Altogether, One at a Timeby E. L. Konigsburg
E.L. Konigsburg's writing is funny, perceptive, and, most of all, real. In these four short stories, she deftly captures four people who must cope with difficult situations -- and in doing so, learn something that changes their lives.
"With E. L. Konigsburg doing the writing, you know the stories will be good." Publishers Weekly
- Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers
- Publication date:
- Age Range:
- 8 - 12 Years
Read an Excerpt
THE FIRST BIRTHDAY PARTY I ever had in my life was when I was ten years old. One whole decade old. And I had to invite Jason.
The big thing in birthday parties where we live is slumber parties, only it isn't called a slumber party because that's what girls call it. On the invitation where it says FROM..., I wrote "Supper at 7:00 P.M., May 15." May 15 being my birthday. Where it says UNTIL..., I wrote "After breakfast on May 16." That and the fact that I wrote at the bottom to please bring a sleeping bag lets everyone know that it is a slumber party. I had been to two slumber parties since we moved here; one of them had been Jason's.
My mother checked the invitations for spelling. When she noticed the FROM and UNTIL, she said that she had no idea that a slumber party meant a life sentence cooking and washing dishes. My mother gets sarcastic at the slightest thing. She knew that I wouldn't care if she used paper plates. Mother also noticed that Jason's name wasn't on any of the envelopes. That was besides disapproving of the way that I abbreviated Ohio. Cleveland, Oh. I had put. Mother said that if that was the way I abbreviated Ohio that I should use exclamation points instead of periods. Sarcastic.
"Well, where is Jason's invitation?" she asked.
"You limited me to six kids, and Jay was number seven on my list," I explained.
"Take someone off," she suggested, the way an umpire suggests to a batter that he's out.
I took off John Beecham; he was the only one I had invited who I didn't really like. I had added him even though he hadn't invited me to his party. Dick liked him. Dick was the fastest runner in the fourth grade and the second fastest in the whole school. As amatter of fact, if Dick couldn't make it on May 15, 1 would have to change the date. I thought about it again and decided that I ought to have John Beecham to give Dick something extra to come for.
"I don't think Jason can come," I told Mother. "He has dyslexia."
"It's not contagious," Mother said. "Invite him," she added.
I forgot that Mother would know what dyslexia was. She had explained it to me in the first place. Mother is big on education. Dyslexia has to do with education, or at least reading. If you have dyslexia it's like your brain is a faulty TV set; the picture comes through the wires all right, but some of the tubes are missing or are in the wrong places. So that when you tune in to one channel you may get the sound from another. Or spots of the picture may be missing or be backwards or upside down. Kids with dyslexia read funny.
Jason used to read funny in class until they discovered that he had it. Then they quit making him read out loud and sent him down to special reading during our regular reading. They also sent him down during our P.E., P.E. being physical education. And it was too bad about that; Jason could handle a ball like there was nothing wrong with him. But his reading was like the Comedy Hour; that's about how long it took. Except that Mrs. Carpenter wouldn't let us laugh. And when Jay was called to the board to write something, it was like he was writing sideways, and that took three hundred hours.
Jason's mother, Mrs. Rabner, told Mother that he had improved a lot since he had been tutored in dyslexia. The nicest thing about Jason was his mother. She did everything she could to make my mother and me feel welcome when we moved here in September. But we had moved around enough for me to know that your first friends aren't always your best friends.
Meet the Author
E.L. Konigsburg is the only author to have won the Newbery Medal and be runner-up in the same year. In 1968, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler won the Newbery Medal and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth was named a Newbery Honor Book. Almost thirty years later she won the Newbery Medal once again for The View from Saturday. Among her other acclaimed books are Silent to the Bone, The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place, and The Mysterious Edge of the Heroic World.
Gary E. Parker is the best-selling author of ten novels and three novellas, including Secret Tides and Fateful Journeys. A Christy Award finalist, Parker has become CBA's source for sweeping sagas of faith and family. A PhD graduate of Baylor University, he serves as the senior pastor of the First Baptist Church of Decatur, Georgia.
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The book had alot of detail. There were four different stories. The first story is about a boy who has to invite his enemy to his party. The second is about a girl who goes to a fat camp. The third is about agirl who is mistreated because of her skin color. The book was wonderful and very interesting.