Kindred Souls Hardcover – Feb 7 2012
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“An intense, rewarding read.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“It’s rare to find a children’s book that deals so well with death as part of life, offering kids an effective approach to coping with sadness that incorporates humor, love and joy.” (Kirkus Reviews (starred review))
“MacLachlan handles a familiar theme with grace, providing a lens into an uncanny intergenerational bond, as well as the kindness and generosity of love.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
“These are time-sculpted themes-the bond between a child and a grandparent, a child’s first experience of death, the comfort of continuity and connection to the natural world—and MacLachlan gives them her particular stamp of plain speaking and poetry.” (The Horn Book)
“The quiet rhythms of the story and the gentle banter of the dialogue make this an ideal group read aloud, but plenty of young readers will simply find it the perfect book to curl up with on their own.” (Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books (starred review))
From the Back Cover
Jake’s grandfather, Billy, hears the talk of birds, is eighty-eight years old, and is going to live forever. Even when Billy gets sick, Jake knows that everything will go on as always. But there’s one thing Billy wants: to rebuild the sod house where he grew up. Can Jake give him this one special thing?
From beloved author Patricia MacLachlan comes a poignant story about what we do for the ones we love, and how the bonds that hold us together also allow us to let each other go.See all Product Description
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
As quickly as I could after I finished reading the story (and wiping a tear or two away, and thinking about the story), I ordered a copy for our school. Not only does MacLachlan handle death in a gentle, understanding way, but she has given us a story of relationships: family, community, intergenerational, even inter-species (Lucy, the dog).
Thank you, author!
My favorite part of this book was when the family dog was allowed to stay with the grandfather at the hospital. The dog visits with the other patients and makes them feel better too. The only thing that I did not like about it was that it had a sad ending.
I would recommend this book to others. The story was really good.
Evamarie age 8
Beloved children's author Patricia MacLachlan crafts a poignant and tender story with "Kindred Souls." The subject matter is nostalgic and deep, and the language contains farming terminology such as "slough" and "windrow." The story itself exudes sadness and follows a basic plotline in which little occurs but which is nevertheless touching. Children who have enjoyed a close relationship with a grandparent or other adult will understand "Kindred Souls" and will likely develop a greater appreciation of memories, dreams, and time spent with loved ones. Be prepared, however, because despite its short length, this book will leave a lasting impression and a sense of melancholy.
Jake and Billy are kindred souls, more than just grandson and grandfather. They're always together and always know just what to say to each other. But, on a walk around their farm one day, Billy starts reminiscing about the old sod house where he grew up. He tells Jake he would love to see the old sod house again, rebuilt on the same spot. Jake is resistant to the idea and doesn't quite know why. Jake, and his brother and sister, resist Billy's request until Billy is taken to the hospital and they realize they don't have much time left with him, that the sod house might be his last request of them ever.
I'm not sure why this has not yet been nominated for 1000 awards yet; it surely deserves to! I did have some students confused by the way the story is narrated. They couldn't figure out that 'Billy' was the grandfather. "Why not just call him 'grandfather', then?" they wanted to know. Other than that, they all said they loved the story, too. The ending was so sad and so beautiful. It is a story that can sensitively teach about the loss of a grandparent, the importance of family connections and how multi-generational families work.
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