How to Avoid Extinction

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Since the death of his grandfather, Leo’s number one chore has been to chase after his grandmother who seems to wander away from home every few days. Now, Gram’s decided to roam farther than ever. And despite his misgivings, Leo’s going along for the ride. With his seventeen-year-old cousin, Abbey, and an old, gassy dog named Kermit, Leo joins Gram in a big, old Buick to leave their Pennsylvania home for a cross-country road trip filled with fold-out maps, family secrets, new friends, and dinosaur bones.

How to Avoid Extinction is a middle grade comedy about death and food and family and fossils. It’s about running away from home and coming back again. For Leo, it’s about asking hard questions and hopefully finding some sensible answers. As if good sense has anything to do with it. Against a backdrop of America’s stunning size and beauty, it’s also about growing up, getting old, dreaming about immortality, and figuring out all the things we can — and can’t — leave behind.

Praise for How to Avoid Extinction:

“The transformative power of the American road trip is taken to new heights through the skillful pen of Acampora in this fast-paced family story full of humor and heart…A cast of memorable characters, intelligent banter, and wry humor reminiscent of Richard Peck or Gary Paulsen make this an authentic and unforgettable journey.” — School Library Journal


“A road trip story with a batty old grandmother and a flatulent dog is inherently humorous, and this one serves up witty jokes in spades, in the vein of other road-trips-with-old-ladies books such as Bauer’s Rules of the Road and Gantos’ From Norvelt to Nowhere . Love plus laughter is pretty much an extinction-proof formula for a middle-grade book, and jokesters, dinosaur fans, and those looking for a satisfyingly hopeful family drama will find plenty to dig up and enjoy here.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Acampora tucks laughter, tears, light doses of life wisdom, impressive fossils, and any number of appealing characters into this amiable odyssey.” — Booklist

“Late in the book, a character sums up the plot by saying, ‘That’s the key to happiness….Join the right circus.’…this book is the right circus.” — Kirkus Reviews