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On this episode of Arts & Letters, we talk with Trenton Lee Stewart, author of the bestselling The Mysterious Benedict Society series.
His newest book The Secret Keepers, published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, is a mystery involving time, directions, smoke, poetry and riddles and at its core is about hiding in plain sight.
Today [Reuben Pedley] wanted to strike out into new territory, and there was no time to waste.
Eleven years had passed since the factory accident that left Reuben without a father and his mother a young widow scrambling for work--eleven years, in other words, since his own promising star had begun to fall. Reuben made his habitual, rapid inventory of potential hiding places: a shady corner between a building's front steps and street-facing wall; a pile of broken furniture that someone had hauled to the curb; a window well with no protective railing...He preferred bona fide hiding places when he could find them, but there was nothing quite like hiding in plain sight....
Stewart explains that the character of Reuben is shy and has a talent for hiding. Over time, these two aspects of his personality have forged Reuben's way of being in the world.
"Sometimes people saw you and then instantly forgot you, because you were just a random kid, doing nothing."
Reuben's hiding has led him to discover an antique watch filled with mystery, secrets, and magic. He sets off on a dangerous adventure to solve the mystery of the watch and to save his city before it's too late. . .
Trenton Lee Stewart is the author of the novel Flood Summer and the award-winning, New York Times best-selling The Mysterious Benedict Society series. The Mysterious Benedict Society, winner of the E.B. White Read-Aloud Award and named by Time magazine as one of the 100 greatest young adult novels of all time, has been translated into several languages and optioned for television.
Stewart’s short fiction has appeared in literary magazines such as New England Review, The Georgia Review, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and others, and has been cited as distinguished work in The Best American Short Stories. His most recent New York Times best-selling novel, The Secret Keepers, was chosen by the Amazon Book Review as the best children’s book of 2016, named one of the best middle grade novels of the year by Entertainment Weekly and is an American Library Association Notable Book for Children. Stewart lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
For resources on using The Secret Keepers in the classroom, visit Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Featured song, "Movement of Time" by Silas Hite:
Watch musician Travis Bowman in the A&L Studio playing the mysterious, harp guitar:
A special thanks to the talented actors who shared their voices with the production: Daniel Breen, Josh Enloe, Simon Hawkins, Michael Hibblen, Lucie Loukotkova, Paz Tiedeman, and Nathan Vandiver.
Hiding In Plain Sight
Executive Producer & Host: J. Bradley Minnick
Story Editor: Mary Ellen Kubit
Producer: J. Bradley Minnick
Recorded by: Christopher Hickey