All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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A video interview with

Sid Fleischman

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Bio

What's the trick to writing more than 60 books? Award-winning author Sid Fleischman found the magic of writing a book is well, like magic. Fleischman toured as a professional vaudeville magician after he finished high school and wrote several books about magic before he realized that a mystery novel is very like a magic trick-only the author is kind enough to explain what's happened where a magician keeps his secrets to himself.

He began writing detective stories, suspense tales, and other pulp fiction for adults after spending four years in the Naval Reserves during World War II and then graduated from San Diego State College in 1949.

After his work as a reporter on the San Diego Daily Journal ended when the paper folded in 1950, Fleischman began writing novels and screenplays. He says he began writing books for children when his own children were old enough to start asking questions about what kind of job he had since he was at home all day. He wrote a story for them which not only cleared up the mystery about his profession, but hooked him on writing for kids.

Many of Sid Fleishman's books are laugh-out-loud funny, but he believes they're comic on the surface and really very serious underneath. He doesn't plan this or any part of his novels. He just starts writing and then improvising day-by-day until he reaches the end. It's a process that he admits isn't for everyone, but has certainly paid off for the Newbery Award-winning author.

Selected Books

from Sid Fleischman


Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini

Age Level: 9-12

How did a poor boy named Ehrich Weiss became the famous escape artist, Harry Houdini? The author, best known for his original tall tales and novels, demonstrates his ability to tell a spellbinding true story and shares his appreciation for the mystery of magic.

Buy Escape: The Story of the Great Houdini


Bandit's Moon

Age Level: 9-12

Annyrose narrates her adventurous saga of life with a Mexican Robin Hood-like bandit as she tries to find her brother who's off trying to get rich during the California Gold Rush. Part historical fiction, part tall tale, Annyrose is sure to delight readers of all ages.

Buy Bandit's Moon


The Entertainer and the Dybbuk

Age Level: 9-12

A former American soldier stays in post World War II Europe as a ventriloquist, having little success until he meets Avrom Amos. Avrom is really a dybbuk, the ghost of a 12-year old boy killed by Nazis, back now to avenge his own and other children's deaths.

Buy The Entertainer and the Dybbuk


Ghost in the Noonday Sun

Age Level: 9-12

Twelve-year old Oliver is kidnapped, pressed into service on a pirate ship, and finds adventure that includes outwitting a ghost who guards pirate treasure. Rich language is used in this fast-paced, exhilarating adventure tale.

Buy Ghost in the Noonday Sun


The Giant Rat of Sumatra or Pirates Galore

Age Level: 9-12

A cabin boy winds up on an infamous pirate ship called the Giant Rat of Sumatra — and in the middle of the war with Mexico. Swashbuckling adventure moves swiftly along even as the boy yearns to return to New England and pirate Captain Gallows to leave the sea.

Buy The Giant Rat of Sumatra or Pirates Galore


Here Comes McBroom: Three More Tall Tales

Age Level: 9-12

Three outrageous tales told by Josh McBroom, the farmer of an amazing one-acre farm, are compiled here, just right for reading and laughing out loud: "McBroom Makes Rain," "McBroom's Ghost," and "McBroom's Zoo."

Buy Here Comes McBroom: Three More Tall Tales


Thirteenth Floor: A Ghost Story

Age Level: 9-12

After their parents' death, 12-year old Bud is in the custody of his sister. Faced with the prospect of selling their family home to repay debts, Bud and Liz go back in time to find help and to save a ancestor accused of being a witch. And it all starts on the 13th floor…

Buy Thirteenth Floor: A Ghost Story


The Troubles Begin at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West

Age Level: 9-12

The early life and travels of the man who some claim changed American literature forever is presented with lively humor and wit, insight — all highly readable. What emerges is a readable, engrossing, and fast-paced look at the man who was born at 8.

Buy The Troubles Begin at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West


The Whipping Boy

Age Level: 9-12

Prince Brat is a well-earned nickname; the rude, selfish royal even has a commoner to take his licks which happen daily. The prince decides to run away, taking Jemmy with him where adventures ensue and a friendship evolves. This is reminiscent of Twain's Prince and the Pauper though clearly for younger readers.

Buy The Whipping Boy


Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life

Age Level: 12-14

Told with verve and humor, Newbery-winner Sid Fleischman recalls his early years in San Diego during the Depression, reveals how he became captivated by magic, theater, and story — all of which influenced the man he grew into.

Buy Abracadabra Kid: A Writer's Life