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Bluefish by Pat Schmatz

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Bluefish is about being 13, secrets, academic and home problems, acting out, and heart. What is travis hiding, and why? And what is Velveeta hiding? Friendship is what it's all about. 

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Thirteen-year-old Travis has a secret: he can't read. A shrewd teacher and a sassy girl are about to change everything in this witty and deeply moving novel.

Travis is the new kid at school, and misses his home in the country, and his old dog, Rosco. He shares cramped quarters with his well-meaning but alcoholic grandpa, a new school, and the dreaded routine of passing when he's called on to read out loud. But that's before he meets Mr. McQueen, a rare teacher whose savvy persistence has Travis slowly unlocking a book on the natural world. And it's before Travis is noticed by outrageous, loud and lonely Velveeta, a girl who has some hard secrets of her own. When they find each other, the same-old starts to look very different. With sympathy, humor, and disarming honesty, Pat Schmatz brings to life a cast of utterly believable characters and captures the moments of trust and connection that make all the difference.
 
Bluefish has won several awards: the Junior Library Guild Selection, Notable Children's Book in the Language Arts (National Council of Teachers of English), the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla Award (Wisc Library Association), and the Top 10 Indie NEXT List.

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Pat Schmatz grew up in rural Wisconsin with snow and books and woods and basketball. She went to Michigan State University and the University of California, Berkeley.  She currently divides her time between Minneapolis and her rural home in Wisconsin. In addition to writing, Pat works for Mid-Minnesota Legal Aid, teaches on-line writing courses for The Loft in Minneapolis, and makes frequent visits to middle school classrooms to talk about writing, reading, and creativity. Pat is available for classroom or school visits, conferences and library talks. Topics can be tailored to adults, high school or middle school students.

 Pat's hobbies include the study of Japanese and Spanish, just about anything outdoors, and of course, reading is her favorite pastime still and always. Summer means swimming, canoeing and running, and in the winter she brings out the snowshoes, ice skates and cross-country skis. Her travels include Peru, Japan, Belgium and New Zealand, and she's always on the lookout for a new place to go.

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