Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Maxine Kumin brings a disabled heroine named Lizzie to life in this exciting adventure of black markets, screeching monkeys, Florida in the summertime, and the bonds of true friendship.
America, meet Lizzie Peterlinz, age 11. Paralyzed below the waist after slipping off a diving board two years ago, Lizzie does not let her wheelchair get in the way of her curiosity. She and her single mother are starting life over in a small town in Florida, where Lizzie's hunger for knowledge and adventure lead her to some unlikely friends. She bonds with Josh, the only other disabled kid at her school, and they rejoice in normal kid activities, despite the awkward stares they face at school. And she and her mother make friends with some elderly neighbors, Teresa and Digger Martinez, who become Lizzie's adopted grandparents, teaching her Spanish and encouraging her to embrace her life, difficulties and all. One of Lizzie's favorite things to do is visit a run-down roadside petting zoo, run by a slow-moving gentle giant Lizzie and her mom affectionately call Henry the Huge. One afternoon, as Lizzie is exploring the fields behind the petting zoo, she comes across a shack full of screeching monkeys and the mysterious boy who cares for them. A man with a slick grin arrives on the scene, and Lizzie begins to uncover where the monkeys came from. With Josh and Digger's help, she puts the pieces together, but it's too late, the monkey thief strikes again--and this time, it's Lizzie who's in danger.
"Lizzie Peterlinz might just pull her wheelchair up to the table and take her place alongside Anne Shirley and Pippi Longstocking. She’s smart. She’s sassy. She’s curious. She’s courageous. And she loves Latin and words of all kinds. Told by one of the great American poets, Lizzie! is a flat-out wonderful read. I couldn’t put it down." —artist and illustrator Barry Moser
"Smart, spunky, and delightfully quirky, Lizzie is an unforgettable heroine. She contemplates the mystery of words and analyzes their origins, intuits the hidden natures—good or bad—of the people around her, solves a crime in her neighborhood, and tells us her story in a wonderfully forthright voice. Maxine Kumin’s portrayal of Lizzie’s life after a diving accident is at once unflinching and hopeful. Some things Lizzie lost will never come back, but her indomitable spirit will always keep her connected to the forces that nurture and protect the world. Lizzie! is a tough-minded and kind-hearted tale of adventure with a memorable cast of supporting characters." –Kyoko Mori, author of Shizuko's Daughter
“I love Lizzie—the novel and the delghtful, spirited girl at the heart of it. Like the sublime Maxine Kumin, she rivets the reader with her passion for language, adventure, and the natural world.” –Hilma Wolitzer, author of Introducing Shirley Braverman and Out of Love
“As a blind author and lover of literature, I have always wanted to read a story about a hero or heroine with a disability whose disability isn't central to the plot. Lizzie! is a wonderful read about just such a character. Any young reader who picks up this book will be educated and entertained, while also getting pulled into the unexpected twists and turns of Lizzie's first year in Florida.” –Laurie Rubin, author of Do You Dream in Color?