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Billy Creekmore

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  415 Ratings  ·  87 Reviews
Folks say I'm bound to be unlucky in life, for I was born at midnight on a Friday, the thirteenth of December, and Peggy says it's certain I can commune with spirits. But I ain't never seen any ghosts, not even my own mother, and wouldn't that be the ghost I'd see if I could?

So begins the tale of Billy Creekmore, a boy with mystifying powers and the glorious gift of storyt
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published June 26th 2007 by HarperCollins
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Mr. Gottshalk
Nov 26, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Billy Creekmore is an excellent historical fiction story that takes place mostly in the coal country of West Virginia a little more than 100 years ago. It is interesting but sometimes annoying to read because Billy is telling this story and he doesn't speak our kind of English. There are lots of words like "warn't" and "ain't" that are meant to sound like the way people spoke back then. Billy is resilient - he gets out of difficult situations from the awful orphanage, glass factory, coal mines, ...more
Marika Gillis
"It's best not to get settled on things being a certain way, I realized. Life had a funny way of interrupting your plans." p260

Billy Creekmore is new to the Pikes Peak Regional Battle of the Books list this year so I read it in preparation for the competition in April. Like most of the other Battle books, this one tells a fine story that highlights a particular time in history.

Billy is an orphan living in a home for boys when the book begins. We follow him to the home of his aunt and uncle and
Apr 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
I like reading stories that have a West Virginia connection to them. This one was a jewel---not only a West Virginia connection but a third of the book was set in the area in which I live and with something that fascinates me, the coal wars. This Dickensian story about an orphan takes him from the cruel orphanage to the coal wars on Paint Creek to the circus. It spans a three-year-period and is definitely a coming-of-age story for a boy who lived in the early 20th Century.

Billy Creekmore shows u
Feb 18, 2008 rated it liked it
This is one of those books that I really liked up until the end. And then I thought "Whattttt????" Billy is a great character. The supporting characters were uneven, but generally satisfying. The setting(s) were also believable even if the major events in his life were a little too convenient. But the ending? Nope - even though I saw it coming it came too fast. But otherwise a pretty good read.
Mar 23, 2009 rated it it was ok
This novel could have been a great book, as it has all the elements of a good tale: a boy in an orphanage, hardships in the mining industry, joining a circus. But it wanders all over. There is no major thread that holds each section together. It is chock-full of coincidences, and plots points seem to happen at random, according to the author's will. Disappointed.
Linda Spyhalski
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-read-2017
I bought this book at a AAUW book sale. I did not realize that it was a book best read by Middle School kids. I finished the book and enjoyed it. I think it would be a very thought provoking book for kids and I would love to hear their discussion of the book.
I liked this story. I could feel for the character Billy and was worried during part of the story. He went through a lot in his young life. I'm sure these things did happen at that time in history.
While I enjoyed this book, it just did not live up to its promise. Billy Creekmore believes his mother died shortly after he was born because he started speaking to spirits right out of the womb. His father has abandoned him. As the story opens, it is the early 20th century and Billy is living in a horrible Appalachian orphanage where the children are regularly beaten and starved. We follow Billy as an uncle he didn't know existed comes to save him from a fate even worse than life at the orphana ...more
Linda Lipko
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: acquired-in-2015
Young Billy Creekmore has a life that could have beaten him down, still as each tragedy presented itself, he was able to overcome the travesty life gave him. While his father sends a yearly post card, Billy cannot understand why he doesn't come to claim him. When the book begins he lives in an orphanage wherein the owner sells the children to work at a dangerous glass factory. Knowing his fate, Billy runs away.

He then is rescued by an Aunt and Uncle who claim to take him home with them. They tr
Abby Johnson
Nov 28, 2007 rated it liked it
Billy Creekmore is an orphan with a talent for telling lies and hearing spirits. In 1905 West Virginia, his fate is to live at the Guardian Angel Home for Boys until he's old enough to go work at the glass factory. Billy thinks that's a fine future until a friend comes back from the glass factory with a maimed hand and no job. Luckily, Billy's aunt and uncle that he didn't know he had show up at the orphanage just in the nick of time and whisk him off to a life in a coal mining town.

Billy has a
Noah Lastner
May 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I started ready the book Bill Creekmoore I did not think it was going to be that good. The book starts or with a boy at a orphanage. Rumor is he killed his mother at child birth and know he is special because he can talk to spirits. He runs away many times. But he always gets caught. One day his uncle comes in and takes him from the orphanage. He goes to love wit ph home near a mine. He lives with his aunt and uncle. He learns how to mine and soon makes many friends. One day the mine comes ...more
May 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
Billy Creekmore has been raised in an orphanage in West Virginia run by a greedy man and his wife who then send the boys on to work in a Glass Works and get a cut, while the kids get maimed. Just before he is to be sent off, an unknown uncle shows up and claims him. Billy's mother died in childbirth and his dad ran off without telling his aunt and uncle about him. In fact they had been told he'd died too. Uncle Jim takes him to the mining town where he lives and after attending school for a year ...more
Linda Day
Apr 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
My 2nd children's book of late and how I have enjoyed both ! This book, Billy Creekmore, ought to become a movie ! Why it has not is beyond me when such drivel is on the screen for children. I think I'll call Julia Roberts. She produced "KIT- an American Girl" which is of this category.

Billy is a orphan child (like Oliver, perhaps) living in an orphanage (like Annie, perhaps) and is on the verge of being sent into a child-labor job (like David C., perhaps) when he is rescued by a long-lost aunt
Billy Creekmore is a young boy that has grown up in a less than desirable orphanage, where the boys are practically starved and worked like slaves, until they are old enough to sell off to work at the glass factory. Billy has survived to this point on his quick thinking and his stories, but mostly on the belief he has fostered in those around him, that he can see and speak to spirits. As he struggles in his situation, and others he falls into, he is able to learn more about his true story, about ...more
Kylie Hilton
Sep 23, 2010 rated it really liked it
I have just finished reading this glorious book, Billy Creekmore. This book is by Tracey Porter, who in my opinion, is a great author. This story takes place in an Orphanage, Guardian Angels Home for Boys, where Billy lives with many other boys who have no family. They all are very unfortunate to end up in the orphanage beacuse Mr. Beatle (who runs the orphanage with his wife), is not a very kind man. He feeds them little food, and forces them to do yard work. Billy does not like life this way. ...more
Dec 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
Billy Creekmore is an example of one of those wonderful books that I would have missed had it not been on the Battle of the Books list. I probably would not have chosen to read this book otherwise, and now that I finished it I am so glad I did! Have you ever wondered what it might have been like to grow up in America and have to go to work at a very young age? Billy's story starts with him in an orphanage. From there, he and other children move on to work in factories and coal mines, work that i ...more
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was ok
I really love historical fiction, but this is the second piece of historical fiction off the Sunshine State list that I just didn't really get into. I love the character of Billy, and the events of his life are accurate for the time period and experiences, but really I just felt like this book wasn't going anywhere. It's a chronicle of the troubles he has, few of which he actually resolves and most of which he simply runs away from (not that I blame him) but it leaves the entire story feeling a ...more
Aug 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
Favorite quotes:

It's best not to get settled on things being a certain way, I realized. Life had a funny way of interrupting your plans.

I got awful lonely going over these memories. Once I was a union man, then I was a member of the Sparks World Famous Circus. Now I was part of a small-time circus working the graft. I wandered if everything folks said about me back in the orphanage was true - that I was born to be unlucky, that I'd always have to fight the Devil inside me, that I was prone to ta
Lindsay Waddell
Nov 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
I read this book with my reading bowl team. To me, this book tried too hard--seems like it was written to win an award. It's an okay book that would fulfill any elementary historical fiction assignment, but that may be all it's good for. Billy is an endearing boy with a good heart, but his character would've been better if he would've been more mischevious. Actually, there's not a whole lot to analyze here, so I'll stop. Honestly, this book left me with a "what happened to all of the amazing chi ...more
Billy Creekmore by Tracey Porter is about a boy who can sense spirits. Billy is an unlucky kid. His mother died shortly after he was born and his father ran away. He was sent to an orphanage where the boys are treated cruelly. This is where his bad luck continues. One of his friends dies and Billy is about to be sent to the oh-so horrible glass factory. At the last minute His uncle comes and takes him to live with him and Billy's aunt. They live in a coal mining town where there is talk of the U ...more
Lana Tessler
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
I really love historical fiction, but this is the second piece of historical fiction off the Sunshine State list that I just didn't really get into. I love the character of Billy, and the events of his life are accurate for the time period and experiences, but really I just felt like this book wasn't going anywhere. It's a chronicle of the troubles he has, few of which he actually resolves and most of which he simply runs away from (not that I blame him) but it leaves the entire story feeling a ...more
Aug 15, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Josh Newhouse
Jun 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'll be honest with you... I saw the title and the cover and thought this looks terrible... why oh why are they putting this on the Florida state list...

After reading it, the cover is still awful... the book started slowly and ended abruptly, but the middle 200 pages or so was a gripping read... kind of a youthful Big Fish minus the fantastic elements... Billy was an interesting protagonist and his journey was full of side characters and plots that held your interest until the next group came al
I learned a lot from this book. The author, Tracey Porter, researched for 5 years to make sure her depiction of what Billy experiences. I love how she used names of children that dies in coal mining accident throughout the book to pay homage.

But, I think I don't like magical realism. This is the second book in a row where overall the book was realistic, but it has fantasy elements. In Billy Creekmore, Billy can feel spirits. Although Tracey made the fantasy part fit, I just wish that is was onl
Jul 24, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Susie and her boys
Shelves: alreadyread
This book is set in West Virginia, close to where Susie grew up and is about a little boy about 10 years old.

it's a good enough book, but certainly not one of the best of the genre. Billy is a likable character, and his travels through the coal fields of West Virginia and the circus stops of the Midwest are interesting. What could be a crushingly depressing book is saved by plot twists and the happiness that we often find in real life. Perhaps the most important part of this is the realization
Feb 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Children 10+
As the novel opens Billy is living in an orphanage where he was placed a few years after his birth. He never knew either parent(his mother died shortly after his birth) but his father sends him postcards from his travels. This historical fiction, based on careful research, provides a glimpse of orphanages, coal mines, and the circus in the early part of the 20th century. An eye-openinig account of child labor in the mines yet not too graphic for children. Readers are likely to become attached to ...more
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
Billy Creekmore spent his first years in the Guardian Angel's Orphanage telling stories about ghosts and spirits and simultaneously getting into and trying to stay out of trouble. He is rescued from certain forced child labor at the local glass factory by his Aunt and Uncle. Billy enjoys a life of learning and hard work in the coal mines until another tragedy strikes and sends him on exciting new adventures. This story, set in the early 1900s, is a great read for kids ages 9 - 13 who love a fast ...more
Dec 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
This was a really sweet, easy read. Billy is a lovable character who lies easily and faces a lot of tough times. It begins with Billy in an orphanage and then he escapes child labor when his uncle comes to fetch him. Once reunited with his extended family he finds out what life in a coal mining town is like and what happens when unions try to fight business tycoons. Then Billy finds himself making a career in the circus where he must make tough decisions when he meets his father.

It's easy to rea
Jan 28, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Children's book 5th to 8th grade.
This book has charm. A poor orphan boy, over worked, under loved, brought up in a cruel orphanage where the proprietor sells his boys off and half starves them to make money. A factory worker exploiting children, a loving Aunt and Uncle who take him to a coal town where more children are exploited and, eventually, a chance to join the circus. But it works. It's a first person narrative and you just love Billy. It was written to share information about child labor in the industrial age in America ...more
Nov 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me by Karen M. and so far I am really enjoying it. The style of writing reflects the first person of a young boy growing up in a coal mining community in West Virginia during the depression. The slang and grammar are indearing and really add to the story. I am forty pages into this book, but I would really recommend it to any third-sixth grader interested in historical fiction. Actually any boy would really like this book.
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Tracey Porter is the author of Treasures in the Dust and A Dance of Sisters. Her most recent novel, Billy Creekmore, was named to's Kids' Reading List, compiled by the American Library Association. For the past twenty years she has taught middle school at Crossroads School in Santa Monica, California. She lives with her family in Los Angeles.
More about Tracey Porter...

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“It's best not to get settled on things being a certain way, I realized. Life had a funny way if interrupting your plans.” 1 likes
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