Penny Lemons Ramey - Children's Book Author & Illustrator


River of Pearls


Just when the hottest boy in school says he is coming to Meg’s thirteenth birthday party, her mom drags her off to spend the whole summer with Grandma Great; six hundred miles from home. The party is cancelled.  Meg is devastated and thinks her life is ruined.  Grandma Great’s dusty little town has no store and nothing to do but watch boats glide past on the muddy old river.  Now that Grandpa has died, Meg has to learn to trust her cousin Zach to safely navigate them in the boat.  They encounter dangerous barges and some creepy river workers.  After finding a secret map along with an old diary, she sets out to locate a hidden treasure and give a priceless gift to someone special.  Find out the rest of the story when you read River of Pearls. 


Meg pulls out a couple of sundresses and hangs them in the closet.  Turning to grab another dress, her bracelet gets caught on one of the wire hangers and goes flying into the closet, smacking the wall.  She drops to her knees and begins searching the floor.  “Where are you, bracelet?”  She asks out loud.  She pushes the hanging dresses to one side and then the other, searching all around the tiny closet.  Remembering the flashlight in her backpack, she runs to get it, then crawls back inside the closet.  She scampers around the closet, still unable to find her bracelet.  Giving up, she lays flat on her back and stares up toward the ceiling.  That is when she spots something -  not her bracelet, but a kid's drawing, scribbled onto the bottom of one of the closet shelves.  

Drawn in charcoal, black lines form a huge tree with long, curvy limbs coming out of the top.  A small heart is drawn in the center of the trunk.  A large hill is drawn underneath the tree and squiggly lines are running along each side of the hill.  Squinting, she tries to read what the letters inside of the heart say.  She gets on her knees and tries pulling it up.  It seems to be stuck inside of the wall.  She slides the board toward the door and lifts it out.  Suddenly, she realizes that there is a small opening behind the shelving board.  She shines her flashlight, peeking inside.  Slowly, she reaches her hand inside, pulling out a small, black notebook.  She blows off the chalky dust and spider webs revealing the word Diary in gold letters printed on the front.  She flips through the pages, noticing the old style of handwriting.  Turning to the first page, she reads: May 15, Dear Diary, Today a new family of Boat-dwellers hooked up down at the ferry.  Daddy is giving the man a job.  I think the son is 12, like me.  His eyes are brown-blue, unlike any I have ever seen on a Negro, or any other person for that matter.  Bye for now!

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