Keena Ford and the Secret Journal Mix-Up

Table of Contents
A division of Penguin Young Readers Group
Published by The Penguin Group
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Text copyright © 2010 by Melissa Thomson
Pictures copyright © 2010 by Frank Morrison
All rights reserved
The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume
any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Thomson, Melissa, date.
Keena Ford and the secret journal mix-up /
by Melissa Thomson ; pictures by Frank Morrison.
p. cm.
Summary: When she accidentally leaves her journal in Tiffany's apartment,
Keena is afraid that Tiffany will reveal all of her secrets.
eISBN : 978-1-101-44338-5
[1. Diaries—Fiction. 2. Secrets—Fiction. 3. Schools—Fiction. 4. Friendship—Fiction.
5. African Americans—Fiction.] I. Morrison, Frank, date, ill. II. Title.
PZ7.T37195 Kh 2010

For Linda de Castrique and Millie Thomson
To my daughter Nia
9:30 A.M.
I'm Keena Ford, and this is my notebook. This notebook belongs to ME ONLY. Right now it is writing time in my classroom, and most days during writing time I write in a beautiful journal. On the cover of my journal there are clouds and rainbows and a picture of President George Washington. But I don't have my journal today, so I am just writing in this plain old notebook.
The reason I don't have my journal is because a very mean person has it and won't give it back. And that person read my journal. And that person is Tiffany Harris, the meanest muffinhead in the whole second grade. Tiffany has been mean for a long time, but the problem of her taking my journal didn't happen until yesterday afternoon.
The problem happened right after I came home from school. I always walk home with Eric and Lamont. Eric is my very best friend, even though we are not in the same class. He is in the second-grade class that is all boys, and I am in the second-grade class that is all girls. And Lamont is a fifth grader. Back when Lamont was a kid, my older brother Brian would make sure he got home safely, so now Lamont has to make sure Eric and I get home safely. Sometimes Lamont used to just walk me to the door of my apartment, but now he ALWAYS has to wait for my mom to open the door before he can leave. The reason why Lamont has to wait is because one time when he left me at the door, I decided to visit my neighbor Mrs. Carlito before going into my apartment. Mrs. Carlito lives by herself, so I wanted to make sure she was not lonely. Also she has a LOT of cookies for someone who lives by herself. When I grow up and live by myself I will have lots of cookies and also some carrots because they help you see at night. Anyway, Mom got pretty mad at me for going to Mrs. Carlito's instead of coming home, so now Lamont has to knock on the door and wait until Mom opens it before he can leave.
Yesterday Lamont had only knocked on the door one time when it flew right open and Mom was already standing there. She had her coat and scarf on.
“Is the heat broken?” I asked.
“No, I am going out,” Mom answered. She looked really mad, but I knew she couldn't be mad at me, because I waited with Lamont like I was supposed to. Unless she was mad at me for something I did wrong then forgot about.
“Who are you mad at?” Lamont asked her.
“I'm not mad. Thank you for walking with Keena, Lamont,” she said to Lamont in a way that meant Lamont should probably go home now. He ran down the stairs.
“Where are we going?” I asked Mom.
“I'm going to Brian's school,” she answered. “And you are going to Tiffany's.” She took my hand and started pulling me toward the stairs.
“Oh no I'm not,” I said, pulling back. “I will go to Eric's.”
“Eric is going to a basketball game with his dad,” Mom reminded me.
“Then I will go to Mrs. Carlito's,” I explained to Mom.
“Mrs. Carlito is out,” Mom said, tugging me toward the stairs again.
“Then I can sit in the car at the middle school,” I told her. “I will sit very quietly. I promise.”
Mom stared at me without saying anything. I got the feeling that maybe she could be mad at whoever she was mad at already AND be mad at me at the same time. So I stopped tugging and started walking down the stairs with Mom. “Believe me, Keena,” Mom said, “I don't like leaving you at the Harrises any more than you like it.”
Before Mom knocked on Tiffany's door, she whispered, “Keena, please do not give Sylvia Harris a single reason to say something bad about your behavior. If I get a good report from her, you will be able to watch thirty extra minutes of TV.”
“How many shows is that?” I whispered back.
“It's one show,” Mom said.
“Hmmm,” I said.
“Keena Ford.” Mom bent her eyebrows together so that they were almost touching in the middle of her forehead. “Do I look like I want to make a deal with you? Please just behave yourself. It is the right thing to do, and I will be very proud of you. Be a big girl.”
“I will be very good, Mommy. I promise,” I said. Mom gave me a squeeze and knocked on the door.
Tiffany's mom opened the door. Tiffany was standing right behind her. Right away I could smell roses, because it always smells like roses in Tiffany's apartment. Tiffany's mom burns smelly candles all the time that are supposed to smell good but really they just make you sneeze and wish you could go outside.
“Thanks again, Sylvia,” Mom told Mrs. Harris.
“It's no problem, Nikki,” Tiffany's mom said. “I just feel awful for you. I hope Brian can fix his behavior before it's too late.” She shook her head sadly.
I looked at Mom. I felt worried. I didn't know what Tiffany's mom meant, but she made it sound like something bad was going to happen to Brian.
“Oh, I don't think it's as bad as all that,” Mom said to Mrs. Harris. “Brian just needs to learn to stop being a clown at school.”
“Oh, I am sure you are right,” Mrs. Harris said. She kind of laughed. “Don't mind me. I was just watching this television program about this nice family whose son was in jail. It was the saddest thing. And he first started getting into trouble in middle school. But I'm sure that won't happen with Brian.”
“Mmm-hmmm, well, I should be home by five, Sylvia,” Mom said. She said it without really opening her mouth, like her top and bottom teeth were stuck together.
“Keena is going to be here for almost two HOURS?” Tiffany said. She did not sound like she was very excited about having me stay at her house.
“Believe me, my mom doesn't like leaving me here any more than you like it,” I told Tiffany. “Right, Mom?” I looked at Mom. She made a laugh sound that also sounded like a coughing sound. Then her face changed colors a little bit.
“Er, I am just sorry to ask for a last-minute favor,” Mom said to Mrs. Harris. “So thank you. See you at five,” she added, then she kissed me on the top of my head and left me standing there with Mrs. Harris.
“Well, come on in, Keena,” Mrs. Harris said. “You poor dear.”
At first I had no idea why Mrs. Harris called me “poor dear,” but then I decided that she probably did not think it was much fun playing with Tiffany either.
“Ah-choo! Ah-choo! Ah-choo!” I said.
“Oh dear, you have a cold?” Mrs. Harris looked at me like I was poisonous, or a bomb. “Your mom didn't tell me you were sick.”
“I'm not sick,” I told her. “I think I'm just allergic to your smelly candles.”
Mrs. Harris frowned at me. Then she said, “You girls can go to Tiffany's room. Please do your homework. Then Tiffany must do her workbook pages. Then you can play.”
“Ah-choo!” I said again.
Tiffany and I started walking to her room. “Your brother MUST have been very bad if your mom had to go to a meeting at the school,” Tiffany said like she knows everything. Tiffany always talks like she knows everything. “I thought you were the only bad kid in your family.”
I opened my mouth to call Tiffany a mean name, but then I remembered that I had promised to be very good. So I just said “Mmm-hmm” with my mouth closed, the same way Mom had said it to Mrs. Harris.
Then I didn't talk to Tiffany the whole time we did our homework. I decided that I was not going to say one more word to Tiffany until my mom came back to get me.

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