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Saving Sky Hardcover – August 24, 2010

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8–Living on a New Mexico ranch, Sky Brightman and her family are largely removed from the disturbing news of the war on terror and are sheltered from images of death and destruction as suicide bombers wage war on the United States. Then, when Kareem, a seventh-grade Middle Eastern classmate, is picked on by bullies, and his doctor father is detained by federal agents, Sky resolves to stand by the boy. In a scene that stretches credulity, Sky and her mother collaborate to remove Kareem surreptitiously from school. They safeguard him in their home and build a secret place for him in the barn in case he should need one. Kareem goes into hiding when suspicious Homeland Security agents come looking for him. In the meantime, an attack knocks out the power over a good portion of the country. When Homeland Security comes again, Kareem is spotted and knows he must turn himself in; the president has ordered the DHS to hold detainees until the war ends. Four months later, at the state's Land of Enchantment essay award ceremony, Sky reads from Kareem's poignant journal and is heartened by the audience's reception. The mood of the novel is muted by the spare detail. The main characters are well rendered and likable, and, in her portrayal of the earth-centered, nurturing Brightman family, Stanley succeeds in delivering the message that hope trumps fear.Susan W. Hunter, Riverside Middle School, Springfield, VT
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* In this provocative title, award-winning author Stanley asks young readers to consider what courage might look like in an America under psychological and physical siege. Growing up off the grid on a New Mexico ranch, Sky is cocooned from the country's escalating fears over war and terrorist attacks. Then her friend Kareem is falsely arrested at the local Home Depot, setting off a chain of events that utterly upends Sky's sense of security: police arrest Kareem's parents, Kareem goes into hiding, and Sky is interrogated by the police about her role in Kareem's disappearance. As fears mount, the U.S. slips deeper into anarchy, and foreign-born American families pay the price as they are rounded up and interned. Sky and her family fight back the only way they can—by hiding and protecting Kareem on their vast, isolated ranch. To categorize this novel solely as science fiction would be wishful thinking, and parallels to our contemporary times appear on every page. The recognizable adult characters, from the truly good to the fearful to the insidiously evil, are drawn straight from today's headlines, while the young people manifest a courage few can emulate. Readers will have much to discuss after finishing this beautifully written, disturbing book. Grades 5-8. --Frances Bradburn

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 620L (What's this?)
  • Series: AWARDS: Sequoyah Book Awards 2013 Grades 6-8
  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (August 24, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061239054
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061239052
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Diane Stanley is the author and illustrator of more than fifty books for children, noted especially for her series of picture book biographies. SHAKA: KING OF THE ZULUS was named a New York Times Best Illustrated Book; LEONARDO DA VINCI received the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction from the National Council for Teachers of English. Ten of her books have been honored as "Notable Books" by the American Library Association and she has twice received both the Boston Globe/Hornbook Award and the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators' Golden Kite Award. She is the recipient of the Washington Post/Children's Book Guild Award for Nonfiction for the body of her work.

She lives in Santa Fe, NM. Visit her website at

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J.Prather TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 24, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Saving Sky takes place in an alternate future following 9/11. In Diane Stanley's gripping tale, the attacks keep coming and young Sky is raised in a world where schools have safe rooms, fuel is in short supply and schedules are formed around red alert days. Sky and her parents are better off than most, living on a farm in New Mexico powered by solar panels, living off their own gardens and turning their backs on things such as computers and televisions. Sky is happy with her family and her home until the attacks begin to escalate and she is brought face to face with racial prejudice in the form of an encounter with an Arab American family at a Home Depot. This serves not only as her awakening to the growing ugliness of her world but also to her growing desire to fight injustice and to find her own courage.

The story here is a good one; fast paced and easy to read. It will hold lots of appeal to reluctant middle school readers with a fondness for dystopian fiction. As an older reader, I found myself often wanting more. I wanted more character development, more explanations of Sky's family belief systems which were really quite beautiful, and more explanations of the world situation. Since this story is told through the eyes of a twelve year old, it is necessarily very focused. The crises occuring in the outer world are merely a backdrop to Sky's growing confidence in herself and the role she can play in the world around her. In the end, this turns out not to be so much a sci-fi story as a coming of age story in the most extreme of circumstances. It is an effective examination of courage, and will prompt lots of discussion, as the parallels with today's world are very apparent. This book is a rousing condemnation of racism in all it's forms and succeeds on many levels. The writing is wonderful, and aside from my desire to know more of the story, I found it to be a riveting read. This is a solid recommend for grades 6-9.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tara VINE VOICE on August 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This is a novel aimed at the pre teen crowd. For adults, it is a very short read, but still very thought evoking. It has a very good, strong moral that never grows old. It's about how when afraid, people often need to pin the blame on someone and too often, this finger pointing leads to hate and racism. There are good and bad people in all races, countries, and religions. You really cannot blame them all for the errors of one...

This novel is a "what if" book.. What if the attacks of September 11th didn't stop there? What if it led to a full blown war with terrorists, not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but right here on the mainland? How would we act? Sky is thirteen and during this war, she witnesses hate and wrongful arrests on people of Arab decent. When the United States government repeats history (I'm referring to the internment of the Japanese Americans during world war II) and begins arresting Arab Americans, Sky tries to save her school friend, Kareem. It's Sky and her family versus Homeland Security. Uh oh. What's going to happen to Kareem, Sky, Sky's family?

I also got a kick out of how everyone reacts when faced with no electricty, no cell phones, no gas, no semi trucks delivering food to Albertson's... Gosh, we have become a very dependent society!

I found Sky's family a little weird with their solstice celebrating, hand holding, and blessing chanting, but to each his own. If I had any doubts about giving this story a 5 star rating, Kareem's essay at the end of the book erased them. Beautiful, thought evoking words that make one really sit and think about courage and ask oneself if they have ever been that brave.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kate Greeneyes on August 19, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I enjoy the quick read of teen fiction, and having an avid reader for a daughter, I have read many teen novels. This is the best I have read. I kept thinking of Ann Frank as Sky's family took in Kareem and the repeating of history. Kareem's essay on courage brought tears to my eyes and Sky's willingness to read it showed "she had courage" too. I would hope that this book can touch many young people's lives to promote tolerance and the courage to take a stand for what is right.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is about a girl who is living in New Mexico during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. I adored this book and recommend it to boys and girls who are ages 11+. I say 11+ because I'm 11 and I think that it fit my age perfectly:)
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