The Mysterious Jamestown Suitcase
Winner of the 2009 Gold Medal for Best Children's Fiction in the Florida Publishers Association 2009 President's Book Award Contest
Bailey Fish, 11, lives with her grandmother, Sugar, near an old house
that is being fixed up into a bed-and-breakfast by the Keswick family.
Before it is officially open, Keswick Inn's first guests arrive. They
are children's author Elmo Phigg and his wife, Feather. Among the Phiggs' possessions is a mysterious green suitcase that contains Jamestown secrets.
The Phiggs, who are evacuees from
hurricanes, are looking for a place to stay while Elmo Phigg works on
his book about Jamestown. Soon a young foster child, Sparrow, arrives.
Sparrow must stay in a wheelchair until her hips heal. Upset by the wheelchair
and her move to a new foster home, Sparrow refuses to speak to anyone.
Meanwhile, Bailey and her friends, Noah and Fred Keswick, try to learn
find out what is inside the suitcase by devious means. They also plan
First Laugh Party in the Navajo tradition, to make Sparrow laugh or talk.
Then, a mysterious stranger shows up to claim the suitcase. Will Sparrow
ever speak? And what is in the mysterious suitcase?
The embedded history is about Captain John Smith and the story of Jamestown, Virginia, which celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2007. There are pictures and maps of the Jamestown Settlement and Historic Jamestowne.
Here's an excerpt from this book.
Don't miss the excitement of the entire adventure series.
Sugar said, "C'mon, Bailey. Let's visit the newest guest at Keswick Inn." She knocked on the door to guest room three. There was no answer. Sugar turned the knob and opened it.
Bailey saw that the stuffed cat had been flung to the far corner. Books were scattered everywhere on the floor. Even a hanging picture of Bambi was crooked, like a terrible storm had whirled through the room.
There was a small wheelchair near the window. Its back was to the corner.
"Hello, Sparrow," Sugar said gently. "We want to welcome you to the neighborhood.
I'm Sugar, and this is my granddaughter, Bailey. She's new here, too."
"I liked reading The Mysterious Jamestown Suitcase with my mom. The main character in the book, Bailey Fish, seemed to be like me - curious and wanting to know about mysteries. I wanted to read more after I was done with each chapter, because the mystery kept getting stranger. We didn't learn what was in the suitcase until the very end, and it was very funny. I also learned about history of Jamestown, which is in Virginia. It made me want to learn more about the first people that came to live there. I am asking my mom for more Bailey Fish books, because they are fun to read." Regan Zaborowski, age 8, for Reader Views
"I really like both Bailey and Sugar and feel that they are indeed "Wild" women or gals who are flexible, compassionate, adventuresome and wise. All of the books highlight some of the common issues facing out children today, no matter where they live. I see so many of these themes played out on a daily basis and I see so many kids and families who struggle to work through some of the same type experiences. Bailey and her grandmother are perfect role models for resiliency." Jean A. Zearley, Fairfax County school social worker.
“Stolen artifacts pale next to the psychological wallop of this new installment in the popular Bailey Fish Adventure Series. . . . Social issues add texture to this otherwise straightforward mystery, showing Salisbury’s in-depth awareness of the complexities of growing up. Blended families, peer pressure, and domestic violence are among the many issues that Bailey and her friends confront, and the author’s emotional acuity and matter-of-fact approach create an understated sophistication that avoids the melodrama that such issues can invoke.” Elizabeth Breau, ForeWord magazine review
Sample Book Club discussion question:
Emily suggests that Bailey look in the suitcase when the Phiggs are not at home. Noah also wants to open the suitcase. Bailey, however, says she would not because it is not hers. Do you think she is tempted? Have you ever been tempted to peak at something (like a diary, for example) that did not belong to you? Has a family member or friend ever read a letter, e-mail or diary of yours that they had no business reading? How did you feel?
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Linda Salisbury receives a gold medal for Best Children's Fiction for The MysteriousJamestown Suitcase, and a silver for Ghost of the Chicken Coop Theater in the Florida Publishers Association 2009 President's Book Award Contest, judged by librarians. (Left) Betsy Lampe, FPA executive director, (center) Salisbury, and (right), Chris Angermann, FPA president
The Mysterious Jamestown Suitcase
is a bronze medal winner in the 2007 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards in the Pre-teen fiction category and was a finalist in the 2008 ForeWord magazine Book of the Year Contest. Gold medal winner for Best Children’s Fiction, FPA President’s Book Awards, 2009.