Daisy's 1st Book

Eleven-year-old Daisy Tannenbaum, tomboy extraordinaire, doesn’t want to go back to school.  So, when she ends up on an isolated island in the Indian Ocean after her family is accidentally kidnapped by Malay pirates, she’s totally psyched.  For her, this is paradise.  Her family, however, is utterly unprepared to cope with the primitive conditions on the island.  Her parents are divorced and barely on speaking terms, her sister wants to crush Daisy’s skull with a rock, and a grad student Daisy’s dad may or may not have had a thing with ends up washed ashore with them.  Nothing ruins paradise like having your stupid family around.

What readers are saying:

"I didn’t want to put this book down.  Daisy and the Pirates is a very fun read."
—Elizabeth, Santa Barbara, CA    

"Daisy and the Pirates is escapism at its finest...  Daisy Tannenbaum's voice is so believable you begin to wonder whether J.T. Allen might not be Daisy's pen name."
—Kieran, Austin, TX

"I feel like I know Daisy - the tone of the narrative completely captured me.  I want more adventures with Daisy!"
—Madison, Montclair, NJ    

"The writing in this book will catch you off guard with both its humor and its tenderness, as the author touches the eleven year old in all of us."
—Lisa, Chagrin Falls, Ohio    

"To the character Daisy: I hope you stay with us and regale us with a libraryful of your exploits and tales of derring-do."
—Rachel, Brown Deer, WI    

"Huck Finn, move over, Daisy'll give you a run for your money!"
—Linda, Los Angeles, CA    


Here is a Chapter From Daisy and the Pirates

Chapter 5

    It’s almost impossible to describe how good it felt to crawl up on the sand. You’re so tired, so, so tired, but so happy, way beyond happy really, like you want to laugh your head off except you’re too tired to laugh. You’re soaked and cold and achy and the ground rocks under you because your balance is out of whack from being on the waves, but it feels like rocking in your mom’s arms or something, like when you’re a baby, and even if it’s cloudy and the rain is still coming down, like it was, you’re so much warmer than you were in the water. And you’re through the crashing breakers that are the most dangerous part, the part that kills most people just when they think they’ve made it, so you want to fall asleep right there, no matter that savages might come and drag you off and cook you for dinner or a tiger might eat you for lunch, or whatever wild, demented things flash across your mind as you feel the freezing grains of sand against your cheek and go to sleep. A sleep so deep you don’t dream, not for hours and hours, and then when you do they’re terrible dreams, really ugly, weird dreams, because the only thing that will wake you is a dream you need to escape from.
     To tell you the truth I don’t even know if I looked around to see if the others had made it before I fell asleep. I think I did. I think I saw vague forms crawling up beside me, but maybe my mind was playing tricks or something because when I woke we were pretty spread out, which bothers me to this day.
     But we were all there. Except Helen. Dad had even dragged the raft up past the high tide line. He says when the Ayutthaya first hit he had a gut feeling that we’d struck rock or coral rather than another vessel and so our chances of being near land were good. He didn’t have proof though, so he kept it to himself. But when the storm eased toward morning, the gray dawn showed the ghost outline of land.
     No one had to say it at the time. We knew we could be swept past the land and back out to sea. So we paddled with our hands and kicked with our feet till everyone was way beyond exhausted, which we were way beyond anyway, sliding by what seemed like continents of coastline. I don’t think we had much effect really. I think we lucked into some eddy current, which dragged us in. Just before we went over the first line of breakers Dad made us hold onto the outer edge of the raft so we wouldn’t get stuck under it if we flipped, which we promptly did. He also said to stay with the raft as long as we could. “Don’t be tempted to swim for shore no matter how close it looks. The raft will get us there. Just hang on.”
     Hang on we did. Well, mostly. When we tumbled over the second time I hit my head on what I thought was the bottom and maybe even was the bottom and came up gasping for air and started to swim. Mom dug her nails into me again and dragged me back into the raft.
     We still debate about who woke up first. Partly because I think we woke up and went back to sleep a few times and partly because even when you were awake the world seemed all groggy.
     I remember sitting up and looking around then lying down again. The sun had broken out and started to bake everything. I remember thinking, I’ve just been shanghaied by real pirates and shipwrecked and with any luck we’ll be castaways for the whole school year. Suddenly I felt like you do on Christmas morning when you wake up too early to go downstairs and open presents. Not like when you’re real little and it’s just torture, but when you’re old enough to know that nothing is going to happen to your presents no matter how long you have to wait. The fact that Helen was dead didn’t seem to register at that point, as if I’d blocked it out to protect myself.
     I wasn’t the only one trying to protect myself. I could hear Mom and Dad talking. She kept saying, “I can’t believe this is happening. Tell me I’m dreaming.” 
     “You’re dreaming,” said Dad, staring out at the ocean, blinking and blinking. 
     “Don’t be a smart-aleck,” Mom said.
     “Then you’re not dreaming.”
     “I have to be. I have to. This can’t be happening. I have meetings all next week.  I’m supposed to meet the new vice-president of marketing on Wednesday. I have to pick up the dog on Tuesday. I have to see Clymene’s school advisor on Thursday. What day is it?”
     “Saturday. I think. Though your meeting is across the International Dateline so—”
     “—How soon can we get out of here?”
     “Depends where we are.”
     “Well, where are we?”
     “I’m pretty sure we’re on a beach somewhere.”
    “Don’t be a smart-aleck.” He shrugged. She made this little exasperated sigh she makes with a lazy toss of her hand, which can be really charming—my Mom is actually pretty charming—but it drives my Dad bonkers. “Where’s my daybook?” She started digging through her purse. Water poured out of it. The pages of her book were stuck together. She started working them apart. “Daisy has a dental appointment on Friday.”
     Dad just stared at her.
     “What?” she asked.
    “Nothing? Just nothing? I’m going to have to cancel all these meetings and all you can say is nothing? ” She dug her cell phone out. She picked bits of sea crud off of it. “Do you have any idea at all when we’ll be out of here?”
     “Ballpark? Anything?” She started to dial the phone. “I have to tell them something.”
     “Tell them whatever you want.”
    “That’s helpful. Do you realize how helpful that is?” He shrugged. He was so tired he couldn’t think of a comeback. She did her little sigh again then studied her phone. “I’m not getting good reception.” She struggled to her feet, “Maybe if I walk to that point over there.” She took a step but then something clicked into place. She stared at nothing a second then collapsed back down again.  “This can’t be happening, she said. “Tell me this isn’t happening.”
     “This isn’t happening.”
     On they went. I turned away in disgust and spotted Clymene, sitting up now too. She was hunched and shaking with sobs. She looked so miserable I crawled over and put my arm around her.
     “It’s okay, Cly,” I said, “we’re going to be okay. The worst is over, really. We’re safe on land and they’re probably looking for us already and there’s probably a village or something close by and just think of what a great story this is going to make.”
     “I called her a bitch,” she sobbed. “I was so mean. All she was trying to do is be nice and she couldn’t help if she looked the way she looked or that Dad was a super-rat and now she’s gone, and the last thing I did was scream at her like some spoiled, stupid, selfish brat.” I wanted so badly to agree with her, but I kept my mouth clamped. She reached her arms toward the ocean, “Helen, Helen, I’m sorry. I’m so, so sorry. I never meant to hurt you.”
     I stood up. I had to get away. Maybe it was selfish, but Helen wasn’t part of my family and I knew if I started thinking about what happened to her I would crumble into tiny pieces and stay that way.
     I walked off down the beach, weaving and wobbling like I was still tossing on the waves, head feeling like a helium balloon, like it would float away if it wasn’t attached to me, while little sparks danced around in front of my eyes. “I’m going to scout around,” I shouted, not looking back. I didn’t care if they even heard me. 
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