MaryAnn Easley, author of several middle grade novels that include "I Am the Ice Worm," a Junior Library Guild Selection, "Belly Up" and "Dog Woman," is a certified master teacher with over 25 years experience. Teacher of the Year, she has appeared on radio and television and is the recipient of the Reading Association's Award of Excellence. A frequent speaker at schools and book clubs, she teaches creative writing to middle grade students as well as classes in literature at the university level. More about Mary Ann Easley, More websites featuring Mary Ann, Mary Ann's Blog

Books by Mary Ann Easley for young adults:

 

Knuckle Down Knuckle Down

After ten-year-old Hannah loses her father's lucky boyhood marbles, bad things start to happen. Hannah's not-quite-right little sister almost chokes to death on one of the marbles left behind, Daddy's Liberty ship sails off to points unknown, and her mother has little time or energy to deal with the strife on the homefront. Unable to stay out of trouble for long, Hannah learns about love, death, and sacrifice as she struggles to find her place in a world at war. Resorting to petty crime, she boards the Red Car to the Long Beach Pike and an exciting new life away from the battles at home. She soon discovers, however, that bad luck can follow anywhere. When a telegram arrives from the warfront, fulfilling the prophecy of a fortuneteller, Hannah is determined to change her luck and salvage her family. Unfortunately, 'girls don't play marbles,' and she challenges the worst Hannah-banana boy on one of the darkest days in American history.

Read more about the book at the "Knuckle Down" blog

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Finding Jade Mountain Jade Mountain
Abandoned in the Alaskan Arctic under the magical Northern Lights, fourteen-year-old Allison Atwood discovers secrets in a remote culture not her own. As the traditional Inuit way of life is threatened by modern influences and a changing environment, Allison rescues Oolik, a young shape-shifter who holds the key to restoring hope and harmony. Defying all odds, they embark upon a hazardous journey. During the ordeal, real and mythological forces thrust them into conflict, a collision of cultures, and the legend of Jade Mountain.
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Warrior's Daughter

Facing eighth grade is no small feat for the daughter of a Marine Gunnery Sergeant deployed to Iraq.

When thirteen-year-old Anne Marie Hayden loses her best friend to the snobby preppies and gets stuck with the most unpopular girl in class, she becomes the odd girl out in her homeroom class.

For an outside girl, witness to large and small heartbreaks during the worst year of her life, reading poetry aloud in competitive slams is the last thing she wants to do.

After tragedy hits the Marine base, she plants crosses on a hill overlooking the playground to honor fallen heroes and to measure the cost of war. This action costs her but it also enlightens her in unexpected ways. At the insistence of her language arts teacher, she discovers poetry is a way to communicate her most intimate thoughts and connect with others.

Anne Marie must hold the family together when her injured father comes home, but her final battle comes when she faces popular rivals at the final grand slam. This dreaded event is her worst nightmare. Her controversial field of crosses makes her a target for the local press, her mother has struggles of her own, and her father, a steadfast Marine, can no longer use his hands.

Anne Marie discovers the daughter of a warrior must be a warrior, too.

Read an excerpt from Warrior's Daughter

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A Few Screws Loose

The biggest problem for fourteen year old Lacey Ryder is her crazy mother. Being new at Seaside High, having a split family, and dealing with a persistent counselor are bad enough for an isolated ninth grader, but it's an unpredictable mother with mental illness that causes Lacey the most embarrassment.

Even worse than a dreadful memory she can't let go is the day her mother storms the school to snatch her from class. Lacey's secret life is revealed under the scrutiny of Tens and Slugs alike as she climbs onto the Harley behind her mother and speeds away.

Lacey has some remarkable resources that include a grandmother who is a famous poet, an extraordinary English teacher who gets up close and personal with students, and an unlikely newcomer lonely enough to put up with an outsider like Lacey.

After her mother disappears on the Harley and her newfound friend starts seeing the brooding class poet, Lacey is alone. She can come and go as she pleases, but she's ever fearful her mother will suddenly appear to ruin her life again. When tragedy strikes the ninth grade class and school cliques unite in bewilderment, rage, and sorrow, Lacey understands better than most.

She discovers having one sure friend is all it takes, one friend who believes in you just as you are, and that being a friend is just as important as having one.

For age 10 and up. Told with humor, this story deals sensitively with teenage depression, bipolar disease, suicide, school cliques, family relationships, and friendship; set in southern California, present day.

Read an excerpt from A Few Screws Loose

Royal Fireworks Press �1-845-726-4444
Paper $9.95 � ISBN: 0-88092-574-4

 

Belly Up

After a crazed whale sinks their grandfather's fishing schooner, fourteen year old Rachel and her twelve year old brother Boo struggle to survive at sea. Alone in a life raft on a thrashing sea, they fight to stay alive. In their haste to abandon ship, they have brought along only a limited amount of drinking water and food supplies. The weather worsens as their rubber raft is punched by dorado, attacked by shark, and threatens to capsize every minute.

They'd been belly up before while fishing for salmon with their grandfather along the California coast, but they are far worse off now in a leaking liferaft. Their grandfather is dead. They are miles from home, out of radio contact with members of the fleet, seasick and terrified. Water and food run out, and they are left to their own devices. In addition, Rachel is a poor swimmer.

During their grueling ordeal, Rachel and Boo learn a great deal about themselves as well as the environment they've always taken for granted where they are now unwelcome trespassers.

Set in the early eighties, this book is appropriate for ages 9 and up.

Read an excerpt from Belly Up

Royal Fireworks Press �1-845-726-4444
Paper $8.95 � ISBN: 0-88092-551-5


 

 

Dog Woman

Fourteen year old Laurie Buckner, stuck in an Eskimo village with an indecisive mother and a macho stepfather, finds her life challenged and changed after she meets Dog Woman, a village outcast.

Unable to hear or speak and considered a shaman by the village people, Dog Woman is determined to enter the Iditarod, a dogsled race of over a thousand miles. To enter, this enigmatic Dog Woman needs more than stamina and good dogs. She needs help and she needs money.

While villagers scoff, it is Laurie, the true outsider, who decides to ask her real father, a popular talk show host in California, to raise money for Dog Woman's entrance fee. Thinking it's her ticket out of the Arctic, her plan backfires and she becomes an integral part of a radio station fundraiser. While her intention is to get away, she becomes even more involved in the lives of Dog Woman and her people.

Laurie discovers that trying to reach a goal can be as important as winning. She also discovers she is not the first white girl to affect Dog Woman's life, and it is this connection that makes all the difference.

Dog Woman is appropriate reading for ages 9-14 and can be utilized in the middle grades as core literature and integrated across the curriculum. Students can calculate Iditarod miles, graph speed and distances of entrants, study Iditarod history, interact via the Internet during the famous Alaskan race, learn how to train sled dogs, contrast and compare two cultures, and evaluate the impact one culture has upon the other.

Read an excerpt from Dog Woman

Publisher: PublishAmerica
Paper $9.95 ISBN: 1588512304

 

Related Links:

http://mushing.bssd.org (Iditarod)

 

I am the Ice Worm

When a plane crash leaves the bush pilot dead, fourteen year old Allison Atwood finds herself stranded above the Arctic Circle in a wilderness of ice and snow. To this girl from southern California, the land looks like another planet - a frightening, frozen place without a living soul. From here, Allison begins the long journey to find her mother, who waits hundreds of miles away in a village by the sea.

This journey brings Allison into contact with the I�upiat Eskimo people who change the way she views the world - people like thirteen year old Matu who is wise beyond his years, and Aqsuk, the dangerous man who ultimately brings calamity to the village. The most important person she meets is Oolik, the village outcast who cannot hear or speak.

Set in the late seventies, this unforgettable novel follows Allison on an adventure deep into the Arctic and into her own heart. MaryAnn Easley, who has lived in several I�upiat villages above the Arctic Circle, has created a spirited young heroine who discovers how others live, love, and survive and in turn discovers something about herself.

This book is appropriate for ages 9 and up.

Context Clue Connections
Critical Thinking Questions
Inupiat Eskimo Seasons

Read an excerpt from I Am The Ice Worm

The First Boyds Mills Press paperback edition, 2004,
is available now.

Paper $9.95 ASIN: 044041444X

 

Looking Out for Lindy

"Looking Out For Lindy" (1st Books - 2002), deals with prejudices during World War II and is based on the author's childhood growing up in Los Angeles during this time. Not only does fourteen year old Meg have to cope with a mentally retarded sister during her father's absence, her mother is German in a war against Germany. When her father's ship is torpedoed by a German submarine in the Indian ocean, Meg escapes to the sump field, endangering the lives of others.

Fourteen-year-old Meg McCarran loses her frame of reference once her beloved father ships out to do his duty during World War II. Meg finds solace and adventure in the forbidden sump field mined with treacherous oil shafts and German prisoners of war. Embarrassed by Lindy, her severely retarded sister, Meg inadvertently lures her into hazardous Lake Goo.

While her younger brother, Jimmy, finds his time and space as the man of the house in his father's absence, Meg gropes for her own identity. Her mother is German in a war against Germany, her father is missing at sea, and her prejudiced grandmother has no use for yellow-bellied traitors crowding into post office lines. Meanwhile, Meg fights her own battles on the home front.

When Lindy is lost due to Meg's careless disobedience, Meg has no choice but to search the sump field's Lake Goo where the enemy lurks inside towering weeds. As fire rages in nearby storage tanks, Meg struggles to save Lindy and to salvage her own life before it's too late.

Appropriate for ages ten and up, Looking Out for Lindy is an appropriate choice for any student study of World War II or as core literature in the elementary school.

Read an excerpt from Looking Out for Lindy

1st Books; 2002
Paper $9.95 ISBN: 1403305285

 

More websites featuring Mary Ann Easley:
Mary Ann's Blog
"She Writes" Salon at the Montage in Laguna Beach, California - October 9, 2010
"She Writes" Anthology
Saturday Mornings - Coffee and Critique
Knuckledown - The Book Blog
Interstices: Orange County Anthology
The Persian Picture Book
Windflower Press
Author In Schools - Mary Ann Easley
SelfTOT

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