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The Danger Box by Blue Balliett Explosive ideas surface in a very small, quiet town in Michigan.

A boy who has a different way of seeing.

A curious girl who doesn’t belong.

A mysterious notebook.

A missing father.

A fire.

A stranger.

A death.

 
The Danger Box by Blue Balliett at 57th Street Books The Danger Box by Blue Balliett at Amazon.com The Danger Box by Blue Balliett at Barnes and Noble The Danger Box by Blue Balliett at IndieBound

EXCERPT: Zoomy’s Box

I’m pulling the Danger Box out from the back of the toolshed.  Now I’m crouching by the rakes and hoes.  It’s a windy June night, and shadows from the kitchen light are bumping and chasing.  I’m alone, at least I think I am.  I open the box, a small cherry crate, and a tangy whiff of gunpowder drifts out.

Inside are pieces of blown-up firecrackers and a few old shotgun shells.  I don’t need to see them; I know the contents by touch.  Each year I add stuff.  Now I close my eyes and dig down into the mixture.

Yes!  I feel the fabric and beneath it, a firm shape.

“Poor thing, I’m sorry you’re buried out here,” I whisper.

As I’m about to slide the box back in its hiding place, I hear footsteps…  I feel around, grab the nail on the edge of the toolshed door, and slowly pull the door closed.  If I pull too fast it will squeak.  Squeaks and secrets don’t go together.

I hold my breath.  Thump-squish, thump-scree, thump-squish.  It’s a man – I can tell by the weight of his steps.

It’s dark in the shed, as speckly-dark as black pepper.  Thump, whump, thump!  My heart feels like a firecracker that’s about to go off.  I pretend my heart is in the Danger Box, and has already exploded.

Behind the Scenes:
When I discovered that a small but hugely valuable object owned by one of the biggest thinkers of all time had been stolen years ago and was still gone, I was so excited. My mind was buzzing with ‘What if’s, and I knew just where that object should be found – in Three Oaks, Michigan, an old-fashioned town so small that it’s barely on the map.  My dream is that one of the kids who reads The Danger Box really will find this missing treasure one day. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction…

Click here to watchi interviews with Blue talking about writing & teaching.
The Danger Box Audio Excerpt The Danger Box Q & A  

This is Zoomy’s lavender, which, in real life, is growing outside my back door. 
I’m not a good gardener, but this lavender is both tough and fragrant, and has made it through a number of Chicago winters.  Bees love it, so it must be contributing to someone’s honey.

Three Oaks is only about 70 miles from Chicago. The train does run through the middle of town, but don't expect to get off... It hasn't stopped there since 1959.