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Children's Fiction Adoption

The Family Way

by (author) Laura Best

Nimbus Publishing
Initial publish date
Apr 2021
Adoption, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, General
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2021
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 9 to 13
  • Grade: 4 to 8


Set in 1930 and based on true events, this middle-grade novel explores family secrets, set at the Ideal Maternity Home.

Tulia May lives in rural Nova Scotia with her mother, who works in the laundry of the nearby Ideal Maternity Home. It's a place where unwed mothers can discreetly give birth, a place where adoptions by rich Americans can be quickly arranged. Tulia doesn't think about the workings of the home much; mostly she hates being roped in to helping scrub the endless diapers. Her friend Finny Paul has suspicions that the home is holding sinister secrets—the worst being that unadoptable babies are being buried in butterboxes—but Tulia thinks he's being ridiculous. When Tulia's sister Becky ends up in the home, Tulia truly starts to consider Finny's concerns. And when she and Finny discover what's really going on there, she knows she has to act quickly to keep Becky's baby safe.

Based on the true story of the Ideal Maternity Home, and its tragic Butterbox Babies, The Family Way is a thoughtful and engaging exploration of family and of Nova Scotia's history. A stand-alone middle-grade novel, it also serves as a prequel to the critically acclaimed Cammie novels, Flying With a Broken Wing and Cammie Takes Flight.

About the author

Laura Best has had over forty short stories published in literary magazine and anthologies. Her first young adult novel, Bitter Sweet, was shortlisted for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People. Her middle grade novel Flying with a Broken Wing was named one of Bank Street College of Education's Best Books of 2015, and it's follow-up, Cammie Takes Flight, was nominated for the 2018 Silver Birch Award. Her most recent middle grade book, a prequel to the Cammie series, The Family Way, will be released in Spring 2021. Her first novel for adults, Good Mother Don't, was published in 2020. She lives in East Dalhousie, Nova Scotia, with her husband, Brian. Visit

Laura Best's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This richly detailed historical novel explores issues of morality and prejudice when a young girl stumbles upon a secret of unimaginable horror. I enjoyed every page of this beautifully written story." Valerie Sherrard, author of more than two–dozen books for children and teens.

"The Family Way illuminates a dark chapter in Nova Scotia's history for young readers with sensitivity and care. Laura Best has a gift for making the past feel vivid and near and her rural east coast settings like home, even for those who've never been." — Hadley Dyer, author of Johnny Kellock Died Today

"The Family Way is a compelling story about a dark but significant past that few Nova Scotians are alive to remember. Laura Best's intriguing narrative shines a light on the challenges of a family exposed to the devious couple who ran the Ideal Maternity Home. She explores the complexity of allowing such a home to prosper during the war years. Best weaves the tragedy of the Butterbox Babies throughout the plot to captivate readers from start to finish. Enlightening history ideal for middle-grade readers." Bette Cahill, award–winning journalist and author of Butterbox Babies

"this prequel to Laura Best's two previous novels about Cammie is another magnificent example of middle-grade historical fiction that truly resonates with readers of all ages."

Other titles by Laura Best