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"Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia" by Barbara O'Connor; Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.

A girl named Bird decides to make a friend of a new kid named Harlem Tate in this amusing, heartwarming novel with interesting characters and lots of down-home Southern flavor. (She likes Harlem even though word has it that he's been in sixth grade for three years and "his daddy's in prison and his mama choked on a chicken bone at the Holiday Inn.")

Bird isn't too popular at school and she's not the world's greatest speller, so she decides Harlem is her ticket to winning the state spelling bee and the prize trip to Disney World.

But will Harlem stand up to the test? O'Connor offers a subtle story about hardship, dreams and finding love in the oddest places, as she did in a previous novel, "Moonpie and Ivy."

-- Jean Westmoore
The school year is ending, and many kids thank their teachers at the end of the year with a gift. Here are two easy gifts that are fun to make. (Ask for an adult's help with the glue gun!)


Glue gun

Eight 6-inch rulers

One 2-inch by 5-inch plastic box (available at craft stores)

Four markers

With the glue gun, dab glue on the back of a ruler. Attach it to the box, starting at the edge. Attach each ruler, making sure you line up the rulers at the corners. Glue on the markers in the space between each ruler, as shown.


Four 3-inch wooden apple cutouts (available at craft stores)

Red, green and brown acrylic paint

Black permanent marker

Glue gun

One 2 1/4 -inch by 3-inch plastic box

Paint the apple cutouts on the front and back as shown. Let each side dry. With black marker, outline the edge of the apple and the leaf on the cutouts with squiggly lines and dots. With the glue gun, glue one apple cutout at the left and bottom side of the box. Turn the box to the left and repeat until all four sides are finished.

Kids 8 to 15 who are involved in community service may be eligible for one of 10 $5,000 grand prizes in the Angel Soft Angels in Action Awards Program. A new Angels in the Classroom Awards Program honors teachers and students in grades 3 to 8 for service programs and one winning class will win $10,000 and a visit from Jane Kaczmarek of "Malcolm in the Middle." To nominate a child, visit for official contest rules and to download an entry form. Nominations also can be submitted by mail by providing the nominee's name, contact information and date of birth; nominator's name, contact information and date of birth; parent or legal guardian's name and contact information; and a 100-word essay, describing the nominee's dedication to a community, charity or cause. Entries must be submitted to Angel Soft "Angels in Action" Awards Program c/o Amy Pierson, 676 N. St. Clair, Suite 1000, Chicago, IL 60611 by June 21.

Why do all ponies have sore throats?

Because they're all a little horse!

-- Knight Ridder Newspapers

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