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Emma-Jean Lazarus fell out of a tree
Lauren Tarshis
Children's Fiction TARSHIS

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Through a compelling third-person narrative, first novelist Tarshis completely inhabits the character of an eccentric seventh-grader who will quickly win over readers. Emma-Jean Lazarus misses her father, who died two years ago and from whom she inherited an analytical mind. She does not always understand her "often irrational" peers and finds their lives "messy." She "thus made it her habit to keep herself separate, to observe from afar." One day, however, she discovers kind, sensitive Colleen in the girls' bathroom and decides to come to her aid. (The narrative occasionally shifts to Colleen's perspective, offering insight into how the heroine comes across to her classmates.) Emma-Jean takes her cue from the philosophy of Jules Henri Poincar? (a French mathematician whom her late father revered), who believed that "even the most complex problems could be solved through a process of creative thinking." Her well-intentioned efforts with Colleen and with others don't always hit their mark, but this slightly socially awkward, big-hearted outsider learns from her experiences. Other fully realized characters who show compassion and understanding to Emma-Jean include her mother, a wise and kind custodian, her teacher and especially Vikram, a doctoral student and the Lazaruses' boarder, who takes on a special significance to both mother and daughter. Readers will cheer on Emma-Jean as she begins to see more clearly and enter more fully the world around her, messiness and all. Ages 8-up. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

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main characters Emma-Jean
Age: 12
Has little in common with the rest of her classmates; helps Colleen with a bully.

Friends with Emma; needs help dealing with a bully.

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