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The Count of Mont...
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The Book Thief
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by Markus Zusak (Goodreads Author)
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Erica is now friends with Heather Palmer
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The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
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The Stuff of Nightmares by Malorie Blackman
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Pig-Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman
Pig-Heart Boy
by Malorie Blackman (Goodreads Author)
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Double Cross by Malorie Blackman
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Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman
Boys Don't Cry
by Malorie Blackman (Goodreads Author)
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Checkmate by Malorie Blackman
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Knife Edge by Malorie Blackman
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Double Cross by Malorie Blackman
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Checkmate by Malorie Blackman
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More of Erica's books…
Tahereh Mafi
“I want to be the friend you fall hopelessly in love with. The one you take into your arms and into your bed and into the private world you keep trapped in your head. I want to be that kind of friend. The one who will memorize the things you say as well as the shape of your lips when you say them. I want to know every curve, every freckle, every shiver of your body.

I want to know where to touch you, I want to know how to touch you. I want to know convince you to design a smile just for me. Yes, I do want to be your friend. I want to be your best friend in the entire world.”
Tahereh Mafi, Unravel Me

Sarah Kay
“people used to tell me that i had beautiful hands
told me so often, in fact, that one day i started to believe them until i asked my photographer father, “hey daddy could i be a hand model”

to which he said no way,

i dont remember the reason he gave me and i wouldve been upset,

but there were far too many stuffed animals to hold
too many homework assignment to write,
too many boys to wave at
too many years to grow,

we used to have a game, my dad and i about holding hands cus we held hands everywhere, and every time either he or i would whisper a great
big number to the other, pretending that we were keeping track of how many times we had held hands that we were sure, this one had to be 8 million 2 thousand 7 hundred and fifty three.

hands learn more than minds do,
hands learn how to hold other hands,
how to grip pencils and mold poetry,
how to tickle pianos and dribble a basketball,
and grip the handles of a bicycle
how to hold old people, and touch babies ,
i love hands like i love people,

they're the maps and compasses in which we navigate our way through life, some people read palms to tell your future,

but i read hands to tell your past,
each scar marks the story worth telling,
each calloused palm,
each cracked knuckle is a missed punch
or years in a factory,

now ive seen middle eastern hands clenched in middle eastern fists pounding against each other like war drums, each country sees theyre fists as warriors and others as enemies.

even if fists alone are only hands. but this is not about politics, no hands arent about politics, this is a poem about love, and fingers. fingers interlock like a beautiful zipper of prayer.

one time i grabbed my dads hands so that our fingers interlocked perfectly but he changed positions, saying no that hand hold is for your mom.

kids high five, but grown ups, we learn how to shake hands, you need a firm hand shake,but dont hold on too tight, but dont let go too soon, but dont hold down for too long,

but hands are not about politics, when did it become so complicated. i always thought its simple.

the other day my dad looked at my hands, as if seeing them for the first time, and with laughter behind his eye lids, with all the seriousness a man of his humor could muster, he said you know you got nice hands, you could’ve been a hand model, and before the laughter can escape me, i shake my head at him, and squeeze his hand, 8 million 2 thousand 7hundred and fifty four.”
Sarah Kay

John Steinbeck
“Guy don't need no sense to be a nice fella. Seems to me sometimes it jus' works the other way around. Take a real smart guy and he ain't hardly ever a nice fella.”
John Steinbeck, Of Mice and Men

Sarah Kay
“When they bombed Hiroshima, the explosion formed a mini-supernova, so every living animal, human or plant that received direct contact with the rays from that sun was instantly turned to ash.

And what was left of the city soon followed. The long-lasting damage of nuclear radiation caused an entire city and its population to turn into powder.

When I was born, my mom says I looked around the whole hospital room with a stare that said, "This? I've done this before." She says I have old eyes.

When my Grandpa Genji died, I was only five years old, but I took my mom by the hand and told her, "Don't worry, he'll come back as a baby."

And yet, for someone who's apparently done this already, I still haven't figured anything out yet.

My knees still buckle every time I get on a stage. My self-confidence can be measured out in teaspoons mixed into my poetry, and it still always tastes funny in my mouth.

But in Hiroshima, some people were wiped clean away, leaving only a wristwatch or a diary page. So no matter that I have inhibitions to fill all my pockets, I keep trying, hoping that one day I'll write a poem I can be proud to let sit in a museum exhibit as the only proof I existed.

My parents named me Sarah, which is a biblical name. In the original story God told Sarah she could do something impossible and she laughed, because the first Sarah, she didn't know what to do with impossible.

And me? Well, neither do I, but I see the impossible every day. Impossible is trying to connect in this world, trying to hold onto others while things are blowing up around you, knowing that while you're speaking, they aren't just waiting for their turn to talk -- they hear you. They feel exactly what you feel at the same time that you feel it. It's what I strive for every time I open my mouth -- that impossible connection.

There's this piece of wall in Hiroshima that was completely burnt black by the radiation. But on the front step, a person who was sitting there blocked the rays from hitting the stone. The only thing left now is a permanent shadow of positive light. After the A bomb, specialists said it would take 75 years for the radiation damaged soil of Hiroshima City to ever grow anything again. But that spring, there were new buds popping up from the earth.

When I meet you, in that moment, I'm no longer a part of your future. I start quickly becoming part of your past. But in that instant, I get to share your present. And you, you get to share mine. And that is the greatest present of all.

So if you tell me I can do the impossible, I'll probably laugh at you. I don't know if I can change the world yet, because I don't know that much about it -- and I don't know that much about reincarnation either, but if you make me laugh hard enough, sometimes I forget what century I'm in.

This isn't my first time here. This isn't my last time here. These aren't the last words I'll share.

But just in case, I'm trying my hardest to get it right this time around.”
Sarah Kay

Sarah Kay
“If I should have a daughter…“Instead of “Mom”, she’s gonna call me “Point B.” Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I’m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say “Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.”

She’s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn’t coming, I’ll make sure she knows she doesn’t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I’ve tried.

And “Baby,” I’ll tell her “don’t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you’re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.”

But I know that she will anyway, so instead I’ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ‘cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can’t fix. Okay, there’s a few heartbreaks chocolate can’t fix. But that’s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it.

I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that’s how my mom taught me. That there’ll be days like this, “There’ll be days like this my momma said” when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you’ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say “thank you,” ‘cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it’s sent away.

You will put the “wind” in win some lose some, you will put the “star” in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life.

And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don’t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.

“Baby,” I’ll tell her “remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.”

Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you’ve done something wrong but don’t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining.

Your voice is small but don’t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.”
Sarah Kay

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