ALAN v27n2 - Only Connect

Only Connect

Anne C. LeMieux

From a talk presented at the 1999 ALAN Workshop Denver, Colorado

My son Brendan, now twelve, has always been one of those kids who could force the Energizer Bunny into early retirement. As a baby, this manifested itself as an absolute refusal to acknowledge the concept of "Bed Time." I tried everything short of anesthesia to regulate his circadian rhythms, including an electronic bone-colored plastic box that clipped to his crib mattress and simulated the white noise and motion of a Mercedes cruising at 55 miles per hour on the Great Salt Flats. According to the accolades of satisfied customers, it was guaranteed to transport any errant infant instantly to the land of Winken, Blinken, and Nod, a guarantee I suspect was made with the cynical knowledge that any dissatisfied consumers would be far too exhausted to demand their money back. For Brendan, it seemed to inspire lively visions of the Indy 500 more than sleep.

My next tack was to try boring him to sleep. His sister Sarah, then nine, and I took turns reading aloud chapters of Great Expectations. Unfortunately, the little Dickens exhibited a precocious taste for Victorian literature and furthermore, Miss Havisham provided fertile nightmare fodder for Sarah, so now both offspring were incubating serious sleep disorders.

By eleven months, Brendan had learned to work the crib bars like an Olympic gymnast, so I bought him a trundle bed. When he turned two, my mother gave me a book on retraining the delinquent habits of reluctant sleepers by means of behavior modification. This involved gradually increasing the distance from the bedside during nightly vigils, and the time interval between responses to heart-wrenching wails. Above all, the book advised, be firm in the assault on anti-somnolence.

One night, Brendan left his bed for about the dozenth time and toddled out to me, where I sat at my guard post at the top of the stairs. I picked him up, carried him back, and laid him down. I think he could see that I was barely clinging to the last frayed thread of my tether to sanity. But I had the book in my hand. I felt firm. More than firm, I felt close to rigor mortis.

Fixing my sternest gaze on him, I laid down the law. "It's NIGHT time," I said through gritted teeth. "It's SLEEPY time."

He absorbed this thoughtfully, his blue eyes twinkling, then flipped his binky out of his mouth and grinned.

"It's CWANKY time!" he said.

After an amazed pause, realizing I'd just witnessed the birth of my son's sense of humor, my CRANKYness dissipated in waves of laughter.

Although I know now from my recent research that he was exhibiting a developmentally sophisticated type of humor, a biphasic sequence of incongruity and resolution rooted in semantics and syntax, at the time my thought was, "Wow! Brendan just made his first joke!" He'd made a cognitive connection.

If I had to characterize the core of my writing process, I'd describe it as making connections

Connecting small graphic symbols into groupings which carry meaning

Connecting words into ordered strings which hopefully compound the meaning

Connecting sentences until the constructs of language are as laden with meaning as I can make them- ideas, events, symbols, all connected to character--- the whole hopefully forming a conduit for human meaning, leading to a reader, the final connection.

In my earliest phases of story development, the connections between the seeds of my ideas are often vague, tenuous. I germinate the seeds in a medium of questions--- Who? Why? What if? When I began Do Angels Sing the Blues?, I knew I wanted it to be about music and about the death of a best friend, seeds sown in me by personal experience. As I listened to the late Stevie Ray Vaughan one day, his song, "Life Without You," was the jumper cable that sparked the connection. I suddenly knew the music would be the blues, and the best friendship between Boog and Theo would be grounded in a blues band.

The TV Guidance Counselor had its inception in an idiosyncratic human behavior that ignited my curiosity back in high school. Several times a week, a young man came into the grocery store where I cashiered. He moved in his own world, a worrisome world, judging from his expression, the only apparent intersection with the rest of the world occurring between the pages of the TV Guide's, which he pored over intensely, then replaced. He never bought one. What was he looking for? I don't know, but the urgency of his search connected with something deep inside me.

My first author talk, with the ink on my Dale Carnegie certificate barely dry, was to a class of 6th graders. They eyed me warily, zeroing in on my nervousness, clearly uncomfortable with this lady who looked like she was about to barf butterflies. My voice, at first, was a clumsy instrument, waywardly wavering, resisting all my efforts to tune it to a confident timbre that would convince this audience I knew what I was talking about. But gradually it steadied, just as Dale Carnegie promised it would. One slightly-built, tow-headed boy made eye contact every time my gaze swept his way. I could tell he was listening. When I came to the talk section on my character, and my conviction that plot arises out of character, not the other way around, I asked if anybody had ever read a book in which the characters were so well-developed and compelling, that they felt like they were spending time with real people. The boy's hand shot up.

"Ricky," he said. "I felt like Ricky was my best friend." His sincerity was unmistakable and my gratitude was immense. Afterwards, his teacher told me that he's been withdrawn lately, that his parents were in the throes of a hostile divorce, like Ricky's best friend, Michael Madden, in my book. It was my first experience of seeing my words connect so directly with a fellow human being.

One of the questions I'm often asked by kids is, "Do you write about people you know?" Yes, I tell them, though I don't always realize it until someone "recognizes" him or herself in something I've written and points out the purloined personality parts to me. But I also tell them that each one of my characters contains part of me, too. F. Scott Fitzgerald once said, "Writers aren't exactly people … They're a whole lot of people trying to be one person." On my less than well-integrated days, I consider myself not so much a single individual with one ego-identity as a loosely-connected committee of sub-selves. I'm not sure if this is a occupational hazard, or useful psychological setup for a writer, a built-in character bank.

In my fiction, there seems to be one archetype who crops up often enough for me to suspect he's one of my major alter-egos: an adolescent weishenheimer with a big mouth, social tendencies ranging from merely subversive to anarchistic, a strong aversion to authority figures, who uses wit both offensively and defensively.

The main character in Jester's Quest, a young adult work in progress, set half in the real world and half in cyber-space, is of this ilk. Newly relocated from the suburbs to the sticks, Jesse Freito lives with his mother, Lydia, a vegetarian refugee from technology who once mistook a computer mouse for a foot pedal, and his step-father, Richard Wellner, author of the New Age-Business-Motivational Best Seller: If You Like the Universe, It Will Like You Back and Pay You Big Bucks Besides.

Following are the minutes of a step-family meeting:

"But Jesse," Lydia says. "You can have any of the other three bedrooms. I don't understand why you want to live in the attic. It's so … gloomy. I'm afraid you won't get get enough full-spectrum light to regulate your bioclock."

"Yeah, guy," Richard puts in, slipping one arm around his mother's shoulders, his other arm twitching like he's gonna try a "Happy Family Group Hug" thing.

"Touch me and you'll make fresh roadkill look healthy, GUY," I say.

A nasty humph escapes as Richard's mask slips for a second. "He wants to stew in his own juice, Lydia, let him."

"Tsk, tsk, Richard, such an angry, even carnivorous metaphor," I admonish. "How about, 'Simmer gently in his own miso broth?'"

Jesse's peer relations aren't much better. Confronted in the school lavatory by Luke "Harley" Hostedler and Blake Van Deuser, whom Jesse describes as "built like a brick outhouse with the predictable contents for brains," he tries to brazen it out.

"Well, look who's here," BVD drawls.

"Ayep," Luke philosophizes, with characteristic local acuity.

I take a step back to the door, keeping my face to the enemy, and force a smile.

"Well, I'd stay to chat, guys, but that would be presumptuous in the extreme, taking for granted the capacity for cerebral processing and meaningful verbal articulation in two such atavistic specimens of evolution as yourselves."

At a nod from BVD, Luke has my arms secured in a vice-like grip that precludes any hope of further retreat or escape. Now Blake's face is right in mine.

"I don't like you," he informs me.

Well, whadaya know. A surprisingly meaningful verbal articulation.

An impromptu shampoo in the urinal ensues, interrupted by the weirdest girl in school.

"You know what your problem is?" Sophie says cheerfully.

"Hmmmm," I say. "Let me see," I say. "Could it be-ah - I know! I'm all wet."

She fixes me with a look of condescending pity. "Your problem is you isolate yourself by means of sarcasm. You use what you consider humor to try and make yourself feel superior. You know where the instinct to laugh originated?"

"Uh, wherever the first caveman saw the first chicken try to cross the first road?"

She hands me a fistful of paper towels. "The instinct to laugh derives from aggression. It's a veiled venting of hostility against a more powerful enemy."

I blot myself. "Oh yeah? Then why were BVD and Luke laughing like a pair of hyenas on nitrous oxide a minute ago?"

"That's the other part," she tells me. "It's the winner's cry of victorious glee after whooping the loser."

In the first draft of this book, I conceived of Jesse's career goal as stand-up comedy, and began my research along those lines, though in later drafts, he underwent a metamorphosis. Still, it was a productive detour, as I find most writing detours to be.

During the early stage of any writing project, I tend to take an academic approach, research in broad sweeps until bits of information begin to converge into loci of possible focus. I cruise the Internet, hyperlink from source to source, marveling at the near instantaneousness of the connections. I browse the aisles of libraries and bookstores, brushing my fingers as well as my eyes along the spines of books like a dowser seeking to divine a certain lay line of knowledge. My research for this talk turned up a book called The Game of Humor, which posits the Superiority Theory of Humor. Simply put, it states that humor always depends on a transaction that involves a winner and a loser. I found that concept --that every experience of humor can be reduced to a zero-sum game-- far too narrow to explain a phenomenon so prismatically complex in terms of the colors of human emotions.

Still, as a partial theory, it resonated with my inner weisenheimer. I felt a compulsion to investigate aggression, and polled my committee to get their input.

The whiney, goody-goody voice of my inner wimp pointed out that if I did, I'd be doing what I often do, which is anything but what I'm supposed to be doing, in this case, researching laughter. She threatened to tattle to my super-ego and get a good dose of guilt going.

The whisper of my inner intuitive seeker of synchronicity and significance, the one who wears hand woven organic hemp robes and who sneaks tofu and mung bean sprouts into my grocery carriage when I'm not paying attention interrupted. "It could lead somewhere really importantÉ You have to exploreÉ "

Then the mellow inner fellow in charge of primary task procrastination in my daily schedule reminded me that to a writer, everything is research, that even reading this week's issue of People legitimately qualifies as character work, besides which magazines are a tax write-off.

My quandary thus rationalized, I meandered off on the tangent of aggression, coming upon a book by Nobel prize-winning naturalist Konrad Lorenz, called On Aggression. A quick page perusal turned up the phrase "The Great Parliament of Instincts," a metaphor for the cooperation that has evolved among our independent instincts, aimed at producing, if not total inner harmony, at least working compromises between the different instincts.

"Hmmm," I said to my selves, "We can relate to that." We bought the book.

Of the four primary instinctive drives fuelling behavior - hunger, sex, fight, and flight -- aggression is the fighting instinct in animal and man that is directed against members of the same species. Lorenz begins with his observations on aggression among coral reef fish, an area in which I have some minor experience as a naturalist myself, the result of another misbegotten attempt to persuade Brendan to stay in his bed at night. "How soothing and tranquil," I thought, "a tropical fish tank would be." Little did I realize the belligerent bent of damsel fish. Brendan found their skirmishes as stimulating as World Wrestling Federation bouts. It wasn't an entirely futile exercise, however, since some of my observations found their way into my middle grade novels, Fruit Flies, Fish, and Fortune Cookies, and Dare To Be M.E.!

In All the Answers, a new companion book to these novels, 8th grader Jason Hodge's social territory has been invaded by newcomer Philip H.J. Nevimore the Third, and Jason's former girlfriend Amy has a major new rival in Philip's twin sister Phelicia. The result is immediate escalation of intra-specific aggression.

I jerk my head in Thud's direction. "He never takes his eagle eyes off his sister."

"Speaking of eyes, why don't you just dig yours right out of your head and glue them to her, Jason?" Amy says. There's hostility in her tone.

Mary Ellen starts to laugh.

"What's so funny?" Amy and I say with simultaneous indignation.

"You two. You're like fishÉIt's a biological thing. You can't put members of the same or two very similar species in a small tank together without automatic antagonism."

"Why not?" I'm curious.

"Because they compete for all the same resources. The same food, territory, the same mate-"

"He's her brother!" I sputter. "He can't be her mate! Geez!"

"I'm talking about biological instincts, Jason," Mary Ellen goes on calmly, but her eyes are laughing. "And anyway, the fact that he's her brother activates another instinct - to protect the females from invaders who might pollute their gene pool."

The Darwinian question is always, "What is the survival value of this behavior, to the individual, and/or to the species?" Aggression among members of the same species has three functions: spacing out members of a species within a given biotope to maintain an ecological balance; determining the genetically strongest material to pass along by means of male rival fights; and defending the young.

Within certain species, as social organization developed, many aggressive behaviors became modified, the aggression redirected into symbolic gestures, akin to rites and rituals. Evolution designed these behaviors, such as greeting and appeasing, to inhibit intra-specific aggression.

A fascinating aspect of this evolutionary thread is the fact that the strength of the inhibitions against seriously injuring fellow species members is closely proportionate to the capability of the creature's natural weapon - beak, claw, teeth - to seriously injure them. In nature, the predators with the most effective and deadliest weapons are the ones with the strongest taboos blocking their use against one of their own. A crow, with his beak, could put out the eye of a rival crow. But he doesn't. In fact, the critical distance which has evolved as a sort of moveable territory governing how close two rival crows will roost, is twice the length of the crow's outstretched neck, head, and beak, just beyond easy pecking distance. Were some Frankensteinian scientist to transplant the beak of a crow onto a dove, a creature without the capacity to seriously injure a compatriot, therefore without a strong inhibitions to prevent him from doing so, the hybrid bird would be a true monster, likely to peck his unarmed fellow dove mercilessly to death under certain circumstances.

The most primitive form of social aggregate identified by Lorenz is the anonymous herd or flock, a shoal of fish, a herd of sheep. A more advanced social grouping is one organized hierarchically. Within such groups, the development of a "pecking order" deters intra-specific aggression: each member of the community knows its place, knows to back off from the big guys, stronger, older, and/or wiser members of the species, and to expect respect in the form of submission from the weaker and the younger.

Yet a further social subdivision occurs when individual communities develop their own behavior patterns -- community standards or "manners." Eric Erikson called this process pseudo-speciation, the division within a species into clans or tribes, the equivalent of cultures and sub-cultures. Once a species has differentiated to this point, the question arises: "Who goes there, friend or foe?"

For human beings, culture is the culmination, thus far, of our evolutionary progress in social organization. American culture, with its diverse demographics, brings to mind the image of a crazy quilt superposed on map, a non-patterned assemblage of odd shapes and sizes sewn together in a geographic space, the seams determined by the sub-cultural or pseudo-specific boundaries of ethnic heritage and religion, age and gender, economics and politics, proclivity and interest.

Brendan is entering the sub-culture of adolescence now. (One sign is that he's sleeping much better -- especially on school mornings.) He's in 6th grade and he marches to the beat of a different drummer. His strong suits don't fall within the circumference circumscribed by the round hole of current kid-culture. He seeks connection in his own open and sometimes na•ve way, and is often rebuffed, nudged toward the periphery. He looks in the peer-mirror and what is reflected back to him is that he doesn't fit in. The second week in school, he was standing in line to get a form for junior varsity basketball tryouts and apparently another kid felt his space was being invaded, so he jabbed Brendan in the arm with a ballpoint pen hard enough to break the skin, make him bleed. Brendan fled, bewildered and hurt.

Last year, his self-image as depicted in the kite poem all the kids had to write for the fifth grade year book was:

happy and loveable
bike riding, drumming, talking
hopeful musician, youngest brother
singing, running, walking
strong, brave

This year in middle school, former friends are flocking as close to the center of the herd as they can squeeze, and if it means turning their back on those who skirt the fringes, or stampeding over the feelings of a less favored classmate, they have their own survival to consider. Conformity is an asset.

One of the developmental characteristics of preadolescence and adolescence is an increased drive for autonomy and independence, which provides a powerful propellant toward a child's peer community, akin, in early adolescence, to the anonymous herd society. There is strength in numbers. Lorenz speculates that a weakness common to many predators that pursue a single prey -- they are "incapable of concentrating on one target if, at the same time, many others are crossing their field of vision - might have been the selection pressure giving rise to the evolution of the herd society. Viewed in this light, one can see why inclusion in the pack might seem a better survival strategy than developing individuality. To be separated from it is to become extremely vulnerable.

In my attempts to help Brendan navigate this new hazardous terrain, I came across a book called Raising Cain: Protecting the Emotional Life of Boys, by Psychologists Dan Kindlon and Michael Thompson who name the social arena of preadolescent and adolescent boys (although much of what they say I feel applies to girls as well) "The Culture of Cruelty." Some of its hallmarks are domination, humiliation, fear, and betrayal.

Lord of the Flies, by William Golding is perhaps the seminal young adult describing aspects of the adolescent culture of cruelty. More than the specific plot events of that book, I remember the experience of reading it, a growing foreboding, an increasing physical and emotional queasiness, paralleling a slow extinguishing of hope that somehow by the book's end, all would be well. The savage climax didn't fail to fulfill my dread, and in fact, left me stunned. Looking back now, I think the shock I felt was one of recognition -- that such evil, in kind, if not degree, wasn't a stranger to the dark side of my own nature; that it wasn't outside the realm of possibility that under certain circumstances, I could don the role of turncoat, I could seek a scapegoat, could betray a friend, to ensure inclusion in the herd of the cool, as early seventies culture defined it.

I've roamed some distance from laughter and literature, but before I return, I need to touch on a connection that this detour has turned up. The issue is the eruption of murderous violence in our schools, perpetrated, it seems, by adolescents radically - at the root -- disconnected from the human family - admittedly a dysfunctional family -- for any of a number of reasons. Numerous possible contributing factors have been cited as we've sought to understand and cope with the horrific events: the glorification of violence in popular culture, the breakdown of the two-parent family and inadequate supervision of children, economic disadvantages, substance abuse, the emphasis in our culture on the supremacy of image over substance, video games - some of them essentially weapons simulators that sharpen reflexes while dulling aversion to the real consequences of violence. But one factor that's shadowed my thoughts is the part that laughter - taunting or derisive or cruel - may have played in the psychological and emotional warping - the distancing beyond connection --of those who pulled the triggers. In jockeying for social position within the adolescent peer pecking order, a primary weapon has always been mockery. Over and over in Raising Cain, Kindlon and Thomspon stress the crucial need to connect to kids who are drifting toward isolation, before that isolation seals them in a place where they may feel they have no choice but to burst violently out.

In another book, King Solomon's Ring, Lorenz says, "There is only one being in possession of weapons which do not grow on his body and of whose working plan, therefore, the instincts of his species know nothing, and in the usage of which he has no correspondingly adequate inhibition. That being is man." Though evolution originally wired us for aggression, its usefulness to our species in terms of survival value has been preempted by a far more pressing selection pressure: the need to coexist. As anthropologist Marvin Harris puts it in his book Cows, Pigs, Wars and Witches, "Our primary mode of biological adaptation now is culture."

The same faculty which enabled mankind to invent a weapon - the power of conceptual thought, the ability to mentally link cause and effect - is the faculty which gives mankind the power to forecast an action's consequence to a given act, and to override the instinct to commit it. It's also the faculty which can perceive and appreciate humor. During the course of evolution, nature has endowed certain species with enhanced senses. Asking the Darwinian question, what might be the survival value for the human species at this stage in our development, of the sense of humor?

Much humor turns on incongruity, a conflict between expectation and result, followed by an integration of the two. Inherent in the structure of humor, then, is the notion of an unexpected connection. Within the context of culture, humor is a coded mode of communication, and if both the encoder and the decoder of the joke "get it", it can be a vehicle for shared understanding, for promoting inter-cultural insight. Humor, in emphasizing human universals, can fuse the "us" and the "them" into one "we" during a moment when "we all get it - together."

On the higher planes of humor, by which I mean the elevations that don't rely on the meaner-spirited aspects of human nature for their punch line, there is a precipitous shift in perception. This kind of humor can take a set of implied assumptions and overturn them to our delight. The joke is on us, but also in us and around us - we free-float in it until we reorient ourselves, with the pleasurable sensation of expanded comprehension.

If certain kinds of humor have the power to hurt, other kinds have the power to heal. There is evidence that laughter has a number of measurably beneficial effects on human health. Laughter and humor serve important coping functions, diffusing tension, restoring perspective, providing a conciliatory catalyst in conflict. Viewed in that context, Brendan's two-year-old touchŽ was an effective gesture of appeasement that deflected the wrath of mom, and restored the family balance.

Humor also has the capacity to articulate and highlight values, particularly social, cultural, and political satire. During the protracted debacle when current events studies included presidential prurience, Brendan came to me with questions I never would have anticipated from him at age eleven. I fumbled for answers, sickened, and furious. As a parent, I discussed with friends, "What do we tell the children?"

Noodling around on the computer one night, I felt a Dr. Seussian spasm in my brain that usually signals the onset of doggerel verse, and wrote a short piece called, "The Great Dress Mess". It was heavily influenced by Brendan's favorite book as a youngster, Mike McClintock's Stop That Ball. A rollicking story of a young boy's adventures trying to retrieve his big red errant tetherball, the first line runs:

"I hit my ball, I made it fly."

Well, I tweaked that line a little bit to fit the political situation, and the rest just poured from my keyboard:

The intern gave a happy cry. They went one round, and then, alack, They went back for a second crack.

"Oh, no!" she cried, "Oh what a mess! Now look what you got on my dress!" He whispered coyly in her ear, "A mere, small, smear. Don't fret, my dear."

"The Spray and Wash will save the day. Will rinse that evidence away. It's washable, it's from the Gap. Now come and sit here on my lap."

His lust refused to be restrained. That blue Gap dress, it got more stained. What started as a little smear Soon grew into a souvenir.

"The presidential DNA Might be worth bucks," she thought, "someday," and so despite the misdemeanors, failed to take it to the cleaners.

Once Ken Starr got wind of it, The intern threw a hissy fit. But soon she saw the light of reason: Romantic treason or federal preason.

The prosecutor shoveled smut While Bubba tried to save his butt. With fork-ed tongue, he gave a speech. The G O P still cried, "Impeach!"

The smear went to the FBI. The president told one more lie. He gave a final press address "Now I'll confessÉ That there's MY dress."

Returning to culture, perhaps humor, what people find funny, is one barometer of a given culture's level of elevation. I won't say penning that verse was one of my noblest moments as a writer, but it was cathartic.

Lorenz wrote, "I believe that [young people] today are skeptical to the point of nihilism. I believe that their mistrust of all ideals is largely due to the fact that there have been and still are so many artificially contrived pseudo-ideals `on the market' calculated to arouse enthusiasm for demagogic purposes." If this was true thirty-five years ago when Lorenz wrote, it seems even more so today. But he goes on to add: "Humanistic ideals have [for their ally] a heaven-sent gift of manÉ a faculty as specifically human as speech or moral responsibility. Humor. In its highest form, it appears to be specifically evolved to give us the power to sift the true from the false. Humor and knowledge are the great hopes of civilization."

The title of this talk, "Only Connect," is E.M. Forster's epigraph for the novel Howard's End. I interpret this first, as a call to unite our ideals with our daily efforts and second, as a call to reach out and cultivate relationship.

How to connect with today's adolescent readers by means of laughter and literature? Victor Borge once said, "Laughter is the shortest distance between two people." As a writer, my foremost aim is to write with honesty, and without condescension, with humor which encompasses the paradoxes, the incongruities, even the absurdities of life. My hope is that my characters' voices will catch kids' attention, and connect with their hearts, and that my stories might help expand their emotional vocabularies. I believe a writer can be an agent of connection, helping kids achieve emotional literacy, which is perhaps the most important kind. Young adult literature can facilitate the growth of empathy and provide an impetus for adolescents to transcend not only the narcissism fostered by this modern culture, but also transcend the isolation it engenders. Empathy is a prerequisite for the development of social interest, which according to humanist psychologist Alfred Adler, is the hallmark of maturity. Empathy and social interest are essential for the survival of our species.

I watch Brendan carefully these days. I see him already withdrawing his willingness to invest effort where he perceives the lurking shadow of probable or even possible failure or rejection. I see a guarded look come over his eyes like a tinted visor lowering when I question him. But we still have our islands of connection in the confused sea of this new phase in our lives. And I know we're standing together and connected on one of them, when we're both laughing.

Editor's note: The following is a partial list of works by Anne C. LeMieux, who has also published under the names A. C. LeMieux and Anne LeMieux. She is the feature of a chapter by Pamela S. Carroll in the upcoming Writers for Young Adults, Supplement One, Ted Hipple, series editor, published by Charles Scribner's Sons. Anne Connelly LeMieux --- A Selected Bibliography The TV Guidance Counselor A.C. LeMieux
Tambourine Books/William Morrow Fall 1993 hardcover
Avon Books Fall 1994 paperback
An American Library Association Best Book For Young Adults - 1994 Nominated for Garden State Teen Book Award 1996 Super Snoop Sam Snout
The Case of the Yogurt Poker
The Case of the Stolen Snowman
The Case of the Missing Marble Anne LeMieux
International Reading Association Children's Book Choice List
Avon Camelot Books paperback June 1994
Easy to Read mystery series Fruit Flies, Fish & Fortune Cookies Anne LeMieux
Tambourine Books/William Morrow Fall 1994 hardcover
Pointered Review - Kirkus Reviews
Nominated for Oklahoma Sequoya Children's Book Award 1996-97
Avon Books Fall 1995 paperback
Middle grade fiction Do Angels Sing the Blues? A.C. LeMieux
Tambourine/William Morrow Spring 1995 hardcover
Starred Review Publishers Weekly Parents' Choice Silver Honors Award
Avon Books Spring 1996 paperback young adult novel Food Fight, Ed. Michael Rosen, Harcourt Brace/Share Our Strength: "Roast Beast Battle" by Anne LeMieux; poetry New year, New Love young adult short story anthology
"Just Say..." by Anne LeMieux
Avon Flare December 1996 Dare to Be, M.E.! by Anne C. LeMieux
sequel to Fruit Flies, Fish & Fortune Cookies
Avon hardcover JUNE 1997 Avon Camelot paperback Spring 1998
Girls' Life Magazine February/March 1998 Recommended Reading: A Self-Esteem Bookshelf All the Answers!! By Anne C. LeMieux
sequel to Dare to Be, M.E.!
Avon hardcover Spring 2000 Avon Camelot paperback Spring 2001 Fairy Lair: A Special Place
Aladdin Paperbacks November 1997
Fairy Lair: A Hidden Place July 1998
Fairy Lair: A Magic Place December 1998
early middle grade fantasy by Anne LeMieux

Reference Citation: LeMieux, Anne C. (2000) "Only Connect." The ALAN Review , Volume 27, Number 2, 11-16.