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published: Nov 2013
ISBN:9781554559343

Tumbleweed Skies

by Valerie Sherrard

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multigenerational
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $12.99
edition:eBook
also available: Paperback
published: Nov 2013
ISBN:9781554559343
Description

The moment Ellie and her father pull up in front of her Grandmother Acklebee’s farm in Weybolt, Saskatchewan, Ellie knows the place doesn’t want her. And it’s the last place she wants to be! But Ellie has no choice. Her father was laid off from the mill in Moose Jaw, and he’s been taken on by the Marvelous Cookware Company as a salesman, a job that will take him clear across the province and back. The road is no place for a nine-year-old, but leaving Ellie with her grandmother is definitely a last resort, and Ellie is devastated. Ellie doesn’t know her grandmother, who angrily 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 old woman, who shows her no kindness. Determined to survive the situation with her dignity intact, Ellie isn’t about to show her grandmother that she can be hurt. But with only an injured magpie to befriend and care for, Ellie is desperately lonely. Uncle Roger arranges for Ellie to visit Marcy Knowles, a girl Ellie’s age. Marcy wants to play by her rules, and she never misses the opportunity to lord it over Ellie with her superior home, clothes, toys, and pet. Nevertheless, Marcy is interested in seeing Ellie’s magpie, so a return visit is arranged. Quickly bored by a house with no toys or other distractions, Marcy finds ways to get into mischief and blame Ellie for it. But to Ellie’s surprise, her grandmother appears to know exactly what the other girl is up to. And although they never talk about it, Ellie begins to feel that perhaps she and her grandmother might be on the same wavelength after all. But her grandmother won’t soften easily, and Ellie finds that the more time she spends with the old woman, the more she wishes for her grandmother’s love and affection. And the more she learns about her mother’s early life and her Uncle Roger, the more Ellie begins to feel a kinship with them at last. And although her grandmother can’t show affection, Ellie is prepared to make one last gesture. Maybe on the day she is finally to leave the farm, Ellie will find a way to melt her grandmother’s heart, just a little. 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 >
Awards
  • Short-listed, Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award
  • Short-listed, Children's Crown Award
  • Short-listed, Diamond Willow Award
  • Long-listed, White Pine
  • Joint winner, Booklist Editors' Choice Award Winner's list
  • Short-listed, Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature
  • Short-listed, OLA Best Bets

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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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