Published by Disney-Hyperion
“Brims with charm and compassion.”
–Vashti Harrison, New York Times best-selling author of Little Leaders
“Love ain’t like that.”
“How is it then?” Peaches asked, turning on her stomach to face me.
“It’s like sky. If you keep driving and driving, gas will run out, right?”
“That’s why we gotta go to the gas station.”
“Yep. But have you ever seen the sky run out? No matter how far we go?”
“No, when we look up, there it is.”
“Well that’s the kind of love Daddy and Mama got for us, Peaches–love like sky.”
“It never ends?”
G-baby and her younger sister, Peaches, are still getting used to their “blended-up” family. They live with Mama and Frank out in the suburbs, and they haven’t seen their real daddy much since he married Millicent. G-baby misses her best friend back in Atlanta, and is crushed that her glamorous new stepsister, Tangie, wants nothing to do with her.
G-baby is so preoccupied with earning Tangie’s approval that she isn’t there for her own little sister when she needs her most. Peaches gets sick-really sick. Suddenly, Mama and Daddy are arguing like they did before the divorce, and even the doctors at the hospital don’t know how to help Peaches get better.
It’s up to G-baby to put things right. She knows Peaches can be strong again if she can only see that their family’s love for her really is like sky.
“I’m fine. . . . I want my sister to get better,” I said.
“We all do. That’s why she’s here. I’m working on getting her better even as we speak.”
“If that’s true, why can’t I see her?”
“Because the room she’s in is for extra-delicate little girls, and we got to make sure that everyone who comes in contact with her has a strong immune system. You know what that is?”
“The science teacher said it’s inside stuff that stops us from getting sick.”
“Looka here! We got an up-and-coming doctor. And that system is stronger when you’re older. That’s why we can only let older people in right now.”
I blinked to focus and cleared my throat. “I know a way I can help her.”
“You’re praying and thinking about her every day, right, Georgie?” Tangie said.
The nurse tapped on her clipboard. “That’s the best medicine.”
“But I want to do something else,” I said. “Can I, Dr. Harris?”
“Why don’t you tell me what it is and we’ll see?”
I put my hands of my knees and squeezed real hard to stop them from shaking. I wouldn’t mess up.
I stared into the doctor’s eyes. “I’ve been eating apples. My blood is real, real red. I saw it myself today when I fell off my bike. It didn’t look like sick blood. I want to give Peaches some of my blood. ’Cause I’m her big sister, you can take some of my good blood out and put it in with her blood.”
“Hmm,” Dr. Harris said, nodding. “A blood transfusion.”
“Yes! Like on Grey’s Anatomy. That way the men . . . men . . .”
“Meningitis,” Dr. Harris said.
“Yes. That way it will leave her body. I haven’t been sick in two years, not out of school once. Not even a cold. My grandma Sugar says I’m healthier than an ox.”
Dr. Harris stood up and pulled me to my feet. “Well, you know your stuff. You’re a smart girl.”
“Was the smartest in our class,” Kevin added.
“Is that possible, doctor?” I asked. “Can we do it today?”
“What if I told you we can make her well without it, and because you love her so much that will make all the difference?”
“She’s top in her field,” the nurse added.
“Would you believe me?” Dr. Harris asked.
“I guess so . . . yeah,” I said. “But Peaches can’t stay here much longer. She likes to jump around and watch me dance.”
“That transfusion is something I’ll keep in mind. But filling her with a lot of vitamins and antibiotics will make her well, too.”
I frowned. “If she’s in ICU, whatever you’re doing hasn’t been working.”
“You’re right. Not as well as we hoped. That meningitis is a stubborn illness, but your little sister is strong and now we have a backup plan with the transfusion, right?”
“Right,” I said.
Leslie C. Youngblood received an MFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. A former assistant professor of creative writing at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, she has lectured at Mississippi State University, UNC-Greensboro, and the University of Ghana at Legon. She began her undergraduate degree at Morris Brown College and completed her bachelor’s at Georgia State University. After graduation, she served as a columnist and assistant editor for Atlanta Tribune: The Magazine.
She’s been awarded a host of writing honors including a 2014 Yaddo’s Elizabeth Ames Residency, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story Prize, a Hurston Wright Fellowship, and the Room of Her Own Foundation’s 2009 Orlando Short Story Prize. She received funding to attend the Norman Mailer Writers’ Colony in 2011. Her short story, “Poor Girls’ Palace,” was published in the winter 2009 edition of the Indiana Review, as well as Kwelijournal, 2014.
In 2010 she won the Go On Girl! Book Club Aspiring Writer Award. In 2016 she landed a two-book publishing deal with Disney-Hyperion for her Middle-Grade novel, LOVE LIKE SKY (Nov.6). She often teaches creative writing classes at Rochester, New York’s literary center, Writers & Books.
Born in Bogalusa, Louisiana, and raised in Rochester, New York, she’s fortunate to have a family of natural storytellers and a circle of supportive and family and friends.
3 winners will receive a finished copy of LOVE LIKE SKY, US Only
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