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Kindred Souls Hardcover – February 7, 2012


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Hardcover, February 7, 2012
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (February 7, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060522976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060522971
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,031,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Jake enjoys his daily walk around the family farm with Billy, his grandfather and “kindred soul.” As they stop by the mud-and-prairie-grass remnants of the soddy where Billy was born, he often remarks, “I loved that sod house.” One day he says, “I miss that sod house,” and finally, after Jake asks an idle question about cutting sod for bricks, Billy declares, “You can build me a sod house.” When Billy falls ill and is hospitalized, Jake overcomes his strong reluctance to build a soddy. His family pitches in and readies the little building for Billy’s return. The more Jake remarks that 88-year-old Billy “will live forever,” the more astute readers can be that the end is near. Printed in large type with wide-spaced lines, the first-person story, with its short sentences and nuanced observations, focuses primarily on Billy’s preparations for death, as told from Jake’s point of view. Though its subject may limit its appeal, MacLachlan writes with clarity of purpose. Grades 3-5. --Carolyn Phelan

Review

“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))

More About the Author

Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; its sequels, Skylark and Caleb's Story; and Three Names, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lives in western Massachusetts.

In Her Own Words..."One thing I've learned with age and parenting is that life comes in circles. Recently, I was having a bad time writing. I felt disconnected. I had moved to a new home and didn't feel grounded. The house, the land was unfamiliar to me. There was no garden yet. Why had I sold my old comfortable 1793 home? The one with the snakes in the basement, mice everywhere, no closets. I would miss the cold winter air that came in through the electrical sockets."

"I had to go this day to talk to a fourth-grade class, and I banged around the house, complaining. Hard to believe, since I am so mild mannered and pleasant, isn't it? What did I have to say to them? I thought what I always think when I enter a room of children. What do I know?"

"I plunged down the hillside and into town, where a group of fourth-grade children waited for me in the library, freshly scrubbed, expectant. Should I be surprised that what usually happens did so? We began to talk about place, our living landscapes. And I showed them my little bag of prairie dirt from where I was born. Quite simply, we never got off the subject of place. Should I have been so surprised that these young children were so concerned with place, or with the lack of it, their displacement? Five children were foster children, disconnected from their homes. One little boy's house had burned down, everything gone. 'Photographs, too,' he said sadly. Another told me that he was moving the next day to place he'd never been. I turned and saw the librarian, tears coming down her face."

"'You know,' I said. 'Maybe I should take this bag of prairie dirt and toss it into my new yard. I'll never live on the prairie again. I live here now. The two places could mix together that way!' 'No!' cried a boy from the back. 'Maybe the prairie dirt will blow away!' And then a little girl raised her hand. 'I think you should put that prairie dirt in a glass bowl in your window so that when you write you can see it all the time. So you can always see what you knew first.'"

"When I left the library, I went home to write. What You Know First owes much to the children of the Jackson Street School: the ones who love place and will never leave it, the ones who lost everything and have to begin again. I hope for them life comes in circles, too."

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Elisabeth on March 22, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a fan of "Sarah, Plain and Tall" and the many others in this genre that Patricia has written, I eagerly put my name on the HOLD list at our public library. Since I am a private school librarian, I carefully screen all books before ordering them, and this sometimes means I "shop" in the public library.

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!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Melissa Sack VINE VOICE on February 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Jake's grandfather is getting old. He ends up getting really sick. Jake knows that a dream his grandfather has is to rebuild his childhood sod house. Jake decides that he will do his best to make that dream come true. He is able to do this with the help of his family.

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
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Litterarum Studiosus on July 16, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Jake and his eighty-eight-year-old grandfather, Billy, are kindred souls. They share a special bond, and Billy always tells Jake about the sod house in which he grew up, the foundation of which still rests in the prairie around the family's farm. So when Billy asks Jake to build him a new sod house, Jake knows that he will--with Billy's "Angel Dog" Lucy at his side--even though Billy becomes ill.

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.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Good Books Only! on February 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Loved McLachlan's story. Her setting and characters are heart-warming, as always. And her spare style is at times refreshing, albeit a bit too truncated in parts. She has a way of bringing the reader back to simpler times, wholesome times, times when simplicity and integrity counted as merit, and the tradition of American family and values was honored.
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By Sandra L. Wright on December 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Awesome book for all ages of students. Currently reading it to fourth, fifth, and sixth grade classes. Kind of a tear-jerker but has great values for students to learn about using with their peers.
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