Before Stinkville, Alice didn’t think albinism—or the blindness that goes with it—was a big deal. Sure, she uses a magnifier to read books. And a cane keeps her from bruising her hips on tables. Putting on sunscreen and always wearing a hat are just part of life. But life has always been like this for Alice. Until Stinkville.
For the first time in her life, Alice feels different—like she’s at a disadvantage. Back in her old neighborhood in Seattle, everyone knew Alice, and Alice knew her way around. In Stinkville, Alice finds herself floundering—she can’t even get to the library on her own. But when her parents start looking into schools for the blind, Alice takes a stand. She’s going to show them—and herself—that blindness is just a part of who she is, not all that she can be. To prove it, Alice enters the Stinkville Success Stories essay contest. No one, not even her new friend Kerica, believes she can scout out her new town’s stories and write the essay by herself. The funny thing is, as Alice confronts her own blindness, everyone else seems to see her for the first time.
This is a stirring small-town story that explores many different issues—albinism, blindness, depression, dyslexia, growing old, and more—with a light touch and lots of heart. Beth Vrabel’s characters are complicated and messy, but they come together in a story about the strength of community and friendship.
Sky Pony Press, with our Good Books, Racehorse and Arcade imprints, is proud to publish a broad range of books for young readers—picture books for small children, chapter books, books for middle grade readers, and novels for young adults. Our list includes bestsellers for children who love to play Minecraft; stories told with LEGO bricks; books that teach lessons about tolerance, patience, and the environment, and much more. While not every title we publish becomes a New York Times bestseller or a national bestseller, we are committed to books on subjects that are sometimes overlooked and to authors whose work might not otherwise find a home.
Despite a visual impairment caused by albinism, 12-year-old Alice has gotten along fine with help from her mother and her best friend. But she feels lost now that her family has moved from Seattle to Sinkville, S.C., nicknamed Stinkville due to its rotten-egg stench. Alice's family members are too depressed, busy, and preoccupied to act as her guide, and she can't rely on her beloved shih tzu to show her around town. Alice can go to the library, though, and it is there that she learns about an essay-writing contest. While researching her topic, "Sinkville Success Stories," Alice is drawn into the community, making new friends (and an enemy) and learning that the town has more to offer than a bad smell. Using a lively first-person narrative, Vrabel (Pack of Dorks) presents a rare glimpse of what it is like to navigate new territory while legally blind. Alice's road isn't always an easy one, but her journey will be inspiring to readers, especially those who have struggled with a disability. Ages 8 12.