In addition to conventional books, I’m also the author/illustrator of You Will All Be Punished Unless the Guilty Party Confesses, a one-of-a-kind mystery for young teenagers. The story “resides” in an old-fashioned card catalog.
Punished tells the story of one class at Charles Portis Middle School. When the teacher, Ms. Ashlee finds a cryptic note that seems to say, “I am afraid of you,” she concludes one of her students is terrorizing another. The “evidence” fits right into Ms. Ashlee’s detective fantasy.
“The night before, Ms. Ashlee had stayed up late reading a novel. It was about her favorite detective, a school teacher who solves mysteries when she isn’t grading homework.
Ms. Ashlee woke up too late to make herself lunch. That’s why she went to the school cafeteria at noon.
Returning to her room with spaghetti and turkey meatballs in a foil tray, Ms. Ashlee saw a folded paper on the floor. It looked exactly like evidence left at the scene of a crime…”
Each drawer is labeled “Start here/Open next,” inviting young readers to begin the story at any point and follow its brief (one-to-five-card) episodes in any order, giving them the satisfaction of snooping through the cabinet in the process.
“Jennifer protected herself with a practiced glare. The tightness of her eyelids and mouth were the only warning you got. Say one word after that and Jennifer would rip you apart.
If there was something Jennifer didn’t want talked about, no one dared mention it. And lately the forbidden subject list was getting long.
It started in the fall, when LOL_365 appeared. At first, the 140-character comments were teasing:
Alex T’s haircut makes him look like a seasick Pomeranian.
Tessa W. wears granny panties.
Then LOL_365’s tweets began to sting…”
With 15 drawers, the story can potentially unfold in 1,307,674,368,000 different ways. You Will All Be Punished… is not currently on display.