Grape Thiefby Kristine L. Franklin, Paul Lee (Illustrator)
It’s 1925 in multiethnic Roslyn, Washington, and twelve-year-old Slava has earned the nickname "Cuss" because he can swear in fourteen/b>
With refreshing honesty, heart, and humor - and a compelling young narrator - the author of the award-winning LONE WOLF takes readers back to 1925, and a place where a boy must become a man all too soon.
It’s 1925 in multiethnic Roslyn, Washington, and twelve-year-old Slava has earned the nickname "Cuss" because he can swear in fourteen languages. In fact, Cuss loves languages, period: unlike his older brothers, who left school after sixth grade to work in the coal mines, he likes reading about as much as he likes goofing around with his friends - or planning the great grape heist of Roslyn. But when bootleggers stir up trouble and force his big brothers to skip town, Cuss feels the weight of family responsibility dropping onto his shoulders. How can he hold on to his dream to stay in school - and still do the honorable thing by his ma and little brother?
Read an Excerpt
Back in second grade I took on a bully named Snakey who’d called my pa a word in Estonian that I wouldn’t repeat in English. Pa’d died from the influenza only a few years before that, and I didn’t take too kindly to anyone’s smearing his name, not in any language. Maybe Snakey thought all I knew was Croatian. I showed him, even though I was just a squirt. First I called him a big põrsas, meaning "pig," which I’d picked up from one of my brother’s Estonian pals, and then—socko!—one punch and Snakey was down with a busted nose.
After that I started paying close attention to the other ethnics. I listened to what they said, especially when they were drunk and hollering at each other. I collected their cuss words and insults. Pretty soon they figured out what I was up to and went along with my game. I only had to hear a word once to remember it. They taught me that joodik meant "drunkard" in Estonian, and träskpadda meant "swamp frog" in Swede, and that pupa-ma-n meant "kiss my butt" in Romanian. I told them if I knew enough cuss words in other languages, no kid would ever be able to pull a fast one in Old Country talk. They thought I was a hoot. And they gave me a nickname that stuck: Cuss.
By the end of second grade I could say "You look like a horse’s hinder" in Croatian, Turk, Slovenian, Italian, Estonian, Albanian, Lithuanian, Hungarian, Swede, Finn, Polack, Czech, and even Arab, which I got from Perks, whose Granny knew a Gypsy who shacked up with a guy from Arabia. I knew a lot of other cuss words, too. Guess you could say I had the knack.
Meet the Author
Kristine L. Franklin is the author of several novels for young readers, including ECLIPSE, NERD NO MORE, DOVE SONG, and the best-selling LONE WOLF, a SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL Best Book of the Year. She says, "Cuss is a fictional boy who originated in stories my father told me about growing up in Roslyn. In doing research for this book, I discovered my own roots, and learned how much it cost my grandparents to settle here so their children and grandchildren could have what they themselves had never known - full bellies, education, and above all, the freedom to dream."
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This is an amazing book. If you enjoy historical fiction then you will absolutely love it! This is my 5th time reading it..That's how much I love it :D I have recommended this book to all of my friends who also have enjoyed it :) Please read..it's very good