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Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

Collector's Edition

Kimberly Willis Holt

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National Book Awards Winner

With understated elegance, Kimberly Willis Holt tells a compelling coming-of-age story about a thirteen-year-old boy struggling to find himself in an imperfect world. At turns passionate and humorous, this extraordinary novel deals sensitively and candidly with obesity, war, and the true power of friendship.

National Book Award Winner


The red words painted on the trailer caused quite a buzz around town and before an hour was up, half of Antler was standing in line with two dollars clutched in hand to see the fattest boy in the world.

Toby Wilson is having the toughest summer of his life. It's the summer his mother leaves for good; the summer his best friend's brother returns from Vietnam in a coffin. And the summer that Zachary Beaver, the fattest boy in the world, arrives in their sleepy Texas town. While it's a summer filled with heartache of every kind, it's also a summer of new friendships gained and old friendships renewed. And it's Zachary Beaver who turns the town of Antler upside down and leaves everyone, especially Toby, changed forever.

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town is the winner of the 1999 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

Featuring a foreword by New York Times bestselling and Newbery Honor author Sheila Turnage.

This title has Common Core connections.

Booklist Editors' Choice, NYPL Books for the Teen Age, National Book Awards Winner, School Library Best Books of the Year, Texas Bluebonnet Award, New Mexico Land of Enchantment, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, Georgia Children's Book Award (U of GA), ALA Notable Children's Books, Illinois Rebecca Caudill YR Choice Award, Horn Book Magazine Fanfare List, Vermont Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award

When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

Chapter One
Nothing ever happens in Antler, Texas. Nothing much at all. Until this afternoon, when an old blue Thunderbird pulls a trailer decorated with Christmas lights into the Dairy Maid...

Praise for When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature
An ALA Notable Book
One of ALA’s Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults
Horn Book Fanfare
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
An American Bookseller “Pick of the Lists”


“This book packs more emotional power than 90 percent of the so-called grown-up novels taking up precious space on bookshelves around the country.” —USA Today

“Holt reinvents the coming-of-age story.” —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“In her own down-to-earth, people-smart way, Holt offers a gift.” —The Horn Book, starred review

“Holt humanizes the outsider without sentimentality . . . she reveals the freak in all of us, and the power of redemption.” —Booklist, starred review

“[Holt’s] heartwarming and carefully crafted novel . . . drives home the point that everyday life is studded with memorable moments.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Holt has crafted a remarkable story about finding yourself by opening up to the people around you. An excellent choice to read alone or aloud.” —School Library Journal, starred review

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Reviews from Goodreads

Kimberly Willis Holt

Kimberly Willis Holt is the author of the Piper Reed series, including Piper Reed, Navy Brat; Piper Reed, Clubhouse Queen; and Piper Reed, Rodeo Star. She has written many award-winning novels, including The Water Seeker and My Louisiana Sky, as well as the picture books Waiting for Gregory and Skinny Brown Dog. A former Navy brat herself, Holt was born in Pensacola, Florida, and lived all over the U.S. and the world—from Paris to Norfolk to Guam to New Orleans. Holt long dreamed of being a writer, but first worked as a radio news director, marketed a water park, and was an interior decorator, among other jobs. A few years after she started writing, her third book, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, which won a National Book Award for Young People's Literature. She resides in West Texas with her family.

image of Kimberly Willis Holto
Shannon Holt

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