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Breathing Room Kindle Edition

37 customer reviews

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Length: 272 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Age Level: 10 - 14
Grade Level: 5 - 9

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Evvy Hoffmeister, 13, arrives at Loon Lake Sanatorium in Minnesota in the early 1940s in hopes of being cured of tuberculosis. She is confined to bed rest in a ward with three other adolescent girls, Beverly, Pearl, and Dena. Evvy misses her family, especially her twin brother, but adjusts to life at Loon Lake, a complex of buildings almost as vividly depicted as the staff and patients it houses. Stony Nurse Marshall, dubbed Old Eagle Eye by Dena, assigns privileges when the girls cough up less bloody sputum and show signs of improving health. Yet death is always close at hand, and Pearl, who had the privilege of leaving the sanatorium for a day, returns happily with gifts of decorated paper fans for her friends, only to die in the hallway from "throwing a ruby," a hemorrhage. Many archaic medical treatments are used on the patients, including thoracoplasty, the removal of a rib to allow a lung to collapse and heal. Sarah, a new patient, becomes Evvy's friend and shares the secret that she is Jewish. With awareness of World War II being fought in Europe, a staff member insults Evvy because of her German surname. She is a resilient and perceptive character who will not be defined by her illness. This powerful novel, illustrated with contemporary objects and documents, portrays an illness that is unfortunately making a comeback. A moving and well-wrought story.-Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VTα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Review

A moving and well-wrought story. (School Library Journal)

A quiet, sober story of a genuine heroine who survives a devastating disease with grace. (Kirkus)

…a perfect read… (Horn Book)

Hayles's sympathetic characters and detailed account is complemented by historical documents and photos throughout. (Publishers Weekly)

Hayles's evocative, airy imagery gives wing to her rhyming verse. (Publishers Weekly on The Feathered Crown)

Unadorned, gracefully rhyming text is partnered with delicate watercolor illustrations, resulting in a gentle perspective . . . that will strike a chord with nature lovers and young children settling down to sleep. (School Library Journal on The Feathered Crown)

The snappy text uses natural, unforced rhymes and repetition to great effect. . . . This book demands to be read aloud. The energy contained within coupled with the innocent joy of imaginative play are engaging and satisfying. (School Library Journal on He Saves the Day)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Children's Book Collector on July 31, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a wonderful read! I almost read the whole book in one sitting but a pesky little thing called sleep won out.

Breathing Room takes place in 1940 at a sanitarium for tuberculosis patients. 13 year old Evvy has to leave everyone and everything she knows in order to get well. At Loon Lake Sanitorium in Minnesota, she is housed with other girls her age in a ward where the biggest rule is to rest. This means no talking, walking, or even going to the bathroom. (Can you say metal bedpans?) Stoic nurse Marshall tells her, "I am not here to coddle you." and "Kindness will not cure you or anyone at Loon Lake."

Despite the rigid rules within the confines of Loon Lake's dismal walls, Evvy does make friends during her long stay at the sanitorium, and this is where the heart of the story lies.

Not only was this a well-written story with engaging characters, but I learned so much about a time in history I knew very little about. I think WWII overshadowed much of the history of TB sanitoriums and I am glad the author is giving voice to it and the patients.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on July 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am going into 5th grade this fall and will recommend this book to all of my friends and teachers. The details made me understand what TB was like. Sarah and Evvy were my favorite characters!! I admired their determination. This was my favorite book this summer :)
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By C Jouanet on July 13, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A fabulous book for readers of all ages. As a classroom teacher, I look forward to recommending this book to my students. A must have
for classroom libraries, school libraries, and your own personal library. The author's eloquence and character development reveal a forgotten
epidemic and tragedy...extremely fascinating!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lisa on August 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A beautifully-written story with wonderful characters. The girls in the sanitarium ward with Evvy are all different and deal with the worry and fear of being a TB patient in different ways. As the story progresses, they come to understand each other better, and Evvy forms strong friendships. Evvy also starts to find her voice in writing poetry, making this a particularly good recommendation for young writers.

It's not full of action, but it is a compelling story. Death is very real, and some of the characters that we have grown to know and care about die. But I wasn't sad at the end. An author's note at the end provides additional and fascinating information about TB and its treatment.

(Note: I received a free advance reading copy of this book from the publisher at an American Library Association Annual Conference. I was not required to write a positive review. Thank you, Henry Holt!)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By bunnygirl on November 21, 2013
Format: Paperback
Breathing Room is a beautifully written story that takes a different look at the year 1940. The year 1940 was a time of political unrest. It was also a time where TB was a scary disease that people often died from. Those that had it were often sent to sanitariums to hopefully heal their bodies from this dreadful disease. The story centers around 13-year-old Evvy and her roommates. It was a haunting story about friendship, about death, and life. The book grabbed me from the start, and I really was touched by Evvy and the other characters. I recommend it to anyone - including adults. I'm an adult myself. I don't read a lot of children's fiction - but the story sounded interesting. I'm so glad I read it. Not only did I enjoy the storyline- but I learned a lot from it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Barbara W-S on August 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover
This is a beautifully written complex story of a 13 year old girl's life in a tuberculosis sanitorium at the onset of World War II. Marsha Hayles creates multidimensional characters that struggle not only with illness but also with relationships and their own development as young women. A moving and lively read that captivates attention and tells as much about life's inner struggles as the disease process and historically accurate treatment of tuberculosis in 1940. A page turner that both entertains and informs. Looking forward to more novels from Marsha Hayles!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By One of 8 on December 1, 2014
Format: Paperback
I cannot find words to describe how much this book touched my heart. I don’t know what else to say besides, this book is worth every penny! If you are looking for a drama, this is the book to buy. I love books, but I especially LOVE a good drama. Marsha Hayles has definitely earned another fan, (and a BIG one!) This book has put me in a trance for days, and when I hear the name, I’m in a trance all over again! Marsha Hayles is seriously the BEST author I’ve ever known. So I say, BUY IT, BUY IT, and BUY IT! This review was written by the 10 year old daughter of momof6.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Swaim on August 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Breathing Room is a quiet book, with a young heroine who is bedridden with tuberculosis in the 1940's, yet it holds plenty of drama to sustain the interest of readers of all ages. Evvy, the young female patients she befriends, and a dedicated nurse are among the characters who are vividly rendered. Day-to-day life in a sanitorium is described in fine and memorable detail, with a historic photograph from the era at the beginning of each chapter. Painstakingly told, Evvy's story lingers in the heart long after The End.
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