Twelve-year-old Andy Thomas isn’t thrilled with his teacher’s assignment to explore family history. But when he starts asking questions about his ancestors, he is surprised to discover a black sheep named Coley Joe Bonner. No one wants to discuss what happened in the family’s past. Everyone, including Andy’s own relatives, advises him to stop his investigation. But Andy continues and searches everywhere, from the Internet to the local cemetery, to discover the truth. Will Andy’s search hurt those he loves or make them realize that it’s never too late to seek social justice?
“A riveting tale of suspense set against a background of fascinating historical context.” –School Library Journal
“Hints of disgrace and treachery…children will read the story for the fun of guessing who is warning Andy off the case.” –Booklist
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An Excerpt from Search for the Shadowman
The minute the bell rang in history class the next morning, Mr. Hammergren
asked, "How many of you have begun your interviews with relatives?"
Lee Ann Dooley waved a hand. "I can't! My grandma in Florida just got
married again and is off on a honeymoon. And my grandma who lives in a
rest home can't remember much of anything."
"Then ask your parents if they've heard any of your grandparents' stories.
Go back as far as you can. Maybe your family history will begin when your
parents were children."
"Everyone else has grandparents." Lee Ann's lower lip curled outward.
Her glance fixed on J.J. "Or even a great-grandparent."
"Tell you what," Mr. Hammergren said. "I'll let you borrow my grandmother.
She won't know any stories about your family, but she can tell you about
riding streetcars when she visited the big city and canning vegetables
and making jam and sewing all the clothes for a family of six girls..."
Luke Martin raised his hand. "I've got a problem, Mr. Hammergren," he
said. "When my mom's father was young, he got in a fight and went to jail.
Mom said under no circumstances could I put that in my report."
"I certainly don't expect you to include every single family story you
discover," Mr. Hammergren said. "Record the best. Make your report interesting.
And remember that it's better to leave some things out of the report."
"Like the mystery man." Andy realized he had spoken aloud when some of
the kids turned and looked at him.
"What mystery man?" Lee Ann asked.
Andy carefully gave his explanation. "He's one of my dad's relatives,
from way back in the eighteen hundreds. His birthdate was listed in the
family Bible, but then his name was crossed out. My great-aunt Winnie
first said he never existed. Then she told me not to ask questions about
him because she wouldn't answer them."
"Then I'd suggest you forget this mystery relative," Mr. Hammergren said.
"This report is not intended to cause family problems."
But Andy's mind was on Coley Joe. He wasn't about to forget him.