Monday, December 06, 2010

Pg. 69: Mary Helen Stefaniak's "The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia"

The current feature at the Page 69 Test: The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia by Mary Helen Stefaniak.

About the book, from the publisher:
A big-hearted story of a Depression-era small town turned upside down by a worldly teacher.

Narrator Gladys Cailiff is eleven years old in 1938 when a new, well-traveled young schoolteacher turns a small Georgia town upside down. Miss Grace Spivey believes in field trips, Arabian costumes, and reading aloud from her ten-volume set of The Thousand Nights and a Night. The real trouble begins when she decides to revive the annual town festival as an exotic Baghdad bazaar. Miss Spivey transforms the lives of everyone around her: Gladys's older brother Force (with his movie-star looks), her pregnant sister May (a gifted storyteller herself), and especially the Cailiffs' African American neighbor, young Theo Boykin, whose creative genius becomes the key to a colorful, hidden history of the South.

Populated by unforgettable characters—including three impressive camels—The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia rides a magic carpet from a segregated schoolroom in Georgia to the banks of the Tigris (and back again) in an entrancing feat of storytelling.
Learn more about the book and author at Mary Helen Stefaniak's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia.

--Marshal Zeringue