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Winter Sky Hardcover – January 7, 2014
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I Am: 40 Reasons to Trust God
Through Bible stories, short devotions, and prayers, children discover the meaning of each name and how it relates to their lives. Hardcover
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is about a 12-year old girl, Siria, who's father is a firefighter. Her mother died when she was young and told Siria to watch out for her dad. Siria takes that seriously and even sneaks out at night without her babysitter knowing, so that she can make sure her dad gets through the fires safely. Someone starts setting fires in her neighborhood and she isn't sure who it is. At one point, she suspects her best friend and several others, but eventually, she figures out who it is.
This book is written at about a 3rd or 4th grade reading level. The font is large and the sentences uncompllicated. It would be a good book for a 6th or 7th grade reader who is struggling.
The ending to this story is one which I had to sort through with my husband. I was puzzled about what to think (Please don't read ahead if you are concerned about any spoilers.) In days gone by, Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys were the mysteries of the day. As well as Scooby-Doo... All three had something in common. The bad guys were indeed bad guys. They were not humanized and the reader didn't sympathize with them. What they were doing was clearly wrong and eventually they were going to get caught and get in trouble for it. It was very black and white--very clear what was right and what was wrong. Today, our culture often sees criminals very differently. They are portrayed on the big screen and in books often in a very human way--in a way that you want to empathize with them for their motives and why they committed the crimes they committed. This book is on that end of the spectrum.Read more ›
Twelve-year-old Siria lives with her firefighter father and is frequently cared for by her babysitter Mimi while her father is at work. Her mother died before Siria could really remember, but she left behind a book all about stars, especially Siria's "own" star, Sirius. Being the only parent she has left, Siria worries constantly for her father and feels that she must be there for him whenever there is a fire. That means she climbs out her seventh floor apartment window, slips down the icy fire escape in the middle of December and hops on her bike to follow the sirens, all without Mimi or anyone else over the age of eighteen being aware.
Lately someone has been setting fires and Siria feels it is up to her to solve the mystery and stop the "arsonist". The clues seem to lead - if one jumps to conclusions and makes unwarranted assumptions - in an uncomfortable direction and Siria finds herself grappling with the meaning of friendship.
Siria is, naturally, the most developed character in the book, but even she is rather pale and bland. The character with perhaps the most potential is Izzy, Pop's female firefighting co-worker. We get very little sense of Siria's friends or Pop himself. And the excerpts from Siria's star book not only don't add anything, but actually detract from the characters.Read more ›
Winter Sky, by Patricia Reilly Giff, is well written and easy to read. I think children would be able to easily get through the text. However, having said that, my first problem with the book showed up in the first few pages when Siria sneaks out of her house at night. She sneaks out and goes to the fires her father is fighting—she feels she needs to keep him safe. She does this on a regular basis, sneaking out by fire escape on the 7th floor. As a parent, the idea of a child sneaking out of the house, alone at night, scares me to pieces. I would be hesitant to introduce the idea of sneaking out for late night adventures to young kids.
Someone is setting fires, and at first Siria suspects her best friend, Douglas. Arson is a serious crime and the fact that it is downplayed and goes unpunished was problematic to me. When she finally meets up with the person setting the fires, his explanation is that he had to keep warm. It gives the impression that doing the wrong thing if you can justify it makes it okay.
The characters weren’t very clearly drawn and so it was hard to connect with them, and really get a feel for who they are—so in that sense they didn’t come alive for me. They seemed flat.
The only part of the book I liked was Siria’s relationship with her dad and the fact that she got to keep the stray dog.
As I said, well-written, easy to read but there are just too many bad lessons for kids here.
As I suspected she shared parental concern with the main character, but didn't think it was ok that she kept trying to protect her dad. She also wanted to talk about why the little boy who kept starting fires was doing it to stay warm. It opened up another chapter for us to talk about homeless people and ways they justify things that are against the law.
The world we live in is not perfect and while most kids do worry about their parents I think its important that we help our kids draw that line between books and reality. Being homeless is something that is real and plenty of kids have parents with jobs that can't guarantee they will always come home at the end of the day.
Winter sky overall is an ok book, but I would of liked to see a better ending and more character development. Depending on the age of your child you may want to read this one first and decide if its material they are ready for.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This story hooked me with its immediate deference to star myths. A girl named after a star is a charming notion for a character and the star theme makes for some loveliness. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Emily J. Morris
My 9 year old enjoyed this book very much. The main character, the daughter of a firefighter, takes on a mystery to find who never is setting fires in the neighborhood. Read morePublished 14 months ago by B.Keith
Siria's mother loved the stars and named her after Sirius, the dog star, because it shines so brightly. Read morePublished 15 months ago by mgw
The book's plot has to do with a little girl, Siria who sneaks out at night and follows her fireman dad to fires. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Miss Kitty
Great idea, but missed the mark for me. I loved the idea of Siria's name, and her relations to the stars, but that really was not the main story. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Enchanted In Dixie
In the days leading up to Christmas (and, shortly after it, her twelfth birthday), Siria begins to suspect that there is an arsonist on the loose. Read morePublished 15 months ago by P. Mann
This is an awesome young teen book about the meaning of family, friendship, and a love between a daughter and her father. I found it a fun read, meaning it held my attention. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Alex S
Siria, the protagonist, lives with her firefighting father who is her entire family since her mom's passing. She worries about her dad and follows him to his jobs in secrecy. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Amazon Customer