In this sequel to The Heron Stayed, Chap Smith suddenly finds himself in a noisy, crowded Virginia city, residing in a cramped apartment with his older sister, Lori-far from the quiet Indiana woods where he'd lived for sixteen years. Some of Chap's new experiences are positive. He gets to know Owen, a wheelchair-bound boy who doesn't go to school. He enrolls in an experimental school with learning centers instead of teacher-centered classrooms-where kids of all ages are together, where they learn to tutor each other, where classwork is self-paced, where there are no bells, no crowded hallways, no semester grades, and no hall passes. At Lori's wedding, he gets reacquainted with two of his older sisters who'd left home years before. Later, he flies to San Diego to spend time with one of them. Other experiences bring Chap face-to-face with heartbreak, violence, and death-the angry, withdrawn seven-year-old foster child who shadows him at the Academy, the purse snatcher at Horton Plaza, Owen's missing mother, and the man whose angry voice he hears through the thin apartment walls. Through it all, Chap sends letters to Chicago to the girl he loves and emails to his favorite teacher in Indiana while he searches for the missing pieces of his old life so that he will feel at home once again.
Jane S. Creason has lived in a remodeled one-room schoolhouse since she was four-first with her parents and two sisters and later with her husband and their two children. Six generations of her family have lived in or visited what was once Little Giant School. After graduating from the University of Illinois, she taught high school, grade school, and middle school. Since retiring, she has been a part-time college English instructor.