King of the Pygmies (Hardcover)

King of the Pygmies By Jonathon Scott Fuqua Cover Image
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When a teenage boy begins to hear voices, his uncle offers him an alternative explanation in this poignant, provocative novel from award-winning author Jonathon Scott Fuqua.

Havre-de-Grace, Maryland isn't the kind of place where miracles happen. That's why when fifteen-year-old Penn starts to hear voices, he is terrified. These aren't just any voices, though — they are the thoughts of people close to him. He can hear his parents' unspoken gripes with each other. He can hear his disabled brother's silent anxieties. He can hear his neighbor's descent into quiet desperation. And he can hear his girlfriend's tentative feelings of tenderness. His momma wants him to go to a therapist to get treated for schizophrenia, but his similarly gifted Uncle Hewitt, a former police chief turned town drunk, tells him the truth: Penn's ability to hear other people's thoughts and take away their pain doesn't make him sick. It makes him special. From the acclaimed author of The Willoughby Spit Wonder, Darby, and The Reappearance of Sam Webber comes a compelling story of a young man's struggle to come to terms with his disability — a novel of courage, determination, and hope.

About the Author

Jonathon Scott Fuqua is the author of many acclaimed books for young readers, including Darby, a Book Sense 76 Top Ten Pick and an International Reading Association Notable Children's Book. His debut novel, The Reappearance of Sam Webber, won an American Library Association Alex Award and was a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year. The Boston Globe described The Willoughby Spit Wonder, as "the kind of novel . . . that comes along only once in a blue moon."

Praise For…

He took a few deep breaths. "You aren't bullying me?"

"No, sir."

Dad's eyes wandered. "Are you feeling sick or something?"

"No, sir, not sick. But I think . . . I think out of absolutely nowhere I might be going crazy or something. I'm scared I might be. That's why I was carving on the bed. I keep a record of how long it's been between when the voices come."

My dad rubbed a hand across his cheeks and mouth. "Penn, sweetie, I'm not exactly sure, but I think this might be a real type of problem. Normal people don't hear voices is all, not if they aren't sick-feeling."

"I know," I answered, getting a little more worried.

"God Almighty," Dad said. Ignoring my long-standing instructions not to give me a hug, he leaned over and slapped his arms around me and jostled me in a loving way, in the way he can. He jammed his nose against my head, mooshing his nostrils so that I could feel his wet breath against the roots of my hair.

"Sorry," I told him, feeling guilty.

"It ain't your fault, sweetie."

"I don't think it is."

We sat quiet for a few minutes. As his breath tranquilized me, as the room got darker, he let go. Slowly, his sad look changed, and he put a hand under my chin. "You know what? I take it back. I bet this all goes away. I bet you're gonna be okay. I can feel it inside, like woman's intuition, except for, you know, I'm a man. You're a good, normal teenage boy, and you're gonna be fine. This is just a momentary problem that's gonna disappear. Maybe it's just hormones. Maybe it's a flu. Who knows, but it ain't permanent."

"You think?"

"Oh yeah. Craziness just doesn't happen to a boy who's been normal his whole life. It doesn't hit sudden like that."

"Really?" I asked, worried that he had no idea what he was talking about.


KING OF THE PYGMIES by Jonathon Scott Fuqua. Copyright (c) 2005 by Jonathon Scott Fuqua. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

Product Details
ISBN: 9780763614188
ISBN-10: 0763614181
Publisher: Candlewick
Publication Date: October 11th, 2005
Pages: 256
Language: English