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The Lifters

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Paperback
$9.99 US
6.06"W x 7.94"H x 0.93"D  
On sale Apr 30, 2019 | 352 Pages | 978-1-5247-6419-7
| Grades 3-7
Reading Level: Lexile 720L | Fountas & Pinnell V
Discover an underground world full of tunnels and mystery in this middle-grade adventure from the bestselling, Pulitzer-nominated author of Heroes of the Frontier and Her Right Foot.

What if nothing was as it seemed? What if the ground beneath your feet was not made of solid earth and stone but had been hollowed into hundreds of tunnels and passageways? What if there were mysterious forces in these tunnels, mere inches below you as you sit in class or eat a banana?

What if it were up to just two kids to stop these forces? What would it feel like to know the fate of an entire town rested on your shoulders?

Twelve-year-old Gran Flowerpetal is about to find out.

When Gran's friend, the difficult-to-impress Catalina Catalan, presses a silver handle into a hillside and opens a doorway underground, he knows that she is extraordinary and brave, and that he will have no choice but to follow her, and help her save the town (and the known world). With luck on their side, and some discarded hockey sticks for good measure, they might just emerge as heroes.

In The Lifters, critically acclaimed author Dave Eggers establishes himself as a storyteller who can entertain and inspire readers of any age.
© Brecht van Maele
DAVE EGGERS is the author of many books, among them The Circle—the companion to the book you are holding—and also The Monk of Mokha, A Hologram for the King, What Is the What, and The Museum of Rain. He is the cofounder of 826 National, a network of youth writing centers, and Voice of Witness, an oral history book series that illuminates the stories of those impacted by human rights crises. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and is the recipient of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the American Book Award. He has attended the JetPack Aviation academy in Moorpark, California, but is not yet certified to fly off-tether. Born in Boston and raised in Illinois, he has now lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for three decades. He and his family often consider leaving, but they do not leave.

www.daveeggers.net View titles by Dave Eggers
Gran did not want to move to Carousel.

But his parents had little choice.

His father, a mechanic, had not had steady work in many years, for reasons unknown to Gran.

His mother had had an accident when Gran was young, and was now in a wheelchair. His parents never explained quite what happened, and Gran didn’t feel right asking. After a while, when people asked Gran about his mother’s condition, he just said, “She was born that way.” It was the easiest way out of the conversation.

But he remembered when she walked. He remembered that she had once worked as an artist in museums, making the animals in ­dioramas look realistic. He had a foggy memory of standing, as a toddler, in an African savannah with her as she touched up the whiskers of a cheetah. That was before the wheelchair.

Then Gran’s sister Maisie was born, and his mother hadn’t returned to work. Gran’s father had built a studio for her, enclosing their deck and filling it with easels and paint and worktables, everything the right height. But Gran couldn’t remember her ever using it.

“My art is them now,” Gran heard her say to his father one day. At the time, Gran didn’t know what that meant.

Something of her talents had rubbed off on Gran. When he was four, his mother began giving him a certain kind of clay, available in hundreds of colors, that hardened when baked in the oven. With this clay, and with his mother’s gentle guidance, he formed penguins and dolphins and narwhals—­sea creatures who shared the Atlantic with him.

There was a distinct satisfaction in taking a block of blue clay and warming it, rolling it into a ball, then pinching it here to make a fin, squeezing there to make a tail—­and suddenly, from a blue ball there was something like a whale. Gran made animals from clay when he was happy, when he was sad, and especially when his parents fought. He was never sure what would happen when his parents argued, how loud it would get or how long it would go on, but he always knew that in twenty minutes, as their voices faded from his mind, he could make a ball of colored clay look like an orca, a manatee, a hammerhead shark.

As he worked, Maisie usually watched.

“Doesn’t look like anything,” she would say as he first rolled the clay.

He would pinch and pull, and she would say, “Looks like a snake. Snakes are boring.”

Then he would twist and poke, and something different, and specific, would emerge, and always Maisie acted like it was a miracle.

“How’d you do that?” she would ask, her voice awed. Gran liked nothing better in the world than to hear his sister’s voice awed. It gave him immeasurable strength for reasons he could not know.
  • NOMINEE | 2022
    Arizona Young Reader's Award
“This book is a ripper, full of all the good stuff: adventure, mystery, and lots of great jokes.” 
—Mac Barnett, Caldecott Honor–winning author of Extra Yarn

"Full of surprises, magic, and heart." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me

"A heart-gladdening work of allegorical genius . . . brilliantly rendering the bewildering stupidity of the adult world as seen by children." —The Guardian

"Eggers performs a marvelous sleight of hand, producing a first-rate middle grade adventure that doubles as a political parable for our times." —The Buffalo News

“[A] cozy contemporary novel about lifting spirits and rebuilding community through teamwork and imagination.” —Publishers Weekly

"A warm and rewarding read . . .Eggers skillfully handles the trope of the kids who save the town, with plenty of humorous adult cluelessness but an equal measure of compassion." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Original . . . and always intriguing. . . . Eggers's story moves along briskly thanks to mounting suspense and bite-size chapters." —Booklist

"A whimsical, fantastical story with elements of realism. . . . This atmospheric story's detailed plot moves quickly, and all the characters experience growth." —School Library Journal 

About

Discover an underground world full of tunnels and mystery in this middle-grade adventure from the bestselling, Pulitzer-nominated author of Heroes of the Frontier and Her Right Foot.

What if nothing was as it seemed? What if the ground beneath your feet was not made of solid earth and stone but had been hollowed into hundreds of tunnels and passageways? What if there were mysterious forces in these tunnels, mere inches below you as you sit in class or eat a banana?

What if it were up to just two kids to stop these forces? What would it feel like to know the fate of an entire town rested on your shoulders?

Twelve-year-old Gran Flowerpetal is about to find out.

When Gran's friend, the difficult-to-impress Catalina Catalan, presses a silver handle into a hillside and opens a doorway underground, he knows that she is extraordinary and brave, and that he will have no choice but to follow her, and help her save the town (and the known world). With luck on their side, and some discarded hockey sticks for good measure, they might just emerge as heroes.

In The Lifters, critically acclaimed author Dave Eggers establishes himself as a storyteller who can entertain and inspire readers of any age.

Author

© Brecht van Maele
DAVE EGGERS is the author of many books, among them The Circle—the companion to the book you are holding—and also The Monk of Mokha, A Hologram for the King, What Is the What, and The Museum of Rain. He is the cofounder of 826 National, a network of youth writing centers, and Voice of Witness, an oral history book series that illuminates the stories of those impacted by human rights crises. He has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and is the recipient of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize and the American Book Award. He has attended the JetPack Aviation academy in Moorpark, California, but is not yet certified to fly off-tether. Born in Boston and raised in Illinois, he has now lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for three decades. He and his family often consider leaving, but they do not leave.

www.daveeggers.net View titles by Dave Eggers

Excerpt

Gran did not want to move to Carousel.

But his parents had little choice.

His father, a mechanic, had not had steady work in many years, for reasons unknown to Gran.

His mother had had an accident when Gran was young, and was now in a wheelchair. His parents never explained quite what happened, and Gran didn’t feel right asking. After a while, when people asked Gran about his mother’s condition, he just said, “She was born that way.” It was the easiest way out of the conversation.

But he remembered when she walked. He remembered that she had once worked as an artist in museums, making the animals in ­dioramas look realistic. He had a foggy memory of standing, as a toddler, in an African savannah with her as she touched up the whiskers of a cheetah. That was before the wheelchair.

Then Gran’s sister Maisie was born, and his mother hadn’t returned to work. Gran’s father had built a studio for her, enclosing their deck and filling it with easels and paint and worktables, everything the right height. But Gran couldn’t remember her ever using it.

“My art is them now,” Gran heard her say to his father one day. At the time, Gran didn’t know what that meant.

Something of her talents had rubbed off on Gran. When he was four, his mother began giving him a certain kind of clay, available in hundreds of colors, that hardened when baked in the oven. With this clay, and with his mother’s gentle guidance, he formed penguins and dolphins and narwhals—­sea creatures who shared the Atlantic with him.

There was a distinct satisfaction in taking a block of blue clay and warming it, rolling it into a ball, then pinching it here to make a fin, squeezing there to make a tail—­and suddenly, from a blue ball there was something like a whale. Gran made animals from clay when he was happy, when he was sad, and especially when his parents fought. He was never sure what would happen when his parents argued, how loud it would get or how long it would go on, but he always knew that in twenty minutes, as their voices faded from his mind, he could make a ball of colored clay look like an orca, a manatee, a hammerhead shark.

As he worked, Maisie usually watched.

“Doesn’t look like anything,” she would say as he first rolled the clay.

He would pinch and pull, and she would say, “Looks like a snake. Snakes are boring.”

Then he would twist and poke, and something different, and specific, would emerge, and always Maisie acted like it was a miracle.

“How’d you do that?” she would ask, her voice awed. Gran liked nothing better in the world than to hear his sister’s voice awed. It gave him immeasurable strength for reasons he could not know.

Awards

  • NOMINEE | 2022
    Arizona Young Reader's Award

Praise

“This book is a ripper, full of all the good stuff: adventure, mystery, and lots of great jokes.” 
—Mac Barnett, Caldecott Honor–winning author of Extra Yarn

"Full of surprises, magic, and heart." --Rebecca Stead, Newbery Award-winning author of When You Reach Me

"A heart-gladdening work of allegorical genius . . . brilliantly rendering the bewildering stupidity of the adult world as seen by children." —The Guardian

"Eggers performs a marvelous sleight of hand, producing a first-rate middle grade adventure that doubles as a political parable for our times." —The Buffalo News

“[A] cozy contemporary novel about lifting spirits and rebuilding community through teamwork and imagination.” —Publishers Weekly

"A warm and rewarding read . . .Eggers skillfully handles the trope of the kids who save the town, with plenty of humorous adult cluelessness but an equal measure of compassion." —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"Original . . . and always intriguing. . . . Eggers's story moves along briskly thanks to mounting suspense and bite-size chapters." —Booklist

"A whimsical, fantastical story with elements of realism. . . . This atmospheric story's detailed plot moves quickly, and all the characters experience growth." —School Library Journal 

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