbs up! This story, based on a Maine lobster, will bring children on a journey through the eyes of a creature unlike the rest. This lobster will always has a thumbs up, thereby sharing his positive outlook on life everywhere he goes. Throughout this story he learns to embrace difference by finding his inner courage, while teaching others to do the same.

Jan Elizabeth Watson ’97

jan elizabeth watson 1

Asta in the Wings

Asta in the Wings is a poignant and often darkly funny story narrated by Asta Hewitt, a resourceful 7-year-old growing up in an isolated house in Bond Brook, Maine. Shut off from the outside world and restricted to the company of a delusional mother and a bookish older brother, Asta is content to be part of a “society of three,” constructing fanciful, theatrical worlds of their own. When circumstances push her into a strange outside world— with all of its discontents — Asta must find a way to assimilate while remaining true to herself and her fractured family.

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what has become of you

What Has Become of You

What Has Become of You follows Vera Lundy, an aspiring crime writer and master of self-deprecation who, like many adults, has survived adolescence but hasn’t entirely overcome it. When she agrees to fill in for a private school English teacher on maternity leave, teaching The Catcher in the Rye to privileged girls, Vera feels in over her head. The students are on edge, too, due to the recent murder of a local girl close to their age.

Enter Jensen Willard. At 15 she’s already a gifted writer but also self-destructive and eerily reminiscent of Vera’s younger self. As the two outcasts forge a tentative bond, a sense of menace enfolds their small New England town. When another student, new to the country, is imperiled by her beliefs, Vera finds herself in the vortex of danger — and suspicion.

With the threat of a killer at large, the disappearance of her increasingly worrisome pupil, and her own professional reputation at stake, Vera must thread her way among what is right by the law, by her students, and by herself. In this poignant page-turner, populated with beguiling characters and sharp social insights, coming-of-age can happen no matter how old you are.

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