It was a hot summer day on Orange Street, one of those days that seem ordinary until you look back on it. Lawn sprinklers sparkled, mourning doves cooed, and the sky was an amazing blue, as it always was in L.A. Even at eight a.m., the sun looked like a giant egg yolk. In fact, a few parents made a joke about the sidewalk being hot enough to fry an egg on by noontime. One grumpy kid wondered aloud why anyone would be dumb enough to do that.

Everything seemed normal, except you couldn’t help noticing the Day-Glo orange cone sitting at the curb in front of the empty lot. (The mysterious stranger didn’t arrive until later.)

Excerpt© 2011 Joanne Rocklin

About the book:

When a mysterious man arrives one day on Orange Street in Los Angeles, the children who live on the block try to find out who he is and why he’s there. Little do they know that his story – and the story of a very old orange tree – connects to each of their personal worries in ways they never could have imagined. From impressing friends to dealing with an expanding family to understanding a younger sibling’s illness, the characters’ storylines come together around that orange tree.

Taking place over the course of a day and a half, Joanne Rocklin’s middle grade novel builds a story about family, childhood anxieties, and the importance of connection. In the end the fate of the tree (and the kids who care for it) reminds us of the magic of the everyday and of the rich history all around us.

What people are saying:

“Fully realized characters and setting definitely make this one morning on Orange Street amazing.”–Kirkus, Starred Review

“…realistic, evocative novel, which features a warm and believable community of adults and children… culminating in a confrontation that resolves several mysteries and brings out the best in everyone.”–Publisher’s Weekly

“In one marvelous chapter the tree tells its own history…This deceptively simple book reminds us how important the things we sometimes take for granted are: friendship, family, love, and the interconnectedness of our everyday world.”–New York Journal of Books

Released: April 1, 2011

About the author:

Joanne Rocklin, Ph.D. has written over 20 books for children, encompassing several genres. She has a doctorate in psychology and is a former elementary school teacher, presently writing children’s books full-time. Originally from Montreal, Canada, Joanne lived in Los Angeles for many decades. She now resides in Oakland, California with her husband Gerry, one cat and one golden retriever. When not writing she enjoys babysitting regularly for her four grandchildren, singing in a choir, gardening, baking artisan breads and reading voraciously.

Joanne was a participant as a Writer-in-Residence in the University of Southern California Writing Project, a collaborative university-school program to improve student writing and the teaching of writing in the classroom. For several years she taught a popular class in writing children’s books at UCLA Extension. She gives presentations in schools and libraries and has been a speaker for the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, the California Reading Association, and other organizations. She has also led writing workshops for young people at the Jewish Community Library, Los Angeles. You can visit her at