For Ages
8 to 12

An award-winning, heartrending young middle grade novel from Barbara Park—the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Junie B. Jones series—just right for readers of Frindle, Love That Dog, The Lemonade War, and other classic young middle grade favorites.
Kids aren’t supposed to die.
Phoebe’s brother, Mick, was one of the funniest, coolest kids you’d ever meet—the kid who made you laugh until your stomach hurt, even if you were mad at him. The kid who freaked his and Phoebe’s mom out by putting a ceramic eye in a defrosted chicken; who went trick-or-treating as Thomas Crapper, the inventor of the modern-day flush toilet; who did a wild solo dance in front of the entire school. He was the kid you’d want to be friends with. So how can he be gone? And how will Phoebe’s family survive without him?
Winner of 12 State Awards!
An IRA-CBC Young Adults’ Choice
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
* “Genius . . . excruciatingly real . . . powerful.” —Publishers Weekly, starred
“[A] wrenching story permeated with humor and hope.” —School Library Journal
For the Review section (please add the two reviews and the state awards below):
“A very moving story about a terrific 12-year-old boy. By the end of the book, readers miss him, too.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Park skillfully interweaves humor and pain in this unique, utterly believable account of Phoebe’s attempt to cope with a heartbreaking loss.” —The Horn Book
WINNER—Georgia Children’s Book Award
WINNER—Connecticut Nutmeg Book Award
WINNER—Kansas William Allen White Children’s Book Award
WINNER—North Dakota Flicker Tale Children’s Book Award
WINNER—Rhode Island Children’s Book Award
WINNER—South Carolina Children’s Book Award
WINNER—Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award
WINNER—Illinois Rebecca Caudill Young Readers’ Book Award
WINNER—Indiana Young Hoosier Book Award
WINNER—Iowa Children’s Choice Award
WINNER—Minnesota Maud Hart Lovelace Book Award
NOMINEE—Washington Evergreen Young Adult Book Award
WINNER—Kentucky Bluegrass Master List

An Excerpt fromMick Harte Was Here

Just Let Me Say right off the bat, it was a bike accident.
It was about as "accidental" as you can get, too.
Like Mick wasn't riding crazy. Or dodging in and out of traffic. And both of his hands were on the handlebars and all like that.
His tire just hit a rock. And he skidded into the back of a passing truck. And that was that. There wasn't a scratch on him. It was a head injury. Period.
So this isn't the kind of book where you meet the main character and you get to like him real well and then he dies at the end. I hate those kind of books. And besides, I can't think of anything worse than using my brother's accident as the tear-jerking climax to some tragic story.
I don't want to make you cry.
I just want to tell you about Mick.
But I thought you should know right up front that he's not here anymore.
I just thought that would be fair.
I’m only ten months older than he was.
I was "planned."
Mick was a surprise.
He loved it, too. Being a surprise, I mean. He was always teasing my parents about it. Telling them that even before he existed, he could outsmart two chemistry majors with birth control pills.
"Just imagine the amazing stunts I'll pull when I'm a sneaky, rebellious teenager," he'd say. Then he'd rub his hands together and throw his head way back and do that kind of creepy laugh that mad scientists do in the movies. You know, like "Muuwhaaaahahahahaha ..." and he'd hunch over and limp out of the room like Igor or somebody.
Mick was excellent at imitating voices, by the way. We have a tape of him yelling "I'm melting! I'm melting!" that sounds just like the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz. Exactly, I mean.
But even without playing the tape, I can still remember how he sounded. I've heard that sometimes when people you love die, you forget their voices. But I haven't forgotten Mick's. Not yet, anyway.
I have a weird kind of memory, I think. Like I've never once been able to remember my parents' anniversary in time to buy them a card. But I can still remember the exact conversation I had with Santa Claus when I was in kindergarten.
He said, "Ho ho ho."
I said, "Your breath smells."
And he said, "Get down."
It wasn't much of a chat, but the point is, it happened eight years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday. That's why it doesn't surprise me that I can remember everything about the fight Mick and I had four weeks ago. On the morning of the accident.
It started out like most any other school day at our house. My father was running around wearing his usual morning outfit-a shirt and tie, boxer shorts, and black socks. It's pretty humiliating being related to a man in a get-up like that. But Pop never puts on his pants till right before he leaves for the office. He doesn't like to "ruin the crease" before he has to, he says. I'm serious.
My mother had already left for work, wearing her usual pair of jeans. But don't think the jeans mean she's more laid back than Pop. All they mean is that she works at a research lab doing experiments with viruses, and she doesn't like to spill germs on her good clothes.
Both of my parents are totally different from Mick and me. They're real methodical and organized, and everything they do is always technically planned out. Like my mom never makes hamburgers for dinner without weighing out precise quarter-pound servings on her kitchen scale. And Pop's idea of a daring adventure is to wash his socks without pinning them to their mates.
Also, I've got name tags sewn into my underwear and I've never been to camp-which is downright disturbing, when you think about it.
On top of all that, my parents hate family conflict worse than any parents I've ever seen. Like my brother and I could hardly even raise our voices at each other before we'd be hustled off to our rooms to think about how we could "resolve our differences in a more civilized and resourceful manner."

Under the Cover