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The Secret Files of FAIRDAY MORROW

Release date: DECEMBER 1, 2015

Delacorte Press/ Random House Kids Books

MIDDLE GRADE/ ages 10 and up

Authors: Jessica Haight & Stephanie Robinson

Illustrator: Roman Muradov

ISBN: 978-0-385-74471-3 

Book can be ordered at:

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Eleven-year-old Fairday Morrow is less than thrilled that her
family is moving thousands of miles from civilization to the quiet country town of Ashpot, Connecticut, where she’s absolutely certain she’ll die of boredom. As if leaving Manhatten and her best friend, Lizzy, the only other member of the elite Detective Mystery Squad, weren’t bad enough,
Fairday is stuck living in the infamous Begonia House, a creepy
old Victorian with dark passageways, a gigantic dead willow tree, and a mysterious past. 

Before she can even unpack, strange music coming from behind a padlocked door leads Fairday up a spiral staircase and into a secret room, where she finds an ancient mirror, a brass key, and a curious portrait of a red-haired lady. These seemingly unrelated items prove to be the first in a series of clues that takes Fairday, the visiting Lizzy, and their new squad member, Marcus, on an amazing adventure.

Can the members of the Detective Mystery Squad piece together the puzzle before it’s too late? Or will whatever’s causing trouble find Fairday and her friends first?

Link to YouTube trailer

Catch the Book Buzz...

"I really enjoyed this book. It was a marvelously done, debut, thriller novel. Ms. Robinson and Ms. Haight are great authors that really pull you into their story. I couldn’t get out until that final sentence. And, by then I wanted more. To say I want a second book is an understatement. The writing style is compelling, and makes me feel as if I was there with Fairday and her friends. I really like the illustrations in the book. They are like the ribbon on a present, or the icing on the cake. I give this book five out of five bookworms!" ~ Erik Weibel/ This Kid Reviews Books  

 "Mixing realism and fantasy, Haight and Robinson’s debut opens with 11-year-old Fairday’s move from Manhattan to a small town in Connecticut, where her relentlessly cheerful parents plan to turn a dilapidated Victorian into a bed and breakfast. No sooner has the family arrived than eerie sights and sounds begin to haunt Fairday. The house turns out to hold dark secrets that everybody in town suspects but nobody can explain: a perfect mission for Fairday and her best friend Lizzy’s Detective Mystery Squad (DMS)." ~ Publishers Weekly 

"Fifth-grader Fairday Morrow's new home lives up to its spooky reputation, but she and her companions in the Detective Mystery Squad find out why. At Begonia House, strains of bagpipe music issue from behind a padlocked door, grains of sand in an hourglass have stopped falling, and a malevolent weeping willow looms in the backyard. A magic mirror shows an invisible door; a wardrobe hides secrets and a portal. Ruby Begonia vanished more than 50 years ago. Is there also a ghost? Fairday has a new, helpful friend in classmate Marcus, and her best friend Lizzy can visit on weekends to help solve the mystery. What more could readers want?" ~ Kirkus Reviews 

Jessica Haight is a true New Englander, with a deep desire to be near the ocean and a love of the four seasons. She enjoys drawing while standing up and cultivating magic in her garden. She easily floats away in the pages of a good story and is still waiting for her owl from Hogwarts. 

Stephanie Robinson lives with her husband in a quiet town, though not as quaint as Ashpot. After teaching fifth grade for almost fifteen years, she is now enjoying her role as a school media specialist.  

My Granddaughter and I both read a review copy and we loved it! Jessica and Stephanie are wonderful writers and we both highly recommend reading The Secret Files of Fairday Morrow!

Anna Mullins and Maggie Beard


Land Of The Free

My Grandfather once told me about how he felt coming to America as an Immigrant when he was eight years old. His parents left Poland in the latter 1800’s because of the strife there caused by Communist trying to take control of the country who were persecuting those that belonged to the Christian religion his parents did. He told me when he first saw the Statue Of Liberty from the deck of a ship coming into Ellis Island, he was relieved to tears that he would never again have to worry about a knock on the door in the middle of the night from someone coming to take his Father away to “the place of no return” like some of their family, friends, and neighbors had experienced. He was an old man when he told me this story but it still brought tears to his eyes and filled my heart with compassion for all those who didn't escape, only to be preyed on again by Hitler...and then Stalin for many decades.

His words I heard so long ago have been ringing in my ears this past week amidst all the grief. Grief we all felt when we heard of the attacks in Paris and other places. Sadly for some, that grief soon turned into hateful posts on social media about why they felt we should now slam the door in the face of fleeing refugees who have lost everything, persecuted by those who believe killing themselves and as many innocent strangers as possible in the name of God will absolve their sins and earn them a ticket to Paradise. 

 I’ve seen new, and some old friends I grew up with, spew hatred and praise God in the same post, and I wonder how and when they became so radicalized and I keep remembering what my Dad often quoted..."You have nothing to fear but fear itself." 

I see political candidates running for President wanting the Muslim refugees to be "branded"and wear “badges” denoting who they are, and for America to build walls like Hitler and Stalin did…and another who compares innocent men, women, and children fleeing the horror in their homeland  to “rabid dogs”… and I shed more tears wondering where love and compassion for their fellow man has fled to... and all of them claiming to be Christians who praise Jesus and claim they follow in His footsteps.



Historical Photos

A friend sent me these wonderful old historical photos I had never seen before and I felt they were worth sharing.
1943 : Breast Protectors for War Workers
Helen Keller Meeting Charlie Chaplin
Leather gloves worn by Lincoln to Ford's Theater on the night of his assassination. Blood stains are visible at the cuffs .
Phoebe Mozee (aka: Annie Oakley). Famed for her marksmanship by 12 years old, she once shot the ashes off of Kaiser Wihelm II's cigarette at his invitation. When she outshot famed exhibition marksman Frank Butler, he fell in love with her and they married. They remained married the rest of their lives.
Very Young Lucy Lucille Ball around 1930
Amy Johnson, English aviator 1903-1941 One of the first women to gain a pilot's licence, Johnson won fame when she flew solo from Britain to Australia in 1930. Her dangerous flight took 17 days. Later she flew solo to India and Japan and became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic East to West, she volunteered to fly for The Women's Auxiliary Air Force in WW 2, but her plane was shot down over the River Thames and she was killed.

Prison Garb 1924. Belva Annan murderess whose trial records became the musical " Chicago ."

Female photojournalist Jessie Tarbox on the street with her camera, 1900's .
Market Street, San Francisco after the earthquake, 1906.

The extraordinary life of Maud Allen: Seductive US dancing girl who was sued for being too lewd, outed as a lesbian, and fled London after being branded a German spy who was sleeping with the prime minister's wife.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy
Caroline Otero, courtesan, the most sought after woman in all of Europe . She associated herself with the likes of Prince Albert I of Monaco, King Edward VII of the United Kingdom, Kings of Serbia, and Kings of Spain as well as Russian Grand Dukes Peter and Nicholas, the Duke of Westminster and writer Gabriele D’Annunzio. Six men reportedly committed suicide after their love affairs with Otero ended. Two men fought a duel over her. She was famed for her voluptuous breasts.
Wedding day photograph of Abraham and Mary taken November 4, 1842 in Springfield , Illinois after three years of a stormy courtship and a broken engagement. Their love had endured.
Billie Holiday at two years old, in 1917
Washington, D.C. , circa 1919. " Walter Reed Hospital flu ward." One of the very few images in Washington-area photo archives documenting the influenza contagion of 1918-1919, which killed over 500,000 Americans and tens of millions around the globe. Most victims succumbed to bacterial pneumonia following influenza virus infection .
Filming the MGM Logo
Amelia Earhart
Mae Questel ca. 1930’s, the voice of Betty Boop and Olive Oyl, Minnie Mouse, Felix the Cat (for three shorts by the Van Beuren Studios), Little Lulu, Little Audrey and Casper , the Friendly Ghost
Sacajawea. Stolen, held captive, sold, eventually reunited the Shoshone Indians. She was an interpreter and guide for Lewis and Clark in 1805-1806 with her husband Toussaint Charbonneau. She navigated carrying her son, Jean Baptiste, on her back. She traveled thousands of miles from the Dakotas the Pacific Ocean . The explorers, said she was cheerful, never complained, and proved to be invaluable. She served as an advisor, caretaker, and is legendary for her perseverance and resourcefulness.
Vintage Baked Potato Cart. A legitimate fast food lunch option back in the day.
Miss America 1924
Marilyn Monroe meets Queen Elizabeth II, London,1956 Both women are 30 years old.
Cyclists ride in the first running of the Tour de France, in 1903.
Mary Ellen Wilson (1864–1956) or sometimes Mary Ellen McCormack was an American whose case of child abuse led to the creation of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. As an eight-year old, she was severely abused by her foster parents, Francis and Mary Connolly.
Nightwitches - Female Russian bombers who bombed Germany during WW 2. They had old, noisy planes & the engines used to conk out halfway through their missions, so they had to climb out on the wings mid-flight to restart the props.
To stop Germans from hearing them & starting up the anti aircraft guns, they’d climb to a certain height, coast down to German positions, drop their bombs, restart their engines in midair & get the hell out of dodge. Their leader flew 200+ missions & was never captured.
Sergeant Stubby (1916 or 1917 – April 4, 1926), was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. America's first war dog, Stubby, served 18 months 'over there' and participated in seventeen battles on the Western Front. He saved his regiment from surprise mustard gas attacks, found and comforted the wounded, and even once caught a German spy by the seat of his pants (holding him there till American Soldiers found him).
Chief Petty Officer Graham Jackson plays “Going Home” as FDR’s body is borne past in Warm Springs , GA , where the President was scheduled to attend a barbecue on the day he died.