McKissack, Patricia. 2006. Porch Lies: Tales of Slicksters, Tricksters, and Other Wily Characters. Illustrated by Andre Carrilho.
Patricia McKissack’s collection of short stories, Porch Lies, would make a great read aloud. After all, they are written in the great African-American story-telling tradition. The stories are funny, entertaining, and some communicate some great life-lessons. My favorites include “Change” about a man who spent years living off his neighbors with the excuse that he only had a one hundred dollar bill. Since no one in the depression had change for a bill that large, then he always was getting by on credit or the line, “I’ll pay you next week.” After years, the town is fed up. Someone gets the ‘clever’ idea to challenge him. They confront him and state that he is a liar and that he doesn’t really have a hundred dollar bill. Not threatened in the least, he suggests a bet. So sure of themselves, most folks bet money that he has been lying and can’t produce the legendary bill. But sure enough, he surprises them all by pulling one out. He wins money from almost everyone in town and using that money he begins to make good on his debts. “Aunt Gran and the Outlaws” is another story about how an old woman and her young great-nephew who harbor two of history’s most infamous criminals: Frank and Jesse James. Using her wits, she uses her new houseguests to scare away the white men who have been bullying and threatening her for years. I highly recommend this book to all who love a good story!