Kimberly Willis Holt's Author's Note
When Zachary Beaver Came to Town

When I was 13 years old, I went to the Louisiana State Fair and paid $2 to see the "Fattest Boy in the World." He sat in a little trailer, like Zachary. Although I was usually shy, I gawked at him and asked nosy questions. I guess paying money to see this boy on display made me feel as if I had the right. A few years later I met a friend who had also seen him, in his trailer in a parking lot near her job. She befriended him and had lunch with him every day for two weeks. I realized that I had not done that. This was one of the seeds of When Zachary Beaver Came to Town.

But it's really a story about Toby Wilson. The first words of the book came to me in Toby's voice. And I just tried to be true to what a 13-year-old boy would do. It's a book about loss and friendship and growing up, and how this all suddenly happened in Toby's life during the summer of 1971.