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General Audience

The Picaresque is an educational fiction series that holds potential for tweens on the verge of losing interest in schoolbooks, for teens hungry to succeed in school, and even for adults with gaps in their readiness for more education. While full of adventure, entertainment, and enrichment, this offering provides unique academic features that students may choose to use or ignore. Above all, the series holds moral suppositions to help students consider how they may fit into this complex world and its many unresolved issues. Becoming an active, contributing citizen in that world will require true integrity and solid literacy.

General Disclaimer

Although the stories mention real people of the historical era of the late1960s, the fictional characters all operate in imaginary situations and speak of the times from their own perspectives. Each Imasode takes the reader into actual geographic areas but intends no offense to any country nor prejudice toward its citizenry and its dialect. Therefore, no such implication should be inferred. May I encourage you to buy this series for your family and suggest the Imasodes be read in sequence? Adults and children can appreciate time-traveling with Ímagine Purple as she goes from Newfoundland to New Dehli during the tumultuous era of the late 1960s. J.K. Rowling did not apologize for using evil witchcraft to give her characters essential literary conflict. Likewise, I make no apologies for making my heroine a Christian who struggles with how to use faith to solve literary mysteries.

General Caution for Sensitive Material

Parental pre-reading and supervision may prove wise on all Imasodes after IMA II (especially III, V, and VII). On sensitive matters, the author tempers her viewpoint with genteel innocence and moral advocacy rather than with the blinders of whitewashing or the prurience of base vulgarity. In the last few decades, public education has opened its curriculum gates to once-sacrosanct subjects. The Imasodes will also not shy away but instead will hit delicate issues not usually discussed directly. Following is a partial list of topics: alchemy, assault, bigotry, cheating, dishonesty, disloyalty, drunkenness, gambling, greed, guns, illegal drugs, integrity, job performance, lying, morals, murder, poisons, politics, protests, religious faith, responsibility, rioting, shoplifting, tyranny, virginity, warfare, witchcraft, and work ethic). Underlined or bracketed subjects in the front matter of each Imasode will indicate their inclusion in a particular story.

General Purpose of the Series

Entertainment: This website encourages young people ages 10+ to follow the stepping stones to their own path: Have Fun. Get Smarter. Although reading books is naturally slower than playing electronic games or watching action films, it does allow the reader time to use his imagination to create new worlds and solve dilemmas. As a teacher and amateur sleuth, Ímagine knows flash answers rarely come by accident. So, she looks for details other people have missed, pulverizes them into facts, and determines which are true clues. After mulling over those, she looks to see if they form a logical solution to a dilemma. Whether read in print or as an E-Book, The Picaresque of Ímagine Purple leads the reader into a series of adventures from recent history, inspired by real life experiences.

Education: Along with mystery and adventure, The Picaresque offers a subtle forum with its informative Appendices in the back of the book. There, the reader will find character biographies, clichés/idioms, lookup suggestions, a punctuation guide, and vocabulary words. This series has enriching layers to complement not to replace regular school curricula. Almost a fictional travelogue, it might be viewed as a vehicle for history, language arts, and geography. And yet, the adventures of the main character are not dry and dusty. Ima has harrowing experiences and stumbles onto unexpected mysteries while walking through the late 1960s’ history. Sometimes, she has to delve into other centuries to get her answers.

Character Study: A twist of mystery adds difficulty to the lives of the story characters, especially for Ímagine. She runs into bullies and weaklings and rascals. A few of her friends follow all the rules but can’t get a break. Several have charmed lives and can to do no wrong. Those who choose good company fare best; but those who associate with losers get dragged to the lowest level. While some characters have long careers, working on the sea, in show business, and in factories, others seek instant success but refuse to give the effort to fulfill their dreams. The characters that drive Ima to total distraction are those hopeless blockheads who foolishly drink from a poisoned well again and again until learning lessons in the hardest possible ways. That is why the biographies can help readers to know in advance what a character is likely to do or say based on his background.

Understanding Current Culture: The Civil War affected our nation’s values for many years afterwards. However, the 1960s’ civil discord appears to have affected us even more. It forced change of common values ostensibly to help an underrepresented class. That rapid change, though well-intended, brought uneven results. With little provision or grace to help citizens process the reordering of American culture, wide-sweeping legislation brought decades of political backlash from all sides. Ima spent seven years living abroad with her military husband. Experiences in Germany, Turkey, and Newfoundland expanded her knowledge of the world but clouded her view of how almost a decade had caused a dire pivot in the States. When Ímagine returned home, America seemed a very different place. Unwilling to adopt naysayers’ opinions, Ima wrestled to develop her own perspective of current events. She especially wondered why many of her peers resented the Vietnam War and supported a revolution that began to fragment instead of mend our nation. In IMA-X, she finally learns why America went to S.E. Asia.

Important Events: The Imasodes brush the edges of the 1960 era and note the technical strides of putting a man on the moon; the civil rights movement and legislation; the different music of Motown, Woodstock, and the British Invasion; the London fashion of Kings Road and Carnaby Street; the Vietnam War with its resulting pacifist protests; the medical achievements of heart transplants and artificial hearts. Some of these events bring Ima into mysteries she decides to solve for herself first and then for other characters. She finds the perfect chance to be part of history and to develop her own sleuthing method!

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Beth Fine
Beth Fine
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