Skip to main content Dedicated Newsletter - March 2016


Hi Kidsreaders!

We don't do this often, but we wanted to send a special newsletter to make sure you know about a contest and feature for a book we're really excited about --- ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK by Leslie Connor, which is on sale TODAY!

For the contest, we're giving away 10 copies of ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK. You can enter until March 24th at noon ET, but don't don't want to forget and miss your chance to get your hands on this heartwarming novel! Click here to enter!

See below for more information on the book, plus an interview, review and excerpt. Best of luck in the contest!



About ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK (Katherine Tegen Books, On Sale: March 1, 2016):

Eleven-year-old Perry was born and raised by his mom at the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility in tiny Surprise, Nebraska. His mom is a resident on Cell Block C, and so far Warden Daugherty has made it possible for them to be together. That is, until a new district attorney discovers the truth --- and Perry is removed from the facility and forced into a foster home. When Perry moves to the “outside” world, he feels trapped. Desperate to be reunited with his mom, Perry goes on a quest for answers about her past crime. As he gets closer to the truth, he will discover that love makes people resilient no matter where they come from...but can he find a way to tell everyone what home truly means?

- Click here to read an excerpt.

About Leslie Connor:

Leslie Connor is the author of several award-winning books for children, including WAITING FOR NORMAL, winner of the ALA Schneider Family Book Award, CRUNCH, MISS BRIDIE CHOSE A SHOVEL, and the young adult novels DEAD ON TOWN LINE and THE THINGS YOU KISS GOODBYE. She lives with her family in Connecticut.



Eleven-year-old Perry T. Cook has grown up in the Blue River Co-ed Correctional Facility, but he is no criminal. Perry’s mother, Jessica, is the inmate --- or resident, rather, as they say at Blue River. Blue River is a minimum security correctional facility in the tiny town of Surprise, Nebraska. And with the warden as Perry’s foster care provider, Perry is allowed to live inside the facility with his mother.

That is until ambitious district attorney Thomas VanLeer hears about Jessica’s special arrangement and takes Perry to live with him and his family.

As if starting middle school isn’t hard enough. Not only is Perry forced to live “on the outside,” but he is shocked to find out VanLeer is the stepdad of Perry’s best friend from school, Zoey.

Now Perry has to cope with being away from the only home he has ever known while figuring out how to be reunited with his mom after VanLeer delays Jessica’s parole application. Bullies, although Perry has them, are the least of his problems.



Our Kidsreads Interview with Leslie Connor What inspired you to write ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK? Why did you think it was important to tell this story?

Leslie Connor: The seed idea first sprang from an article in the New York Times about an inmate at Bedford Hills. The issue of being an effective parent from behind bars was a small part of the story, but it was the part that drew me in. I started to think about the child.

KRC: You chose to write ALL RISE FOR THE HONORABLE PERRY T. COOK from both Perry’s and Jessica’s perspectives. Was it challenging to switch between such different voices?

LC: Not so hard! That happened naturally. This is Perry’s story, but there was a rhythm that let me know when it was time to loop back to Jessica. Her chapters are short but important; I wanted that juxtaposition of life on the “outside” with life on the “inside.”

KRC: What is the hardest part of getting into the mindset of an 11-year-old boy?

LC: To really know the mindset of any character I ask myself again and again: What is this person’s truth? There are layers to this, and it is the part I feel I must get right. I don’t think about gender as much as I think about the individual.

KRC: What kind of research did you do to write this book? Did you conduct interviews or visit a correctional facility?

LC: A deep well of information came from news articles, TED talks, documentaries, prison blogs, interviews, case accounts and image searches. An inmate orientation handbook proved surprisingly useful. I also “toured” facilities online, and I took myself “driving” on the roads of Butler County in Nebraska via Google maps.

KRC: This book deals with some adult issues, like correctional facilities, parole and crime. Why did you think it was important to discuss these issues from the point of view of a middle schooler?

LC: Unfortunately, it is a part of their world. One in 28 school-aged children has a parent in prison --- a shocking statistic. I hope Perry’s voice will be an accessible medium that inspires comfort, empathy, understanding and forgiveness.


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