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The Truth of Me Hardcover – June 25, 2013

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 3-5-An elegant exploration of love and familial relationships. Robbie is looking forward to spending the summer with his grandmother, Maddy. He likes her eccentric stories, he likes that wild animals come right up to her, and he likes how Maddy makes his parents nervous. Robbie often feels that his parents, accomplished professional musicians, love their instruments more than him. Over the course of the summer, Maddy helps him realize that he can be brave enough to express his feelings openly even though his mother might not be capable of saying "I love you" in return. This story is well paced and rhythmic in its dialogue, lending itself well to a group read-aloud. This is a sweet, easy chapter book that teaches children about coming to terms with their own feelings as well as accepting and appreciating others for their own "small truths." -Tiffany O'Leary, Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Master storyteller MacLachlan spins an emotional yarn about the bond between a boy and his grandmother. Feeling distanced from his aloof parents, Robbie is excited to spend the summer with his grandmother Maddy. Even though his parents think Maddy is a bit odd, Robbie knows the truth—that Maddy is special and understands him like no one else. During his time with Maddy, Robbie discovers the truth that is in him—that he is brave, strong, and, most of all, loved. Throughout the summer, Maddy unveils stories about his mother’s past, and Robbie begins to understand the resulting strained relationships. Robbie’s bond with Maddy is a strong one, and readers will relate to their special connection. A spare, poetically composed tale written in short chapters perfect for beginning read-it-alone readers, this should resonate with young and old alike—and makes for a great intergenerational story to share. Grades 2-4. --Sarah Bean Thompson

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books (June 25, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061998591
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061998591
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,128,338 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Donovan on October 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a very short book with large print, but it's a mature and resonant story. Robbie goes to spend time with his grandmother, because his grandparents are classical musicians on tour. He's not always confident of his mother's love, but being with his grandmother helps him understand her a little better.

He also spends time thinking about who he is. What is the "truth of me." Is it okay to want to be like his grandmother, who is a little wacky? Is it okay to want more from his mom? This story stuck with me, and all I'd say is missing is more, though it truly is a full story that didn't feel rushed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Heidi Grange on October 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Robbie doesn't have a particularly good relationship with his parents. His parents seem more interested in their music than in him. Luckily he does have a sweet friendship with his grandmother, Maddy. When he goes to stay with her over the summer while his parents are on tour, he discovers that like his grandmother, he has his own 'small truths,' things that make him distinctly him. With the help of his dog, Ellie, his grandmother's doctor neighbor, Henry, and some wild animals, Robbie discovers that there is more to his world than he ever imagined.

Strengths: As always, MacLachlan creates a main character that is easy to relate to and empathize with. Robbie is a sweet kid that I couldn't help caring about. Maddy is a free spirit that made me smile. The book's gentle tone makes for a story of discovery and light adventure. Quiet, shy readers are bound to find much here to enjoy.

Weaknesses: A lot of child readers prefer more excitement in the books they read.

Overall, a sweet and thoughtful read for the more thoughtful reader.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Levesque on June 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan
Katherine Tegen Books, 2013 (8/6/13)
Realistic Fiction
128 pages
Recommended for grades 3-5

Sure, with its length, white space and large text size this book looks like an easy read, accesible to second graders and third graders. But when you begin discovering the tone and themes of the story it is easy to realize that this book shouldn't be wasted at too young an age. Just because they can read the words does not mean they are understanding the story, we know that :)
Written in short, simple sentences, first person narrator, Jack, unpacks his feelings on being overlooked by his musician mother for the majority of his life. When Jack spends part of the summer with his grandmother he is given clues as to why his mother act as she does. (This doesn't explain why his father isn't winning any Father of the Year trophies, but we can let it slide.) Jack desperately needs to feel taken care of, staying with his grandmother he gets the opportunity to care for others, which proves to be just as important.
The cover might entice animal loving readers into what appears to be an outdoorsy story, and they will be disappointed if that is all they are looking for. Yes the wilderness and animals are within this short story, but this story of self discovery is much more than that, perhaps too much for some of the readers this will attract. But then there is the other side of this: perhaps young readers will pick it up and be amazed at what they can learn and understand when presented "big" ideas in a little package.
The Truth: There are few loving creatures on this planet that can compare to a dog.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Margaret C. VINE VOICE on July 22, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Memories from my childhood tell me that I enjoy stories from Patricia MacLachlan and I've been excited to read new stories. The Truth of Me is very short, but very full. I was able to read an advanced reader copy, mine was paperback, but I believe that final press print will be hardcover. The cover is attractive and it's a good story for boys and girls although the main character is a boy, his dog and his grandmother. It's a different story, but I think it is a good one for young readers to experience as it might show a different angle to tough situations of family to understand. All in all the theme is learning to admit, "I love you".

*Thanks to HC for providing an ARC for review.*
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