word craft


Something Upstairs

Scholas­tic, 2022

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audio book nar­rat­ed by 
George Guidall

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What’s this book about?

The mys­tery deepens …

The room was shab­by and dirty, heavy with heat. None of the things which Ken­ny called his own remained. Even the paint­ed walls and sky­light were gone.

Baf­fled, he won­dered if oth­er things—even outside—had changed. Ken­ny went to one of the win­dows and looked down. On a stoop across the dark street a man was stand­ing, gaz­ing straight at Ken­ny’s win­dow. He was wear­ing what appeared to be a long black cape which reached his knees, and a hat, tri­an­gu­lar in shape. Its brim obscured his face.

As if sud­den­ly real­iz­ing he was being observed, the man moved quick­ly into the shad­ows. Keep­ing his face avert­ed, he fled up the street.


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Story Behind the Story

  1. I was liv­ing in Los Ange­les, one of the USA’s newest cities. I moved to Prov­i­dence, Rhode Island, one of the USA’s old­est cities. The city is like a muse­um of ear­ly Amer­i­can archi­tec­ture. It was a rather like trav­el­ing back in time.
  2. I began to read about Prov­i­dence history.
  3. I was vis­it­ing a school some­where. A teacher took me aside and said, “I have a stu­dent who says it’s urgent that he talk to you alone. I don’t know what it’s about. But he’s very insis­tent. Could you spare a few moments?”

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Awards and Recognition

  • YALSA Pop­u­lar Paper­backs for Young Adults, 1999
  • Rhode Island Award, 1991
  • Flori­da Sun­shine Award, 1992
  • Cal­i­for­nia Young Read­ers Award, 1993
  • ALA Notable Record­ing, 1992 (Record­ed Books, Inc.)
  • Best Books of the Year, Library of Con­gress, 1989
  • Nom­i­nat­ed, Best Juve­nile Mys­tery of the Year, Mys­tery Writ­ers of Amer­i­ca, 1989


Some­thing Upstairs is an intel­li­gent and well-inten­tioned effort. It can pro­voke dis­cus­sion of the issues … as well as how, final­ly, vio­lence vis­its the lives of both Caleb and Ken­ny and how Ken­ny, through choice and cir­cum­stance, may have become a slave him­self.” (School Library Jour­nal)

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