The First State of Being


Product Details

$19.99  $18.59
Greenwillow Books
Publish Date
5.43 X 8.35 X 1.18 inches | 0.88 pounds

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About the Author

Erin Entrada Kelly was awarded the Newbery Medal for Hello, Universe and a Newbery Honor for We Dream of Space. She grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and now lives in Delaware. She is a professor of children's literature in the graduate fiction and publishing programs at Rosemont College, where she earned her MFA, and is on the faculty at Hamline University. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Philippines Free Press Literary Award for Short Fiction and the Pushcart Prize. Before becoming a children's author, Erin worked as a journalist and magazine editor and received numerous awards for community service journalism, feature writing, and editing from the Louisiana Press Association and the Associated Press.

Erin Entrada Kelly's debut novel, Blackbird Fly, was a Kirkus Best Book, a School Library Journal Best Book, an ALSC Notable Book, and an Asian/Pacific American Literature Honor Book. She is also the author of The Land of Forgotten Girls, winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature; You Go First, a Spring 2018 Indie Next Pick; Lalani of the Distant Sea, an Indie Next Pick; Those Kids from Fawn Creek, named to numerous best-of-the-year lists; and three acclaimed novels for younger readers, Maybe Maybe Marisol Rainey, Surely Surely Marisol Rainey, and Only Only Marisol Rainey, which she also illustrated. She lives in Delaware.


"Kelly (also a Newbery medalist, for Hello, Universe) shines when acknowledging today's readers' justified fears while showing them that the key to surviving an uncertain road is traveling it in good company. As Ridge encourages Michael to occupy what he calls "the first state of being" -- focusing on the here and now, not fixating on a future we can't control -- Michael forges friendships and comes to accept that 'not knowing is part of life.'" -- New York Times Book Review

"This short but suspenseful novel is Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me meets Tae Keller's Jennifer Chan is Not Alone. Though it takes place at the turn of the millennium, modern readers will be able to identify with Michael's anxieties over the future of the world, and find his journey compelling." -- BookPage (starred review)

"A teen time traveler from 2199 visits 1999 and befriends an endearing, anxious tween boy in this wholesome and splendidly entertaining middle-grade novel about embracing the unknown. Kelly has written one of the kindest boys in children's literature."
-- Shelf Awareness

"Kelly has deftly assembled a community of empathetically rendered characters, making this an enjoyable, uplifting reading experience. The elements of sci-fi will be enough to sate fans of the genre while remaining approachable for all audiences. A lovable cast buoys this time travel drama by one of the most reliable authors in children's literature." -- School Library Journal

"An epilogue reveals a delicious, thought-provoking twist on a question posed early on by Kelly: would the disruption of time influence past, present, or future events?" -- Publishers Weekly

"Kelly's memorable character development is on full display as anxious and sensitive Michael learns to embrace the present, while Ridge's charming misuse of slang adds humor to this amusing ride. A warmhearted blend of nostalgia and futurism." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Newbery winner Kelly gives us a time-travel book that stays grounded, despite the subject matter, and draws on the power of human connection through time and space . . . a solid emotional core will treat readers who love stories about found family and bravery, as well as those who would empathize with Michael's anxieties about the unknown future." -- Booklist

"Michael serves as an admirable foil to Ridge's privilege, and the book takes care to highlight his empathy as he struggles to figure out how to find and keep joy in a world filled with pain. Indeed, it is Michael--anxious, vulnerable, and ultimately brave--who will carry readers of all ages to the book's close." -- Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books