Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question

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Product Details

$16.99  $15.80
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.4 X 1.1 inches | 0.79 pounds

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About the Author

Martha Freeman worked as a reporter and teacher before becoming a full-time writer of books for young readers, including the Edgar Award-nominated Zap!, Born Curious, The Secret Cookie Club series, Who Stole Halloween?, and Effie Starr Zook Has One More Question, which School Library Journal called "accessible and exciting" in a starred review. She also collaborated with NASA astronaut Mark Kelly on the Astrotwins books. Martha lives in Oregon. Learn more at MarthaFreeman.com.


What begins as a relaxing summer finds middle schooler Effie discovering proverbial skeletons in her family's closet, er...shed. While Effie's parents are flying the first solar plane around the world, the white girl is spending her summer on the Zook family farm with her aunt and uncle. Effie's great-grandfather was the original owner of this farm and (fictional) inventor of the barf bag, so now the family is "well fixed." When she meets two neighbor kids, both also white, she gets an inkling that some folks in this rural area are not fans of her family. The kids' father, Mr. Yoder, is leader of a growing movement called Beards for America based on Effie's great-grandfather's "Precepts" (No. 1: "A man's beard is a signifier of his special place in the natural order of things"), and yet the two families aren't on speaking terms. Despite her many queries--and Effie is excellent at asking questions--the grown-ups are close-lipped about the tension between the families. After befriending the town's only black resident, Effie reconstructs the murky history of her relatives. On the surface this feels a light, sun-dappled read, but within the depths of this story lurks compelling truths about sexism and racism that give shadow, dimension, and heft to this perky yarn. Effie's growing awareness of her privilege and its origins is an appropriately complicated one. A light-feeling read that effectively delves dark depths. (author's note) (Fiction. 8-13)--Kirkus Reviews "12/1/16 "
With skilled writing and a consistently paced plot, this is an accessible and exciting story for a wide range of readers. The mystery is enticing, but the larger focus is on the interconnectedness of people despite differences and the importance of the pursuit of truth. Freeman tackles issues of class, gender, race, and politics in a way that is appropriate for the intended audience and never feels heavy-handed. This stellar blend of an appealing plot and relevant themes is an excellent addition to middle grade collections.--School Library Journal *STARRED REVIEW*
Effie is a sprightly heroine whose surprising summer makes for fun reading.

Effie is a charming and charismatic character with few faults and a great sense of adventure that makes her endearing. Her story rings true.--School Library Connection