Monday, January 9, 2012

Marvelous Middle Grade Monday: A Tinfoil Sky by Cyndi Sand-Eveland

Release Date: January 10, 2012

About The Book: Mel and her mother, Cecily, know what it’s like to live rough, whether it’s on the streets or in the apartment of an abusive man.When Cecily announces that they’ve had enough and that they are going to go home to her mother’s, Mel dreams of security, a comfortable bed, and a grandmother’s love seem to be about to come true. But some mistakes cannot be easily forgiven or erased. Her grandmother is not what Mel expects, and though the local library offers sanctuary, a real home seems beyond her grasp. Mel’s determination to rise above what fate has dealt is about to change that. -Tundra Books
First Line: "Girl," Cecily said as they sped away from the curb, "we're going home!"

One Great Line: "Gladys's voice cut the little excitement that remained of the day into peices , and Mel could feel them disappearing into the dark and dusty corners of the hall." (92)

What I Thought: First of all, bravo to Cyndi for addressing a difficult issue, homelessness in a children's book. We often hear about the difficulties that the adults face by being homeless, but rarely the children, let alone their point of view. I believe this would be a great book to help open up the conversation about poverty, homelessness and ultimately how to respect people no matter what their perceived reality is. 
      Mel reminds me of a couple of children I worked with in my writing and art classes, anxious to learn and had an appreciation and respect for people different from themselves. More often than not, the children in their class were unaware that they were homeless, but only saw the worn out clothing which often made them targets of students who were more affluent. I found A Tinfoil Sky to be a compassionate and moving read and recommend it highly.

About The Author: Cyndi Sand-Eveland
Publisher: Tundra Books

Who:Author Cyndi Sand-Eveland has worked with elementary-aged children for the past fifteen years as a teaching assistant for students with learning disabilities and ESL students. She has led storytelling and journal writing workshops for primary and intermediate students. She has also worked as a freelance storyteller, children’s library assistant, and sign language interpreter. Dear Toni and her original poetry were recently included in a workshop to inspire students to begin their own creative adventures in storytelling and journal writing. She currently lives on a farm just outside of Nelson, BC. --Goodreads

Also by Cyndi: Dear Toni, a Diamond Willow Honoree and the 2010 Silver Birch Award winner and is her first book. When sixth-grader Gene Tucks moves south, she dreads being the new kid at school and almost everything else about her life as a “nobody.” But what she dreads most is the hundred-day journal-writing assignment her teacher has given the class. His brilliant idea is to have the journals locked in the town museum’s vault for forty years so that future grade-sixers can read them.
At first, Gene has trouble writing to someone who isn’t even born yet. But little by little, Dear Nobody becomes Dear Somebody, who evolves into Dear Toni. And bit by bit, Toni, a good listener, becomes a best friend to whom Gene tells everything. And, there’s lots to tell. Gene’s family is in transition to say the least. Her dad is looking for work, they are moving — again, her brother is the bane of her existence, and, more than anything else in the world, Gene wants something she can’t have — a dog. Toni is the first to learn that Gene is moving to a rent-free empty apartment at the back of a gas station, so her dad can manage it. And wonder of wonders, the owner’s dog needs looking after. Not just any dog; a St. Bernard who happens to have three pups. Through Gene’s one hundred entries the whole story unwinds and in the end, just like Toni does forty years later, we have come to know one of the freshest, funniest characters to grace the pages of a book in a very long time.

Decorated with doodles by the author, Dear Toni has the look and feel of a journal, but the heart of a special 12 year old.

On Wednesday, Cyndi will stop by for an interview so be sure to come on back. If you have a specific question you would like her to answer, leave it in the comments and I will pass them on to her. See you on Wednesday!

Be sure to stop by the other MMGM bloggers listed in my sidebar! There's some really great books and besides we have a new year to fill up our TBR lists. Right?


  1. Sounds like a great book. And sadly too many kids can relate to being homeless. Love the title too. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Yes, this does sounds like a good book, especially about a topic not many focus on in the middle grade realm. Thanks for sharing!

  3. This book sounds endearing and like it has many life lessons a MGer can learn from. Thank you for posting about it.

  4. Wow! Why have I not heard of this book? Sounds inspiring. Love that great line you quoted.

    ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER by Ann Haywood Leal and HOW TO STEAL A DOG by Barbara O'Connor also address the issue of homelessness. Thanks for giving us another book to add to that list. Great choice for MMGM, Pam!

  5. I've heard nothing but great things about this book. Thanks for the review! :)

  6. Ohhhhh...this sounds like a beauty. I have HOW TO STEAL A DOG out from the library right now (thanks to Joanne's rec quite some time ago), and I'll put this on my list too.

  7. Thanks for featuring this author, Pam!

  8. wow - this looks terrific. i can't believe i never heard of this book before! the first line is definitely a hook :)

    thanks for sharing!

  9. This seems to be a gift of technology to better begin unraveling the complexities of our humanity. Brilliant!


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