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Heart of a Shepherd [Kindle Edition]

Rosanne Parry
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $6.99
Kindle Price: $5.98
You Save: $1.01 (14%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

When Brother's dad is shipped off to Iraq, along with the rest of his reserve unit, Brother must help his grandparents keep the ranch going. He’s determined to maintain it just as his father left it, in the hope that doing so will ensure his father’s safe return. The hardships Brother faces will not only change the ranch, but also reveal his true calling.


From the Hardcover edition.


Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Parry's debut novel, 11-year-old Brother (his given name is Ignatius: "Guess they ran out of all the good saints by the time they got to me") helps manage his family's Oregon ranch. With his father in Iraq, his four older brothers at school or in the military, and his mother painting abroad, caring for family's livestock falls to Brother, his grandparents and some hired help. Though he is eager to prove to his siblings, grandparents and most importantly, his father, that he can handle it, Brother nonetheless struggles with the rigors of the job, his father's and brothers' absence and the stress of war ("I could never do it.... I could never take those salutes and the 'yes, sirs' and then take moms and dads into danger"). Slowly, Brother fills the shoes of his elders and realizes his own calling when he is literally tested by fire. Brother's spiritual growth and gentle but strong nature, in tandem with details of ranch life and the backdrop of war, add up to a powerful, unique coming-of-age story. Ages 8-12.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From School Library Journal

Grade 4–8—In this coming-of-age story, Ignatius, the youngest of five brothers in a military family grounded in the Christian faith, promises to take care of the ranch while his father is deployed in Iraq. Since his mother left years earlier to pursue life as an artist, and his older brothers are off to school or military training camps, the 11-year-old looks to his grandparents for guidance, but often feels angry and alone trying to keep his heroic promise. Although some of the realities of the Iraq war are threaded in, the author primarily focuses on the details of contemporary Oregonian ranch life. Ignatius's series of firsts that move him beyond his absolute, always-saying-never ways are the novel's most suspenseful scenes: he stitches up his brother's head, births a calf, and survives a wildfire. In the end, his relationships with his Quaker grandfather, an Ecuadoran shepherd who works on the ranch, and a new Catholic circuit priest help him to discover his true calling, to become a military chaplain. Despite a heavy-handed message and an unevenness in tone—the present-tense first-person narrative changes awkwardly between a reflective and an imaginary play voice—it remains a good purchase for readers who are looking for realistic fiction written from the point of view of a soldier's child, along with Maria Testa's Almost Forever (Candlewick, 2003) and Gary Paulsen's The Quilt (Random, 2004).—Sara Paulson, American Sign Language and English Lower School PS 347, New York City
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 207 KB
  • Print Length: 178 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0375848029
  • Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 3, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001OXCEQA
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #125,932 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Book For All Ages July 30, 2009
Format:Hardcover
My employment is as a director of education. I read books for youth and teenagers so that I am aware of what books, good and bad, are available to my students.

Rosanne Parry's first novel, _Heart Of A Shepherd_ is one of the most stunning stories that I have read in the past ten years. It truly is a story for all ages. Her writing is lyrical, her characters are fully developed and realistic, and her portrayal of what it is to be 12 years old is so accurate that I felt my own 12-year old self (an age I left behind decades ago) rise within my soul. (See other reviews for a sketch of the story. I don't want to repeat what others have written.)

This book is what our youth NEED to be reading. Parry's sentences are complex and her use of metaphor is breathtaking. Her conversation is realistic; each character speaks in a voice that is sincere, accurate, and believable for him/herself.

I strongly recommend this book for youth and adults. It will remind each adult of what it truly was (and is still) to be a twelve year old searching for ones true self. Youth will find in Ignatius, affectionately called Brother by his family and friends and Natch by a Jesuit priest) a character who realistically and maturely portrays what they are enduring at this point in their lives.

Parry writes with true respect and reverence for youth. She does not, as many wildly popular authors do, write in overly simplistic language nor does she create one dimensional relationships between her characters. She accurately portrays the complexity of being a human and human relationships with one another.

In addition to being beautifully written, _Heart Of A Shepherd_ is finely edited. So many books today are chock full of errors that should be caught by an editor.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Mother Daughter Book Club.com January 28, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Eleven-year-old Ignatius is the youngest of five sons, which is why everyone just calls him Brother. Growing up on a ranch in slightly populated Malhuer County, Oregon, Brother feels he has always been overshadowed by his older more capable brothers, who have always been around to do the hard work of ranching along with his dad and grandfather. But now his dad is leaving, his military reserve unit called to serve 14 months in Iraq, and the older sons are either away at boarding school, college or in the military as well. Brother will have to work with his grandparents to make the ranch run smoothly while his dad is gone.

Brother works hard at the ranch, but he's not sure that ranching will be his life's calling. He has always had a tender heart for animals that die, and working to keep things together will test him in ways he can't imagine. Yet he's determined to show everyone in the family that he can be counted on to hold things together while they are gone.

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry reveals the heart of today's ranching communities and the values that keep those communities together: the importance of family, the church, love of and service to our country, and neighbors pulling together during times of crisis. Along the way Brother finds out what's most important to him, and how to find his own path while honoring his family members' commitments.

Even for those unconnected to the land, the story will resonate with it's portrait of a boy working to go where his heart tells him. The story has appeal for both middle-grade readers in fourth grade and up, as well as adults.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellently written, beautiful story October 21, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Ignatius (known as "Brother") Alderman is twelve years old and the youngest of five brothers who work on a cattle ranch with their father and grandparents. Brother has never been quite the same as his brothers--three of whom are in the military (like their dad) and all of whom are tougher ranchers than Brother thinks he will ever be. But when his dad's army reserve unit is deployed to Iraq, Brother is left to be the man of the house with all his brothers away with army training or college or military high school. He handles the conflicts and dramas of ranch life with courage and hope, and eventually finds his calling in an unlikely way.
Heart of a Shepherd was a believable, moving story told by a talented new author who brings grace and tangibility to her words. Rosanne Parry brings the experience of a young rancher to life so realistically that as a reader you can practically smell the horse sweat and see the stars in a clear mountain sky. This story is full of drama and emotion, handling difficult issues with a sensitive and credible touch.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of Heart August 12, 2009
Format:Hardcover
Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry made me cry twice. That's not really a trait I look for in books, but, hey, that's later on, lest it be a turn-off for you. Before all that, Heart of a Shepherd made me laugh and cheer out loud. Full of endearing characters, it was just what I was hoping to read over a holiday weekend. Also, it was short. And sometimes, you just want a short book. One that lacks commitment.

Brother (that's what everyone calls him) is counting down the months until his officer father returns from combat in Iraq. In the meantime, he's the man of the ranch with his aging grandparents while his four older brothers are off at school or stationed elsewhere, and a barely known artist mother in Italy. Brother, being the youngest, is the only one not somehow involved with either the Army or ROTC. Everyone else knows just who they are and what they will do with their lives, but Brother can't really see himself as a soldier or a rancher. And those are about the only things he knows.

Brother is a charming and thoughtful boy who purposefully crumples up his perfectly done homework (to keep up appearances) and has read all the dragon books on his shelf - so he steals ship books from his brothers. He's shouldering a great deal of responsibility and handles it seriously, but appropriately, for a kid his age - there is the necessary worry and fear that would be inherent in that situation. He also personifies his chess pieces as his loved ones - and purposely loses because he can't bear to kill his grandpa's queen (being grandma). Adorable.

There was a lot of honesty in this story. It felt like real people in real situations. While religion was portrayed in the best of light, this isn't an "inspirational fiction" book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart of a Shepherd
This is an amazing book. I read it three times, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I myself am a cowboy/rancher and every concept in this book entirely correct. Read more
Published 23 days ago by Joan Buchanan
1.0 out of 5 stars worst book ever
This book is awful don't read it biggest waste of your time bad book bad book bad book ew ew
Published 1 month ago by Danielle
5.0 out of 5 stars Youth fiction: Not just for the young!
I spent nearly 40 years teaching English to Junior High students. Reading teen fiction especially Newbery Award winners was part of my job description. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Irish Bill
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart of a Shepherd
Heartfelt and emotionally empowered writing throughout. The challenges and family oriented events brought lessons of life to this young man that he would cherish forever. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Teri Dickson
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
Every person should read this book!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It is one of my favorite books pales read and soccer rilles people woo
Published 8 months ago by great book
4.0 out of 5 stars Heart of the Shepherd
I love the story and used it with my 5th graders. We raise sheep and cattle so I would have to say most of it was accurate. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Ann Fisher Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Story
I love your detail in how you put the reader in the shoes of character. You want to cheer him on when things go wrong and hug him when he is hurting. Read more
Published 12 months ago by denise murphy
5.0 out of 5 stars tdg
The theme is wonderfully presented, and develops smoothly as the book progresses. Although the first chapter seemed a bit dry for a younger reader, a reader of any age will be... Read more
Published 13 months ago by TDG
4.0 out of 5 stars Heartfelt Family Story
Heart of a Shepherd is a sweet, genuine story of love of the land, love of family and love of country. The characters ring so true, it reads almost like a diary. Read more
Published 14 months ago by PDXbibliophile
5.0 out of 5 stars For a Friend
Brought for a friend who was looking for this special book. She was very happy I was able to get it. Shes reading it know then said she would pass it to her grandson. Thank you
Published 14 months ago by marieloon
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More About the Author

Rosanne Parry was born in Oak Park, Illinois and grew up in Portland, Oregon. She and her husband live in Portland in an old farm house where they are raising four children, three chickens and five kinds of fruit. She writes in a tree house in her back yard.

Her first novel Heart of a Shepherd was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews, a Best Children's Book of the Year by the Washington Post, and a Horn Book Fanfare Book. In 2010 it was chosen for the Oregon Spirit Book Award given by the Oregon Council of Teachers of English. It received the Rodda Award from the Church and Synagogue Library Association, and it was named on Honor Book for the Judy Lopez Memorial Book Award given by the Women's National Book Association.

Her historical novel Second Fiddle was named an INDY NEXT pic for the Spring 2011 list. It was a Parents' Choice Award winner 2011 and and Oregon Spirit Book Award winner in 2012. Her newest novel Written in Stone is a Junior Library Guild selection.


Rosanne presents workshops in person at writers' conferences and on line at The Loft Literary Center. She works with children of all ages in schools. If you wish to contact her for a school visit there is information about that on her website at www.rosanneparry.com .


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