Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 8 to 12
- Grade: 3 to 7
Sent to stay with her estranged grandmother while her parents try to save their crumbling marriage, 11-year-old Bailey feels helpless and cast away. When a self-proclaimed prophet predicts “a stranger from the sea will change everything,” Bailey hopes this stranger can solve her problems—little suspecting her own ability to influence the world.
Eleven-year-old Bailey believes in miracles. She has to; it will take a miracle to keep her warring parents together. This summer they are at a Marriage Counselling camp, leaving Bailey and her little brother Kevin with their estranged grandmother in the island town of Felicity Bay. There, an eccentric deposed minister makes a prophecy that a stranger from the sea will change everything.
When Bailey discovers a mermaid-shaped piece of driftwood, she begins to believe that the mermaid is this stranger from the sea. Then, when a dolphin becomes stranded on the beach, Bailey forgets her own troubles and rouses the reluctant locals into action.
Written in light and lyrical free verse, Shari Green’s warm and wistful novel brings Bailey face to face with both hard and beautiful truths about growing up and growing into her own ability to shape the world.
About the author
Shari Green spent a large portion of her childhood summers reading stacks of library books, and she’s still in love with stories today. Her acclaimed novels for young readers include Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, which was a USBBY Outstanding International Book, a Junior Library Guild selection, the winner of the ALA Schneider Family Middle School Book Award, and a finalist for a dozen reader’s choice awards. Missing Mike was nominated for ten reader’s choice awards and selected as an NCTE Notable Poetry Book, among many other honors. Shari lives in Campbell River, British Columbia.
- Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Book Award: Novels
- Long-listed, Rocky Mountain Book Award
- Long-listed, Manitoba Young Readers' Choice Award
- Commended, The White Ravens Catalogue selection
- Short-listed, SCBWI Crystal Kite Award
- Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection
- Commended, Resource Links "The Year's Best"
Praise for Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles
2017 White Ravens selection
2017 SCBWI Crystal Kite Award shortlist
2018 Chocolate Lily Book Awards: Novels nominee
2018 Rocky Mountain Book Award nominee
2018 MYRCA Award nominee
2017 Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection
2016 Resource Links "The Year's Best" selection
"Dialogue written in italics, along with spacing between speakers, renders the narrative accessible and immediate to readers...Recommend this lovely and poignant novel to middle grade readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories."—School Library Journal
"The author's lyrical free verse smoothly alternating between thoughts, descriptions, and dialogue, paints an atmospheric picture of a little beach community and its idiosyncratic people from eleven-year-old Bailey's point of view....Both funny and heart-breaking, this verse novel with its imaginative metaphors follows a spunky heroine as she slowly comes to peace with the fact that the world follows its own course."—White Ravens 2017 Catalogue
"Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles tackles some serious problems common among kids today....Not everything can be fixed, but sharing a problem with someone who loves us makes it easier to bear....[A]n excellent choice for thoughtful middle-grade readers and would make a valuable addition to a school or classroom library. It's also a fine complement to the verse novels of K.A. Holt, and a stepping stone to the work of authors like Sonya Sones, Virginia Euwer Wolff, and Martine Leavitt."—Resource Links
"This title is written in free verse, with dialogue written in italics and spacing used to indicate new voices. All of these techniques enhance the rich descriptions of the ocean setting and present a realistic story to the reader. Recommended."—School Library Connection
"Told in verse-novel form, Green's writing is captivatingly visual, with seamless inclusions of figurative language. As with many other verse-novels, a first-person narrative, told from the present tense, makes the story immediate and compelling."—CM Magazine
"Writing in verse, Green aptly captures the journey of a girl faced with her first real heartbreak—the likely dissolution of her family. Bailey's openness to confronting her reality while still believing in the extraordinary adds to her charm, as does her growing realization that heartache affects many others in her life as well."—Canadian Children's Book News
"Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles is Shari Green's debut novel but it is an accomplished story in form and content worthy of a seasoned writer....Balancing structure with plot is complicated. Yet Shari Green dives right in, creating characters and circumstances that effortlessly carry the reader from beginning to end on waves of sentiments, some fearful, most benevolent, all heartfelt. Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles is in itself a miracle..."—CanLit for LittleCanadians
"This novel in verse is beautifully written. It is sure to find many fans in the middle grades, and would make a terrific read-aloud for the first few weeks of school while teachers are trying to inspire community spirit within their own classrooms."—Sal's Fiction Addiction
"This book is a delight from start to finish."—The Crimson Review of Children's and YA Literature
"I was impressed at how easily the author developed such unforgettable characters using free verse, all while building a great plot with excellent pacing. I know I would have loved this book as a tween, and I highly recommend it. It’s delightful and poignant and one of my favorite books so far of 2017."—Library of Clean Reads
"Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green is just delightful....Green's writing has whimsy and heart...Whimsical, hopeful and at times bittersweet, I highly recommend Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles."—Bookish Notions
"Heart-wrenching, powerful, memorable! This book is sure to win its way into the hearts of so many young readers."—Literary Locker
"What I Loved: Well, lots of things! In no particular order, I loved the language....I loved how all the conflicts were not favorably resolved....I loved how island life was a natural part of the story. Highly recommended for the middle grader in your life."—Barrie Summy
"[I]t is a way to gently explore some of the changes many children face today."—Moon Shine Art Spot
"This lovely book deserves a far wider readership than the middle-grade audience to which it is being marketed. Don't miss this one."—The Write Stuff
"[A] wonderful, poignant book...I strongly recommend this to all who love the sea, and families, and miracles....Five stars out of five!"—My Comfy Chair
Root Beer Candy and Other MiraclesMany middle grade readers will identify and/or sympathize with Bailey’s story of living with two parents at war. Root Beer Candy is a story about hope, setting priorities, and growing up.: The West Coast Canadian island setting, Felicity Bay, provides a geography lesson and gives insight into life by the sea. The free verse format of the novel is an excellent example of narrative writing using a poetic format.
Source: Association of Canadian Publishers. Diversity Collection Selection 2017.