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5 of 5
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list price: $12.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
published: Oct 2009
ISBN:9781554551132

Tumbleweed Skies

by Valerie Sherrard

reviews: 2
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multigenerational
5 of 5
1 rating
rated!
rated!
list price: $12.95
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
published: Oct 2009
ISBN:9781554551132
Description

The moment Ellie and her father pull up in front of Grandmother Acklebee's farm in Weybolt, Saskatchewan, Ellie knows she isn't wanted. But Ellie's father has just taken a job as a traveling salesman, and he has no other choice. The road is no place for a nine-year-old.

Ellie doesn't know her grandmother, but she learns quickly that the older woman blames her son-in-law and granddaughter for her daughter's death. And although her Uncle Roger is a kind man, Ellie is quickly cowed by the angry old woman, who shows her little kindness and no affection. Determined to survive the situation with her dignity intact, Ellie isn't about to show her grandmother that she can be hurt.

But how long can Ellie pretend that she doesn't care? And is there no way to melt her grandmother's heart? Set on the Canadian prairies of the mid-fifties, Tumbleweed Skies is a moving story of isolation, loneliness, and one family's journey to heal itself.

About the Author

Valerie Sherrard is the author of 12 previous novels for young people, including the Shelby Belgarden Mysteries, Watcher, Sarah's Legacy, Speechless, and her first historical novel, Three Million Acres of Flame. Her work has been shortlisted for numerous Canadian awards, including the Red Maple, White Pine, and Arthur Ellis Awards. She lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick.

Author profile page >
Contributor Notes

Valerie Sherrard has written a number of books for young readers including Kate which was a White Pine Award Honour Book and an IODE National Chapter Violet Downey Award Recommended Title. A mother of three, former foster parent to approximately 70 teenagers, and the Executive Director of a group home for adolescents for ten years, Valerie now lives with her husband in Miramichi, New Brunswick.

Editorial Review

"Set on the Canadian prairies in the 1950s, Tumbleweed Skies uses character and setting to illustrate the isolation of this family and also the strengths. Forgoing a clean, happy ending, the book concludes with continuing complexity but a feeling of hopefulness that healing will occur. Tumbleweed Skies is accessible to younger readers and yet doesn't shy away from complex issues of life choices, difficult circumstances, and uneasy relationships. It lends itself to good discussions about character development and motivation.
Recommended." ***/4
CM magazine

"Grandma is as mean as the evil stepmother character in a classic fairy tale, but this moving novel is far from fantasy; it is its realism that makes it so powerful. Quiet as a mouse, Ellie does her chores, but there is nothing that she can do right in Grandma's eyes, and she feels sad, lonely, and imprisoned. Many kids will recognize the sorrow and difficulty of living with a hostile, bitter relative."
Booklist starred review

"A solid novel for use in literature circles and for recreational reading, although it may appeal to a limited audience due to its 1950s, rural setting. Sherrard's writing style is engaging and easy to read. Her ability to paint the emotional distress of a motherless young girl as she attempts to cope with her new surroundings and unenthusiastic care giver is heart-wrenching."
Rating: G - Good
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"What a beautiful bittersweet book. I love that this story is all Canadian - written by a Canadian author and based on a Canadian Prairie. . . What I immediately felt as I read this book is that absolutely everyone in this story is broken and in desperate need of love. . . This book is so poignant. . . The lack of communication and verbally sharing of feelings is palpable. You wanted to scream "share, share what you are feeling". A wonderfully put together book."
Bookshipper.blogspot.com

This gentle, insightful book does not have a Hollywood ending. Rather, it is realistic and open-ended. Tumbleweed Skies is one of the best orphan child novels since Anne of Green Gables.

Professionally Speaking

"This heartfelt story chronicles a prairie family adjusting to grief and change. As she explores the familial relationships, author Valerie Sherrard also provides fascinating descriptions of life in rural Canada."
Book Page

"Quiet moments abound and effectively convey a remarkable level of feeling, making this a worthy and moving purchase."
Kirkus

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Reader Reviews

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Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Tumbleweed Skies

From the moment that Ellie sets foot in her grandma’s dark, dreary house and encounters her grandmother’s unmistakable hostility, she knows for certain that neither house nor grandmother want anything to do with her. But her Daddy has fallen on hard times and is desperate. He needs a place for Ellie to stay while he tries his hand as a traveling salesman. There is nowhere else for her to go. So she winds up here — with

Grandma and Uncle Roger — waiting with every bit of longing in her heart for her Daddy to come back for her. Grandma is stern and harsh. Thankfully, Uncle Roger is there to offer kindness and encouragement, stories about her mother when she was a little girl and even occasional insights that help to explain why Grandma is the way that she is. When Daddy finally returns, Ellie is overjoyed. She is also surprised to discover that maybe she and her Grandmother have each found a way into a little corner of the other’s heart.

Tumbleweed Skies is a sweet and special book, the kind that touches the hearts of young readers and lingers in the minds and hearts of older ones. Sherrard paints a vivid picture of the prairie landscape; her evocative prose transports young readers to a place and time that may be unfamiliar but in which they feel immediately at home. She has skillfully rendered every character, but especially Ellie — whose earnest voice tells her story simply, truthfully and in a way that is heartbreakingly sweet. Like many stories, the words that are unspoken are nearly as powerful as those that are. But the words that are spoken render a heartfelt, achingly lovely and poignant tale with a heroine who deserves to be remembered and cherished.

Source: The Canadian Children's Bookcentre. Summer 2010. Vol.33 No.3.

Canadian Children's  Book Centre
Librarian review

Tumbleweed Skies

The moment Lizzie and her father pull up in front of Grandmother Ackelbee’s farm in Weyholt, Saskatchewan, Lizzie knows she isn’t wanted. But Lizzie’s father has just taken a job as a travelling salesman and he has no other choice. The road is not the place for a nine-year-old.

Source: The Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Best Books for Kids & Teens. 2011.

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