Introducing this anthology of 10 original stories, Paulsen (The Glass Café, see below) declares, "I owe everything I am and everything that I will ever be to books." Those who share his passion will eagerly meet the protagonists here, young adults from the past, present and future who have been profoundly affected by particular books. In two of the selections, "Wet Hens" by Ellen Wittlinger and "The Good Deed" by Marion Dane Bauer, unlikely friendships are spawned by a common interest in a children's book. For the star of Gregory Maguire's "Tea Party Ends in Bloody Massacre, Film at 11," who would rather hide under the table with a horror story than meet the snooty, reactionary ladies who have ostensibly come to welcome her mother to the neighborhood, reading provides a much-needed form of solace. The sole survivor of a ghost ship featured in M.T. Anderson's "Barcarole for Paper and Bones" finds a way to rewrite an unsavory slice of history by creating his own fiction. Covering almost every genre of fiction, including mystery, SF, fantasy and realism, these well-crafted stories by familiar authors offer sharply drawn characterizations and intriguing premises. Other contributors include Joan Bauer, Margaret Peterson Haddix and A. LaFaye. Ages 10-14. (Aug.)
FYI:Paulsen is donating all of his proceeds from sales of the book to ProLiteracy Worldwide, to which the publisher is also making a contribution.