Cover image for Kissing Tennessee and other stories from the Stardust Dance
Kissing Tennessee and other stories from the Stardust Dance
Appelt, Kathi, 1954-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt, [2000]

Physical Description:
118 pages ; 19 cm
Graduating eighth graders relate their stories of love and heartbreak that have brought them to Dogwood Junior High's magical Stardust Dance.
Reading Level:
820 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR UG 5.6 3.0 54121.

Reading Counts RC 6-8 6.1 8 Quiz: 22874 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Mason and Carrie Marie can't summon up the courage to ask each other to dance. Lindy knows her best friend is making a huge mistake with her boyfriend, but she doesn't know how to tell her. Cub is struggling with the feelings he has for his friend Trent. Russ's girlfriend has died, and now he's just trying to live without her. Peggy Lee has grown up with Tennessee, but can she ever think of him as more than a friend? In her first book for older readers, Kathi Appelt brings a group of unforgettable students together for the most memorable night of their lives. *The first book for older readers from a popular picture book author *Eight short stories--a favorite format for teen readers--that capture the humor and mixed emotions of growing up

Author Notes

Kathi Appelt is the author of many books for children and young adults, including When Otis Courted Mama, illustrated by Jill McElmurry; Oh My Baby, Little One, illustrated by Jane Dyer; and the story collection Kissing Tennessee. Her novel The Underneath was a Newbery Honor book and a National Book Award finalist. She lives in Texas. "

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Gr. 5^-9. Eight short stories follow graduating eighth-graders on the night of the Dogwood Junior High Stardust Dance. Though most stories offer the usual assortment of love troubles (unrequited love, crushes, and turning friendship into love), it's the stories of uncertainty and abuse that are the most memorable, not for the topics but for the finely crafted writing. The fundamentalist Christian father in "Rachel's Sister" may beat his daughter for wearing lipstick, but the images of the story that linger are ones of hope and resourcefulness. "Starbears," a nicely ambiguous tale about sexual identity, features a wonderful scene of two boys bonding during a skateboarding adventure. Short story collections are often a hard sell, but the topics in this one will appeal to middle-school readers, and the book is worth mentioning to teachers for its recurring examples of good writing. --Debbie Carton

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6-9-Readers may be surprised by the powerful literary mix that they encounter in this short-story collection. In interrelated selections, individual students prepare for their eighth-grade dance, and every story shifts imperceptibly through a broad spectrum of teen issues. Rachel's religious father is abusive and volatile; Becca is the victim of date rape. Cub wraps himself in the scent of his father's old shirt hoping to protect himself from "The Question"-a private doubt about his sexuality that is taunting and terrifying him. The title story is equally fulfilling with a more traditional romantic flavor. The various moods are caught with immediacy and intimacy, and the resolutions occur in precious little time. This collection will spark conversation in contemporary literature discussions, will quietly unsettle readers, and will elevate the quality of short-story collections.-Alison Follos, North Country School, Lake Placid, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Dance with MeMagic happens, see. It's just like on those bumper stickers, the ones that say MIRACLES HAPPEN, or JESUS HAPPENS. I never really took those too seriously. Imean, they're bumper stickers.Yeah, yeah, I know what you're thinking. Miracles? Right. Jesus? Maybe. But magic?I wouldn't have believed it myself before tonight, even though I loved all those fairy tales that my mom used to read to me when I was a little kid.My favorite was the one about Snow White. Those funky little guys with the beards. The poisonous apple. And that cool mirror the evil stepmother used to talk to. You know, she'd ask it all these questions: Who's the nicestWho's the sweetest...Who's the fairest of them all? And for a while, everything was hunky-dory. The mirror always said: You are, O fair one. But mirrors never lie, and so one day the mirror told her the truth: Hey, there's this new girl in town, and sorry, witchie, but she's got the edge in the nice, sweet, and fair categories.Of course, it was all make-believe. That's what I thought, anyway. But now I'm telling you, I'm not so sure.See, there I was at the Stardust Dance.And there was Lucy White. (Yeah, I know, coincidence.) I swear she was glowing in the candlelight.The whole cafeteria was full of glitter. The decorations committee had hung these paper moons and cutout stars from the ceiling. All those stars and moons were covered with glitter, and every time the air conditioner blasted them, they spun around and around and glitter drifted down on top of everyone. The glitter and the candles...they made the place look like a fairy castle or something. And right in the middle of the ceiling hung a giant mirror-ball.Anyway, there was Lucy White. She had on this short white skirt and a blue blouse, and she had her black hair pulled back in this long ponytail that came down to the top of her waist. She had those fairy-tale princesses beat. Even Snow White. I mean, if the witch had popped her question then, Lucy White would have won big time.So there we were-Lucy on one side of the cafeteria and me on the other. And man, all I wanted to do was dance with her. That's all. Wanted to wrap my arms around her slim waist, pull her close, dance her across that cafeteria floor beneath the stars and moons.And I know for a fact that she wanted to dance with me, too. All year long I had sat behind her in our first-period English class, watching that black ponytail swish across her back. And every once in a while, her hair would fall onto my desk. I loved to pull it, and when I did, she'd look back at me and smile. Man, that girl can smile. But that was all. She hardly ever said anything. She's the quiet type.So I was really surprised last week in school when she passed me that note. Me, Tim Hernandez. The note that said, "Ask me to dance. Love, Lucy." I've still got it. In fact, it was tucked into my back pocket during the dance. I could feel its heat through my pants. All I had to do was ask her. S Excerpted from Kissing Tennessee: And Other Stories from the Stardust Dance by Kathi Appelt All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Dance with Mep. 1
Rachel's Sisterp. 11
Just a Kiss, Annie P.p. 31
Starbearsp. 41
The Right Wordp. 66
Kissing Tennesseep. 81
The Notes Between the Notesp. 90
These Shoesp. 101
Acknowledgmentsp. 117 '