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Breathing Room [Kindle Edition]

Marsha Hayles
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $7.99
Kindle Price: $5.42
You Save: $2.57 (32%)
Sold by: Macmillan


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Book Description

Evvy Hoffmeister is thirteen years old when her family brings her to Loon Lake Sanatorium to get cured of tuberculosis (TB). Evvy is frightened by her new surroundings; the rules to abide are harsh and the nurses equally rigid. But Evvy soon falls into step with the other girls in her ward. There’s Sarah, quiet but thoughtful; Pearl, who adores Hollywood glamour; and Dina, whose harshness conceals a deep strength. Together, the girls brave the difficult daily routines. Set in 1940 at a time of political unrest throughout the U.S. and Europe, this thought-provoking novel sheds light on a much-feared worldwide illness. Hundreds of thousands of people died each year of TB, and many ill children were sent away to sanatoriums to hopefully recover.

This is a masterful novel—both eloquent and moving—that gives voice to those who fought hard to overcome the illness.

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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.


“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


Praise for The Feathered Crown:

“Hayles’s evocative, airy imagery gives wing to her rhyming verse.” —Publishers Weekly

“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

Praise for He Saves the Day:

“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

Product Details

  • File Size: 2481 KB
  • Print Length: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR); Reprint edition (June 5, 2012)
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007FU83TI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,264 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Madeline's review July 12, 2012
A Kid's Review
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put It Down! 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for readers of all ages July 13, 2012
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
4.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful and compelling novel August 10, 2012
By Lisa
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
5.0 out of 5 stars a beautifully crafted story August 9, 2012
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An important book August 6, 2012
A touching story of a little-documented period of recent history. Evvy is a smart and resilient character, caught in a nightmare that was all too common until the mid-20th century.
Meticulously researched and supplemented with detailed author's notes, this book is that rare combination of fact and fiction that belongs in every classroom.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, great read! August 4, 2012
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
5.0 out of 5 stars Meaningful story, beautifully told July 3, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I highly recommend this book. It tells a deeply felt and beautifully written story, building characters that readers will really care about. Not just about facing a disease but generally about strength, bravery, and continuing on in the face of obstacles. In these days when kids think bravery is about fantasy and warfare, it's great to see a book about the bravery needed for facing life.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I loved the book it was a wonderful book and I suggest you read it. I thank the author for writing it.
Published 4 days ago by Shelby Ann Rasmussen
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Brought the struggle of tuberculosis to light for young readers.
Published 7 days ago by Kelley
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing
Usually I'm not a big fan about books like this but I have to say I love this book and I greatly recommend this book.
Published 25 days ago by Karissa Silar
4.0 out of 5 stars Reflective and heart-warming
I could imagine being in the sanatorium! This book made me aware of something I was ignorant about. I wondered why we had to get TB tests.

Great book for 6-8 grades.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs Harward
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read
This is a great book for young readers ages 10-12. My daughter read it and gave it very high ratings.
Published 3 months ago by Tamara Di Maso
5.0 out of 5 stars Very thought provoking
The story was sad. I felt for what the kids were going through. A very heartwarming ending. Very well written
Published 4 months ago by CW
5.0 out of 5 stars So sad
This book I is really good but sad this girls get a disease called th people die in the book
Published 5 months ago by margaret main
4.0 out of 5 stars Reasons..
although I do understand that Pearl had to pass, I didn't like it. that is one of the reasons why it is four stars. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Kaitlyn Prince
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well written.
Learned alot from this story. Did not know much about TB but now I know a little bit more. Evvy's story inspirational and very sad. Quick and easy read. Very well written.
Published 6 months ago by 224perweek
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent story on a topic I knew little about!
Highly recommended! I enjoyed the fight of the characters, and a proper mix of sadness and triumph. The roller coaster ride the girls were on with their health is portrayed well. Read more
Published 7 months ago by DCS Teacher
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