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  • Simeon's Fire
  • Written by Cathryn Clinton
  • Format: Trade Paperback | ISBN: 9780763632946
  • Our Price: $5.99
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Simeon's Fire

Written by Cathryn ClintonAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Cathryn Clinton

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"The farm and Amish ways spring to life with full characters and carefully chosen details. . . . A story animal lovers will enjoy." — KIRKUS REVIEWS

On the Amish farm where he lives and works with his family, ten-year-old Simeon Zook hears and feels things other people miss — things like the quiet sounds of birds and animals, or even the subtle sense that something is not quite right. It is just that sort of unease that draws him out to the barn one night, the night he stumbles upon the glare of a stranger’s flashlight and a sudden crackling blaze. With insight into a child’s inner struggles and the nuances of Amish traditions, Cathryn Clinton tells a coming-of-age story of family, loyalty, and faith in the face of fear and prejudice — and the enduring strength of one boy’s dreams.


"But why would someone do that?" Jonas asked. "Set a fire?"

"For all sorts of reasons. Some people set fires to get insurance money, but I realize that isn't the case with you Amish. Sometimes it's firebugs."

"Firebugs?" Jonas asked.

"People who love to set fires." The man paused and cleared his throat. "But as these fires have been on Amish farms, we have to consider that it could be someone who doesn't like the Amish."

Simeon was looking at Grossmudder, and he saw the man's words knock the air from her. Simeon saw her face flatten and her mouth drop open. Sylvan was open-mouthed, too. They looked like fish, Simeon thought, hooked and left on the ground by the pond. Should I say something? Simeon thought.

Simeon turned and looked at his father and saw the yellowy shine on his face. Daat was looking even more like Uncle Daniel. Simeon saw the quiver in his mother's left hand and her stooped shoulders, and the bulging pulse in the right vein of Jonah's cheek. His fear was drained down through his feet. His legs slackened, and he felt a weight in his ribs. His chest ached, fierce with a heavy love.

No, he thought quickly. He could never let anything happen to them. There was no doubt in his mind that the fire setters would harm them. None at all. He knew they would come and burn their house. And he couldn't let them do that to his family. What if they burned one of them this time?

The man's words on the night of the fire swirled in Simeon's mind and he wanted to shut them out, but instead he pushed them deeper inside, down into his aching chest. Surely it was the best way for them all. He was keeping them safe, wasn't he?


SIMEON’S FIRE by Cathyrn Clinton. Copyright (c) 2005 by Cathyrn Clinton. Published by Candlewick Press, Inc., Cambridge, MA.

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