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Cooney, Caroline
New York : Delacorte, 1999
ISBN  0385323182
One of the things that I loved when I was younger was that I loved to start a fire. I kind of had a fascination with it. I don't know why. It was one of those weird things. My parents gave me the job once a week to take out the trash and burn it in a metal barrel back behind the fence. I took out a match (SHOW MATCH AND DISPLAY STRIKING MOTION) just like this one and lit a few pieces of paper on fire. It was always amazing to me how the fire would spread from one piece of paper to another so quickly. Finally, the whole barrel had flames leaping about three feet high from the top and it seemed as if it was out of control.

One day I kind of got carried away. I used a candle to help start the fire. (SHOW CANDLE) Then I left it sitting against the fence. The next day when I looked out my back window, I discovered that a big black hole had been burnt clear through that fence. Oh no! I had forgotten that I had left that burning candle leaning against the fence and I was in serious trouble with my parents!

In Burning Up by Caroline Cooney a bigger fire than that is described in the story. Macy decides to do a research paper on a barn that burned to the ground back in 1959. The problem was that built into that barn was the apartment of the first African American teacher who ever taught at their High School. She wondered, "Who had started this fire and why was this building burned down?" When Macy begins to question people about the fire she gets all sorts of responses. Some say they don't know. Others said it would be better if you picked another topic. But Macy continues her search for answers.

Let me tell you what happened the night of the fire. (SHOW PICTURE OF HOUSE BURNING). When it was dark, someone decided to set the apartment on fire with the teacher, Mr. Sibley, still inside. Then a group a people start to gather outside. They laugh about the fact that they have gotten rid of this teacher and they decide to celebrate. Do you know what they did? (POINT TO PICTURE OF BOOK COVER ON OVERHEAD).  They pass out a bag of marshmallows and they roast them over the flames that had now died down from the fire.

Well, who is responsible? Macy finds out. It is somebody that she .....knows. It is her own family! (Paul Christopherson, Young Adult Librarian, Millard Branch Library

SUBJECTS:     Racism -- Fiction
                        Connecticut -- Fiction
                       Murder -- Fiction


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