When his grandfather’s dementia raises the specter of foster care, Arlo flees to find his only other family member in this genuine, heartening novel.
Arlo’s grandfather travels in time. Not literally — he just mixes up the past with the present. Arlo holds on as best he can, fixing himself cornflakes for dinner and paying back the owner of the corner store for the sausages Poppo eats without remembering to pay. But how long before someone finds out that Arlo is taking care of the grandfather he lives with instead of the other way around? When Poppo lands in the hospital and a social worker comes to take charge, Arlo’s fear of foster care sends him alone across three hundred miles. Armed with a name and a town, Arlo finds his only other family member — the grandmother he doesn’t remember ever meeting. But just finding her isn’t enough to make them a family. Unfailingly honest and touched with a dash of magical realism, Sarah Sullivan’s evocative debut novel delves into a family mystery and unearths universal truths about home, trust, friendship, and strength — all the things a boy needs.
About the Author
I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was in third grade and read Betsy and Tacy Go Downtown, one of the books in the series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Betsy wrote novels from her tree house in the backyard. In wintertime, she wrote on a desk made out of her uncle’s old theatrical trunk. As far as I was concerned, life couldn’t get any better than that! But then I grew up and got sidetracked with being a lawyer. Secretly I was still huddled in a tree house in my imagination making up stories. I just didn’t tell anybody for a long time. Today I happily spend hours of each day making up stories, and I don’t mind telling people about it.
Music has always been a huge part of my life. My mother had a first cousin who was a concert violinist. When she was on tour and played with the Denver Symphony, we went to hear her perform. Going backstage was a magical experience. Here was this talented woman who produced heavenly music with her violin. I was in awe. I have always been in awe of musicians. Living in West Virginia, I have come to appreciate the roots musicians of Appalachia. Melvin Wine was one of them. There was something otherworldly about him. Even though, by most people’s standards, he had very little, his life was all about giving back. Watching Jake Krack learn from Melvin was like watching a story as old as time, an elder passing down knowledge and wisdom to the younger generation. Being reminded that such traditions continue, despite all the horrors in the world, gave me hope for the future. It was a story I wanted and needed to tell.
Three Things You Might Not Know About Me:
1. I attended five schools by the time I was in fourth grade. (We moved a lot.)
2. I once helped Peter Pan fly into the Darling’s nursery. (I was working backstage in the theater.)
3. When I was a kid my favorite breakfast was a grilled cheese sandwich. (I still make them, but I don’t eat them anymore.)