Trouble the Water


“…a spooky, slow-burning, multi-layered novel, with lively and pitch-perfect dialogue reminiscent of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird.” *

From the award-winning author of Dovey Coe comes a sweeping tale of the friendship between a black girl and a white boy and the prejudices they must overcome in segregated Celeste, Kentucky, as the pair try to solve the mysteries surrounding a lonely old dog.

Eleven-year-old Callie is fearless, stubborn, and a little nosy. So when she sees an old yellow dog wandering around town by itself, you can bet she’s going to figure out who he belongs to. But when her sleuthing leads her to cross paths with a white boy named Wendell who wants to help, the segregated town doesn’t take too kindly to their budding friendship.

Meanwhile, a nearly invisible boy named Jim is stuck in a cabin in the woods. He’s lost his dog, but can’t remember exactly when his pup’s disappeared. When his companion, a little boy named Thomas, who’s been invisible much longer than he, explains that they are ghosts, the two must figure out why they can’t seem to cross the river to the other side just yet…

And as Callie and Wendell’s search for the old dog brings them closer and closer to the cabin in the woods, the simmering prejudices of the townspeople boil over.

Trouble the Water is a story that spans lifetimes, showing that history never truly disappears, and that the past will haunt us until we step up to change the present and stand together for what is right.

* Shelf Awareness, April 20, 2016

Welcome to the online home of Frances O’Roark Dowell, award-winning author of Dovey CoeThe Secret Language of GirlsTen Miles Past NormalShooting the Moon and other novels for young readers. To learn about all of Frances’s books, be sure to check out the Books section of this web site.

If you are a student working on book report or homework assignment, you’ll find most of the information you are looking for on the Biography page.

Young Writers
If you are interested in being a writer or just want to read writing advice from Frances, scoot on over this site’s special section just for young writers. In our Creative Writing for Kids section, you’ll find writing advice and inspiration, exercises, projects from Frances’s popular series of writing workshops, as well as tons of great articles and interviews from the pages of the popular arts magazine Frances published before she dedicated herself to writing novels full-time. We hope to make it one of the best writing resources for kids on the web, so be sure to check it out!

Young Scientists
If, by chance, you are a young scientist in the making and a fan of The Highly Scientific Notebooks of Phineas L. MacGuire (Thanks, Cheerios!), hurry to The Science Site for Kids. That’s where you’ll find science news just for kids, as well as experiments, projects, book reviews and lots of other cool stuff. The universe is out there just waiting to be explored, after all, so why not get going?

To stay up to date on the latest information about Frances and her books, be sure to sign up for her Newsletter using the form on the right side of this page. Your email will be kept entirely private and we’ll send no more than one email per month.

School Visits
To contact Frances about a school visit or similar event, please visit the Author Visits page, or  Contact us for additional information.

Frances O’Roark Dowell is the bestselling and critically acclaimed author of Dovey Coe, which won the Edgar Award, Where I’d Like to Be, the bestselling The Secret Language of Girls, and its sequel The Kind of Friends We Used to Be and The Sound of Your Voice Only Really Far Away, Chicken Boy, Shooting the Moon, which was awarded the Christopher Medal, the Phineas L. MacGuire series, Falling In, The Second Life of Abigail Walker, the teen novel Ten Miles Past Normal. She lives with her husband and two sons in Durham, North Carolina. [Full Biography]