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Helen Hemphill

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Helen Hemphill's debut novel Long Gone Daddy won the Teddy Award from the Writers' League of Texas. Booklist named her novel Runaround a 2007 Top Ten Youth Romance, and The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones, her most recent novel, received the 2008 Virginia M. Law Award from the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library and was listed on VOYA's Top Shelf for middle school readers. Helen holds an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College for the Fine Arts and a MA from Belmont University in Nashville, TN. She currently lives in Nashville.

Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones

The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones
Front Street, 2008
ages 9 to 12, ISBN 987-1-59078-637-6

When Prometheus Jones wins a horse with a raffle ticket he got from Pernie Boyd and LaRue Dill, he knows things won't go smoothly. No way are those two rednecks going to let a black man, even a freeman from the day of his birth, keep that horse. So as soon as things get ugly, he jumps on the horse, pulls his cousin Omer up behind him, and heads off. They hook up with a cattle drive out of Texas heading for Deadwood, South Dakota. Prometheus is a fine hand with a horse and not so bad with a gun, and both skills prove useful as the trip north throws every twist and turn imaginable at the young cowpokes.

The Adventures of Deadwood Jones revives the famous half-dime novels about Deadwood Dick written by Edward L. Wheeler, which, in turn, were inspired by the autobiography of the African American cowboy Nat Love.

Runaround

Runaround
Front Street, 2007
young adult, ISBN 978-1-932425-83-3

Everything eleven-year-old Sassy knows about love comes from romance magazines. But now that she has her eye on her handsome neighbor, Boon, she wants more details. Only nobody will talk to her, not her widowed father or her never-married housekeeper, or, worst of all, her gorgeous sister, Lula, who has more boyfriends than she can shake a stick at. When Lula sets up Sassy for an embarrassing moment, Sassy vows revenge; she will make Boon her boyfriend and show Lula a thing or two in the process.

Long Gone Daddy

Long Gone Daddy
Front Street, 2006
ISBN 978-1-932425-38-3

The old man's will leaves a chunk of money and a Cadillac convertible, but stipulates that his body must be buried in Las Vegas. Harlan Q is ready to make the trip in order to get away from Paps, his Bible-thumping father, who doesn't take to money made by cards and whiskey. Through a little creative coaxing, Harlan Q convinces Paps to transport the quickly ripening body of his grandfather in the back of their station wagon, but it's a long, hot trip.

As they drive the body back to its home, Harlan Q and his father pick up Warrior, a Hollywood-bound, Zen-minded actor-in-training. Warrior helps Harlan Q forgive his prejudices about Paps's single minded-approach to life. Moreover, the trip forces Paps to question his own feelings about his long gone daddy, which may help as he tries to understand his rebellious son.

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