THE TRUTH ABOUT SPARROWS by Marion Hale (Henry Holt, 2004) This poignant historical novel, revolving around a close-knit family's efforts to survive the economic hardships of the Great Depression, will warm readers' hearts. Twelve-year-old Sadie Wynn, an young adolescent with timeless appeal, isn't happy with anyone or anything. Sadie doesn't want to leave Missouri and move to a fishing town on the Texas coast, especially when she realizes that her new home will be a tar paper shack on the seawall. She doesn't want to make new friends. She doesn't like the startled stares of strangers when they first see her father's disability. Sadie's self-consciousness and her refusal to accept change in her life parallels her reluctance to grow up. The story of Sadie's search for a place she belongs is deftly handled, and in her debut novel, Hale's lyrical language makes her characters and the gritty life on the Texas coast particularly evocative. Ages 9-up. Highly recommended. Recommendation by Frances Hill, author of THE BUG CEMETERY, illustrated by Vera Rosenberry (Henry Holt, 2002).
Note: Marian Hale lives with her husband on Copano Bay in Rockport, Texas, just twenty miles from the Aransas Pass seawall where this story takes place. This first-time novelist is one to watch.