In a poignant and unflinching new realistic novel from the Newbery Medal–winning author of Bridge to Terabithia, a ten-year-old girl makes a deal with God for her father's safe return from the Iraq War.
Birdie has questions for God. For starters, why couldn’t God roll history back to September 10, 2001, and fix things—so the next day was an ordinary sunny day and not the devastating lead-in to two wars? Daddy has already been to Iraq twice. Now he’s going again, and Birdie is sure he’ll die. At the very least, she won’t see him again for a year, and everything will not be OK. (Why do grown-ups lie?) To save money, she, Mom, and baby Billy have moved to Gran’s, where shy Birdie must attend a new school, and no one but bossy Alicia Marie Suggs welcomes her. Doesn’t God remember how hard it was for Birdie to make friends at Bible Camp? Counselor Ron taught about Judgment there—and the right way to believe. Has Birdie been praying wrong? Why else would God break their bargain? Readers of all faiths and backgrounds, especially children of military families, will identify with and root for the unforgettable Birdie, given inimitable voice by a master storyteller.
Katherine Paterson, a two-time winner of the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award, has written more than thirty books, including Bridge to Terabithia and My Brigadista Year. A recipient of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, and a former National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, she lives in Montpelier, Vermont.
As her protagonist copes first with the move and then with her crisis of faith, Paterson rounds the story with specific physical details (as well as skillfully deploying an omniscient narrator) and depicts the character’s emotional arc with authenticity and empathy.
—The Horn Book
Paterson’s writing is smooth and nuanced. . . Lovely prose and an intriguing family situation.