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Clem wants a dog for his thirteenth birthday, but what he gets is a miner's cap. It is the 1920s in Leadanna, Missouri, and Clem must become a man, leaving school and joining Pap in the lead mines--money is tight in the Harding household. Meanwhile, Lindy, whose face bears a scar from an accident that left her motherless, is forced to help her abusive father sell moonshine. As Clem searches for another way to support his family, the two become friends. Then disaster strikes: a death, a mining accident, and then a tornado. In the aftermath, Lindy takes advantage of her chance to flee Leadanna, and Clem is torn between following her and staying behind to help his family. This beautifully written coming-of-age novel shines with true characters, a vivid setting, and heart-felt relationships.
About the Author
Susan Hill Long has worked as an editor and has written several award-winning books for beginning readers. Her honors include Bank Street College Best Books and the Katherine Patterson Prize. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two daughters. She was inspired to write this, her first novel, when she heard Garrison Keillor, on his program The Writer's Almanac, talk about a group of men working deep underground in the mines, unaware of anything out of the ordinary happening on the surface until the power went off and they climbed through the darkness to discover above the total destruction of their town. This was the great Tri-State Tornado of 1925, which plays a crucial role in Whistle in the Dark.