Read Stand Tall Online

Authors: Joan Bauer

Stand Tall

TREE
.

Now that he was living every other week at different houses, Tree always forgot to pack something.

His warm gloves were at his mother’s house.

His good sneakers were, too. He needed them for basketball practice, but it would take a lot more than sneakers to make him good at the game.

He couldn’t remember if he packed underwear.

Probably not.

A strong, cold wind whipped through the park. He’d been playing here, walking here for so many years. But since his parents got divorced, it felt like a different place.

Up the stairs to the north was where he’d go when he was staying at his mom’s new house.

Across the footbridge to the south was where his dad and grandfather lived.

So much had changed since the summer.

He started walking toward his father’s house, past a lone Salvation Army trumpeter playing Christmas carols. Fished in his pocket, found a dollar, put it in the red bucket.

Mrs. Stench’s dog, Fang, trotted toward him, barking mean.

“Fang, be nice.” Mrs. Stench yanked on the expanding leash, lurched forward.

Fang ran up to the white oak, lifted his leg, and peed on the noble gray bark.

Tree sighed deep; cold air came out.

Being a tree isn’t easy.

Books by

JOAN BAUER

Backwater

Best Foot Forward

Hope Was Here

Rules of the Road

Squashed

Stand Tall

Sticks

Thwonk

JOAN BAUER

SPEAK
Published by the Penguin Group
Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 345 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014, U.S.A.
Penguin Group (Canada), 10 Alcorn Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4V 3B2
(a division of Pearson Penguin Canada Inc.)
Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England
Penguin Ireland, 25 St Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2, Ireland (a division of Penguin Books Ltd)
Penguin Group (Australia), 250 Camberwell Road, Camberwell, Victoria 3124, Australia
(a division of Pearson Australia Group Pty Ltd)
Penguin Books India Pvt Ltd, 11 Community Centre,
Panchsheel Park, New Delhi - 110 017, India
Penguin Group (NZ), Cnr Airborne and Rosedale Roads, Albany,
Auckland 1310, New Zealand (a division of Pearson New Zealand Ltd)
Penguin Books (South Africa) (Pty) Ltd, 24 Sturdee Avenue,
Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196, South Africa

Registered Offices: Penguin Books Ltd, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England

First published in the United States of America by G. P. Putnam’s Sons,
a division of Penguin Putnam Books for Young Readers, 2002
Published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2004
This edition published by Speak, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., 2005

Copyright © Joan Bauer, 2002
All rights reserved

THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS HAS CATALOGED THE G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS EDITION AS FOLLOWS
:
Bauer, Joan. Stand tall / Joan Bauer.
p.   cm.
Summary: Tree, a six-foot-three-inch twelve-year-old, copes with his parents’
recent divorce and his failure as an athlete by helping his grandfather,
a Vietnam vet and recent amputee, and Sophie, a new girl at school.
[1. Divorce—Fiction. 2. Grandfathers—Fiction. 3. Size—Fiction.
4. Individuality—Fiction. 5. Schools—Fiction.] I. Title.
PZ7.B32615Sr 2002 [Fic]—dc21 2002023876

ISBN: 978-1-101-65790-4

Except in the United States of America, this book is sold subject to the condition that
it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, hired out, or otherwise
circulated without the publisher’s prior consent in any form of binding or cover
other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition
including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

F
OR
E
VAN, MY HERO

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Abundant thanks to: Nancy Paulsen, my editor, for her wisdom, grace, and deft handling of this story. George Nicholson, my agent, who read every draft and offered superb counsel during the writing of this book. Jean Bauer, my daughter, who told me I could and would finish this book, despite evidence to the contrary. Marjorie Good, my mother, who has given me a lifetime of inspiration. Pastor JoAnn Clark, Laura Smalley, and Rita Zuidema, who stand firm during the writing of all my stories.

Thanks to all who shared the realities and struggles of Vietnam vets, amputees, and the extremely tall: Colonel Jeffrey Thompson, M.D., United States Air Force, who provided not just medical facts, but profound thoughts on the realities of war. Twala Maresh, Clinical Instructor II, M.S.P.T., University of Central Arkansas—who taught me the day-to-day struggles, victories, and mechanics of working with amputees. Eileen R. Ascher, L.O.T., Coordinator of Rehabilitation Services at The Rehabilitation Center of Southwestern Connecticut, Inc., who showed me the power of rehab at work, and along with physical therapist Laurie Schacht, answered endless questions
and
introduced me to John DeMaio, a retired fireman and recent amputee. John’s courage and heart inspired many characters in this novel. Don Shirley, a veteran and children’s writer, who forwarded me useful information about VA Hospitals and Vietnam. Vicki Walker at Tall Persons Club of Great Britain and Ireland—her insights as a mother of tall children helped greatly, as did the Tall Persons Club organization. Alex Tarshis, who shared his experiences in the wild world of height.

To every thing there is a season,

And a time to every purpose under heaven:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot,

A time to kill and a time to heal,

A time to tear down and a time to build,

A time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

A time to embrace and a time to refrain,

A time to search and a time to give up,

A time to keep and a time to throw away,

A time to tear and a time to mend,

A time to be silent and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate,

A time for war and a time for peace.

—E
CCLESIASTES
3:1–8

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Chapter Seventeen

Chapter Eighteen

Chapter Nineteen

Chapter Twenty

Chapter Twenty-One

Chapter Twenty-Two

Chapter Twenty-Three

Chapter Twenty-Four

Chapter Twenty-Five

Chapter Twenty-Six

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Chapter Twenty-Nine

Chapter Thirty

Chapter Thirty-One

C
HAPTER
O
NE

“And
where
is home this week?”

Mrs. Pierce, the school administrative assistant, asked him this.

His brain blistered.

“Your parents didn’t fill out the multiple-residence sheet that we sent to them in the fall. We need to know where you are, and when, for emergencies.”

She handed him a form with multiple boxes for two home addresses, two business addresses, faxes, e-mails, cell phones, beepers.

He handed her the monthlong schedule his mother had given him—color-coordinated for each week (yellow for when he would be living with her, blue for when he would be living with his father).

When life got tough, his mother got organized.

Other books

Not Exactly a Brahmin by Susan Dunlap
Black by Aria Cole
Being Light 2011 by Helen Smith
Bluebeard's Egg by Margaret Atwood
Snowbound With the Sheriff by Lauri Robinson
Everyone is Watching by Megan Bradbury
A Poisonous Journey by Malia Zaidi
A View From a Broad by Bette Midler