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"This non-depressing Depression story depicts a “creative” family trying to avoid foreclosure on their property that is planted in Christmas trees. (In Texas?!?) The glossary is a great addition for the American 1930s public history lesson. Randall Platt continues her award-winning writing—highly recommended! "
Library Director, Warner Pacific College, and Willa Award reviewer


"Can’t see the trees for the forest? Liberty Justice Jones can, but then she’s brilliant— little good it does her in a small town in the throes of depression that leave a fatherless family without anything, sometimes even food. Without, except for resourcefulness in the worst of times. This is a transcendent story for all the seasons of life, offering a lesson for here and now. "
Author of The Cowgirls and Horned Toad Canyon


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A red-haired girl in search of an education, a draft horse in search of one last chance, a broken-down tractor in search of a missing gear, and a Mexican- American boy in search of a home join forces in a time when nothing was king

Like most everybody else in the middle of The Great Depression, fifteen year old Liberty Justice Jones is, well, stuck. But living smack-dab in the Lost Pines of Texas, where anyone can walk into the forest and chop a tree for free, with a debt-burdened mom who's trying to make a go of a newfangled idea called a Christmas Tree farm—that's stuck bad. Espcially if your dream is college.

Liberty's younger brother, Jefferson, is no help, and neither is their addled grandmother. Liberty's only hope is her own wits. But if she's so smart, she wonders, why can't she figure out a way to help their family and get off this wreck of a farm?

Learning of the five-hundred-dollar prize for the most beautiful Christmas tree delivered to the state capitol, Liberty hatches a plot. With the aid of their aging draft horse, Quiller, their derelict tractor, Stella, and Rudy, a kid pulled between America and Mexico and fresh off the rails, she's determined to move a twenty-five foot tree all the way to Austin in the snow and ice—without getting caught.

With the sparkling dialogue and spunky humor that fans have come to love in her heroines, and perceptive eye and ear for historical detail, award-winning author Randall Platt takes readers young and old on a spirited adventure set in a tune when dreams were all folks had.

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Randall Platt


  1. STOPPED LISTENING TO AUDIO BOOKS - I love being read to, but I can't think about MY stories while listening to someone else's story. So, unless it's a long, boring drive or flight, I no longer listen to audio books. Instead, I think about my current project.
  2. CREATE MY OWN SOUNDTRACK - I create IPod "soundtracks" for my own work in progress. I create a playlist of the tunes which inspire my story and characters.
  3. CUT BACK ON THE FREE ADVICE - I am the sort who will stop and talk to anyone, anywhere about anything. So I don't answer letters or phone calls, but will zap a quick email instead.
  4. SET REALISTIC GOALS - Just because I CAN write fast, does not mean I should, so I no longer try to get it written in two months.
  5. FEWER GROUPS AND FORUMS - I used to belong to several writers forums, clubs and newsgroups, but now only belong to a few and I open my yap only when I have something important to add.
  6. PICK MY BATTLES - Too many things far outside of my control were taking control of my time and mental energies. So, I write fewer letters, join fewer campaigns and stick to the business at hand - being a writer.
  7. TOOK COMPUTER GAMES OFF MY COMPUTER - A minute here and a minute there adds up to vanished hours. I now play only ONE game a day - and that is a crossword puzzle the first thing in the morning to make my head come to life.
  8. CUT BACK ON INTERNETING - Well, if you have read this far, maybe you need to do the same thing. Nah, just joking. Keep Reading. Number 10 scores!
  9. TAKE WORK AND MUSIC EVERYWHERE - I am never without my work-bag. The time we spend waiting adds up. So, even if there is a ghost of a chance that I will be kept waiting wherever I go, I know I will fill that time with work.
  10. TAKE SUNDAYS OFF - Okay, as you can see from the above nine items, I am a workaholic and it's taken me many, many years to realize I need one day to recharge, rethink and reset. Sunday is for family, food, reflection, and many times, sipping champagne. So when 4 am Monday rolls in, I am set for another week.... providing there hasn't been too much of that champagne thing.