WELCOME TO ANOTHER MARVELOUS MIDDLE GRADE MONDAY!
The legend of astronaut Michael Collins lives on in middle grade books. Collins was the one who stayed back in the Apollo command module as fellow astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin made the historic first walk on the moon. He first appeared in 2017’s historical, I Love You, Michael Collins, set in 1969.
Ruby in the Sky is set in the present. Ruby and her mom have been on the move since leaving their home in Washington D.C., never staying in one spot long enough to get connected to a new community. Ruby’s father was left behind. The why isn’t revealed until the climatic end. Ruby stays close to him by looking at the moon. It’s what they always did when separated. Vermont is their current spot and before they can get settled a policeman is at their doorstep.
Told through Ruby’s twelve-year-old perspective, the story is full of heartbreak and engaging characters with their own often hidden pasts. The subplot of Michael Collins comes in as Ruby chooses him to research for an oral report—a frightening event for a girl who likes to stay hidden and silent.
Ruby’s tale will grip you to the end. Her friendships with Abigail, the old lady who lives in a shed, and fellow classmate, Ahmad, give her the strength to make her life right. In the end you just might stare at the moon and smile.
PUBLISHED: February 5, 2019 PAGE COUNT: 304
THE OFFICIAL PLOT (From Amazon)
Twelve-year-old Ruby Moon Hayes does not want her new classmates to ask about her father. She does not want them to know her mother has been arrested. And she definitely does not want to make any friends. Ruby just wants to stay as silent and invisible as a new moon in the frozen sky. She and her mother won’t be staying long in Vermont anyway, and then things can go back to the way they were before everything went wrong.
But keeping to herself isn’t easy when Ahmad Saleem, a Syrian refugee, decides he’s her new best friend. Or when she meets “the Bird Lady,” a recluse named Abigail who lives in a ramshackle shed near Ruby’s house.? Before long Ahmad and Abigail have become Ruby’s friends―and she realizes there is more to their stories than everyone knows.
As ugly rumors begin to swirl around the people Ruby loves, she must make a choice: break her silence, or risk losing everything that’s come to mean so much to her. Ruby in the Sky is a story of the walls we hide behind, and the magic that can happen when we’re brave enough to break free.
FIVE THINGS TO LIKE ABOUT—
RUBY IN THE SKY by Jeanne Zulick Ferruolo
- Ruby, Abigail, and Ahmad’s past come together in a celebration of their differences. It’s nice to have a book where the secondary characters aren’t just there to fill space.
- Keeping silent is a common way young people deal with problems and new situations. Ruby plays the part with ease and how she comes out of her shell is the touching basis for the story,
- A Vermont town in winter was the perfect setting
- Ruby faces real and difficult challenges many kids will find familiar. Themes of friendship, empathy, and healing give us all a connection through the beautifully written words.
- The “Ruby Moon” cover is a winner.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (From Jeanne’s Website)
Jeanne lives in Ellington, Connecticut with her husband, Paul, her children, Andrew and Sophia and a poorly behaved Golden Retriever named Meadow.
Her middle grade novel, Ruby in the Sky has won the SCBWI Work-in-progress Award in the Middle Grade Category (2016), the PEN-New England, Susan Bloom Discovery Award (2016), the Tassy Walden, New Voices in Children’s Literature Award (2015), and the Ruth Landers Glass Scholarship at the spring NE-SCBWI conference (2016). She is currently working on another middle grade novel, The Prisoner’s Daughter, set in communist Czechoslovakia in 1989.
A breast cancer survivor, Jeanne has been a public defender, taught English at the Gymnazium Parovska in Nitra, Slovakia, worked on Capitol Hill and waited tables at an all-night café/bookstore in Washington, D.C.
She is a member of SCBWI and has attended numerous writing conferences, most notably: Rutgers One-on-one Plus, namelos, Patricia Reilly Giff’s Writing Class, Whispering Pines and the Time to Write Retreat.
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(I received an ARC of this title for my honest review)