What he could remember, when he thought of the dozens and dozens of towns where he’d lived, were sounds.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

Because something inside him, even when he most wanted to give up, just wouldn’t.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

Emily Bell was a collector.
And what she gathered and sorted and prized was carried with her wherever she went.
Because Emily’s obsession was with other people’s lives.
Her grandmother had once said that Emily would have been the greatest spy ever born. But only if spies didn’t have to guard secrets as well as unearth them. Because Emily’s own emotional wall of self-protection was see-through. She wasn’t hiding anything about herself, so why should anyone else?
It was disarming.
Emily’s interest in personal histories made her accessible to people’s deepest emotions. It was as if she had some kind of magnet that pulled at someone’s soul, often when he or she least expected it.
And that same magnet, which had to have been shaped like a horseshoe, allowed someone to look at her and feel the need to share a burden.
Hers was a gift that didn’t have a name.
Even she didn’t understand what it all meant.
Because everything, she believed, was connected.
She had seen how small things changed big things. She saw every person as a part of a ripple effect.
And, because of that, she believed in destiny.
At least that’s what she would later tell herself.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

But when it got to be too much, he grabbed his beat-up guitar and took Riddle and they disappeared int the woods.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

Riddle opened his phone book and looked at one of his drawings. A brown moth landed on the yellow paper. Riddle stared at it, his thoughts swirling:
Some things are born with wings. Like butterflies. Or birds.
And they can fly.
Some things only have legs. Like spiders. But they have lots of legs so tey can crawl and run and hide. When you have two legs, it is harder to hide.
Light is always moving. Even in tiny, tiny, tiny ways.
Light makes all shape.
I taste wild berries. Just by seeing them.
I listen. Always. If you are quiet, you hear more than things that make noise.
I see the insides. Turning pieces. Even if the pieces are broken. I put them back together.
I start downside up.
It hurts, but the inside is always worth seeing.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There
Time for Same was about the position of the sun. It was about feeling hunger in his stomach. It was about the temperature just after dawn. Time wasn’t measured in minutes or even hours. It had a rhythm that had to do with days and seasons, animals and insects, flowers and plants.
Time was measured by the number of pages of drawings in Riddle’s phone books. It was seen in Sam’s pants that were short since he’d grown another three inches. Very little in his life had been predigested and explained.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

But what she really liked best about snowboarding was riding the chairlift and looking down on the snowy trees and pretending she was a bird, flying over the mountainside.
But she’d keep that to herself.
Like a lot of what she felt, which could be alarming to those who didn’t see a painting and want to climb inside the picture to get to know the people. She couldn’t help being that way.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

The tiny fish move like clouds of smoke.
But the smoke is underwater.
They stay together and turn like one thing. Because they are many things that understand one thing:
And that is sticking together.
I do not see one of the little silver fish swimming alone. I look. But I do not ever see that.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

He hammered the nails into the plywood so that the sharp points poked through. Then he carefully layered the worn river sticks on top, attaching them to the points of the nails.
In the end, he’d made a heart from many, many pieces of worn wood, weathered by wind and rain, the bark long gone, with only the smooth parts touching, like limbs.
It was a heart exposed.
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

Once downstairs, Emily took a heavy, red wool blanket from the top shelf of the coat closet and slipped out the front door. She then wrapped herself up and waited on the porch recliner.
She was surprised that she wasn’t sleepy. Instead she felt just the opposite. She felt so alive. The night was cold, but spring was battling out there somewhere and winter was in full retreat. When she exhaled out her mouth, she could see her breath as a small explosion of white air.
At first it felt like the whole world was either dead or asleep. Silence. And then she realized this wasn’t actually true. A bird was making a noise in the next-door neighbor’s tree. Was it an owl?
And some kind of animal was chewing on something—or was it digging?—back by the garage. From far away she could now hear a train. And from another direction, a dog began to bark.
She sat in stillness, not once checking the time, realizing that she’d lived here for ten of her seventeen years, but she’d never experienced the house, the yard, or even the street at this hour.
And then at some point, deep in her time-suspended experience of the dark serenity, she realized that the owl had stopped his rhythmic hooting. And the rodent was no longer digging…
-Holly Goldberg Sloan, I’ll Be There

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Bricka bracka firecracker, sis boom bah! Ledger Kale! Ledger Kale! Rah! Rah! Rah!” Fe shouted her favorite Super-Rabbit cartoon cheer every time I finished a lap, hitting the reset button on Dad’s watch.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Fedora dashed home, shouting, “Mom! Mom! Wait till you see what Ledge can do! He ran around the block ten times and zippo. Then—bang-zoom!—something savvy happened, and now he can bust things up!” Helmet bobbing, my sister pummeled the air in a comical three-punch combination, repeating “Bust! Things! Up!” as she shadowboxed around the house.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Like an itchy foot inside a winter boot, it threatened to drive me mad.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

The last of the dust from the barn settled, revealing the dented silver yowl of the moon, and the basin of the ranch became a patchwork quilt of moonlight and moving shadows.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

“A boy’s got to fall a few times so he can learn to pick himself up and put himself back together.”
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Grandpa looked as though he’d been pulled from the wool of a yarn-spinning dream, but his eyes were bright in the firelight as he caught up with the story.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Abruptly, Fe stopped laughing, her eyes as round as the rising moon.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Back then, that river was still free-flowing and flooded, and full of the magic of a flawless, untamed land. As Eva Mae trundled through the currents, gold dust covered her, bonnet to boots. When she stepped out of those waters, she was a vision to behold. And forever after, that girl could charm gold from wherever it lay hidden.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

“You should know by now that anything is possible, children.” Grandpa nodded in his chair. “Anything.”
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

“Some fears can be conquered, Ledge,” he went on after a lengthy silence. “Others have a way of coming back around. Sometimes at the moment you least expect. Often with the very worst possible timing. Fear makes it hard to think. And when you can’t think, it’s hard to figure out your choices. When you can’t see all your options, all you can do is react.”
-Ingrid Law, Scumble
“ ‘The Flight and Plight of the Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing’?” Gypsy’s eyes grew round and bright, absorbing the iridescent blues and greens that lit the brown wings of the butterflies in the pictures. Her lips formed a small O, and when she spoke again, her voice was a wonder-filled whisper.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Sarah Jane was still smiling. I smiled back. Next to the house, the branches of the birch tree swayed in the breeze, its leaves shimmering like green glass in the sun. If a tree could laugh, I thought, this one was certainly doing it.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

I also thought about the way her hair looked all loose and jumbled in the wind—shiny and wild.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Absolute silence had fallen around me as the earth waited for me to finish my tantrum. Then, as though some silent word sped out across the landscape that I’d run out of strength at last, a cricked chirped and the hum and drone of insects returned. Birds chittered back and forth like television news anchors reporting from the scene. Somewhere close by, a prairie dog barked out small, rodent alerts….
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Scumbling is not about you trying to fit in with the rest of the world; it’s about making your savvy fit in better with you. It’s simply learning to balance all the different parts of yourself so that you don’t let the one thing that feels most out-of-control take over and rule your life. Get it?
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Fedora’s old football helmet full of jar lids rested in their place on his lamp, the lids catching and reflecting the dull campfire flames like they still had some magic buried somewhere inside them.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Crickets chirped.
Embers popped.
Then, “Yes!” Startling us all, Uncle Autry jumped from his stump and cheered, filling the air with a swirl of dusty moths and a frenzy of shimmering, flying things. Autry swept Gypsy off her stump into a spinning jig. Autry sang as they hopped and skipped around the fire.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Everyone puts themselves back together differently after things fall apart.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Grandpa stood from his chair and hugged me with more strength than I thought he had left in him. He kissed the jar, gave the lid a little twist, then held it high, waltzing in slow, shuffling steps to the music, as if Grandma Dollop were there dancing with him. Bitsy tipped back her head and howled in doggy harmony. Birds chittered and chirped. Insects added percussion. When I saw tears traveling down paths worn deep into Grandpa’s cheeks, I quickly turned away, hoping I’d somehow said and done enough.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Gypsy stepped lightly, carrying an old glass jar toward one of the stumps, oblivious to the sharp meadow grass and prickly pine needles under her bare feet. I recognized the jar Gypsy set down next to the fast-forward flowers. I could see the faded, antique, red-and-yellow Peter Pan Peanut Butter label easily from where I sat. It had to be the oldest peanut butter jar ever….
Gypsy gave the white metal lid half a twist. Instantly, music rose from inside the glass. Trumpets, violins, and whatnot filled the glade, crackling with the static of a classical radio broadcast captured over fifty years past….
The jar caught the last slanting rays of the sunset, lighting up orange and pink in the girl’s hand.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Gypsy gave a barefoot, twirling salute, before adding, “I’ll watch over them, no matter what!” The enormous butterflies were a big success for Uncle Autry. He hadn’t lost a single one.

I glanced up in time to see Gypsy poke her head out the door of the Bug House, a giant, iridescent blue-green butterfly stealing a secret ride in her curly hair. It was strange that Gypsy hadn’t noticed it. Gypsy usually saw everything.
Gypsy slipped back inside, but not before the enormous butterfly took flight, its wings beating slow and steady like an inhale . . . exhale. My own breathing slowed as I watched the bug land on the wooden beams just above the exterior door. The thing was beautiful.
Something whispered against the fingers of my right hand. I opened my eyes. Gypsy’s Queen Alexandra was there, fanning me with its wings. I startled, but tried not to move, not wanting to injure it. The butterfly only stayed for a second before it took off and flew away.
He looked slowly from the twins to me—then to Gypsy as she stepped out of the conservatory and began to twirl in delight beneath the sculpted trees.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Bitsy hobble-bobbled at my feet, pushing her wet nose into my hand. I scratched the dog once behind the ears, then sat down. Grandpa gave me my own handful of jar lids and, together, we tossed them into the river. Soon all the lids glinted from beneath the water like wishes in a fountain.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

“Just tell me the story, Ledger.” Grandpa Bomba closed his eyes, settling back into the cushion of his own tall chair, the sound of the river like a great-great- and greater-than-that-grandmother whispering to us from the past. “And Ledge,” Grandpa added, letting just one eye pop back open.
“Yes, Grandpa?”
“Make the story really good.”
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Gypsy gave a barefoot, twirling salute, before adding, “I’ll watch over them, no matter what!” The enormous butterflies were a big success for Uncle Autry. He hadn’t lost a single one.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Sometimes the searching is the best part of any quest.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble
Autry winked, then hit the gas, disappearing over the ridge, followed by jet streams of dartling, flittering, flying things.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

Half kneeling next to Grandpa Bomba, Samson’s whip-thin frame was tense as he held fast to Bitsy, the late-afternoon wind lashing his long hair into his eyes. He’d shown up completely—stepped up completely—making Grandpa and Bitsy stronger.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

But now I knew too, just as Winona had known, that sometimes things have to come apart before becoming something different—something better.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

October had painted the leaves of the birch trees golden, and joined with the autumn wind to carpet the glade at the Flying Cattleheart. Small puffs of clouds crossed the huge Wyoming sky in herds, like ghostly buffalo flying overhead.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

The only kiss I got that day was the one in the tall tale I told the guys back at school—and that one would have made one super-duper, humdinger headline.
-Ingrid Law, Scumble

She tried to understand the mind of the strong, quiet man, whose skin was a map of small wrinkles around his deep blue eyes.
-Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

She turned to Grandmommy. “You all right there, Iree?”
“I’m okay,” said the old woman. “But it’s the last spring.”
Ivy June and Catherine stopped chewing and looked at Grandmommy.
“Now, Iree, why would you think that?” Mammaw asked her. “When a woman lives to be a hundred, why . . . no telling how much longer she could live!”
“Last spring for somebody,” Grandmommy said, and her fingers curled and uncurled again, resting on the faded dress.
Mammaw pondered that awhile, leaning back in the rocker and letting the breeze fan her face. “Well, it’s always the last spring for somebody, Iree, but it don’t have do be you,” she said.
-Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

“Last Decoration Day for somebody,” Grandmommy said, and she knows it could well be her. But she also knows that if it is her that’s gone, she’ll be buried over there beside Grandpappy, and we’ll all be there, making wreaths of summer flowers. We’ll sit in the shade with the other folks we see once a year and talk about all the times Thunder Creek was flooded, who’s moving away and who’s coming back.
-Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

“Now, who gets the first slice of this coconut cake?”
Papaw closed his eyes, still smiling. “Just slice it, Emma, and let everyone have a piece. This old stomach of mine has to get used to having food in it again.”
-Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

“If you do what’s right,” she said, “then at the end of your life . . . you can lie down . . . and be peaceful with yourself.”
-Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

“I believe it’s ‘truth is stranger than fiction,’ Miss Dixon said. “I’m glad you remembered that.”
-Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Faith, Hope, and Ivy June

When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he’d caused it.
-Ingrid Law, Savvy

I had liked living down south on the edge of land, next to the pushing-pulling waves. I had liked it with a mighty kind of liking….
-Ingrid Law, Savvy

Pink light filtered through the curtains of the house, filling the hallway between the bedrooms with the faint blush of morning. I was careful not to make too much noise as I stole past the other rooms and slipped downstairs, not wanting to wake anybody else up just yet, wanting more time to myself to see what I could see, feel what I could feel.
-Ingrid Law, Savvy

Sitting back down next to me on the steps in the water, Bobbi sighed. “Mibs, do you ever feel like your life is just some weird dream and someday you’ll wake up and find that you’re someone else entirely?”
-Ingrid Law, Savvy

Just before she fell asleep, Lill sighed. “You never can tell when a bad thing might make a good thing happen,” she said quietly….
-Ingrid Law, Savvy

Her mother collected old songs that would otherwise have died with the last people who knew them. In August, she had unexpectedly been offered a teaching position at the university. It meant that she could pass them on, all those theories of broken knights and bergfolk.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

Summerhill, the farm where Lin had lived for all her eleven years, where the fields smelled of freshly turned soil and the mountains hugged the stars between their peaks.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

At home, she and her best friend, Niklas, would have snowball fights until their fingers were numb and blue, and they would have to warm them on Grandma Alma’s giant cups of hot chocolate. And when dusk crept down the mountain slopes, they would make snow lights, little igloos with candles inside, that sent flickering beams up the frozen stream. “The better to ward off the enemy,” Niklas would laugh, and Lin would laugh as well, scanning the forest edge for eyes.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

A faint snatch of music murmured in her ear. It must have come from the kitchen above, except it wasn’t the usual hoarse violins, but a sweet, soft humming that made her think of Summerhill, and deep woods, and secret maps.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

Yet it was the sky that truly confounded her. Its colors were that of winter dusk, soft blue with golden, bleeding edges that told of a sunset beyond the mountains. Above the towering peaks at the end of the vale hung a most extraordinary light, streaking across the sky like a comet of a suspended shooting star. A halo of curved blades churned around its head, and its tail danced like northern lights.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

A dark-haired boy of Lin’s age stared up at her with sapphire eyes. He sat in a window seat, clutching an orb of glass that glowed silver milk and golden white like a captured star. Though he smiled faintly for the camera, there was something about the pull of his mouth that made Lin think this boy was very sad.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

“Millions of children see the crystals swirl out of the sky,” he continued. “Some watch from their windows; others run outside to play. But all of them are possessed by glee, for while grown-ups worry about shoveling and frozen pipes and slippery roads, children know only wild joy when there is sudden snow.”
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

They were moving through a neighborhood called Wishboxes, named for its lavish window displays. On the opposite side of the street, a black cat was scrutinizing his reflection among pies and chocolate loaves in a bakery window.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

She would have loved to go inside. Laughter and fiddle tunes drifted out from the rose-painted booths, along with a lovely smell of savory pastries.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

And though rain drummed on her windowpane, her dreams were all of snow.
-Tone Almhjell, The Twistrose Key

I am a runner.
That’s what I do.
That’s what I am.
Running is all I know, or want, or care about.
It was a race around the soccer field in third grade that swept me into a real love of running.
Breathing the sweet smell of spring grass.
Sailing over dots of blooming clover.
Beating all the boys.
After that, I couldn’t stop. I ran everywhere. Raced everyone I loved the wind across my cheeks, through my hair.
Running aired out my soul.
It made me feel alive.
-Wendelin Van Draanen, The Running Dream

The world is quiet.
No cars.
No people.
No hustle and bustle.
Just the rhythmic padding of our feet against pavement.
Sherlock is happy beside me. His white fur seems to flow through the morning mist, and he doesn’t miss a beat. I turn, he turns. I speed up, he speeds up. No leash to connect us. No commands to control him. We’re bound by the joy of running
We reach the river, and the air is heavenly. It sparkles my face, washes my lungs, fills me with a sense of fluid motion. I glide beneath the trees, transform into wind.
-Wendelin Van Draanen, The Running Dream

That’s the funny thing about running. The deceptive thing about it. It may seem mindless, but it’s really largely mental. If the mind’s not strong, the body acts weak, even if it’s not. If the mind says it’s too cold or too rainy or too windy to run, the body will be more than happy to agree. If the mind says it would be better to rest or recover or cut practice, the body will be glad to oblige.
…So maybe it’s something you’re born with. Or maybe it’s something you adopt. I just know that for me, running was like eating and breathing—it was something I had always done, and without it I felt miserable.
Suffocated.
-Wendelin Van Draanen, The Running Dream

“Tell me about running. Why do you like it?”
No one has ever asked me this so directly before. Either people like running or they don’t. Either people get it or they don’t. And if they don’t, they just think people who like it are crazy.
Which is okay.
That makes us even.
But now I have to explain why I like it, and I’m not sure where to start.
…I try to put my finger on it. “Because it feels like freedom?”
She nods thoughtfully.
“And your mind travels places where it doesn’t normally go….”
-Wendelin Van Draanen, The Running Dream

“Going over the finish line must feel wonderful.”
I laugh. “Especially if you’re the first one there.”
“But…it means you finished. You made it. Even if you don’t get a medal.”
I look at her. “You’re very philosophical about the finish line.”
She gives a thoughtful nod. “It’s symbolic.” I nod too, because I’m sure I know what she means, but then she adds, “Because its also the starting line.”
-Wendelin Van Draanen, The Running Dream

I told him I loved him. And then he seemed to disappear into himself, his gaze drifting past me to the sky, bristling now with stars.
-Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

In the distance I saw a little harbor bobbing with colorful fishing boats, and beyond it a town set into a green bowl of land. A patchwork of sheep-speckled fields spread across hills that rose away to meet a high ridge, where a wall of clouds stood like a cotton parapet. It was dramatic and beautiful, unlike any place I’d seen. I felt a little thrill of adventure as we chugged into the bay, as if I were sighting land where maps had noted only a sweep of undistinguished blue.
-Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

It was a crisp and blustery day—the sun hiding behind giant cloudbanks only to burst out moments later and dapple the hills with spectacular rays of light—and I felt energized and hopeful.
-Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

…A forest of skeletal trees, branches spindling up like the tips of wet paintbrushes, and for a while the path became so lost beneath fallen trunks and carpets of ivy that navigating it was a matter of faith.
-Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

We were like astronauts floating in a starless universe. But then a baffling and magnificent thing happened—one by one, the stars came out, here and there a green flash in the dark….More lit up, and still more, until a whole constellation surged around us like a million green twinkling stars, lighting our bodies…. Emma held out a hand and flicked her wrist, but rather than producing a ball of fire her hand glowed a scintillating blue. The green starts coalesced around it, flashing and whirling, echoing her movements like a school of fish, which, I realized, is just what they were.
Mesmerized, I lost all track of time. We stayed there for what seemed like hours, though it was probably only a few minutes. Then I felt Emma nudge me, and we retreated through the doorway and up the ladder, and when we broke the surface again the first thing I saw was the great bold stripe of the Milky Way painted across the heavens, and it occurred to me that together the fish and the stars formed a complete system, coincident parts of some ancient and mysterious whole.
-Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children

Stars, too, were time travelers. How many of those ancient points of light were the last echoes of suns now dead? How many had been born but their light not yet come this far? If all the suns but ours collapsed tonight, how many lifetimes would it take us to realize that we were alone? I had always known the sky was full of mysteries—but not until now had I realized how full of them the earth was.
-Ransom Riggs, Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children