Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters is the latest Patricia McKissack gem. Ms. McKissack was a featured author on the Kid’s Stage at the recent St. Louis Big Read celebration of books and reading. Meant for kids, but adults like it, too, what I really love is that these clever, fun, and sometimes scary short stories are based on tales that the grown-ups told in the old days, when families and friends gathered on the porches on hot summer nights, swinging, fanning, and just “shootin’ the breeze.” It reminds me of my own mother who as a child listened with big eyes while grownups told strange stories of the “Old Fox” or ghosts. She, too, says those are “stories for a hot summer night.”
I have had a great time reading these porch lies to my youngest daughter. Some of the words are a little big, so we had discussions about their meanings, but it was fun reading the stories in a southern African-American accent. I tried my best to imitate Patricia McKissack’s wonderful drawling voice as I heard her read at the festival. She has a number of other books meant for younger kids, such as Precious and the Boo Hag, as well as some biographies and historical fiction of people of color. As a person of some color myself, I like stories that are about the different peoples of the world. Owning the books seems to give more validity to the different cultures; “those people” aren’t just in library books, they are living in our house!