Newbery Medal–winning author Patricia MacLachlan paints a moving portrait of what it means to be a family, the power of love, and the importance of bringing the truth out into the light, in this beautiful and profound story about adoption.
Nora and Ben’s younger sister Birdy loves to keep secrets. She surprises her family more than once: She hides a kitten in her room. She writes a beautiful poem. One day Birdy watches her mother spit into a tube, ready to send it off to find out more about herself and where her family came from. Birdy spits into a tube, too, when no one sees her.
But when the test results come back, they are a surprise. Birdy is seemingly not related to Nora and Ben’s parents. But if she is adopted, how could that have happened without the children knowing?
Nora and Ben must learn when to keep a secret, and who to go to for help—and eventually, how to solve this secret for the entire family.
About the Author
Patricia MacLachlan (1938-2022) was the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. She was also the author of many beloved picture books, a number of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily.
"MacLachlan’s signature short, careful sentences imbue each phrase with significance, creating a lyrical ambiance that draws readers into the close family circle. Especially moving is the depiction of the parents’ love for each other as well as their children as they move forward into their newly shared truth." — Publishers Weekly
"With simple, repetitive language, much of it offered as dialogue, MacLachlan's latest is perfect for readers just transitioning into chapter books with slightly more narrative depth. Familial concern about honesty gives the twins' questions weight, and a resolution about adoption that ties up happily works well for the target audience. A sweet look at what really makes for a family." — Booklist
"MacLachlan examines the question 'What makes a family?' in her latest middle grade book. MacLachlan's lyrical writing emphasizes that love is what makes a family. This short novel is immersed in love—between friends, within a married couple, between siblings, parents and their children, and even in the devotion for a favorite teacher . . . VERDICT With a warm message and gorgeous prose, this story grounded in fact and love . . . " — School Library Journal
Praise for WONDROUS REX: "MacLachlan spins from simple words an enigmatic, gentle . . . tale. Sweetly magical."
— Kirkus Reviews
"A charmed (and charming) dog, a language-loving girl, and an innate aunt-niece bond are among the alluring threads that MacLachlan (Dream Within a Dream) deftly weaves into this taut novel. MacLachlan again proves her gift for shaping endearing and credible characters—even a magical canine—in this bright yet reflective story." — Publishers Weekly
"Newbery-winner MacLachlan's spare but elegant prose touches on themes of self-confidence, the writer's craft, and the sense of well-being that can come from pet ownership. This book will please younger readers and inspire would-be wordsmiths." — Booklist
Praise for MY FATHER'S WORDS: “MacLachlan is the master of quiet books that pack an emotional wallop. My Father’s Words finds the author in her element. MacLachlan provides a beautifully nuanced portrait of one family’s recovery after tragedy. This book feels as direct and true as a dog looking you straight in the eyes.” — New York Times Book Review
“Newbery Medalist MacLachlan is known for writing heart-tugging stories in spare style, as she did in Sarah, Plain and Tall. And that’s what she does here as readers meet Fiona and Finn. Deeply moving and uplifting in unexpected ways.” — Booklist (starred review)
“Key relationships in her own life inspired this characteristically taut and resonant novel by Newbery Medalist MacLachlan. MacLachlan masterfully mingles core themes in this slim volume: the power of words and song, memories and family, the mutually redemptive human-canine bond, and ‘the eternal fitness of things.’” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“With her customary precise, spare language, infused with emotional intelligence, MacLachlan takes readers from shocked grief to a way to live again, fundamental truths dropped carefully and delicately for young readers to comprehend in their own time. A flawless story about resilience, hope, healing, and the eternal fitness of things.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for THE POET'S DOG: “Magical. A quiet, elegant, poignant story suffused with humor, heart, and goodness.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A spare, moving tale. Using simple words that even youngest readers will understand and enjoy, MacLachlan tackles subjects such as death and mourning with understated grace.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Readers will find their own jewel in this gem of a book." — Booklist (starred review)
Praise for WORD AFTER WORD AFTER WORD: “Showing great respect for her readers and her craft, Newbery Award winner Patricia MacLachlan makes every word count in Lucy’s smooth-flowing, economic narrative.” — Booklist (starred review)
“MacLachlan delivers a strong, spare novel about the power of writing to transform.” — Publishers Weekly
“MacLachlan creates marvelous characters, children who can empathize with and support one another and who produce amazing poetry that captures their sadness and courage. The result is a tale that draws readers into a dichotomous world that is serious and lighthearted, sad and happy, real and unreal.” — School Library Journal