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Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.

1

Itís about my problem.

Wednesday, October 28, 1953

My mamaís in jail. It ainít right. Leastwise, I donít think so. Them folks that put her there just donít understand our family. My mamaís the best mama in the whole wide world. Everbody used to say so afore the awful stuff happened. Even Uncle William. And he donít say much nice about nobody.

I got to get her out. But how? Even when theyís wrong, once grown-ups make up their minds about something, a kid like me donít stand much of a chance of changing it. Poor Mama. I know she hates being caged up like a rabbit, and itís all my fault.

I feel like my heart done shattered in tiny pieces, like Granís vase that me and BJ broke playing tag one time. And I ainít got nobody to help me put them pieces back together.

Thatís why I stopped by the company store after school yesterday and bought me the biggest spiral notebook they had. Maybe writing everthing down will help me sort it all out.

ďLydia, when you came to be, you was my only star in a dark, dark sky,Ē Mama always said. When I lived in Paradise, Mama and Gran always made me and BJ both feel like we was right special to them.

But sometimes a body can feel all alone, even when other people live in the same house. Thatís how I feel living with Uncle William and Aunt Ethel Mae here in Confidence, West Virginia. They be nice enough people, but they ainít got nary a clue about what to do with me.

The bad stuff commenced like this . . . .
 
To read more of the excerpt, go to Fresh Fiction from New Voices.
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Click to view a glossary of Appalachian dialect used in the novel
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The cover art is by Richard Tuschman. Visit his website to see more of his beautiful artwork.
Deleted Scenes
 
Sometimes, for the pacing of a story, scenes have to be cut. I decided to share a few of them with you here.
 
Lydia is Rich and Wise (one of my favorites!)
Lydia Teaches Ears Tricks
Bright-Eyed and Bushy-Tailed (an Appalachian favorite saying)
Games Lydia and BJ Played
Lydia's Dollhouse
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Educator's Guide for Child of the Mountains from Random House