Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

        Newbery Honor Winner and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author


Historical Fiction
How did it feel to be the son of Thomas Jefferson--and of a woman he owned?
An IRA Teacher's Choice, VOYA Top Shelf Fiction, NY Public Library Book of the Year
"Hiking the Appalachian Trail forms the groundwork for this emotionally taut story."
--Kirkus Reviews

Halfway to the Sky

From the book:

It was raining and miserably cold. I didn't have rain gear but I did have a big plastic poncho, like a tarp, and so did Mom. It didn't help much. Rain dripped onto my pants and down my neck. My boots were so wet they squished. We were warm enough so long as we kept moving, but we felt chilled the moment we stopped.

'Think pizza,' Vivi said encouragingly. 'Think hot shower.'

'I am,' I said. I couldn't imagine staying that night in a shelter, much less a wet tent.

After nine miles we got to the road. A car came along and Mom stuck her thumb out, expertly, as though hitchhiking was her main and customary method of transportation. The car screeched to a stop. Mom walked up to it and stuck her head through the open window. 'Get a ride to Helen?' she asked.

The man inside studied the three of us. 'You thru-hikers?' he asked.

I said, 'You bet.'

So there we were in Helen, a surprisingly touristy little town. We went first to the post office, where Vivi picked up the box of home-dried food she'd mailed to herself, and I used the pay phone to call Dad. I stomped my feet to warm them and put my fingers in my armpits. Dad sounded sulky. 'You have no idea hom much work this is even with you only being gone a week,' he said. 'Your school says I have to write a letter to excuse you. A phone call won't do. Couldn't you have planned it better?'

'How's your new baby?' I asked. 'How's your new wife?'

'Look, Dani, your timing was far from impeccable.'

I said, 'Maybe you should have stuck with the family you had.'