Saturday, July 21, 2018

Little Bits of Sky

34541745Durrant, S.E. Little Bits of Sky
September 5th 2017 by Holiday House

Personal Copy

Ira (whose real name, Miracle, annoys her) and her brother Zac are taken from a decent foster care placement yet again, and this time end up at Skilly House, a small care home. Having never known their parents, they are pleased enough with this placement. They get to share a room, the people who work there are generally caring, and they make some good friends. The house manager, Mrs. Clanks, is a bit of a cold fish, but in general, they are content. When they get to spend part of a Christmas holiday with a woman named Martha at her home, it is a nice break. Martha was a teacher, but never had children of her own, so the three have to learn to get along together. It's exciting when Martha asks them back for Easter, especially since some of the other children at Skilly have been adopted, which is always sad. This visit does not go well at all, but even with the difficulties, Martha is still fond of the children. Ira finds out the identity of a girl who had lived in her room forty years previously, and we are given an epilogue about the fate of Skilly House and its residents.
Strengths: This was particularly British, so if you have fans of Jacqueline Wilson or Cathy Cassidy, definitely take a look. I can't think of any US books with children in a residential care setting, so I'm not sure how things would be different, but I think this is a topic about which children should know. Ira and Zac make the best of their situation, and even though the difficulties of their life are readily apparent, this is a hopeful book.
Weaknesses: This is set in a very particular time in 1987, and I'm not sure why. I kept hoping there would be some explanation, but the book could have been contemporary.
What I really think: The cover has sort of a mid-90s vibe to it (because of the setting) and isn't great, but most of my readers who want books about foster children ask for them, so it shouldn't be a problem. I'm a huge fan of Wilson, so I enjoyed it. Any excuse to spend time in England!
Ms. Yingling

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