About the Author:
Kate Klise's previous books, created with her sister, illustrator M. Sarah Klise, have won numerous awards, including the California Young Readers Medal. Deliver Us From Normal, the touching story about an eleven-year-old boy growing up in family that to him feels anything but normal, is her first solo novel and a departure from the more whimsical graphic novels she creates with her sister.
From School Library Journal:
Deliver Us From Normal came about because Kate wanted to write a more serious novel about a big, beautifully chaotic” family. The older I get, the more I appreciate the idea of being thrown together with a group of people you might have a lot in common with, or nothing at all,” she says. You don't have the option of doing anything other than making your family relationships work forever. I like that. I like that there's no love as fierce as the love you feel for your family; that there's no one you feel more protective of than the very same people who can drive you crazy.”
Kate chose a male narrator because she felt it freed her to be more emotionally honest. Writing from Charles's point-of-view made it clear from the beginning that while this is a very personal story, it isn't only my story,” she says. I hope it touches on something more universal: the idea of growing up and finding your own personal truth in the world.”
In addition to writing books for young readers, Kate also works as a correspondent for People magazine. Her recent assignments have included stories about Brad Pitt, Nelly, and the BTK serial killer in Wichita.
Kate Klise lives and writes on her 40-acre farm in a valley just north of Norwood, Missouri.
Grade 6-9–Charles Harrisong is obsessed with the idea that he is strange and can't fit in with the sixth grade in Normal, IL. He feels that he possesses a special talent, the ability to know what people are really saying and thinking, all of which, he is sure, is directed at him and is negative to the extreme. He is especially embarrassed that his family rents rather than owns a home, wears home-sewn clothes, and lacks the material things that the other students feel are prerequisites. He painfully resists when teachers and the counselor try to help. When his older sister's campaign posters for seventh-grade class president are defaced in a particularly ugly way by clique leaders, the parents decide to leave town. They buy an Alabama houseboat over the telephone with the trade of their automobile and practically the last of their savings, a decision that leads to heartbreakingly hard work and even danger. Through Charles's narration, Klise offers a stunningly realistic look at the concatenations that the boy's obsessive thinking weaves. Each member of the family is carefully delineated. The Harrisongs' searching and differing perceptions of God will certainly spark discussion. Some of the siblings are naturally sunny, while others cry frequently. The parents make mistakes and argue, but this family's true love and deep engagement with one another mean that everyone can forgive and pull together. And, yes, sometimes it does take some real trouble to bring about the realization that everyday problems aren't real problems at all. A superb psychological novel.–Cindy Darling Codell, formerly at Clark Middle School, Winchester, KY
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